The little resort town of Hornbæk and the tidy, sandy beaches on Zealand’s northern coast are its main attractions. Many of the tourists from Copenhagen who come here often have constructed vacation houses. Tourists who are interested in swimming and sailing flock to the resort throughout the summer. Esrum, a town southwest of Hornbæk, is well-known for the Esrum Kloster Cistercian abbey. It was one of the most significant monasteries in Denmark during the Middle Ages and was founded in 1151. Even the building’s repeated fires in 1194 and 1204 did not prevent it from growing to be among the biggest in Scandinavia. Much of the church was destroyed during the Lutheran Reformation in the 16th century, and the pieces were used to construct Kronborg Slot.
The surviving structures were initially utilized as a hunting station, then as warehouses, and finally as army barracks. They served as offices, a post office, and eventually an orphanage in the 20th century. They served as air raid shelters and a fireproof storage facility for records brought in from the National Archives as well as for the Royal Library collection during World War II.
When the historic walls were repaired and the monastery opened to tourists in 1997, this turbulent history came to an end. The vaults have been turned into a café, while the main structure now holds a display about the Cistercian order. The herb garden, some of whose plants are used to create a flavored beverage sold in the store, is also accessible to tourists.