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Long seen as a city with fantastic culture, Copenhagen, Denmark is filled with excellent museums. Whether you are interested in history, art, science, or technology, there’s a museum for you. Here are the 35 best museums in Copenhagen, including everything from the most famous museums to smaller places that are lesser known.
The Best Museums in Copenhagen
Most Copenhagen museums are located in the city center, often near hop-on, hop-off bus routes and public transportation lines. It’s easy to get to a few of them in one day. Many museums are closed on Mondays, so take that into consideration when planning your visit. The Copenhagen Card is a good way to save money if you plan to visit several of these great museums, plus it also includes local transportation. Some museums are also part of multi-museum tickets. There are also city tours that include various museums.
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (official website) is a beautiful museum that was originally the collection of Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of Carlsberg beer.
Sculpture is the primary focus of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. However, there’s also much more to see, including prominent works of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, & Danish Golden Age art. The museum focuses on French & Danish artists, including art from Rodin, Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, Gauguin, Degas, Cezanne, Eckersberg, Købke, Lundbye, and more, but it also features works from all over Europe. Not only does the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek have exciting art, but the building itself is one of the most beautiful museums in Copenhagen. Entry is included with the Copenhagen Card. Read more about Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.
National Museum of Denmark
The National Museum of Denmark (official website) covers tens of thousands of years of Danish history. Located inside the 18th-century Prince’s Palace, the National Museum of Denmark has a strong focus on prehistory & the Viking Age.
Prominent exhibits include Viking runes, the Gundestrup Cauldron, the Trundholm sun chariot, the Golden Horns of Gallehus, and the Hjortspring boat. The Museum of Denmark is also home to multiple skeletal or mummified remains from around the area, including the Woman of Himlingoje, the Egtved Girl, and Huldremose Woman. Other major exhibits include the People’s of the World, a social history section, and special exhibitions. Entry is included with the Copenhagen Card. Read more about the National Museum of Denmark.
SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst
The Statens Museum for Kunst (official website) is the largest art museum in Denmark. This National Gallery of Denmark features some 9,000 paintings and sculptures, with tens of thousands of additional pieces.
The museum’s collection includes Danish and international art covering the time period from the 14th century to today, with a major focus on Danish & Nordic art between 1750 & 1900. Prominent artists featured in SMK include Rembrandt, Rubens, Abildgaard, Eckersberg, Købke, Matisse, and Picasso. Another prominent section is the 240,000-item collection known as the Royal Collection of Graphic Art. Access to the National Gallery of Denmark is included with the Copenhagen Card.
Museum of Natural History
The Natural History Museum of Denmark (official website) is undergoing expansion and change. A new museum building is opening in a corner of the Botanical Gardens, combining the Zoological Museum and the Geological Museum.
The museum’s collection consists of 14 million objects, including fossils, minerals, meteorites, skeletons, plants, and more. Entry is included with the Copenhagen Card.
Botanical Garden & Museum
The Botanical Garden & Museum (official website) is also part of the Museum of Natural History, with both being run by the University of Copenhagen.
The botanical gardens feature thousands of specimens, including the largest collection of plants in Denmark. Highlights include the Palm House, the Butterfly House, and the greenhouse. The Copenhagen Card includes entry to the Botanical Garden.
The Hirschsprung Collection (official website) consists of 19th & 20th-century Danish art, including works from the Danish Golden Age, the Skagen painters, and the Symbolists. The collection, which belonged to Heinrich & Pauline Hirschsprung, is located in a neoclassical gallery in Østre Anlæg Park, near the National Gallery of Denmark. It is also part of the Copenhagen Card.
The Workers Museum (official website) tells the story of Denmark’s working class. The museum is located inside the Workers’ Assembly Hall, the oldest workers’ assembly hall in Europe.
Exhibits at the Workers Museum include the history of labor in Denmark, union flags, industry, historic recreations, and the Workers Museum for Children. Entry to the Workers Museum Copenhagen is included with the Copenhagen Card. Read more about the Workers Museum.
Museum of Copenhagen
The Museum of Copenhagen (official website) provides an excellent introduction to the city’s history from 12,000 BCE to the present day.
Each section of the Museum of Copenhagen covers a different time period. “The Making of A Capital,” covering the time period from 12,000 BCE to 1660, includes various archaeological finds, as well as the expansion of the city by King Christian IV, and finally the Battle of Copenhagen. Next, “A Fortified City,” covers the post-war era from 1660 to 1850, including Danish culture & local disasters. This is followed by “The Modern City,” which discusses the growth of neighborhoods and the lives of people who lived in them between 1850 to 1950. Finally, “Debating the City” discusses modern Copenhagen, including a scale model of the city. Entry to the Museum of Copenhagen is included with the Copenhagen Card. Tickets are also good for Thorvaldsens Museum & the Nikolaj Museum for 48 hours. Read more about the Museum of Copenhagen.
