Arts & Culture

Quirky Copenhagen: Unusual Places To Visit

You’ve already shlepped up to Louisiana and spent a few rainy afternoons at Glyptotek. So where to go once you’ve exhausted all of Copenhagen’s typical attractions? Head off the beaten track and uncover some of the city’s more peculiar corners.

Here’s Copenhagen’s best alternative spots:

Number 1The Barbie Museum

Who knew that the pink, bubble-gum scented universe of Barbie was actually holed-up in an unassuming block of flats in Copenhagen’s NordVest. This wonderfully kitsch exhibition, probably the largest and only collection in Denmark with over 4,000 different Barbies, is the creation of dedicated doll aficionado Lene Darlie Pedersen. Over two floors, Lene showcases the toy’s history spanning back 50 years; be sure to find Twiggy Barbie with her page boy hairdo or our personal favourites, the Harley-Davidson Barbie crew.

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Barbie Museum

Vibevej 52
2400 Copenhagen NV

A guided tour by appointment only: +45 3810 3023 or lene@barbiemuseum.dk

 
 
 

Number 2Ole Worm’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Flying lemmings, a unicorn’s horn and the thigh bone of a giant — just some of the extraordinary objects on display at The Geological Museum’s All Things Strange and Beautiful exhibition, made up of original pieces from the 17th Century Museum Wormianum, Denmark’s very first museum.

Cabinet of Curiosities - Ole Worm - Geological Museum Copenhagen | Scandinavia Standard
 

As part of the exhibition, Boston-based artist Rosamond Purcell has recreated the Danish physician Ole Worm’s Cabinet of Curiosities. This installation, “One Room,” was first exhibited at the Santa Monica Museum of Art but since 2011 has been a permanent feature of Copenhagen’s Geological Museum. Stuffed to the gills with all sorts of oddities including fossilised plants, a taxidermied polar bear and a host of pickled specimens, you get an authentic glimpse into Ole Worm’s fascination with the natural world.

Save some time to peruse the rest of the place, which is nestled in a beautiful red brick building overlooking the city’s Botanical Gardens. Their gem room, with its huge collection of precious stones and phosphorescent rocks, should not be missed!

Geological Museum - Geologisk Museum Copenhagen - Cabinet of Curiosities - Ole Worm | Scandinavia Standard
IMG_9719 Taxidermy - Geological Museum - Geologisk Museum Copenhagen - Cabinet of Curiosities - Ole Worm | Scandinavia Standard
Inside the Geological Museum - Geologisk Museum Copenhagen | Scandinavia Standard
Taxidermy Crabs and Animals - Geological Museum - Geologisk Museum Copenhagen - Cabinet of Curiosities - Ole Worm | Scandinavia Standard IMG_9694

The Geological Museum

Øster Voldgade 5-7
1350 København K

Opening hours:
Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am-4:00pm

 
 
 

Number 3The Statue of Liberty’s Hand at the Cast Collection

Positioned on the harbor front in an old warehouse, the unassuming exterior of the Royal Cast Collection offers no insight into the kinds of surreal treasures nestled within its walls. As part of the Statens Museum for Kunst, the collection is made up from over 2500 plaster casts taken from sculptures from all of Europe, the largest collection of its kind. Be privy to iconic works of art – including the greek sculpture of the discus thrower, Michelangelo’s “Medici Madonna” and even the hand of the Statue of Liberty herself, all without ever having to leave Scandinavian shores.

A long-favored sketch spot for art students and sculptors since its arrival in the West Indian Warehouse in 1984, this superb gallery offers a fantastical opportunity to walk amongst some of the world’s most prized artifacts dating back from Antiquity right through to the Reniassance.

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The Royal Cast Collection

Toldbodgade 40
1253 København K

The Royal Cast Collection is open for special events and for organised groups.

 
 
 

Number 4Bottled Body Parts at the Medical Museion

If you suffer from a weak stomach or are particularly hungover on the day of your visit, it’s best to avoid this place; the macabre scenes at the Medical Museion’s the body collected exhibition are not for the faint hearted. This showcase preserves the remains of the human body, with a vast collection of specimens dating all the way back to 1700s!

Championing the great advancements made in medicine, the extensive display – consisting of malformed fetuses, skeletal remains and muscle matter – is still used as a learning tool by many local medical students.

And once you’re all grossed out, there’s the interior of the Royal Frederik’s Pharmacy – originally situated on Bredgade from 1758-1962 – for exploration and a bit of respite. The authentic old pharmacy is packed with apothecary bottles, a set of brass scales and a through-door to the adjacent bodega where customers would sip a casual pint whilst awaiting their prescription!

Museion Exhibit #2 035-2

Medical Museion

Bredgade 62
DK-1260 København K

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 10:00am-4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 noon-4:00pm

 
 
 

Number 5The Gallery of Noses at Glyptotek

It was common practice in the 19th century art world to restore antique marble statues, reconstructing any damaged parts to show the original artifact as whole as possible. But when restoration fell out of fashion, there was a great scramble to remove these add-ons, leaving an excess of lone limbs and random appendages.

But instead of destroying evidence of the great cover up, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek decided to proudly showcase this peculiar process in the Nasothek, where over 100 different noses now rest, completely devoid of their original masters. The nose gallery is a surreal and fun way to witness the process of art restoration, and examine the different variety of surface textures and styles used to repair these precious marble pieces.

The Gallery of Noses at Glyptotek - Nasothek | Scandinavia Standard
The Gallery of Noses at Glyptotek - Nasothek 2 | Scandinavia Standard Statue Glyptotek | Scandinavia Standard

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Dantes Plads 7
1556 København V

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 am -6:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Closed Monday

 
 
 

Beyond Copenhagen:

Number 6Trace Your Danish Ancestors on a Genealogy Tour

If you’ve always fancied yourself a distant relative of Ragnar Lodbrok or some other great Dane, then this is your opportunity to uncover the truth about your Scandinavian roots. Hosted by historian Henriette Kragh Jacobsen, Danish Heritage Tours gives you a personalised expedition through your ancestral past. These tailored tours, created through Jacobsen’s archival research, take you on a journey to the places where your ancestors will have first lived, giving you an in-depth understanding for your Danish identity.

Danish Heritage Tours

Contact: dht@danishheritagetours.com or +45 2233 8174

 
 
 

Number 7Hair Jewellery at Bangsbo Museum

We’re not just talking your run-of-the-mill hair accessories here, so forget those little butterfly clips and flower crowns; this is jewellery created from actual human hair. Sounds totally icky right? But hair jewellery was big business in 19th century Sweden where hårkullor (the hair ladies) would travel around Europe selling their DIY hair wares (material would need to be provided by the customer first) and sending any money earned to relatives back home.

The Bangsbo Museum, situated just north of Aalborg in Fredikshavn, boasts Europe’s largest exhibition of hair art including necklaces, rings and wreaths. But the star of the collection is a very hairy pair of mittens which, admittedly, look like they’d keep you pretty cosy on a winter cycle ride.

Bangsbo Museum

Dronning Margrethes Vej 6
9900 Frederikshavn

T: 98 42 31 11

 
 

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