Denmark’s capital is famed for its effortless style, world-class exhibitions and mouth watering food. Copenhagen is an epicentre of culture and its museums reflect the rich, diverse and historical backbone of Denmark. From ancient, to contemporary to ultra modern street art, here are the Top 5 Museums to experience in Copenhagen.
1) ROSENBORG CASTLE MUSEUM
Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
Royal family and history buffs will delight in the Rosenborg Castle and its museum. The beautiful castle houses a fascinating museum of cultural history, surrounded by the lush greenery of the King’s gardens. This museum is home to the Long Hall, the coronation throne and it’s impressive three life-sized silver lions and the Royal Crown and Crown Jewels. Visitors can also delight in portraits from the scandalous Johann Friedrich Struensee and Queen Caroline Mathilde, who had an affair while she was married to the insane King Christian the 7th. Visitors can also cross off a number of Copenhagen’s main attractions, seeing the castle itself, the King’s gardens and the Parkmuseerne.
2) NY CARLSBERG GLYPTOTEK
Dantes Plads 7, 1556 København, Denmark
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is primarily a sculpture museum, with its name coming from “Glypto,” the Greek root word ‘glyphein’ meaning to carve and theke meaning “to store.” Comprised from the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen, the son of the found of Carlsberg Breweries. The building itself is a sight to experience, with a jungle-like garden in its middle and an elegant, other timely essence. The collection itself is comprised of Antique sculptures from ancient Mediterranean cultures. These marble and terracotta statues and artifacts are the largest outside of Italy and considered the gems of the museum. However its French, Danish and European collections, with a mixture of paintings and sculpture are equally impressive. In particular, the collection of French impressionist and post-impressionist work, as well as the Danish Golden Age paintings. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is an immersive insight into ancient to modern history and impressive sight to visit in Copenhagen.
3) THE NATIONAL MUSEUM
Prince's Mansion, Ny Vestergade 10, 1471 København K, Denmark
Denmark’s National Museum has an extensive collection of artefacts from throughout the country’s history. Boasting exhibitions from the Stone Age, the Viking Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Danish history. It’s unsurprising that is Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history and has impressive permanent collections ranging from the ethnographic collection, to classical and eastern antiques, to a toy museum. The Children’s Museum and the museums in house restaurant, Restaurant Julian are also worth a visit when wandering the museums walls. The archaeological and anthropological gems are world class and the museum takes its visitors deep into Copenhagen’s history.
4) COPENHAGEN CONTEMPORARY
Trangravsvej 10-12, 1436 København K, Denmark
Situated by the harbour on The Paper Island, Copenhagen Contemporary is home to world-class art installations. The huge former industrial building has ever changing exhibitions with some of the biggest names in contemporary art, currently Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Pettersen & Hein and Sarah Sze are exhibiting a range of mixed media and thought provoking installations. Tours are given by passionate and knowledgeable art students and their enthusiasm rubs off making it a must see experience for tourists and avid art lovers alike. The gallery is also next door to Copenhagen’s street food market, so you can grab a hotdog and enjoy the harbour after your culture hit.
5) FREETOWN CHRISTIANIA
Trangravsvej 10-12, 1436 København K, Denmark
Okay so not really a museum but definitely a place to head to see the best street art. Established in 1971, Freetown Christiania was originally an old military barracks which was occupied by squatters. They then set up their own society and rules separate from the Danish Government. Comprised of houses, galleries, stores and more, this is the place for street art and alternative culture in Copenhagen. This electric corner of the Danish capital is home to stunning murals and wacky installation art. Tibetan flags are draped over market stalls and provocative art can be found throughout the community. An afternoon wandering this nature-filled area is an experience of itself. Upon entering there are a list of rules or guidelines for tourist and it’s advised you follow them, as the locals are understandably protective of their community.
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Article by Alice Dundon - a Berlin based editorial freelance journalist with a strong focus on travel, culture and social-impact pieces. For more follow her on twitter @AliceDundon.