During many centuries Kronborg Castle controlled the entrance to the Baltic, and the duties charged on ships passing through the Sound, the stretch of water between Denmark and Sweden, were a considerable source of income for Denmark. Kronborg Castle was also where the Danish kings could display their power through splendid architecture.
The present Renaissance castle was built in 1574-85 by King Frederik II, and its defences were reinforced in the late 17th century, in accordance with the military architecture of the period. The castle played a significant role in the history of northern Europe in the 16th-18th centuries and has remained intact to the present day. It also has an important associative value as the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Kronborg Castle was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000.