During the Middle Ages, Vendsyssel was governed from a hilltop between Vrå and Løkken by the bishop Stygge Krumpen until the Reformation in 1536. Earlier, Børglum had been a royal estate and also played an important role in the history of Denmark. The abbey in its present form was commenced in around 1220 and was at that time a Premonstratensian monastery.
Børglum Abbey still has an attractive location on its hilltop. The massive white walls can be seen for miles around. Despite its somewhat hostile appearance from outside, the courtyard is friendly and romantic with its pollarded lime trees. Since 1835 Børlum has been owned by the Rotbøll family and is today home to the 6th generation of the family.
The courtyard and church are open to the public. The abbey's many buildings contain exhibitions of life in the abbey throughout the ages.
12 km east of Børglum lies Vrejlev Abbey, which was one of Scandinavia's only convents for nuns of the Premonstratensian order. In actual fact, the original intention was for Børglum Abbey to be a so-called "double abbey" for both monks and nuns, but the head abbey in Premontré in France objected to this.
The convent was thus built at a suitable distance from Børglum.
Vrejlev Abbey is run as an agricultural estate and there's no access to the gardens or buildings.
The churches in the Top of Denmark are very varied: Abbey churches, manor house churches, village churches, modern churches, non-traditional churches, beautiful whitewashed churches and churches built from granite blocks or boulders.
Some churches are quite modest and a number of churches are devoid of pomp and circumstance, whilst others contain numerous attractions in terms of art and decoration.
Bindslev Kirke is famous for one of the finest early Medieval works of art: Mary with Child.
Sæby Kirke is famous for its fine fresco paintings from the beginning of the 16th century which depict the story of the Virgin Mary's parents.
The church of Strandby Kirke was built in 1965-66 and its oval shape and roof formed like a saddle mark it out as a non-traditional design.
In the Top of Denmark you will find several altarpieces painted by famous artists. The altarpieces in Sindal Gl. Kirke and in Frederikshavn Kirke are, for example, painted by the Skagen painter Michael Ancher. In the church at Børglum Abbey there is a splendid 12-metre high altarpiece. In Vennebjerg Kirke the altarpiece was the work of the Vendsyssel painter Svend Engelund.