Museums in Denmark

National Museum of Denmark

The National Museum of Denmark (Nationalmuseet) is Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history, comprising the histories of Danish and foreign cultures, alike. The museum's main domicile is located a short distance from Strøget. It contains exhibits from around the world, from Greenland to South America. The museum has a number of national commitments, particularly within the following key areas: archaeology, ethnolo ...
Founded: | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Viking Museum

The Viking Museum is built upon the site of anarchaeological excavation that revealed various Viking Age structures, items, and parts of a human skeleton. The museum also provides information regarding the history of Viking Age Aarhus and also features copies of items on display at the Moesgaard Museum, itself located near Aarhus.
Founded: | Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Aarhus Old Town

The Old Town in Aarhus, Denmark (Den Gamle By), is an open-air town museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened as the world's first open-air museum of its kind, concentrating on town culture rather than village culture, and to this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen. The museum buildings are orga ...
Founded: 1914 | Location: Aarhus, Denmark

National Gallery of Denmark

Statens Museum for Kunst ('Statens Museum' or sometimes 'National Gallery of Denmark') collects, registers, maintains, researches in and handles Danish and foreign art dating from the 14th century till the present day, mostly with their origins in western culture circles. The museum"s collections constitute almost 9,000 paintings and sculptures, approximately 300,000 works of art on paper as well ...
Founded: 1896 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum (Vikingeskibsmuseet) is the Danish national museum for ships, seafaring and boatbuilding in the prehistoric and medieval period. Around the year 1070, five Viking ships were deliberately sunk at Skuldelev in Roskilde Fjord in order to block the most important fairway and to protect Roskilde from enemy attack from the sea. These ships, later known as the Skuldelev ships, were excavated in 1962. They ...
Founded: | Location: Roskilde, Denmark

Museum of Copenhagen

The Museum of Copenhagen (Københavns Bymuseum) is the official museum of Copenhagen city. It documents the history from the 12th century to the present day. The museum is located close to the Central Station at Vesterbrogade, in a mansion from 1787 which used to house the Royal Copenhagen Shooting Society, and overlooks Skydebanehaven, the former shooting range now serving as a small public park. Outside the museum's en ...
Founded: 1891 | Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Frilandsmuseet

Frilandsmuseet (The Open Air Museum), opened in 1897 and covering 40 hectares, it is one of the largest and oldest open-air museums in the world. It is a department under the Danish National Museum. The museum features more than 100 buildings from rural environments and dating from 1650-1950. All buildings are original and have been moved piece by piece from their original location save a windmill that is still found in i ...
Founded: 1897 | Location: Kongens Lyngby, Denmark

Moesgård Museum

Moesgård Museum is situated at Moesgård manor near Aarhus. It is both a regional museum and a dedicated museum for archaeology and ethnography. The main part of the museum’s collection of archaeological artefacts is Danish, even though the museum possesses a rather large amount of archaeological material – known as The Ethnographical Collections – from Bahrain and other countries surrounding the Gulf. The Ethnogra ...
Founded: | Location: Højbjerg, Denmark

Skovgaard Museum

The Skovgaard Museum is situated in the former town hall from 1728 next to Viborg Cathedral. It holds a collection of works by four generations of the Skovgaard family of artists. The main feature of the permanent collection is the work of the Skovgaard family. Peter Christian Skovgaard (1817–1875) was the principal representative of national romanticlandscapes of the Golden Age of Danish painting. His sons, Joakim Sko ...
Founded: | Location: Viborg, Denmark

The Funen Village

The Funen Village (Den Fynske Landsby) is an open-air museum located in the neighborhood of Fruens Bøge in Odense. It was founded as a public works project in 1942, during the German occupation of Denmark. The museum"s open-air scene opened to the public already in 1944, and was used for patriotic song festivals (alsangsstævner) during the Occupation. It opened to the public on 1 April 1946. Among the guests att ...
Founded: 1942 | Location: Odense, Denmark

Ribe Viking Museum

Ribe Viking Museum exhibits the history of Ribe from the Viking Age through the Middle Ages down to the year 1700. The museum presents thousands of findings and reconstructed environments from 1300 years old Ribe town in the Viking Age and the Middle Ages.
Founded: | Location: Ribe, Denmark

Bornholm Art Museum

The Bornholm Art Museum was constructed in 1993 and enlarged in 2003. The museum's permanent collection consists principally of paintings by artists with connections to Bornholm from the early 19th century to the present day. Special attention is given to the Bornholm school of painters which emerged at the beginning of the last century when a number of modernists, attracted to picturesque Bornholm and the tiny island of ...
Founded: 1993 | Location: Gudhjem, Denmark

Bornholm Museum

The Bornholm Museum is a museum located in Rønne. The museum gives a history of Rønne and the island of Bornholm, dating from the Paleolithic era to the modern age, including the history of occupied Bornholm during World War II. The museum houses a number of Nordic Bronze Age and Iron Age artifacts relating to the island and uses a Mjolnir, discovered in Bornholm, but now housed in the National Museum of Den ...
Founded: | Location: Rønne, Denmark

Ladby Ship

Ladby Ship is Denmark's only ship grave from the Viking period. Around 925 AD, the king of Ladby was buried in his ship, which was 21.5 meters long and 3 meters wide. A burial mound was raised above the ship. His grave was furnished with all his fine possessions, including 11 horses and 3 or 4 dogs. In the bow of the ship lies the original anchor and anchor chain. Unfortunately, the grave was plundered back in the Viking ...
Founded: c. 925 AD | Location: Kerteminde, Denmark

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.