No matter which Danish city you’re traveling to, the country brims with museums whose great collections cover a wide range of art styles and eras. From the prehistoric times and the Viking Age to the Danish Golden Age and contemporary art, Denmark’s museums will satisfy even the more demanding culture buffs.
The National Museum of Denmark
The National Museum of Denmark is located in the 18th-century former Prince’s Mansion | Courtesy of National Museum of Denmark
The National Museum of Denmark proves an ideal destination for those who want to gain an insight into the Danish society from the prehistoric age to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The largest cultural and historical museum in Denmark, this museum displays a great permanent collection as well as many intriguing temporary exhibitions. History buffs should certainly start their culture tour in The National Museum of Denmark before hitting Copenhagen’s other museums. Aside from Danish history, this museum also has an exhibition space filled with items from Africa, the Mediterranean, Asia, and Oceania.
Artworks and antiquities from the beginning of history in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ancient Greece, Etruria, and the Roman Empire in Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, one of Denmark’s most interesting museums. Founded at the turn of the 20th century by Carl Jakobsen, a great art lover and collector, the Glyptoteke has been a significant asset in Denmark’s cultural and educational sectors for over a century. The museum also includes Danish artworks in its wide collection, so those who would rather see paintings from the famous Danish Golden Age than Egyptian antiquities won’t be disappointed. Nonetheless, don’t forget to check the mummies in Glyptotek’s Egyptian burial chamber.
Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844) is considered one of the most famous Danish sculptors. The Thorvaldsens Museum remains the only museum in the world that can brag about displaying all his works. Another reason this museum holds a place in this list, however, is that Thorvaldsen was also a passionate art collector. In his lifetime, he managed to build an extensive collection of paintings from his own time and artworks and objects from Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquity. Moreover, the building itself is considered an architectural masterpiece. Inspired by the patterns and the colors found in the excavations in the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, architect Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll created a unique building by guiding the natural light on the sculptures to create a variety of moods.
Covering 700 years of art, it is no wonder why people consider the National Gallery of Denmark to hold country’s largest collection of art experiences. Visitors have the chance to discover masterpieces of French Art from 1900-1930—including artwork by Picasso, Braque, Derain, and Matisse—as well as Danish and Nordic art from 1750 to 1900 presenting masterpieces of the Danish Golden Age, European Art from 1300-1800—displaying paintings of Mantegna, Cranach, and Rembrandt among others—and Danish and International Art after 1900.
Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Richard Hamilton are only a few of the accomplished artists whose paintings the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art displays. Located on the coast of Øresund in Humlebæk (approximately 40 minutes from Copenhagen), a visit to this museum is the perfect chance for one-day trip that combines culture and natural beauty.
The four large galleries, a separate exhibition room especially designed for light, video and installation art, the 350-square-meter West Gallery, and Your panorama rainbow located on the top of the museum combine to pique ARoS visitors’ interests for a few hours. The art museum, in the heart of Aarhus, is one of Europe’s largest and since the first day it opened its doors in 2004, it has welcomed visitors from all over the world.
A prehistoric and ethnographic museum, Moesgård Museum highlights the evolution of human kind. Chronologically presented, its exhibitions span from the Stone Age up to the Vikings’ Age (800-1066). Coupling education with interactive entertainment, the museum’s exhibitions, interactive installations, and special settings with light, sounds, and animations will captivate audiences of all ages.
Besides a great collection of 4000 art pieces mainly from the 20th century, Kunsten also conducts a variety of events including lectures, film screenings, and concerts. Often thought provoking , Kunsten’s exhibitions address contemporary social and political issues and invite the audience to participate and take part in criticism. Following the building’s renovation in 2016, the museum introduced a new exhibition gallery, teaching rooms, café and shop facilities, and a fully-refurbished sculpture park featuring a large new terrace.
Though 400 art pieces comprise the museum’s permanent collection, ARKEN aims to examine and analyze the human condition of modern man as well as the definition of art itself. One of the newest museums in Denmark, ARKEN already showcases many remarkable pieces of world-renowned established and up-and-coming artists including Ai WeiWei, Olafur Eliasson, and Jeppe Hein.
Trapholt’s visitors can stroll around 2500 square meters of exhibition space divided into eight galleries. Displaying a variety of artworks of a different style, collections include Danish furniture design, ceramics, textiles and product designs, the sculpture park with works by Danish contemporary artists, a permanent Richard Mortensen exhibition, modern Danish visual art, and Arne Jacobsen’sCube-Flex Summer House.