The Nordic Nomad

Denmark

10 Danish museums with architecture as remarkable as its collections

Denmark’s most captivating museums – both inside and out

Art and architecture go hand in hand, especially when it comes to museums. Designing a museum is a great honour for architects, as it enables them to carve their names in the memories of the generations to come. But the question is: when does architecture start outshining whatever precious content they hold? We’ve rounded up 10 of the most architecturally significant museums in Denmark that also hold an intriguing collection.
Wadden Sea Centre Ribe Denmark
Wadden Sea Centre Ribe Denmark

01

Wadden Sea Centre

The Wadden Sea Centre, a gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the beautiful Wadden Sea National Park, opened to the public in 2017. At first glance, the building, designed by Dorte Mandrup, gives the impression of a building that has emerged from the ground, drawing a soft, long and clear profile against the infinite horizon. Its most striking features are its thatched roof and facades.

Wadden Sea Centre
Okholmvej 5
Ribe
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Rasmus Hjortshøj and Wadden Sea Centre

02

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

A must-visit not far from Copenhagen, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a leading international art museum. The museum, designed by architects Vilhelm Wohlert and Jørgen Bo, is also acknowledged as a milestone in modern Danish architecture. The buildings lend themselves beautifully to the park, which is landscaped with open lawns, shady woods, a view terrace and a gorge down to the beach. Louisiana houses one of Scandinavia’s largest collections and contains more than 4,000 artworks within virtually all genres with an emphasis on painting and sculpture.

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Gl Strandvej 13
Humlebæk
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Jeremy Jachym and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Aros Aarhus Art Museum Denmark
Aros Aarhus Art Museum Denmark

03

Aros Aarhus Art Museum

Established in 1859, Aros is one of the oldest public museums in Denmark. In 2004, Aros relocated to a brand new modern building designed by Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen, where visitors will find a collection of Danish art that spans 300 years. The museum’s crown – quite literally – is Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson’s Your rainbow panorama, a 150-meter-long, circular and multi-coloured panoramic path with 360º views of the city – an instagrammable spot like no other.

Aros Aarhus Art Museum
Aros Allé 2
Aarhus
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Aros Aarhus Art Museum

MS Maritime Museum Elsinore Denmark

04

M/S Maritime Museum

When the M/S Maritime Museum was forced to leave its original premises in the Kronborg Castle in Elsinore and find another location for its operations, gazes fell on an adjacent property – a dry dock that for a long time lay flooded. An architectural competition declared Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) as the selected studio to design the new museum, which opened in 2013. Inside the boat-shaped structure, visitors embark on a continuously sloping journey – which, through its inclination resembles the sensation of unruly seas under one’s feet – through 600 years of Danish maritime history.

M/S Maritime Museum
Ny Kronborgvej 1
Helsingør
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Luca Santiago Mora and M/S Maritime Museum
Den Blå Planet National Aquariaum Denmark Copenhagen
Den Blå Planet National Aquariaum Denmark Copenhagen

05

Den Blå Planet National Aquarium of Denmark

At Den Blå Planet National Aquarium of Denmark, designed by 3XN, visitors are drawn into an underwater world through its whirlpool shape. From above, the building’s contours are redolent of a starfish, while visitors approaching the building from the front might be astonished by the silver-grey waves that look as if they are about to wash over them. Up close, the façade patterning, created out of more than 33,000 diamond-shaped shingles, looks and feels like fish scales. Den Blå Planet contains about 7,000,000 litres of water divided into 53 exhibits, and is home to approximately 20,000 animals.

Den Blå Planet National Aquarium of Denmark
Jacob Fortlingsvej 1
Kastrup
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Den Blå Planet National Aquarium of Denmark

Flugt Oksbøl Denmark

06

Flugt Refugee Museum of Denmark

The challenging yet highly relevant topic of forced displacement and refugees are explored at Flugt, a museum located at the site of Denmark’s largest Refugee camp from World War II. Architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and exhibition designer Tinker Imagineers are at the helm of the museum, which gives a voice and a face to refugees worldwide and captures the universal challenges, emotions, spirits and stories shared by displaced humans.

Flugt Refugee Museum of Denmark
Præstegaardsvej 21
Oksbøl
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Flugt Refugee Museum of Denmark
H.C. Andersen’s House Odense Denmark

07

H.C. Andersen’s House

2021 saw the completion of H.C. Andersen’s House in Odense, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The museum is dedicated to Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who was born in the city and has aroused the imagination, contemplation and inspiration of both children and adults through literary works such as The little Mermaid, The ugly duckling and The emperor’s new clothes. The museum spatializes the experience of Andersen’s literary universe and stages a living world, a total artistic space where architecture, sound, light and a stream of images are intertwined.

H.C. Andersen’s House
Claus Bergs Gade 11
Odense
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Rasmus Hjortshøj and H.C. Andersen’s House

Moesgaard Museum Højbjerg Denmark

08

Moesgaard Museum

The past becomes alive at Moesgaard Museum, a Danish regional museum dedicated to archaeology and ethnography outside of Aarhus. As an invitation from prehistoric times, the museum beckons visitors to come inside and explore the exhibition halls – designed as terraces that open up to reveal their secrets, like the strata of an archaeological excavation. Completed in 2014, the Henning Larsen-designed museum features a sloping roof landscaped with grass and moss.

Moesgaard Museum
Moesgård Allé 15
Højbjerg
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Moesgaard Museum
Arken Museum of Modern Art Copenhagen Denmark

09

Arken Museum of Modern Art

Just south of Copenhagen, in the town of Ishøj, is Arken Museum of Modern Art. The museum has one of Scandinavia’s finest collections of contemporary art, and its maritime-inspired architecture by Søren Robert Lund – illustrating a stranded ship a few metres from the beach – has won recognition at home and abroad since it opened in 1996. Arken’s collection contains more than 400 works from Danish, Nordic and international contemporary artists, primarily from the period after 1990.

Arken Museum of Modern Art
Skovvej 100
Ishøj
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Torben Petersen, Hanne Fuglbjerg and Arken Museum of Modern Art

Utzon Center Aalborg Denmark

10

Utzon Center

The Danish architect Jørn Utzon, known to many for having created the Sydney Opera House, envisioned the Utzon Center not only as a museum but as a place where students of architecture could meet and discuss their ideas for the future. Located on the Limfjord waterfront in the city of Aalborg where Utzon spent his childhood, the building with the dramatically curved rooftops was completed in 2008, the year Utzon died.

Utzon Center
Slotspladsen 4
Aalborg
Denmark

Photography courtesy of Rasmus Hjortshøj and Utzon Center

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