5 BEST Museums in Copenhagen

One of the best ways to get to know the history of the place you are visiting, is by exploring the museums there. It’s a perfect activity, whether you are somewhere hot and escaping the sun, or the museum can give you refuge from the rain or cold. I always seek out the museums in the cities that I visit, to see different histories and understand their heritages. This guide will take you through the 5 best museums in Copenhagen!

As two archaeologists, James and I love to fit in visits to historical places (castles are always a favourite) and museums. A holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without wandering the galleries of a museum. So it’s no surprise that we have squeezed quite a few museum visits into our short stays in Copenhagen.

I’ve compiled guides to museums before, such as the 5 best free museums to explore in Edinburgh. Copenhagen is another city that boasts a huge number of museums. Depending the length of your trip, you may be able to check out more than one! As I’ve had a few visits to the city now, I’ve managed to tick off 5 museums (and even squeezed in a couple of re-visits!), which I’ll share in this post – however there are plenty of others to discover if you have the time. Although I’ve called this a guide to the 5 best museums in Copenhagen, there are so many others to explore too!

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The National Museet of Denmark

The National Museum of Denmark foyer with staircase. Sign for the Viking Raid Exhibition

National Museums are the best place to get a good overview of a country’s history – and they often showcase some of the most well known artefacts and objects. The National Museum of Denmark is an impressive museum, with a huge array of history on show. The ground floor is by far the biggest gallery and has a wide collection of Denmark’s prehistory (until 1050AD) with artefacts such as the Gundestrup cauldron, the Trundholm Chariot of the Sun, and even displays of bog bodies. Other levels explore Classical and Near Eastern Antiquities, Middles Ages and Renaissance and an Ethnographic Collection.

Currently, the museum has an exhibition called ‘The Raid’ where you can view an incredible display of objects from the Viking Age before taking part in an immersive story telling of Viking BjΓΆrn Ironside’s journey.

Find out more about the museum on their website here.

The Glyptotek

The NY Carlsberg Glyptotek is a stunning museum which houses a collection of over 10,000 works of art and archaeological objects. The museum was founded by Carl Jacobsen – son of J.C. Jacobsen who founded the brewery Carlsberg. Jacobsen was a lover of the arts, and keen collector, and opened his collection to the public in 1882.

When you first enter the museum, you’ll find yourself in an incredible winter garden, the high roof filled with greenery, sculpture and water features. It’s truly transports you into an idyllic environment, before you lose yourself in a maze of marble statues and sculptures.

The museum has an impressive collection of Greek and Roman sculptures, and Ancient Egyptian artefacts. It’s set out thematically, with interactive headphones and storytelling which explains the historical context of the objects and their importance in a really interesting imaginative way.

Roman Vase with painted reconstruction at the Glyptoteket Museum Denmark

Although we didn’t explore the artist collections, we spent hours wandering around the archaeology galleries, with artefacts from the Mediterranean, as well as the sculpture rooms.

Check out the Glyptoteket museum website here.

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Thorvaldsen Museum

The Thorvaldsen Museum is housed in a striking building, painted yellow and decorated with Egyptian motifs, set around a central courtyard. In the centre of the courtyard is the tomb of Thorvaldsen himself.

Bertel Thorvaldsen was a Danish sculptor. He lived and worked in Rome for most of his life, and built up an incredible collection of sculpture casts. As well as the casts, the museum has a huge collection of his marble sculptures, with themes of classical mythology, Christian imagery and even a statue of Pope Pius VII.

Each of the three levels are dedicated to different aspects of Thorvaldsen’s life and work, and there’s even a small collection of archaeological objects which he collected.

Cabinet of Egyptian artefacts in the Thorvaldsen Museum Copenhagen

Find out more about the museum here!

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is housed in a beautiful red brick building in the Botanical Gardens of Denmark. It is owned by the University of Copenhagen.

THe Natural History Museum of Denmark building with Wildlife Photographer of the Year sign

On my visit, the temporary exhibit that filled the rooms as The Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The rooms were categorised by theme, and each entry included excerpts from the photographer about their stunning photograph.

There are also some rooms with collections of minerals and , showcasing some fascinating geology.

The museum was setting up a new Neanderthals exhibition which arrives in April 2022 and promises to be great!

Find out more about the museum and its exhibits on their website here.

For city guides and trip ideas in Scotland, check out my Scotland page!

The Zoology Museum

The Zoology Museum is a bit of a walk out of central Copenhagen, but well worth the time it takes to get there.

Misty the Diplodocus Dinosaur fossil in the zoology museum in Copenhagen

One of the first things you see on the ground floor is the massive skeleton of a Diplodocus called Misty! The museum has many different sections which showcase different artefacts from zoology, botany and geology. There’s a fantastic section which takes you on a walk through different climate zones and habitats, looking at different species that thrive there. Start by walking through the glaciers of the Ice Age to come face to face with a woolly mammoth!

woolly mammoth in the zoology museum of Copenhagen

The Evolution exhibition is a beautiful display exploring Darwin’s theory of evolution, which guides you through skeletons and fossils which all prove his theory!

The museum is a fantastic place for children – with lots of interactive displays, videos, and a room where they can try slides under the microscope, draw their own dinosaurs, and handle some of the replica animal skulls.

Explore the museum more on their website here!

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If you’re planning to visit any of these museums, be sure to check out daily discounts. For example the Thorvaldsen Museum gives free entry on a Wednesday. Many of the museums also give group ticket discounts – for example, the Natural History Museum, Zoology Museum and Palm House (Botanical Garden) have a combined ticket option which gives you a great discount to all three!

And that’s my guide to the 5 best museums in Copenhagen! I plan to write individual posts for each of these museums, which will appear on the ‘museums’ tab of The Heritage Tourist, and will showcase more of each museum’s collections and galleries. So keep your eyes peeled!

Emily the Heritage Tourist at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen

Of course, there are many more museums in Copenhagen that are more than worth a visit, The Museum of Copenhagen takes a greater look at Copenhagen’s history, whilst the Danish Police Museum explores the history from the corps formation till present day. The Danish War museum takes you through both historic and modern wars, and the Medical Museion showcases the (sometimes gruesome) history of medicine.

If you’re more interested in art museums, then Copenhagen have plenty to visit. Whilst I haven’t visited any of the art museums, I’ve been recommended many including the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the Statens Museum for Kunst and the Hirschsprung Collection.

SO many places to visit, you could easily dedicate a trip to just exploring all these fantastic spots. If you’re looking for more ideas of what to do in Copenhagen then check out this post!

Do you enjoy visiting museums on holidays? Which would be the first museum you’d visit?


Follow my instagram for more snaps and reels at museums and historic sites!

Published by Emily Johnston

Archaeologist and Heritage Tourist Blogger at www.heritagetourist.co.uk

5 thoughts on “5 BEST Museums in Copenhagen

  1. Copenhagen is a great city. I was meant to go until covid became a thing. A few of these museums where on my itinerary. Your post makes me what to book a trip there again.


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