Now is your opportunity to sleep (perchance to dream) in the doomed prince’s home.
To mark the 400th anniversary of Williams Shakespeare’s reign as the world’s bard, Denmark’s Kronborg Castle at Helsingø, is opening up for one night, listing a room on Airbnb (completely disregarding the Bard’s warning to “neither a borrower nor a lender be”).
The castle, which Shakespeare renamed Elsinore for the play, was the home of the tragic Prince Hamlet, but nobody has spent the night at the UNESCO World Heritage Site for more than a hundred years. On April 23, the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the doors to the King’s Tower will be flung open to a lucky guest or two willing to sleep under the “majestical roof fretted with golden fire.” There will be a canopy bed, embroidered throw pillows, an antique portable toilet fit for a queen, and naturally a skull—so it’s best to come prepared with your own soliloquy.
Guests will be feted royally, because there really is nothing rotten in Denmark. The listing comes with an invitation to join a banquet along with 300 other guests (perhaps a mad prince or two?) for a feast of Shakespearean proportions. Famous Danish actors, writers, and singers, and members of the Royal Danish Ballet, will entertain the crowd, but only a lucky few will have the right to stay the night.
Whether your Shakespearean dreams are ‘to be or not to be’ depends on your way with words. Guests will be chosen based on a brief essay explaining why you would like to spend the night listening for the ghost of Hamlet’s father walking the castle’s ramparts. Essays must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on April 13 and, yes, bonus points will be given if the essay touches on topics like justice and revenge and, of course, if it’s written in iambic pentameter. Enter here.
The contest likely will be quite popular, or in the words of the bard, “To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.” Even if you don’t win a night in Elsinore’s castle, Denmark is worth a visit. It is the happiest country in the world—unless you’re Hamlet, of course.