If you like going to museums, you have a lot of options in Denmark. Particularly in Copenhagen, but the rest of the country also has some very unique places of art and history.
In this article, you can read about the museums in Denmark that we consider the best!
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Louisiana was opened in 1958 and has been among the most visited attractions in Denmark ever since. It is focused on modern art, originally with an emphasis on Danish modernism. The founder, Knud W. Jensen, wanted to create a place where the Danes could see the modern art that wasn’t accepted into the traditional museums.
Over the years, a lot of International art pieces have been added. The majority of the works are still from Danish artists, but you also find pieces from Picasso, Warhol, Giacometti, and other recognizable artists. There are paintings, sculptures, drawings, and unique items of all kinds.
Louisiana made it popular for Danes to go to museums. It inspired a newfound interest in art – particularly in alternative art.
The museum is located 25 miles north of Copenhagen, so it isn’t in the middle of the city. Opening hours are from 11 am to 10 pm between Tuesday and Friday. The hours are reduced at the weekend, where it is open from 1 pm to 6 pm. Mondays are always closed. The café, the children’s area, and the Louisiana shop might have different opening hours than the exhibitions. The museum recommends its visitors to book their tickets in advance because there is a limit to the number of people that can enter. It costs 130 DKK. You can read more on their website.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is referred to as “Glyptoteket” in daily speech. It is a wonderful place to go for traditional art. It was founded by Carl Jacobsen who was the owner of the Danish brewing company, Carlsberg. He was a passionate art collector – in the beginning, he kept it in his own house, but the collection grew too large, and he then decided to share the passion with others. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek was created, and it is located in an impressive building on Dante’s Square in Copenhagen.
It receives around a half million visitors per year, just a bit shy of the Louisiana Museum. But it might in fact be more impressive. At least if you are into sculptures and ancient items. Glyptoteket has a huge collection of works and pieces from the Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures. There is definitely an emphasis on the classical world. But it does have more recent art as well. For example, you can see several French and Danish artworks from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Glyptoteket is open from 10 am to 5 pm on most days. Mondays are closed, while Thursdays have extended opening hours (until 9 pm). The entry price is 115 DKK. You can buy it online in advance, or you can buy it at the museum. Here’s a link to the website for more information.
Aros is the largest museum in Denmark’s second city, Aarhus. In fact, it is one of the largest museums in the world. It has a bit of everything but it is mostly focused on modern art.
There are 10 floors in total and the exhibitions constantly change. You find everything from classic art pieces of the Danish golden age to current international art. Each floor has something unique, and you can get ready to have your mind blown when you arrive.
A visit to the Aros Museum can be very long because there is so much to see. You should expect to be there for at least 3 hours and likely more. But there is more to do than just the art. Go to the roof where you have a tremendous view of the city. You can also check out the shop, the café, or perhaps some of the studying facilities inside Aros where students actually go regularly.
Like most other museums in Denmark, Aros is closed on Mondays. But it is open all other days. A one day ticket is 150 DKK for adults, but everyone under 18 can get in for free. Visit the Aros website here.
Den Gamle By
Also located in Aarhus, Den Gamle By (The Old Town) is an open-air museum where various places from around the whole country. Actors are also hired to mimic the traditional life. In other words, by visiting Den Gamle By, you can get a look at how people used to live in a traditional Danish village!
Almost all Danes have visited this museum at some point in their lives. It is a very charming place, and it’s the type of museum that is unlike all the others. Den Gamle By is about architecture, items and lifestyle. Much different than looking an art – but you could say it’s an art in itself.
We also wrote about Den Gamle By in our article about the best attractions in Aarhus. A highly recommended read if you are going to Aarhus.
The National Museum
The National Museum of Denmark is also highly worth visiting, and it is located in central Copenhagen, which makes it a convenient visit for most tourists.
It was founded in 1849, making it one of the oldest Danish museums still in operation. It was previously named Museum of the Year in Europe, and the quality is indeed high.
Most of the exhibitions are related to old items found in Denmark. Some are from the pre-historic era, but the majority is from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The most famous items in the entire collection are the Golden Horns of Gallehus, a pair of golden horns from the Viking Age.
Aside from the main museum, it is also connected to other departments such as Frilandsmuseet, Frihedsmuseet, Krigsmuseet, and Musikmuseet.
Arken is a museum of modern art. Slightly reminiscent of Louisiana and Aros, but with a different set-up, and obviously with different items. Like the two previously mentioned museums, it has plenty of experimental art. Arken is also constantly changing its exhibitions – in fact, you can get an overview of the current ones here.
