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The best museums in Copenhagen

The Danish capital has many great museums, all with a slightly different focus or theme. From art to history and from nature to science, there is something for everyone. Combined they tell the story of Danish culture and society.

For the art lovers

National Museum of Denmark

Though not specifically an art museum, there is no better place to start your visit to Denmark, than the Nationalmuseet which has collections and exhibitions on Denmark's history, people and culture. The exhibitions, housed in the 18th century Prince's Mansion, are divided per historic period, from the Classical and Near Eastern Antiquities up to the present day.

The museum includes a special Children's Museum, where there are no 'do not touch' signs so that kids can explore history to their hearts content. They can step aboard a Viking ship, learn to cook in a medieval kitchen or prepare the castle for an enemy attack.

National Gallery of DenmarkStatens  Museum for Kunst

The Statens Museum for Kunst is Denmark's largest art gallery with approximately 260,000 works of art. The original collection was the private property of the Danish royal family up till the mid-19th century when the collection was given to the people.

There are both permanent and temporary exhibitions on display. The permanent exhibitions include European Art 1300-1800, with works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Mantegna, Cranach and Titian, and Danish and Noric Art 1750-1900, which charts Scandinavian art from the beginning through the Danish Golden Age to the birth of Modernism.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

First opened in 1882 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg Beer, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek was designed to resemble a Greco-Roman winter garden. The collection includes both paintings and sculptures and is divided into two main departments.

There is the art and archaeological objects from Ancient Egypt, the worlds of Ancient Greece and Rome, Etruscan Culture. Including an extensive collection of Ancient Greek and Roman portrait heads and Palmyrene portraits. And the modern art department which has both Danish and French art of the 19th century, including works by Auguste Rodin and Paul Gaugin.

Thorvaldsens MuseumStatue in Thorvaldsens Museum

Not all artist find the recognition they deserve in life, others are lucky enough to have a museum just for themselves right next door to royalty. That is exactly what happened to Bertel Thorvaldsen who died just four years before the museum that carries his name was opened in 1848.

The Thorvaldsens Museum is located right next to Christiansborg Palace and is entirely dedicated to the work of the Danish neoclassicistic sculptor and the paintings he collected himself. He lived and worked in Rome for most of his life, which greatly inspired his work.

Kunsthal Charlottenborg

As one of the largest exhibition spaces for contemporary art in Northern Europe, the Kunsthal Charlottenborg has a strong international focus. Since 1883, the exhibition space has presented a strong programme featuring both new talent and established artists from both Denmark and abroad.

The Kunsthal, which was purpose build, also hosts a lot of activities such as artist talks, performances, concerts and film screenings. Due to its unique connection with the Schools of Visual Arts, part of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, the Kunsthal also presents the annual exhibition by the graduate students.

Nature, science and culture

Natural History Museum of DenmarkBotanical Gardens

Three for the price of one, that is what the Natural History Museum of Denmark offers its visitors as it has a Zoological Museum, a Geological Museum and a Botanical Garden. The museum is responsible for the management of the national natural history collections as well as the associated research and public outreach. The collections form the absolute core of the museum.

The collection on display at the Geological Museum includes the 66 million years old, 4 metres high, 12 metres long and with almost all its terrifying teeth intact T-rex Tristan Otto. At the Zoological Museum you can take a walk amongst mammoths, woolly-haired rhinos, steppe bison and giant deer. While the Botanical Garden holds the largest collection of living plants in Denmark, with over 13,000 plant species, and a butterfly house.

The Workers Museum

Danish culture is known for its work life balance and generous welfare support system. The country has even topped the list of 'Happiest Countries in the World' several times. The Workers Museum is located in the Worker's Assembly Hall which dates back to 1879 and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage tentative list site.

In this museum you can experience everyday life of the working class in Copenhagen through time. From the 1885 apartment of the Sørensen family, through to the fight for an 8-hour workday which was officially introduced in 1919 and on to the small working class apartments of the 1950's. Walk through time on the guided tours of the small flats and steep staircases. 

Experimentarium

Just north of the city limits of Copenhagen you can enjoy the wonders of science and technology at the Experimentarium. With exhibitions, demonstrations, and shows highlighting chemistry and physics experiments, it is perfect for curious kids and adults alike.

Spread out over three floors there are 18 interactive exhibitions. From the Bubblearium, where kids can make a soap bubble big enough to fit around their parents, to the Interactive Film Theatre, where you can take on one of the main roles in the film and influence how the story unfolds. Even the youngest visitors will discover the pleasures of science here, as at the Miniverset children aged 1-5 will show you that children are natural born scientists.

Beyond the capital

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

35 km north of Copenhagen you can visit Denmark's most visited museum, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. This museum on the North Sealand coast focuses on all genres of modern art with an emphasis on sculptures and paintings. The perfect destination for a day trip from the city where nature and architecture come together for a complete experience.

Arken Museum of Modern ArtArken Museum

A monumental landmark surrounded by a manmade beachscape just south of Copenhagen showcases one of Scandinavia's finest collections of contemporary art. Arken's collection includes over 400 works by artists such as Damian Hirst, Olafur Eliasson and Danish/Norwegian duo Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen and many more.

Ordrupgaard

In the northern suburb of Charlottenlund, Ordrupgaard houses French Impressionist art and Danish art from the Golden Age with an exquisite collection of paintings by artists such as Monet, Gauguin and Hammershøi. The museum also includes the House of Finn Juhl, the Danish architect and furniture designer who created the legendary 45 chair.

Open-air Museum

You can enter a different world in the Old Denmark Open Air Museum, one of the world's largest and oldest open air museums. With a collection of over a hundred rural buildings from the period between 1650 and 1940 as well as reconstructed period gardens and old Danish breeds of farm animals you are transported through time to experience country life as it once was across the length and breadth of Denmark.