Many of Denmark’s major attractions lie beyond the city limits, and if you’re visiting Copenhagen, it’s worth considering how long your Copenhagen visit should be.
You may either rent a car or use public transport. Train and bus links are comprehensive and easy to navigate.
Many travel guides describe the road from Copenhagen north to Helsingor as ‘scenic’, and that’s not an exaggeration. It runs beside the stretch of water called Oresund, with the coast of Sweden visible in the distance. It is a lovely drive, passing beautiful homes and small marinas full of yachts as well as it leads to some of the region’s major attractions.
Be sure to visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. In addition to the outdoor and indoor contemporary art, you should settle down on the patio overlooking the sea and enjoy a fine selection of Danish open sandwiches.
In 2016 there will be several interesting current exhibitions. The first one, Fire Under Snow, launches a number of new video works and films in The East Wing of the museum. Set to be a grand tour of the moving pictures of video art, here you will be sorrounded by captivating stories about people, history and society, visions and the future. It runs from 26 January through 8 May.
The second exhibition called Eye Attack is presenting Op Art and Kinetic Art 1950-1970. This is the first major presentation of Op Art and Kinetic Art in Scandinavia for more than 50 years. Louisiana opens the door to a visual experimental laboratory with the whole range of media and techniques. This exhibition runs from 4 February through 5 June.
Very near Humlebaek, the home of the gallery, lies Helsingor, long renowned as the home of Hamlet’s castle. The Danish take full advantage of this Shakespearean connection with seasonal theatre festivals featuring the play, special performances for children, a tourist brochure announcing the town as ‘the hometown of Hamlet’ and Yorick’s ‘skull’ (in various sizes!) available in the gift stores.
Beneath the castle lies one of the region’s latest attractions, the Maritime Museum of Denmark, which celebrates the country’s maritime history from the age of sail to modern shipping. It is the architecture here that makes this museum so special. From a distance the ‘building’ cannot be seen, for most of it is underground, located in what was once the dry dock of the Helsingor shipyard. Green lawns and wide walkways suspended above the old dry dock are all that can be seen from outside. National Geographic magazine described this museum as “one of the ten museums to travel to for its stunning structure.”
Driving through the countryside to the town of Hillerod, you arrive at the Fredericksborg Castle, which is northern Europe’s largest, and arguable most magnificent Renaissance castle. In 1859 the castle’s interior was badly damaged by fire, whereupon the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries – J.C. Jacobsen – took an active interest in the restoration of the castle and proposed turning it into a museum of Danish history.
It contains a collection of paintings, furniture and decorative arts displayed in the castle’s splendid halls, chambers and chapel. The beautiful baroque gardens are of special interest. There are boat trips on the adjoining lake, and you may enjoy a meal at a restaurant in the town with a patio overlooking the splendor of a bygone age.
Art lovers should not miss Ordrupgaard, a villa out of town which is home to an astonishing collection of French impressionist art. In a mansion, once owned by collectors Henny and Wilhelm Hansen, you’ll find one of Monet’s paintings of London’s Waterloo Bridge, a Degas ballet dancer, works by Renoir. Matisse, Gauguin, Cezanne and many more. Don’t miss the modern architecture and the delightful gardens with sculptures, an extension that will interest those enjoying modern architecture.
Located on the shores of Ishoj Harbor and Konge Bay you find a stunning modern gallery called Arken (The Ark). It is home to works by the likes of Britain’s Damien Hirst and China’s controversial Ai Weiwei. Also here the architecture and the lovely ocean view are important parts of the experience.
Feature image (on top): Arken Museum, Ishoy
Denmark is more than Copenhagen, written by Tor Kjolberg