What to do on a rainy Sunday? Have a meal at a Danish kro
Danish Inns, the kro, have existed since the 12th century, when Bromølle Kro became the first one in 1198. They are striving to survive and re-invent themselves.
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By Bente D. Knudsen Pictures: Mayra Navarrete
In 1283, King Erik Klippinge decided that kro’er, inns, should be built next to the so-called royal roads, kongeveje, and ferry boat crossings, allowing the King a place to stop on his travels through Denmark.
In 1396, Queen Margrethe I expanded the number of inns, when she decided they should be located all over Denmark, no more than 40 km apart, a day’s ride by horseback at that time.
The oldest ones used to be Royal, as they were Kongelige priviligeret, meaning they had the right to use the name kongelig, as well as the use of the Royal Crown in their logo.
Since 1912, they have no longer been allowed to call themselves Kongelig Priviligeret , nor use the crown in their logo.
For a couple of years after the old law suddenly began being enforced back in 2014, this resulted in a fierce battle with the Justice Department as some inns refused to relinquish their centuries-old royal branding, claimed to be of cultural importance and an inherent part of their logo.
In 2016, they finally won, and the Justice Department decided to evaluate them case by case if they applied for the right to keep their royal crown.
You will still find them scattered around the countryside and in local towns.
They are struggling hard to redefine themselves, since modern travel, new Nordic cuisine, and changed eating habits have become a threat to their traditional looks and culinary meals.
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Finding the right kind
Many have expanded and today feature modern conference facilities, hotel accommodations, spas and more.
Others have refurbished and updated their looks.
While still respecting their origins, they accommodate a more light and Scandinavian look, and combine traditional Danish meals with more modern Danish and French cuisine.
Their prices vary depending on how they have redefined themselves, as some have opted for a gourmet cuisine and others have stayed more traditional.
The inns are definitely worth a visit, either for a simple meal as part of a one-day excursion, or as a weekend retreat.
We give you here a selection of inns where the more traditional Danish lunch is still served, however, they vary in style as some are gourmet and other more traditional.
To find one in your area, we recommend asking a local in your neighbourhood where they would go for a traditional Danish Kro meal.
When trying to find one, look to see if they have a platte, or Kroplatte. This is a selection of the traditional lunch menu.
Because they all employ different concepts to survive now, even if called ‘kro’, they may no longer serve traditional meals but instead only more modern gourmet Danish/French cuisine, which of course is also worth having, just maybe not on the day you wanted something traditional.
Others opt for a buffet for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays serving the traditional Danish hot and cold lunch dishes.
Source: www.middelaldersinfo.dk, Kulturstyrelsen
Located just 10 km north of Copenhagen and right on the coastline, Strandmøllekroen, dating back to 1811, boasts beautiful views of Østersøen, all the way across to Sweden and the island of Hven.
The inn was completely renovated and refurbished a few years ago, marrying the old crooked walls and wooden wall panelling with Scandinavian colours, white and greyish blue, and comfortable and functional Danish design tables and chairs.
During the renovation, they found an old menu under one of the floorboards. Although undated, the price of a meal and cabaret at DKK 5 suggests the 1930s.
It’s the locals’ favourite spot for a quick Sunday evening meal, dagens ret (the day’s menu), or coffee and cake after walking in the adjacent woods (Dyrehaven and Jægersborg Hegn).
However, their modernized versions of typical Danish lunch dishes are absolutely worthwhile too, maybe on a rainy autumn day accompanied by snaps.
The outdoor terrace stays open on sunny days. Here you can relax and enjoy the stunning sea views and autumn colours.
Weekends can be crowded, and here they serve a buffet lunch, so reservations are recommended. Strandvejen 808, 2930 Klampenborg. Phone: 3963 0104. Email: email@example.com
Sjette Frederiks Kro (Aarhus, Riis Skov)
Located just three km from Aarhus city centre, Sjette Frederiks Kro, from 1826, was completely renovated in 2014, making one big room out of several smaller ones on the ground floor, allowing for a more airy decor and better views of the magnificent bay of Aarhus.