The collection is rather small, though. Arken focuses on quality rather than quantity. There is “only” about 400 artworks at the museum. Almost all of the artworks are from after 1990, mainly by Scandinavian artists, although there are also some international pieces.
Arken is not the primary museum to visit in Denmark, but it works well to supplement Lousiana if you become hungry for more modern and alternative art while you are on your trip!
This archeological and ethnographic museum is found in Aarhus, and it is being run in collaboration with the local university.
It contains many important findings from Denmark’s antiquity. “Grauballemanden”, one of the world’s best conserved bog bodies, is the main attraction here. But there are also several stones with rune inscriptions, weapons and tools.
Anyone who is interested in history and archeology must visit Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus!
H.C. Andersen Museum
You probably know the Danish fairytale author, Hans Christian Andersen. At least it is very likely that you’ve heard some of his stories; The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Snow Queen, The Nightingale, and all of his other famous works.
This museum is completely dedicated to him, and it is located in his hometown, Odense. In fact there are two places to visit: The museum which details his life, as well as the old house of H.C. Andersen which has also turned into an open museum for visitors.
In the main museum, however, you can see everything related to H.C. Andersen and his entire career. You can explore the many exhibitions that are dedicated to each of his fairytales, you can see some unique and illustrating items, and you can get the full story behind the genius.
H.C. Andersen Museum is open all-year round. Tickets are priced at 145 DKK. This gives you access to the main museum, to the house of H.C. Andersen, and to three other places of interest – but you must visit them during the same day.
Skagen is the northernmost town in Denmark. It has always been a unique place – in the late 19th century, many artists moved to Skagen. The reason was that Skagen had nature unlike any other place in Denmark, and the lightning was absolutely ideal – which it still is, just ask modern photographers!
The most famous painters living in Skagen were Anna and Michael Ancher, Marie and P.S. Krøyer, Holger Drachmann, Viggo Johansen and Laurits Tuxen. Many of their artworks, plus more, are now found in the local Skagen Museum. In total there is a collection of around 8,000 pieces.
It is one of several museums in Skagen. Despite being a small town, it has a lot of attractions. You can read about all of them right here.
The Danes just love modern art, don’t they? Aside from all the famous modern art museums in Copenhagen, there are also a few interesting ones in other parts of the country.
Kunsten, a very unique museum in Aalborg, is one of the absolute best ones. The building was designed in 1972 by the famous Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto. On the inside, there is a steady collection of 4,000 pieces of art, and there are regularly some special exhibitions. Most of the artworks are paintings and drawings, but there are also some sculptures. In some rooms, there are some more new-thinking, alternative pieces that are difficult to describe with works. You will just have to seem them with your own eyes when you visit Kunsten!
It is open every day except for Mondays and special holidays. A ticket costs 120 DKK, everyone under 18 gets in for free. It is possible to book a guided tour if you wish to do so, but the museum recommends that you do it online in advance.
This historical museum is focused at one particular era: World War II.
Bunkermuseum Hanstholm is located on Denmark’s west coast. German soldiers occupied this area in the 1940s, and like many other places in the northwest, they built impressive bunkers with weaponry. Most of this has been preserved and can be seen in Hanstholm. There is a modern entrance with some small exhibitions, but when you pass that, you will quickly go into the bunker itself, where you can see how the occupying soldiers lived. It is incredibly interesting, and it’s an easy way to spend two or three hours.
Many tourists visit the northwest coast of Denmark in the summer since this is where the best beaches are found. They often visit this museum to add something cultural to their trip, and we highly recommend doing it!
Danmarks Jernbanemuseum is the largest rail museum in the country. If you love trains and want to learn about the entire Danish rail history, then plan a visit to Odense immediately, because this museum is incredibly interesting!
It has many great exhibitions. Not only can you see old and new Danish trains; you can also see exhibitions of how the royals used to travel, and there is even a special section dedicated to the classic Olsen Banden movies that are super popular in Denmark. One of the Olsen Banden films was about the gang doing a heist where the rails played a major factor. You should probably watch the movie before going since it will give you some insights.
But in any case, there are many fun exhibitions here, and you can visit the national rail museum if you have a special interest in trains. There are also fun activities that kids will enjoy, so the museum is a surprisingly entertaining place to go for families.
Got any questions or experiences you would like to share regarding the Danish museums? Let us know!