Thorvaldsens Museum (official website) is a unique Copenhagen museum dedicated to Danish artist Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Although he spent much of his career in Italy, Thorvaldsen returned home to a hero’s welcome, subsequently donating much of his fortune to the creation of the museum. The colorful museum, which is the oldest museum in Denmark, is a beautiful Greek & Egyptian-inspired building. Inside, Thorvaldsens Museum is packed full of the artist’s Neoclassical sculptures, as well as his collection of paintings & antiquities. Entry to Thorvaldsens Museum is included with the Copenhagen Card. It is part of a 3 museum ticket with the Museum of Copenhagen & Nikolaj Copenhagen over a 48-hour period. Read more about Thorvaldsens Museum.
Formerly the St. Nicholas Church, Nikolaj Copenhagen (official website) has repurposed this building into a contemporary art center that showcases Danish, international, and up-and-coming artists.
The Nikolaj hosts rotating contemporary art exhibitions, with no permanent collection. Jananne Al-Ani, Leonard Cohen, David Lynch, Andreas Emenius, and Kutluğ Ataman are among the artists who have exhibited at the Nikolaj Copenhagen. The Nikolaj Museum is part of the 3-venue ticket with the Museum of Copenhagen and Thorvaldsens Museum (and also free on Wednesdays), as well as part of the Copenhagen Card. Read more about the Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center.
The Happiness Museum
Denmark often tops lists of the happiest countries on Earth. But what is happiness? Learn more about it and the Danish concept of “hygge” at the Happiness Museum (official website). The museum, which is run by the Happiness Institute, a group that researches well-being, happiness, and quality of life, is one of the newest & most unique museums in Copenhagen.
Cisterns in Søndermarken
Deep beneath Søndermarken Park in Frederiksberg, Cisternerne (official website) is a natural cave & reservoir that is also a space for contemporary art & performances. The Cisterns, which are closed in winter, are part of the Copenhagen Card.
The Hill House Museum (Bakkehuset)
The Bakkehuset (official website) is also part of the Frederiksberg museums, which are included with the Copenhagen Card. Other museums that are located nearby include STORM & Mostings. The Bakkehuset Museum, also known as the Hill House Museum, was owned by Kamma and Knud Lyne Rahbek. They opened their house to guests, making it a prominent meeting place for artists, scientists, and writers such as Hans Christian Andersen during the Danish Golden Age.
Danish War Museum (Krigsmuseet)
The Danish War Museum (official website) is one of several museums in Copenhagen’s Slotsholmen near Christiansborg Palace.
The museum covers 500 years of Danish military history from the 16th century to the present, with a collection of over 100,000 weapons (8,000 are on display). It is housed in Christian IV’s Arsenal, built in 1604. The Danish War Museum is part of the Copenhagen Card.
The National Museum of Photography
The National Museum of Photography (official website) is located in an extension of the Royal Danish Library known as the Black Diamond.
The museum features Danish and international photography from the very beginning of the art form to the present day, with over 100,000 items in the collection. However, the library only displays a small part of this collection in its galleries on a rotating basis.
Danish Jewish Museum
The Danish Jewish Museum (official website) covers 400+ years of Jewish life in Denmark. The striking Copenhagen museum was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. In addition to showing Jewish art & artifacts in its galleries, through the concept of “Mitzvah” it also commemorates the 1943 Rescue of the Danish Jews, in which 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews were successfully evacuated to Sweden. Entry is free with the Copenhagen Card.
Danish Architecture Centre
Copenhagen was named the World Capital of Architecture in 2023. Located inside the BLOX building along the waterfront, the Danish Architecture Centre (official website) is a small museum dedicated to Danish building design.
Temporary exhibitions have included a range of architectural topics including women in architecture, plans that never made it past the idea stage, & more. There are also permanent galleries about the history of Danish architecture and design. The museum hosts guided architecture tours as well. Entry to the DAC is included with the Copenhagen Card or you can purchase tickets here.
Design Museum Denmark
Danish design is famous around the world. Design Museum Denmark (official website) shows the history of Danish design from the Middle Ages to the Present.
Exhibits include industrial design, decorative arts & crafts, and more, with a look both at the past as well as the future. Design Museum Denmark is part of the Copenhagen Card.
Kunsthall Charlottenborg (official website) is located in Charlottenborg Palace, which was built in the 17th century. The museum, which is the Royal Danish Academy of Art’s official gallery, is the hub for contemporary art in Copenhagen. Kunsthall Charlottenborg includes works from well-known as well as up-and-coming artists, including underrepresented talent. Admission is included with the Copenhagen Card.
Amalienborg Palace Museum
Amalienborg Palace (official website) is the home of the Danish Royal Family. Each day, during the changing of the guard, guards march from Rosenborg Castle to Amalienborg.
Inside Christian VIII’s Palace is the Amalienborg Palace Museum. The museum, which is part of the Copenhagen Card, contains the interior rooms of the most recent monarchs of Denmark since Christian IX and Queen Louise as well as exhibits about the monarchy today.
