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10 · 06 · 2017

New book: Hans Bagger revives Peter the Great’s arrival in Denmark in 1716

In 1716 the Russian tsar Peter the Great arrived in Denmark. Alongside the Danish King Frederik IV, he prepared the final battle against the Swedes, and with a common army they would secure the end of the Great Northern War. This historical event has been revived in a new book called “Peter the Great in Denmark in 1716” by the late professor Hans Bagger.

Finn Andersen presents Hans Bagger's book

On June 5th, Hans Bagger’s book “Peter the Great in Denmark in 1716” was presented at the Danish Cultural Institute in Sct. Petersburg with participation of Director of the Danish Cultural Institute Finn Andersen, Executive Director of the Likhachev Foundation Alexander Valerievich Kobak, Associate Professor of the St. Petersburg University’s Department of Scandinavian and Dutch Philology Boris Sergeevich Zharov, and Danish Lecturer of the St. Petersburg University’s Department of Scandinavian and Dutch Philology Sanna Semenova Hedegaard.


Denmark and Russia have had diplomatic relations for centuries. The Danish visit of Peter the Great in 1716 gives an important historical insight into the relation between the Danish Royal House and the Russian Tsar regime.

Translator of the book, Boris, Zharov, who is also associate professor of Scandinavian and Dutch philology, St. Petersburg University

Valuable historical sources translated into Russian

Hans Bagger (1941-2016), historian and professor at the University of Copenhagen, was an important Danish specialist in Russian history. He has written and translated numerous books and articles about the reign of Peter the Great. When a group of Russian scholars participated in a conference about the visit of Peter the Great in Denmark in 2004, they were put in contact with Hans Bagger. Dimitrij Guzevitj, author to the preface of Bagger’s book, tells about their first meeting in Copenhagen: “He gave us valuable information about the places where Peter the Great stayed in Copenhagen, told us about the stay of the Russian tsar in Denmark and invited us to dinner at his place the following evening.” The meeting with Hans Bagger in Copenhagen was the beginning of an intensive cooperation and a race against time. In 2009 Hans Bagger found out that he was terminally ill, and he passed away just three months after having finished the book. With the book’s release, Hans Bagger has ensured that both Russian and Danish scholars have access to important Danish historical sources.



The reconquest of Southern Sweden was postponed

Peter the Great arrived in Denmark on July 3rd 1716 and stayed in the country for almost four months. One of the most famous stories about the tsar’s stay in Denmark is his visit to the Round Tower in Copenhagen. From the tower he had a great view of the city, and as the book tells, Peter the Great did not enter the tower on foot like everyone else. He rode on a Russian horse to the top of the tower followed by Tsarina Ekaterina in a carriage pulled by six horses.


Less known is the tsar’s real purpose of his journey to Denmark. The Danish King Frederik IV and Peter the Great wanted to force the Swedish King Karl XII to surrender with the arrival of their troops in Skåne in the Southern part of Sweden. But Frederick IV hesitated too long, and Peter the Great became tired of waiting. Shortly before the planned arrival to Skåne, the tsar chose to interrupt the plan. “So, only two days before the start of the plan, the Tsar announced his “categorical resolution” that the favorable season was missed, and therefore he could not participate in the operation,” Hans Bagger writes in his book.



Marking the second European tour of Peter the Great

On June 9th and 10th 2017, Peter the Great Institute in St. Petersburg marks the 300 year anniversary for Peter the Great’s second major European tour where he visited Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and France during 1716-1717. As part of this celebration there will be a presentation of Hans Bagger’s “Peter the Great in Denmark in 1716” for the Russian public.


The Russian translation of the book is published by “Evropeysky Dom” (St. Petersburg).


The book has been created in collaboration with the Peter the Great Institute in St. Petersburg with support by the Danish National Art Foundation, the Folmer Wisti Foundation for International Understanding and the Danish Cultural Institute in St. Petersburg.