Ribe town with Slotsbanken in the west.
Riberhus Castle was situated on Slotsbanken in Ribe. Today, only remains of ruins and a bronze statue of Queen Dagmar, who used to live in the castle, are left.
The castle was not the first building on the place. Archaeological excavations show that people had already resided there in the 10th Century.
The first castle
During excavations at Slotsbanken, proof was found that people had resided there in the 10th century. However, this may not have been in connection with a castle or other building, but historical sources indicate that a castle was situated here in the early 1200s.
It was a royal castle with a bailiff, who looked after the King’s interests in the area, collecting taxes from the townsfolk. The bailiff, later called a vassal, was responsible for a geographic area, a so-called fief and Riberhus fief included most of West Jutland up to Nymindegab. One of the best-known vassals of the castle was Albert Skeel, who was buried in Ribe Cathedral. Albert Skeel was vassal under King Christian IV in the 1600 years.
Queen Dagmar overviewing Ribe.
Appearance of the castle
It is unknown how the castle looked originally, but archaeological excavations indicate that the castle consisted of a number of built together houses, surrounding a yard and round towers with canons in every corner for defense. Thick walls and the moat made it hard for trespassers to get into Riberhus. You had to pass the drawbridge and gatehouse in order to get into the castle. In 1400, Ribe was getting poorer and the number of citizens was decreasing, due to several pest epidemics. Copenhagen became capitol of Denmark and Riberhus declined, since there was no activity there anymore. After the Swedish Wars in 1600, the buildings were in such a bad state that the castle was torn down.
The castle grounds of Riberhus. In the background the remains of the administrational building.
Today, you can see a statue of Queen Dagmar, who was married to King Valdemar Sejr on Slotsbanken. Dagmar died in the age of 23 on Riberhus and the statue shows her in front of a boat, sailing to Ribe. The artist Anna Marie Carl-Nielsen, created the statue in 1913 in memory of the young queen.
The ruins at Slotsbanken were restored in 1940-1941, where the moats were cleaned and filled up with water, like in the days of glory. Slotsbanken was at the same time restored to its original look; about 8 meters high and over an area of 90x90 meters. The remaining ruin is administrational building.
According to local legends a tunnel leads under the moat to Ribe.
Henrik Lerdam: Birk, lov og ret, Birkerettens historie i Danmark indtil 1600, 2004.
Chr. Axel Jensen: Riberhus Slotsbanke, Nationalmuseets Blaa Bøger, 1942.
Red. Connie Jantzen, Lennart S. Madsen og Rikke Agnete Olsen: Voldsteder i Danmark. En vejviser. Jylland II, 1999.
Cultural environment Riberhus Slotsbanke