Museums and Galleries (Self Guided), Copenhagen

Wandering through the cobblestoned streets of the Danish capital, culture vultures will surely find plenty to sink their claws into. For a small city, Copenhagen boasts a wealth of outstanding museums and galleries, all perfect for English speakers. No matter where one's interests lie, there’s something for everyone here. Follow this self-guided walk to visit some of the top museums of Copenhagen.
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Museums and Galleries Map

Guide Name: Museums and Galleries
Guide Location: Denmark » Copenhagen (See other walking tours in Copenhagen)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Author: EmmaS
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The David Collection
  • Danish Film Institute
  • Copenhagen Botanical Garden
  • Rosenborg Castle
  • Natural History Museum of Denmark
  • National Gallery of Denmark
  • The Hirschsprung Collection
The David Collection

1) The David Collection

If you are passionate about applied arts & fine arts, visit the David Collection on your trip to Copenhagen. This is a private collection of C.L. David who was a lawyer, businessman and art collector.

The museum is particularly noted for its collection of Islamic art from the 8th to the 19th century, which is one of the largest in Northern Europe. Additionally, it holds fine and applied art from Europe in the 18th century and the Danish Golden Age as well as a small collection of Danish early modern art. All the works of art in the collection of Danish early modern art were acquired by C. L. David himself.

The museum is located in a neo-classical building in 30 Kronprinsessegade in central Copenhagen, overlooking Rosenborg Castle Garden. From 2006 to 2009 the collection was closed to the public while the premises underwent a major refurbishment and rearrangement. When it reopened on 15 May 2009, it was described as "the most exclusive museum in Denmark" in the national Danish newspaper Politiken.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the most cohesive & awe-inspiring gatherings of complementary and contrasting objects!
Even if Islamic art is not your thing, you can simply go for the beauty that is amassed in every display.

Start at the top floor going down and allow a few hours – you will need time if you plan on reading the amazing in-detail descriptions on the iPad they supply.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-5pm; Wed: 10am-9pm
Danish Film Institute

2) Danish Film Institute

If you are interested in films and film making, you must visit the famous Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen. This is a government agency that encourages and supports cinema and film culture in Denmark.

This institute plays a major role in production of feature films. Danish Film Institute participates in the development and production of documentary and short films. It also plays an important role in marketing and distribution of films and management of the cinematheque and national film archive.

Danish film institute is a perfect platform for filmmakers, cinema-goers and film buffs to meet and interact. They get together and discuss various cinema related aspects relaxing at the restaurant and cafe. The institute also has a film lab for children, book shop and a videotheque. Danish Film Institute has a film archive, stills and posters archive, a library and the film house including the Cinematheque.

Films of all genres are supported by the DFI including TV, cinema, internet, computer and mobile phone. In accordance with the 1997 film act, merger of three organizations namely the Danish Film Museum, National Film Board of Denmark and the Danish Film Institute took place. If you wish to learn all about Danish and international cinema, pay a visit to this institute on your trip to Copenhagen.
Copenhagen Botanical Garden

3) Copenhagen Botanical Garden (must see)

If you like plants and wish to know all about their diversity, you must visit the Copenhagen Botanical Garden on your trip to the city. This garden teaches you all about the fungal kingdoms and even about how to conserve nature on a national and global basis. It covers an area of 10 hectares and is particularly noted for its extensive complex of historical glasshouses dating from 1874.

Enter the garden and you will find the area divided into three distinct parts namely the Botanic Garden, Botanical Library and the Botanical Museum. The garden is arranged in different sections including Danish plants (600 species), perennial plants (1,100 species), annual plants (1,100 species), rock gardens with plants from mountainous areas in Central and Southern Europe and Conifer Hill which is planted with coniferous trees.

At the Botanical Museum, you will find a range of fungi and dried plant collections, while Denmark’s botanical literature collection is housed at the Botanical Library (admission by appointment only). The garden, as well as the museum, help develop and maintain scientific collections of dried and living fungi and plants in keeping with international conventions and practice.

Why You Should Visit:
Plenty of open space, trees, water features, and, in the summer, scented flowers and (hopefully) sunshine.
Great place to relax or walk quietly. There's also a café where you can order refreshments.

Take a picnic and allow for lots of time. If you're a keen gardener you'll also need a notebook!

Opening Hours:
[Garden] Daily: 8:30am-6pm (Apr-Sep); 8:30am-4pm (Oct-Mar)
[Palm House] Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm (Apr-Sep); 10am-3:30pm (Oct-Mar)
Rosenborg Castle

4) Rosenborg Castle (must see)

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Copenhagen, Rosenborg Castle reflects the very essence of the Dutch Renaissance style. This caste was constructed in 1606 and served as a summer house. It was a part of many interesting architectural projects initiated by Christian IV.

The castle has since been expanded many times and its present version was built in 1624. Rosenborg Castle was structurally planned by architects Hans van Steenwincke and Bertel Lange.

Until 1710, the castle was a royal residence. On the third floor, you will find the Long Hall. It was built in 1624 to serve as the royal ballroom. In the 1700s, it was used as the banquet hall and the Royal Reception Room. It came to be known as the “Knight’s Hall” from the latter half of the 19th century.

