Although we spent a lot of our time in Copenhagen eating and drinking and possibly even more just wandering the streets (no, not like that), we also found time to visit a few museums too.
It’s worth noting that there’s definitely an ‘off’ season in Denmark – most things seemed to be more fully open from about the time the Tivoli Gardens open in mid-April until the end of Summer. This meant that in a number of the museums, not all exhibitions or areas were open. But on the plus side, they were also relatively quiet. So if there’s nothing you’re absolutely desperate to see, then I’d definitely recommend an out-of-season visit.
John’s a Design Engineer and we both love wooden, mid-century furniture so a visit to the Design Museum was always a must. In one half, the museum showcases key design themes, pieces and designers while in the second, the focus is on the more traditional. Our knowledge of historical Danish design was (is) limited, so we were quite suprised by the look of the older pieces.
We also saw the beginnings of a new exhibition (it didn’t open fully until a couple of days after our visit) – Wegner, ‘Just One Good Chair’ which was already looking really excellent.
Also excellent was the (free!) exhibition catalogue we were given on arrival. Thick paper and beautifully designed – I guess we should have expected nothing else considering the museum we were in!
Great shop too – as with everything in Copenhagen, it’s slightly pricey, but there’s some gorgeous products in here. We managed to restrain ourselves and came away with just a large (A4) postcard, but the wallet damage could easily have been much worse!
Bredgade 68 / 1260 København K
Nearest Metro stop: Kongens Nytorv
Entry: 90DKK. Free if you’re a student or under 26 (something we very conveniently found this out a couple of days before my 26th birthday. Guess where we headed the next day..!)
Closed Mondays & some bank holidays
Ny Carlsberg Glyptoteket
When I was talking to my manager about my plans for Copenhagen, this was the first place she recommended. Even if you’re not interested in the collections, she said, the building itself is amazing.
Walking into the main courtyard of the Glypototek, I understood exactly what she meant. Called the Wintergarden, it’s like a huge greenhouse or orangery full of trees and plants and fountains and statues and benches. Unexpected and breathtaking. My manager was right – even if you’re not too bothered about the art, it’s worth making the most of the museum’s free entry on Sundays just to see this.
And if you are interested in art, there’s plenty more here to explore, from Egyptian mummies in a basement to rooms and rooms full of statues (so many statues! And busts. And bits of statues and busts) to Danish art to French masterpieces by Gauguin and Cezanne among others. Sadly the latter section was closed when we visited, which was one of the areas we were most interested in, but we still spent an hour or so in the other rooms and marveling at the building itself.
Dantes Plads 7 | DK-1556 Cph
Nearest station: Central Station (Københavns Hovedbanegård)
75DKK (Adults). Children under 18 go free.
Free entry on Sundays – we thought it would be heaving as a result but it didn’t seem to be.
Closed Mondays & some bank holidays
Danish Jewish Museum
There was an unwritten rule of city holidays in my family. If we found ourselves in a new city with a Jewish museum, then my Dad would gravitate towards it. When I was younger, I just didn’t get it. Sure they were interesting – but how different can each Jewish museum be? How much more can they say?
But as an adult (allegedly), I have inherited this gravitational pull. It’s like there’s some kind of magnet that gets passed through Jewish blood and kicks in when we get to about 18. I’ve also learnt that Jewish museums can be, are, very different. I’m ashamed to admit I knew very little of how Sweden helped Danish Jews during the war. The exhibits focusing on this area were the highlights of the museum for me. The other displays were more focused on Jewish culture through the years, featuring items like Torahs and clothes.
It wasn’t the best Jewish museum I’ve been to, but it was interesting to hear a new side to the Second World War story. And the building itself, jutting walls and interesting lighting, is stunning; it was designed by Daniel Libeskind, the man behind the Jewish Museum in Berlin – along with many other projects. Although exploring the museum itself will probably only take an hour or so of your time, being able to see inside the building is justification enough to pay the entry fee.
It’s also set within the small, peaceful Royal Library Gardens, the perfect place to just sit and stop and think (or not think!) for a little while.
Købmagergade 5, 3
1150 København K
Nearest station: Kongens Nytorv
50DKK (Adults), or 75DKK for main and special exhibition (special exhibition wasn’t on when we visited). Students and pensioners are 40DKK/65DKK. Children under 18 go free.
Closed Mondays. During off-peak season (01/09 – 31/05), only open 1-4 on weekdays (open all day at weekends).
It’s worth noting that the museum is closed on some Jewish holidays (i.e Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) as well as national Bank Holidays
OK, this one’s not quite as cultural as the other museums we visited – but it was a whole lot of fun! The Experimentarium is a science museum full of hands-on exhibits. Test out your fitness and strength, learn about Danish inventions or see inside your body. It’s really aimed at children, but that doesn’t mean that big kids can’t spend a good couple of hours here playing around. Go in the afternoon though – apparently it gets very busy with school groups in the morning.
I highly recommend if you fancy a laugh for a few hours. That said, when it moves back to Hellerup (their main building is currently being refurbished and expanded) then it’s probably quite not worth the trip for adult-only parties. Though the expansion may add lots of extra features that prove me wrong (and the architects’ designs a Google Image search throws up are undeniably intriguing).
1436 Copenhagen K
Nearest station: Christianshavn Torv
Children 3-11, Students & Disabled: 105DKK
Adults (12+): 160DKK
Under 3s and Disabled helpers go free
Closed some bank holidays
(No I haven’t just missed a line – it’s open on Mondays!)
We also visited the lovely Viking Ships Museum in Roskilde – you can read a little more about it here
All pics that aren’t mine link to original source
Design Museum exterior, shop and collection (3rd pic): Design Museum website
Glyptotek exterior and interior statues: Glypototek website
Experimentarium from accross the water: Location CPH
All other pictures my own, please credit if using