It is part of the Casablanca Family of restaurants, and the ambitions for this kro are high.
With its proximity to the city centre, as well as being right in the middle of the formidable Riis Skov, the inn attracts locals and visitors alike every day for lunch, dinner or just a drink.
It updates the classic Danish cuisine and combines it with affordability and attractiveness for all local Aarhusianere, as can be seen in the funny concept of Krogalskab, (Inn madness?). This is a daily evening meal at a fixed price. It changes every day and guests don’t know what they are getting until it is served.
The concept is inspired by having one’s own mother’s good cooking, or as mothers would say, “Just eat what I serve. It has all been made with love and the best intensions!” Sjette Frederiks Kro also boasts a stunning view from its terrace, kept open as long as possible and into autumn, overlooking the beach and the bathing club Den Permanente.
Salonvejen 1, 8240 Risskov. Phone: 8616 1400. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Skovmøllen (Aarhus, Marselisborg Forest)
Although no longer called an inn, but a restaurant, Skovmøllen still features all the picturesque decor of an old timbered house, with low ceilings and wood panelled walls, and dates back to the 18th century. It lies well hidden in Marselisborg Skov, about one km from the new Moesgaard Museum, and an easy and nice stroll down through the woods.
You can, of course, also drive right to the front door and park there. It’s a bit like finding the old witch house in Hansel & Gretel, and with the restaurateurs’ ambition to serve delicious meals; you just might be fattened up too.
They seem to be succeeding quite well, as Skovmøllen came out fifth in a recent survey by dinnerbooking.com of restaurants in the Aarhus area. The building housing the restaurant and mill (hence the name Skovmøllen) belongs to Moesgaard Museum.
Since 2013, restaurateurs Anders Udengaard and Rune Aaby have added Skovmøllen to their business; they also run the Restaurant Unico at Aarhus Golfklub.
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 11:30 to 17:00, they serve a traditional Danish lunch with a little extra (coffee and cake), and of course Sunday Brunch.
Skovmøllevej 51, 8270 Højbjerg. Phone: 8627 1214. Email: email@example.com
Gilleleje Havns krostue: Havnevej 14, 3250 Gilleleje. Phone: 4830 1620 website: www.gillelejehavn.dk
Søllerød Kro: Søllerødvej 35, 2840 Holte. Phone: 4580 2505 website: www.soelleroed-kro.dk
Skovshoved Hotel krostue: Strandvejen 267, 2920 Charlottenlund. Phone: 3990 5811 website: www.skovshovedkro.dk
Rønnede Kro: Vordingborgvej 530, 4683 Rønnede ( On your way to Næstved). Phone: 4422 3000 website: www.r-kro.dk
Bromølle Kro: Slagelsevej 78, 4450 Jyderup. Phone: 5825 0090 website: www.bromoelle-kro.dk
Funen (10 km from Faaborg):
Vester Skerninge Kro: Krovej 9, 5762 V.Skerninge. Phone: 6224 1004 website: www.vesterskerningekro.dk
Rold Store Kro: Vælderskoven 13, 9520 Skørping. Phone: 9837 5100 website: www.roldstorkro.dk
Norsminde Kro: GL.Krovej 2, 8300 Odder. Phone: 8693 2444 website: www.norsminde-kro.dk
Hvidsten Kro: Mariagervej 450, Hvidsten 8981 Spentrup. Phone: 8647 7022 website: www.hvidstenkro.dk
Molskroen: Hovedgaden 16, Femmøller Strand, 8400 Ebeltoft. Phone: 8627 1214 website: www.molskroen.dk
Henne Kirkeby Kro: Strandvejen 234, 6854 Henne. Phone: 7525 5400 hennekirkebykro.dk
Sønder Ho Kro: Kropladsen 11, 6720 Fanø. Phone: 7516 4009 website: www.sonderhokro.dk
Tyrstrup Kro: Vestervej 6, 6070 Christiansfeld. Phone:7456 1242 website: www.tyrstrupkro.dk