“Isn’t it strange how this castle changes as soon as one imagines that Hamlet lived here. As scientists we believe that a castle consists only of stones, and admire the way the architect put them together. The stone, the green roof with its patina, the wood carvings in the church, constitute the whole castle. None of this should be changed by the fact that Hamlet lived here, and yet it is changed completely. Suddenly the walls and the ramparts speak a different language. The courtyard becomes an entire world, a dark corner reminds us of the darkness of the human soul, we hear Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be.’ Yet all we really know about Hamlet is that his name appears in a thirteenth-century chronicle. No one can prove that he really lived here. But everyone knows the questions Shakespeare had him ask, the human depths he was made to reveal, and so he too had to be found a place on earth, here in Kronberg.”

– Niels Bohr to Werner Heisenberg at Kronborg Castle, Helsingør (Elsinore), Denmark, spring 1924. Quoted in Gordon Mills, Hamlet’s Castle (1976). The relationship between the actual and the fictional is reversed in Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen (1998), an imagining of a later meeting between these two eminent physicists.

None of the above is to be confused with Kronenbourg 1664, the French beer.

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