A Trip Into The Past – Den Gamle By, Denmark

In my previous post, I talked about a recent trip I took to Denmark. It was an impromptu trip, so there wasn’t much time to plan any activities. However, sometimes that’s a good thing, as you can ask for recommendations from locals when you get there as to the best places to go.

We had a great time exploring Aarhus in the few days we had, but hands down my favourite place we visited was Den Gamle By, a ‘village’ created from historic buildings brought from all over Denmark to create a living museum.

One of Denmark’s top tourist attractions, Den Gamle By was opened in 1914 and, at the time, was the first open-air museum of its kind anywhere in the world. Consisting of 75 buildings brought from all over Denmark, some dating back to the 1500s, the museum is laid out like a town, with streets and a town square around a canal.

There are three distinct zones, each covering a different period of history; the 1840s, the 1920s and the 1970s, and there are actors in each zone, enacting scenes of everyday life.

The complex also houses a museum, running beneath the modern section, with examples of European art and Scandinavian craft and design. There are also a couple of gift shops, a bakery selling traditional pastries, a bookshop and several food stalls, all designed to fit into whichever era they are part of.

Each building has a blue plaque on it, detailing its history and where it came from, and I really enjoyed details such as the cobbled streets in the old section, which really added to the overall feel of stepping into the past.

Other than the occasional glimpse of a crane or modern building, it really felt like being in another world, in the best way possible, and a reminder of what many European cities and towns used to look like, before war and development changed their faces forever.

I really enjoyed visiting Den Gamle By, and will happily go again whenever I return to Aarhus – it would be lovely to see in the summertime! As a writer, I can never resist a place that makes me feel as though I’m stepping through a portal into another world, and the old buildings felt as though they were full of stories, just waiting to be told…

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11 thoughts on “A Trip Into The Past – Den Gamle By, Denmark

      • I’m just writing up a series of posts on my recent trip to Orkney where we spent much time crawling into Neolithic tombs – feeling the weight of both history and the buildings above was awe-inspiring.

      • Ooh Orkney – that’s on my list of places to visit one day 🙂 Sounds as though you had a marvellous time, will head over to read about it!

      • I can highly recommend Orkney – it has the widest range of historical sites of any place I’ve visited, lots of posts to come…
        There are so many islands, each with its own unique flavour, it demands more than one visit, unless you have a month to spare!

  1. I love when you share posts about these sorts of places. The idea of an open museum sounds wonderful! Stepping into bygone eras definitely ignites the imagination. I’m sometimes jealous of people that lived without modern technology, even though it can be a useful thing. This makes me want to put Denmark on a list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hello! So sorry for the delay in responding – I’ve been quite unwell this month and haven’t even looked at my blog. On the mend now, though 🙂 And I would definitely add Denmark to your list of places to visit – it was such an interesting place, and Den Gamle By really was like stepping back in time 🙂 Thanks for reading, as always x

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