The Design Museum Danmark is one of the top sights to see in Copenhagen. It exhibits Danish designs from mostly the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen is one of the most popular sights amongst visitors to the capital of Denmark. The emphasis in the museum is on Danish designs of the 20th and 21st centuries but international works are also on display. All forms of design are covered including fashion, household items, architecture, porcelain, and of course furniture. The Danish Chair is one of the most popular sections in the permanent collection. Admission is free for anyone younger than 26! Copenhagen Card is valid.
The Designmuseum Danmark in København
The Danish Design Museum in Copenhagen focuses on Danish designs of especially the 20th and 21st centuries in the fields of industrial design, furniture making, fashion and crafts. However, the collection and displays also include major international works and older designs especially to show the influence on later developments of classical ideas.
The permanent collection is enhanced by temporary exhibitions that generally change twice per year. Bauhaus – not surprisingly – features strongly in 2019.
Permanent Collection of the Danish Design Museum
The permanent collection of the Designmuseum Danmark is displayed in the following main themes:
- Danish Design Now – contemporary 21st century design items from all fields but including a wide range of household items that could make popular and useful souvenirs from a visit to Copenhagen. Many items are on sale in the museum shop or any of the huge number of art and design shops in Copenhagen.
- Design and Crafts from the 20th Century – for many the heart of the museum and essence of Danish design. See more below.
- Fashion & Fabric – around 400 objects covering the development of fashion over the past four centuries.
- Learning from Japan – combining items from Japan and Denmark to confirm the strong influence Japanese simplicity and obsession with perfection had on Danish designers especially during the 20th century.
- The Porcelain Collection – around 3,000 items from 120 factories made mostly between 1700 and 1880. This impressive collection in three huge display cases is easily missed – it is on the upper floor up the stairs at the rear of the building. (Visit the Royal Copenhagen Outlet store in Frederiksberg for discounts on Danish porcelain.)
Danish Design in the 20th Century
The largest section of the Designmuseum Danmark is on items from the 20th century. This is to many the holy grail of Danish design and include works by such luminaries as Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegener, Finn Juhl and of course Kaare Klint.
The Danish have long been fond of beautifully designed objects in their homes. Not only furniture but also radios (Beomaster, Bang & Olufsen), lights (Poul Henningsen & Louis Poulsen), kitchen ware (Margrethe bowls), telephones, toys (Lego), and other knickknacks (Kay Bojessen) provide that special touch to make a Danish house a home.
A new display explains how 20th century Danish design was influenced by major 19th century ideas and designers, e.g. the contribution of Art Nouveau, Jugendstil and Kaare Klint.
The Danish Chair – An International Affair
The Danish famously love porcelain and lights but when it gets to chairs, design becomes an obsession. A special section in the museum thus deals with the Danish Chair and the interplay with international chair designs.
The highlight of this “the danish chair – an international affair” display is a tunnel of 110 chairs, which is arguably the most-popular part of the museum. Here, each chair is displayed in a single frame like a piece of art. (Many of these chairs are still being produced and priced as if a unique work of art.) Most of these chairs are by Danish designers but the collection also includes famous international work, e.g. the Rietveld zigzag chair displayed above one of the doors.
The famous Egg Chair is too large for the display cases in the tunnel but an original one is displayed nearby in the Danish Design Classics section – no sitting.
Quotes from this section:
“The chair is a very difficult object. Everyone who has ever tried to make one knows that. There are endless possibilities and many problems – the chair has to be light, it has to be strong, it has to be comfortable. It is almost easier to build a skyscraper than a chair.” Ludvig Mies van der Rohe
“The chair is the piece of furniture that is closest to human beings. You can give it the personal touch.” Hans J. Wegner
Visitors Information for the Danish Design Museum
Tickets for the Designmuseum Danmark
Tickets for the Designmuseum Danmark are DKK115 for adults and free for visitors younger than 26 years.
Currently no fixed free days or times.
The Copenhagen Card is accepted.
Admission to the café, bookshop, library and pleasant courtyard garden is free. The café is a popular lunch stop for small meals while three-course dinners are served on Wednesdays.
Opening Hours of the Design Museum
The Designmuseum Danmark is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, closing at 21:00 on Wednesday.
Top Tip: Visit on Sunday when a free 30-minute guided tour in English is included at 14:00. (Sometimes also Wednesday at 18:30 and more tours offered during summer over weekends.)
Transportation to the Danish Design Museum
The Designmuseum Danmark, Bredgade 68, 1260 København K, is in a former mid-18th century King Frederik Hospital in central Copenhagen.
Bus stop Fredericiagade on Bus A1 is very close to the museum but it is also an easy walk from most parts of central Copenhagen.
Other Top Sights near the Design Museum in Copenhagen
Several further popular sights are near the Designmuseum Danmark. It is a pleasant walk from Kong Nytorv and Nyhavn along Bredgade – a road famous in Copenhagen for its high number of art galleries and designer furniture shops. The Frederikskirke (Marble Church), Amalienborg Palace – the residence of the Queen of Denmark – and the Amalienborg Museum are only two blocks away. The Kastel (Fort) and Gefion fountain en route to the Little Mermaid are similarly a short stroll away