The History of Christian The Fourth´s Guild

Christian The Fourth´s Guild was founded on the 16th of December 1942 in Duus´ Wine-cellar in the marvellous renaissance-building, Jens Bang's Stenhus (= Stonehouse).

It was in the dark times during the Second World War, when Denmark was occupied by the Germans. The wine cellar was very popular among the German soldiers and officers, and they visited it often and in great numbers. Of course this bothered the citizens of Aalborg, who considered the premises to be theirs alone and in order to create a sanctuary for “real Danes”, the Christian The Fourth´s Guild was founded. The wine-cellar was declared off-limits for not-members, and admission was restricted to holders of membership cards. German and Danish authorities alike had to respect the rather special rules for the Guild.

Though the purpose of the Guild vanished with the liberation of Denmark in 1945, the Guild itself lived on, mainly because the City Council wanted it to welcome the city's special guests with its festive initiation ceremony. At the same time it was agreed that you did not necessarily have to be a Dane to be a member of the Guild.

We are often asked why the Guild bears the name of our long-dead King Christian The Fourth. This king, who reigned from 1588 to 1648, is one of the most loved and best known kings of Denmark. He lost all his many wars and with that the overseas possessions of the country, he brought the state's finances to near ruin, and he had more than 20 children out of wedlock, but never the less - or maybe thanks to that - he is extremely popular.

Besides that he was a friend of Jens Bang, who was a wealthy merchant in Aalborg, and who lent the king money for his warfare. At exactly the same time as Jens Bang built his stonehouse in Aalborg, Christian the Fourth was erecting his glorious “Børsen” (=The Exchange) in Copenhagen. Both buildings are built in the - at that time extremely modern - style called the “Dutch Renaissance” and there are striking similarities in the architectural design of the two buildings. Perhaps the king has been helping Jens Bang - with “blue-prints” or with skilled stone masons or other artisans - to build his stonehouse in Aalborg?

Christian The Fourth´s Guild has now during more than 75 years initiated and welcomed many thousand guests to Aalborg. Today the Guild has almost 8000 - as we like to put it - paying members, famous as well as not so famous, from 104 different nations. More than 4000 have - by paying what amounts to 10 times the annual fee - become members for life.

Our most prominent members are of course Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II,  His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik, His Royal Highness Prince Joachim, Her Royal Highness Princes Marie and Her Royal Highness Princes Benedikte They are all initiated during the traditional ceremony in Duus' Wine-cellar in Jens Bang´s Stenhus, and thereafter promoted to “Honourable Members”.

The initiation-ceremony has through all the years followed the same traditional pattern for all new members - royal or not. In connection with the 4th of July celebrations in Rebild and Aalborg the Guild every year initiates the main speakers and other prominent guests, and this is why names of presidents, ministers, ambassadors, politicians, actors and other famous culture personalities can be found in our list of members. Today Christian The Fourth´s Guild is without any doubt the only society with only one home base that has got so many - and so many well-known - members from all over the world.