Here you will find a dozen impressive tapestries that depict the victories of the king in the Scanian War. Do not miss out the stucco ceiling that was created in the early 18th century. The main attractions at this castle include the throne of queens and absolutist king’s coronation chair. At the Large Hall, you will find an exquisite collection of 17th-century silver furniture.

Join one of the public tours organized at this castle. The tour will take you through the museum where you can view artifacts from the Royal Collections.

Why You Should Visit:
There's lots of history here and it is well presented. It is not too cluttered so you are not overburdened.
The castle interior is splendid with wonderfully preserved artwork and furnishings – especially the tapestries in the throne room.

Make sure you visit all the levels, taking time to walk around and not be too rushed. Plan on at least 2-3 hours here if you can. You need a coin for the locker to leave bags, however.
Tickets are timed entry to ensure the smallish rooms don't get overcrowded. Pre-book online if you can; otherwise, you can walk around the relaxing gardens while you wait for your time slot.
Keep your ticket to go to the basement and see the crown jewels! There's a separate entrance to the basement from outside the castle (you can't get to the basement from inside the castle itself).

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-3pm (times vary:
Natural History Museum of Denmark

5) Natural History Museum of Denmark

Natural History Museum is an often overlooked tourist attraction in Copenhagen. If you are interested in geology, you must visit this museum on your trip to Copenhagen. Natural History Museum is located at Botanisk Have’s north eastern corner right at the Oster Volgade and Solvgade junction.

An ancient, beautiful university building houses this museum where you will find a variety of exhibits that showcases how the earth and life on it was shaped by geological forces. There is a vast collection of minerals and meteorites on display here. All of them were collected from a major fall that happened thousands of years ago in Greenland.

When cut into slices, some of the meteorite pieces offer stunning mirror-like effects. Do not miss out Agpalilik and Savik, two of the biggest specimens on display outside. The National History Museum of Denmark conducts exhibitions that cover our Solar System, volcanoes, evolution of life on Earth, minerals and geological evolution of Greenland and Denmark.

Collections at this museum have been meticulously expanded and include century’s old fossils, minerals, meteorites and petrology. If you are interested, you can attend one of the series of popular talks organized by the museum.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm; closed on Mondays.
National Gallery of Denmark

6) National Gallery of Denmark

Popularly known as Statens Museum for Kunst, the National Gallery in Copenhagen is one of the famous tourist attractions. If you are interested in art, this museum constructed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style is a must-visit place on your trip to Copenhagen.

Here you will find foreign as well as Danish art displays that range from the 14th century to the present day. The National Gallery even has art and artifacts from the Danish Monarch’s art chambers on display.

The works of Danish artists were displayed at this museum starting with the 19th century. It was here that you could find an extensive collection of paintings from the Danish Golden Age. Recently, a spate of long term loans and generous donations helped bring in a huge collection of works by foreign artists. For example, Johannes Rump donated his large collection of French Modernist paintings in 1928.

You must keep an entire day dedicated to this museum as it contains at least 9000 sculptures and paintings. You will also find 2600 ancient Renaissance and Middle Age plaster-cast figures and 300,000 paper artworks.

Towards the back is a large modern extension erected in 1998 to house the extensive modern art collection. The two buildings are connected by a glass-paneled 'Street of Sculptures' walkway and theatre which stretches the entire length of the museum and looks out onto the Østre Anlæg park. Talks, concerts and installations are all held in this area.

Why You Should Visit:
The building is a lovely mix of old & new – but most important is the art inside.
The Danish/Nordic collections are magnificent – but they have a bit of EVERYTHING.

Start your visit by picking up a floor plan at the wall in the info-area, since you may find it hard to find your way efficiently otherwise.
If there in the summer, make sure you also walk the grounds outside, with mini ponds and lakes, and ducks galore.

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-6pm; Wed: 10am-8pm
The Hirschsprung Collection

7) The Hirschsprung Collection

If you are an art lover, plan a visit to the Hirschsprung Collection at a popular art museum in Copenhagen. This museum is located in Østre Anlæg in a parkland setting. It has an impressive collection of 19th and 20th-century Danish art. Here you will find works of Skagen painters and other paintings that emphasize the Danish Golden Age.

Origins of this museum can be traced back to Heinrich Hirschsprung’s personal art collection. He was a tobacco manufacturer and an art patron. His art collection was founded in 1865 and was donated to the Danish state four decades later in 1902. The building where the collection is housed was designed and built in 1911 by architect Hermann Baagoe Storck.

It was in 1888 that Heinrich’s collection of artworks was first displayed to the public in Charlottenborg. As the Danish state was in the process of planning the museum building, Hirschsprung continued to collect exquisite artworks that included sculptures, Joakim Skovgaard’s cartoons and works of contemporary artists like Vilhelm Hammershoi, Anna Ancher and Michael Ancher.

His phenomenal dedication and effort resulted in an impressive collection of 180 sculptures by 20 Danish artists. Make sure the Hirschsprung Collection is a part of your itinerary on your trip to Copenhagen.

Why You Should Visit:
To enjoy the best of the Golden Age of Danish 19th-century paintings in beautiful surroundings.
The temporary exhibitions are equally compelling and the staff is always helpful and friendly.

The reasonable entry fee includes a very helpful audio guide (available in English).
While there are no amenities of the usual sort in the museum beyond a small bookstore, the neighborhood has cafés and is a lovely area for walking and looking.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Sun: 11am-4pm

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