Want to learn more about the Danish heritage and how the nation came to be? Travel back in time and visit the legendary Vikings and admire the famous Golden Horns. If you are travelling with kids, we recommend you visit the Children’s Museum within the National Museum. Here are no ‘Do not touch’ signs, just fun! Learn more about the National Museum below.
The Danish Viking – The End of An Era
The Viking Age, from 800 until 1050 AD, marked the end of Danish prehistory and was the very beginning of the long lineage Scandinavian Kings and, much later, Queens.
The tales of the Nordic Viking are many and vary a lot, from bloodthirsty heathens and thieves to settlers and farmers. They travelled and made settlements as far away as the British Isles, Iceland, and even North America. It might not seem far away to us but imagine crossing the open sea in a wooden boat sailed by oars.
Even today, the legacy of the Vikings is so potent that Scandinavians, especially men with a certain rugged look, are often colloquially referred to as 'Vikings'. This modern nod to our ancestors is more about appearance and cultural heritage than historical accuracy.
The Golden Horns – A Dramatic Tale
The Golden Horns are some of the most famous and unique findings from the Danish past… although they are actually only copies of the original Golden Horns! The original Golden Horns, dating back to around 400 AD, were decorated with mysterious figures as centaurs, humans with hornet helmets (Vikings perhaps?), jumping animals, and so on, and it is unclear if these decorations told a story or was simply just decorations. The mystery continues, as the maker of these horns remains unknown to this day.
In 1802, the original Golden Horns were stolen from the Royal Art Museum in Copenhagen by Niels Heidenreich. Formerly convicted of forging coins and with a struggling goldsmith business, Niels Heidenreich melted the golden horns down to make copies of Indian coins and buckles among other things. When this was found out, the state forced all buyers to hand in their gold, and then it was melted into coins. The state didn’t locate two pairs of earrings, and those can be seen today at the National Museum as part of the exhibition ‘Danish Prehistory’.
A Children’s Museum - Have Fun Diving Into the Past
Let your kids loose in the Children’s Museum, where they can discover the Danish history through fun and educational activities for kids. Burn off some excess energy at the indoor playground, set sail in a Viking Ship, or prepare a meal in a medieval kitchen. Should the kids want some extra fun and excitement, then go look for the ‘Boredom Button’, press it and see what happens! Will you meet a samurai, a fire-breathing dragon, or something completely different? Buckle up and be prepared for anything.
The above exhibitions are just a few of the many interesting exhibitions you can explore at the National Museum. Luckily, there’s a great restaurant in the museum called Smör, and here you can recharge your batteries with a traditional Danish lunch and local dishes. Make sure to stop by the Museum Shop on your way out and grab a keepsake to remember your visit.
Ready to dive into history? Join our Hop On-Hop Off buses and take the Classic Copenhagen route to stop 10 - Gammel Torv, which is just a few minutes' walk from the museum.
Address: Ny Vestergade 10 / Prinsens Palæ / 1471 Copenhagen K