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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A Little More Ordinary

Treasure Chest

As I wrote in my last post, my daughter and I were heading to a nearby village to visit The Treasure Box, a seemingly magical store where you could find just about anything. However, what I didn’t write was that there was a reason we needed to go there this weekend – the store was closing down, and Saturday was their final day.

I know – sad-face, right?

Well, we certainly were sad when we got there and saw the store filled with people going in and out, cards strung across the room from well-wishers. It turns out that, after thirty-three years in business together, the charming couple who run the store are retiring. When I asked if someone would be taking over, they said no – a Simmonds Bakery was moving in.

I managed to sneak a couple of interior shots, just to give you an idea of what it was like

I managed to sneak a couple of interior shots, just to give you an idea of what it was like

You know, I like a baked good as much as the next person, but to hear that a chain store bakery would be taking over such a magical little shop was disappointing, to say the least. However, if I find I can go into this Simmonds and ask for any type of baked good I can think of, and they can then go into ‘the back room’ and get it for me, then I know that they’ll have tapped into the magical portal of wishes, or whatever it was back there that gave each shopper whatever it was they were looking for.


When I took this shot, I was standing next to several boxes labelled: ‘Plumbing’, ‘Leg warmers’, ‘Beads’, and one that contained slippers.

So my daughter and I rummaged through the boxes one last time, coming away with an eclectic assortment of goods including ribbons, a nail brush, metal skewers, a saucepan vegetable strainer, an umbrella and, our crowning glory, a giant bag of mixed buttons, which has kept the gorgeous girl busy for the better part of today as she sorts them into individual bags. We could have bought more, but budget and shopping bag constraints meant we had to be reasonable. We paid, then wished the couple well in their new life, thanking them for everything.

Then we stepped out the door for the last time, into a world a little more ordinary.