6 places not to be missed

Explore Copenhagen through art

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February 19th, 2018

When visiting Copenhagen, it is almost impossible to miss the vibrant art scene that is apparent in countless places around the capital. Here we have put together an art guide of museums and galleries that are well worth a visit, and all except one are within walking distance from our Zleep Hotel Copenhagen City.

National Museum of Denmark (SMK)

The National Museum of Denmark is not to be missed if you are an art lover, a fan of architecture or in any way remotely interested in culture. It is Denmark’s’ largest collection of art, and has over the years grown steadily and gotten substantially bigger. As a result it now has more than 260.000 works of art, together over 700 years old. Many of the works in the museum collection have been donated from major art collectors around the world. There is no other art museum in Denmark that show such a varied collection; from European classics and one of the World’s best Matisse collections, to Denmark’s most extensive collection of modern and contemporary art.

The museum is located in the center of Copenhagen, very close to Nørreport Station, so it is easy to get there either by bus, train, metro or foot – whichever you prefer. The building and architecture itself, is very interesting as it is two separate buildings from different centuries that are adjoined by indoor see through glass bridges. The original building is from 1896 and is a mix of several historical styles linked together with a clearly modern building from 1998.

There is plenty to see and do at SMK, with a café to rest your legs, guided tours for more in depth information and a sketch room for the artistic one. We assure you will be able to spend hours at this magnificent museum.


copenhagenmediacenter.com | © Morten Bjarnhof

Louisiana

Louisiana – the art museum of art museums. Located on a green hill with a fantastic panoramic view over the ocean, it is a leading international art museum. The name comes from the original owner of the old building, who happened to have three, yes three, wives, all named Louise. Thereby the name Louisiana. The museum presents between 6 and 10 exclusive exhibitions a year and the remarkable Louisiana Collection consists of more than 4000 works of art from all over the world. It is far too large to be exhibited all at once, instead it is shown in rotating selective presentations as well as it gives room for external exhibitions. Enjoy art from masters like Matisse, Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Kandinsky, Warhol, Giacometti… the list is never ending.

Louisiana is not just a museum, apart from their delightful café and restaurant, they offer a variety of activities and events, are open late each weekday, and have the most beautiful sculpture park and garden surrounding the buildings. This is where you experience the panoramic views reaching all the way to Sweden and you clearly see how the architecture of the buildings blends in with the nature and landscape. The 60 sculptures in the park, are an important part of the Louisiana Collection; some are large and easily spotted, whilst others blend in to the surroundings. Taking a stroll in the park is a must when visiting. Explore, get lost, find peace. If you visit in summer, here’s an inside tip; bring your swimsuit! Take the steep path down to the waterfront and enjoy the refreshing water at the small jetty. Regardless of weather, Louisiana is worth a visit any day of the week.

copenhagenmediacenter.com | © Kim Hansen

Designmuseum Denmark

When asked what they think of Denmark, many people would possibly answer Danish design. The two words have become complementary and almost as one. Danish design is one of Denmark’s largest brands, and one of the most important characteristics of the country. So of course there is a museum that have gathered all kinds of important Danish design items throughout the years. Designmuseum Denmark, founded in 1926, is situated in one of the most beautiful rococo buildings in the country, the former Royal Frederik’s Hospital. It also has a perfect location in proximity to Nyhavn, close to many other attractive sights in the city. When the weather permits, enjoy a coffee in the garden café or bring your own picnic under the open sky. Apart from design and coffee, the museum also offer a quiet library where you can find art and design books regarding just about anything within that area; there are workshops for all ages as well as educational courses where of course the main focus lays on Danish design.

copenhagenmediacenter.com | © Pernille Klemp

Gl. Strand Kunstforening

This modern art institution is located in the heart of Copenhagen, close to Strøget, Central Station and Nyhavn. It dates back to the 1820s when a group of Danish locals formed the Art Society with the purpose of educating the public and form a connection between the Danish art elite and the common man. Today Gl. Strand Kunstforening presents between 6-8 different exhibitions per year, they show various films at the art cinema Kunstbiografen and they offer modern meeting-rooms in the museum building. Gl. Strand was completely renovated in 2010 to keep up with international standards, but it still keeps its charm and old looks from the 18th century.

The museum offers all kinds of art, but unlike many other art museums, the focus is not as much on paintings and sculptures.
There is plenty to discover at Gl. Strand Kunstforening, especially for the one that is looking for a different kind of art. Enjoy a coffee in the café downstairs, or if the weather permits, one by the waterfront.

Thorvaldsens Museum

Just next to Christiansborg Castle, on the other side of the canal from Gl. Strand Kunstforening, is Denmark’s first museum building; Thorvaldsens Museum. A completely different, but also wonderful, art museum from 1848. It may be self-explanatory but the museum was built in order to present the life’s work of the famous, Danish sculptor and artist Bertel Thorvaldsen. The museum remains unchanged since it opened, over 150 years ago, so it is a great contrast to the pulsating city outside. The museum contains all of Thorvaldsens works of art, as well as his own substantial collection of paintings and ancient objects from Greece, Egypt and Rome. Besides this, the museum has chosen to show changing exhibitions together with the permanent one, including modern and contemporary art – so there is definitely something for every kind of art interested person.
Walk through the immensely colorful rooms with bright wall paint, decorated ceilings and beautiful mosaic floors – everything matched beautifully with Thorvaldsen’s marble and plaster sculptures. The museum offers beautiful scenery together with a world-class art and architecture experience.

copenhagenmediacenter.com | © Christian Alsing

Kunsthall Charlottenborg

Last, but certainly not least, the beautiful art installation in Charlottenborg has an unbeatable location between Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn giving easy access via public transportation. The building itself is an old dutch inspired palace built in 1672 in classic baroque style, and it was first 200 years later it became an exhibition for art. Today, it is one of the largest venues for contemporary art in Europe, and you will clearly see their international focus through the artworks they present. Apart from contemporary art and beautiful surroundings, Kunsthall Charlottenborg is also home to the National Art Library, an art cinema, a specialized bookshop and the praised restaurant and bar Apollo Bar & Canteen. Escape the busy streets outside and enjoy the calm courtyard environment, open to the public.

There are so many fantastic art opportunities in Copenhagen that the list could go on forever, and this was just a brief selection of some of the most popular. Make sure you also check out Arken, a great modern museum located at Ishøj Strand, just a few minutes from  Zleep Hotel Ishøj. And if you like statues and winter gardens, don’t forget about Glyptoteket, just across the street from the central station. All of the museums mentioned on the list are either within walking distance from our Zleep Hotel Copenhagen City or easily accessible with public transport. We look forward to welcoming you!