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Copenhagen, a city of wide avenues, stately palaces and impressive warehouses, is a feast for the eyes. The Danes are famous for their unfailing eye for style: as one would expect, this hip Scandinavian capital is dressed to perfection. And the creative Danish character has delivered art and culture of the highest calibre for decades.
Copenhagen is a world leader in the field of contemporary art. Design is one illustrious example of Danish art that has conquered the world. Renowned exhibitions follow each other in quick tempo and Copenhagen’s many museums will familiarise you with contemporary Danish art by both famous and yet-to-be discovered names. Works by artists such as Per Kirkeby, Olafur Eliasson and Richard Winther are among the finest examples. The exceptional museums should be part of any comprehensive visit to the Danish capital.
Address 2 Nyhavn is the location of a huge brick palace: Kunsthal Charlottenborg. This lovely building is one of the largest museums for contemporary art in Europe and was the previous location of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. It hosts varied art exhibitions by both Danish and international artists. Entrance is free on Wednesday evenings after 5 pm. A tip is to buy an ‘Art & Water’ ticket which lets you visit the museum and take a tour on the canal.
Kunsthal Charlottenborg is named after the most famous widow of Copenhagen: Queen Charlotte Amalie, who married King Christian V in 1667. During their marriage, he tried to prevent her from exerting any political influence so that she would not become as influential as his own mother had once been. However, Charlotte Amalie gained much popularity with the Danish people with her charm and tact, and when the Swedish king Charles XII attacked Denmark, Charlotte Amalie gave the people access to the canons so that they could defend themselves. After her husband died, she moved to the Charlottenborg palace.
Lovers of 20th-century art will feel their hearts beating faster in the stunningly situated Louisiana Museum, just north of Copenhagen. Art, nature and architecture merge in perfect harmony on the shores of the Sound, the strait between Denmark and Sweden. The wide, light halls do justice to the world-famous paintings of Picasso and Francis Bacon as well as sculptures by Alberto Giacometti. The Louisiana owes its name to the original owner of the property, whose three wives were all named Louise.
Lousiana Museum, Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk
At the age of 25, Søren Robert Lund won the award to design the striking ARKEN Museum of Modern Art which opened in 1996. The concrete colossus is located practically in the sea, some 15 kilometres south of Copenhagen. It pays homage to the ocean with its ship-like design. The impressive permanent collection comprises around 300 pieces by artists such as Damien Hirst, Wolfgang Tillmans and Olafur Eliasson. Especially worth a look is Din blinde passager bv Olafur Eliasson, a 90-metre tunnel which surrounds visitors in thick mist. The museum café provides spectacular views over the Bay of Køge.
ARKEN Museum, Skovvej 100, 2635 Ishøj