Travel | A Design Enthusiast's Guide to the Best Museums in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is full to the brim with museums; some of them well-known some of them not so known. It can be hard to find out which museums are worth a visit and which aren’t so this guide is a list of recommendations from one picky design enthusiast to another.
When gathering this list of museums I wanted to make sure that it included the creme de la creme. Therefore I’ve had to add a short lists of museum just outside Copenhagen that you have to explore. So if doesn’t mind leaving the capital scroll down the page for my recommendations.
Design Museum Denmark
If you’re interested in interior design and especially the old Danish masters such as Finn Juhl, Arne Jacobsen and Wegner among others this is your go to place. It doesn’t fall short on eyecandy and you’d want to take each and every piece of furniture home with you.
Remember to check out their museum shop which offers you the very best books on design - and that’s the best souvenir right.
Find it here:Designmuseum Danmark
1260 Copenhagen K
Nikolaj Kunsthal is located in St. Nikola Church, one of Copenhagen’s oldest churches. The old Church of Saint Nicholas is dating back to the 13th century but is transformed to a contemporary art museum popular for its video art festival and cultural media exhibitions. You can experience Danish as well as international contemporary art and the setup is rather magical in these unique historical surroundings. It is right in the city centre so it’s easy to get here when you feel a little arty.
Find it here:
Nikolaj Plads 10
1067 København K
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
This museum was originally founded by Carl Jacobsen to house his personal art collection; Jacobson was the founder of Carlsberg Brewery and one of the most prominent figures in modern Danish history.
The museum has two main departments and my favourite is the Modern Department which showcases Danish painting and sculpture from the 19th and 20th centuries. The building itself is worth a visit, which is nice for someone like me who finds that a huge part of an art and museum experience is in the building itself. I’d call this an architectural masterpiece.
There’s a spacious Winter Garden with a cafe, beautiful arched side galleries filled with life size sculpture.
Find it here:Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Dantes Plads 7
I used to come here a lot when I studied by BA degree in Copenhagen. It’s a museum dedicated to Bertel Thorvaldsen’s outstanding sculptures and there’s just something about the building, the architecture and its colours. You can’t help but stop and stare when you pass by this yellow building. Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll’s, who’s the man who designed the building, designed it so that light hits the museum’s galleries and is itself a work of art.
Definitely worth a visit.
Find it here:Thorvaldsens Museum
Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2
1213 København K
The Bakkehus Museum
The Bakkehus Museum is a historic home museum originally the home of Danish critic, author and publisher Knud Lyne Rahbek and his wife Kamma Rahbek. The building itself is considered to be the oldest building in Frederiksberg. Knud and Kamma’s home became a cultural hub for artists and literary greats of the Danish Golden Age including Hans Christian Andersen, N.F.S, Grundtvig and Adam Oehlenschlager. so it’s no lie that a trip to this museum is a step back in time.
The house is preserved to look much like it did when the couple passed away and it truly an authentic experience. You feel as if you breathe the same air as the famous people who visited before you.
A plus is that there’s a cosy garden in the back and a glasshouse cafe for the hungry ones.
Find if here:
Rahbeks Alle 23
The National Museum of Denmark (SMK)
Ok, this is a must-visit for art lovers. SMK is Denmark’s national art museum and has a extensive collection. I’d say it’s the number one museum to visit if you’re interested in art, but if you’re not it may be a bit tiring (this place is huge!).
Anyway, it features collections of both Danish and international art from the past seven centuries; Royal Collections, performances, modern sculptures, concerts, festivals, and special exhibitions. It’s furthermore a great place to bring kids as they do guided tours for both young kids and young adults.
I recommend that you take a look at their website to see what’s on their agenda before you start planning your visit, there may be a concert or event that you don’t want to miss.
Find it here:
1307 København K
And now for a couple of museums outside Copenhagen. Yes, they are worth the trip.
Rudolph Tegners Museum
Rudolph Tegners Museum is one of the lesser known museums in Denmark, however, it certainly doesn’t lack on beauty. The first time I visited was when I was on holiday in one of the cities close by a handful of years back and it’s a lovely place to revisit. It doesn’t feel like any other museum in Denmark.
The Rudolph Tegner Museum is dedicated to the oeuvre of the sculptor Rudolph Tegner. As an architect, he decided himself on the museum’s design both aesthetics and functionality. It became a very visionary museum as it’s one of the earliest existing concrete buildings, where concrete is used for both construction and decorations.
The museum itself is set in the middle of a protected area just south of Dronningmølle on Zealand's north coast, some 50 km north of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Find it here:
Rodulph Tegners Museum
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
I don’t like to play favourite with museums (or anything else) but Louisiana is definitely on the top of the list of the best museums I’ve ever visited. It’s well-known in Denmark and abroad and there’s a good reason for that. You can spend a whole day here (literally, they’re open to 10PM) wandering the beautiful buildings and gardens, and explore art from the best Danish and international artists.
There’s a lovely restaurant overlooking Øresund and on a sunny day you can go to their beach for a skinny dip. Make sure to visit the museum shop with a lovely range of Danish design. All that only a short train ride from Copenhagen.
Find it here:Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Gl Strandvej 13
Finn Juhl’s House
This may be the last on the list but it’s one of the places I love the most. Finn Juhl was a Danish architect and furniture designer and built the architecture from inside and out. All the furniture in the house is designed by Finn John and many are the handcrafted furniture that was made by cabinet Niels Vodder for the Cabinetmaker’s Guild Exhibition in 1937. In the house you’ll find some of Finn Juhl’s most iconic designs. This gives me goosebumps.
Find it here:Finn Juhl’s House