Medicinsk Museon (official website) is Copenhagen’s medical museum. Inside, there are exhibits about medical science, human remains, psychiatry, health, and disease. The main exhibition space of the museum was formerly the auditorium where medical dissections took place. Entry is included with the Copenhagen Card.
Museum of Danish Resistance
The Museum of Danish Resistance (official website) tells the story of how the people of Denmark resisted following the German invasion during World War II. Located at the Citadel (Kastellet), this underground museum has exhibits about communications, sabotage, and more, told through the eyes of real people who experienced the era. The museum is free with the Copenhagen Card or you can purchase tickets here.
The David Collection
The David Collection (official website) is home to the largest collection of Islamic art in Scandinavia. It was the private collection of C. L. David. In addition to displaying Islamic art from all over the Muslim world between the 8th & 19th centuries, the museum also has galleries with 17th & 18th-century European art as well as the Danish Golden Age. There is no entry fee, making the David Collection one of the only free museums in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen Contemporary (official website) is a spacious art gallery located in the trendy Refshaleøen cultural district, which is rapidly transitioning from an industrial area. The museum, which is housed in a former welding facility, features art installations from artists from around the world, including emerging talents. Entry is included with the Copenhagen Card.
The Livgardens Museum (official website) is located behind Rosenborg Castle. The museum is about the Royal Guard, who are stationed at the barracks on site. It is one of the few free Copenhagen museums, but it is only open for limited hours on weekends.
Do you like massive diesel engines? If so, DieselHouse (official website) is the museum for you. The industrial museum is located at the H. C. Ørsted Power Station. The highlight of the facility is the 12.5 meters tall, 24.5 meters wide, 1,400 tons diesel engine that was the largest in the world for 30 years. It supplied electricity to Copenhagen. The diesel engine is turned on for 5-10 minutes at 11 am on the first and third Sunday of every month. In addition to massive engines, DieselHouse also tells the story of Burmeister & Wain (B&W), the producer of the engines. Entry is free, but the hours are limited, so check their website for more details.
Enigma Museum of Communication
Enigma (official website) is a new museum for post, telecom, and communication located in a former post office in Østerbro. The museum has exhibits about Danish postal history & messaging technology, plus games & areas for children. Enigma is included as part of the Copenhagen Card.
Politimuseet – Danish Police Museum
The Politimuseet (official website) in Nørrebro tells the history of the Danish police as well as crime in the country.
Other Great Museums Near Copenhagen
There are also several notable museums in the Copenhagen area that are just outside of the city within a reasonable day trip distance.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (official website) is one of the most popular museums in Denmark. Located north of Copenhagen in Humlebæk, the museum is often visited as part of a day trip to Helsingør. The museum’s collection includes modern & contemporary art from 1945 to the present day. Prominent artists shown at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art include Picasso, Warhol, Hockney, Ernst, Miró, and more. In addition to being a beautiful indoor space, the museum’s outdoor sculpture gardens along the water are not to be missed. The museum is part of the Copenhagen Card.
Danish Museum of Science & Technology
The Danish Museum of Science & Technology (official website) is currently located in Helsingør, but a new location TBD is in the works. The kid-friendly museum has tons of vehicles, inventions, and other exhibits to explore. Entry is included with the Copenhagen Card.
ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst
Those looking to visit another modern art museum near Copenhagen can head southwest out of the city to the ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst (official website) in Ishøj. The museum, which has a beautiful waterfront location, features contemporary works from Danish, Scandinavian, and International post-war artists, including Damien Hirst, Olafur Eliasson, and Ai Wei Wei. ARKEN is part of the Copenhagen Card.
The Viking Ship Museum
The Open Air Museum (Frilandsmuseet)
Part of the National Museum of Denmark, the Open Air Museum (official website) is located about 30 minutes away from Copenhagen by train. It is one of the largest open-air museums in the world, containing a variety of original buildings from between 1650 & 1940. Visitors can learn about centuries of Danish life through various professions & social living conditions, including exhibits and demonstrations from volunteers who bring the museum to life. The museum is only open on weekends during the winter months, with hours expanding as the weather warms. Entry is included with the Copenhagen Card.
Experimentarium (official website) is a science & technology museum located just north of Copenhagen. In 2018, Time magazine named it one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places. The museum is housed inside a building formerly owned by the Danish brewery Tuborg. The facade of the building is made from recycled aluminum cans. Inside, there are a variety of interactive exhibits that visitors of all ages will enjoy, but it’s an especially great museum for kids. The Copenhagen Card includes entry to the Experimentarium.
Ordrupgaard (official website) is an art museum located north of Copenhagen. The museum’s collection specializes in 19th & 20th century Danish & French art. The nearby Finn Juhl House focuses on the life & work of the Danish architect. Entry is free with the Copenhagen Card.
As you can see, there are so many excellent Copenhagen museums to fit anyone’s itinerary, whether you are interested in learning more about Danish history, looking for fun museums to visit with kids, or wanting to see beautiful art.