Hillerød ([hiːleʁœd]) is a Danish town with a population of 31,505 (2015) located in the centre of North Zealand some 30 km to the north of Copenhagen, Denmark. Hillerød is the administrative centre of Hillerød Municipality and also the administrative seat of Region Hovedstaden (Capital Region of Denmark), one of the five regions in Denmark. It is most known for its large Renaissance castle, Frederiksborg Castle, now home to the Museum of National History. Hillerød station is the terminus of one of the radials of the S-train network as well as several local railway lines. The town is surrounded by the former royal forests of Gribskov to the north and Store Dyrehave to the south.
Hillerød was founded during the early medieval times. The name is first mentioned in 1552 as Hylderødz, deriving from the male name Hildi and the suffix -rød, meaning "clearing in the forest".
In 1550, crown prince Frederick acquired Hillerødsholm in exchange for another properties. His son, Christian IV, tore down most of the old buildings and built a new castle between 1602 and 1625. It was never officially incorporated as a market town but prospered from ample privileges afforded by successive monarchs, although it experienced a set back when Frederick IV moved court to Fredensborg Palace in the 1720s. Hillerød was from 1772 until 1908 named Frederiksborg after its castle. Its first town council was established in 1778 and its town shield, which features a flowering elder tree, is from 1787.
The arrival of the railway brought new prosperity to the town, when the Zealand Railway Company opened the final stage of the North Line between Copenhagen and Helsingør on 8 June 1864. It was later followed by the Gribskov Line to Græsted (80, extended to Gilleleje in 1896, Helsinge in 1897 and Tisvildeleje in 1924) and the Frederiksværk-Hundested Line (1897-1916), which further contributed to Hillerød's status as a local commercial centre. The improvements in infrastructure also attracted new industries. These included Nordstens Fabrikker, a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, which opened in 1877. A privately owned slaughterhouse and meetpacking facility, Hillerød Svineslagteri, opened in 1896. It was converted into the cooperative Hillerød Andelssvineslagteri by 300 local farmers in 1913.
Foss A/S, a major provider of hightech analytical solutions for the global food industry, is based in Hillerød. Novo Nordisk and Biogen are other major employers with expanding sites in Hillerød's industrial park. The pension fund ATP is also headquartered in Hillerød.
The two principal shopping streets are Slotsgade and pedestrianized Helsingørsgade. The largest shopping centre is Slotsarkaderne with 50 stores.
Hillerød has been chosen as the site for a new huge regional hospital: 'Nyt Hospital Nordsjælland' (English: New North Zealand Hospital). To support the hospital, a new urban zone called Favrholm will be created in the south end of the city, and a new S-train station will provide access to the hospital. The project began in 2012 and the hospital should be ready in 2020.
The characteristics of business life in Hillerød are primarily pharmaceutical industry, knowledge, production and education. The municipality and the state administers a number of educational institutions offering short-term or medium-term education. Among them are the Business Academy North Zealand, Hillerød Technical School, Hillerød Business School, Hillerød Tekniske Gymnasium, Frederiksborg Gymnasium og HF, VUC and Hillerød teacher training college.
The settlement of Nødebo on the southeastern banks of Esrum Sø and enclosed by Gribskov, is home to the forestry boarding school of 'Skovskolen' (English: 'The Forest School) administered by the University of Copenhagen.
Hillerød also houses a Pharmaceutical College. Pharmakon - Danish College of Pharmacy Practice (Danish: Farmakonomskolen Pharmakon) is a higher tertiary educational institution of pharmaceutical sciences with 602 pharmaconomist students.
The best known monument is Frederiksborg Castle, which was long a seat of Danish kings. The castle is open to the public and houses the Frederiksborg Museum/The Museum of National History. It has a large baroque garden.
The Town Museum ("Bymuseet") contains a permanent exhibition on the history of Hillerød.
"The Boiler Room" ("Kedelhuset") has changing special exhibits. In 2005, the subject was the ancient and medieval history of Northern Zealand.
The ruins of Æbelholt Abbey (Æbelholt Klosterruin) are the remains of the largest Augustinian monastery in the northern countries. The site also contains a museum showing its history. The monastery was founded in 1175/76 by the French Augustinian, William of Æbelholt, later Saint William, for the reform of the already extant Eskilsø Abbey, which was moved here. He was summoned to the task by the Danish archbishop and statesman Absalon. After the Reformation in 1536, the monastery lands were appropriated by the state and the buildings were torn down. Some of the bricks were later used in the construction of Frederiksborg Castle.
Esrum Abbey ("Esrum Kloster") is a Cistercian monastery dating from 1151. The only remaining building of this once vast complex now houses a permanent exhibition about the Cistercians. There is a restaurant in the vaults. Next to the monastery is "Esrum Møllegaard", the Nature and Environmental Centre of Ecology.
Another cultural institution is “Hillerød Viden- og Kulturpark” (Hillerød Knowledge and Culture Park); a library with surrounding culture workshops and game spots. This is the gathering spot for the cultural life of Hillerød - with exhibitions, music and theatre.
Hillerød offers many different places to stay.
Hillerød is surrounded by some of the most extensive woodlands in Denmark, with Store Dyrehave to the south and the forests of Gribskov to the north. Gribskov is the fourth largest connected woodland in the country and both of the forests are rich with wild game, primarily deer.
Just east of Gribskov is Esrum Sø, the second largest lake in Denmark and a few kilometers northeast of Hillerøds city center is Fredensborg Palace and its extensive baroque gardens, on the east coast of Lake Esrum.
Scattered around the vicinity of Hillerød, is a number of smaller settlements and villages like Tulstrup, Ullerød, Gadevang, Nødebo, Sørup and Ny Hammersholt. Ullerød is both an old parish and a new borough at 150 ha and is connected directly to Hillerød.