Getting out of a capital city and into the countryside couldn’t be easier than a daytrip north of Copenhagen, where beaches and forests beckon.
In the midst of the glorious landscape, world-class collections of both modern and impressionist art can be found in buildings that show Scandinavian design at its best.
Both Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Ordrupgaard can be visited in one day trip from Copenhagen, using Copenhagen’s excellent public transport infrastructure. Louisiana is a short walk from regional train station Humlebæk (20 minutes by direct train from Nørreport Station, end station Helsingør) while Ordupgaard is best reached using bus no. 185. Visiting both of them allows the traveler not only to see some great works of art but also to get the best of both coast and woodland.
The modern extension of art museum Ordrupgaard, and its surrounding park. — Photo courtesy of Simon Helle Nielsen
We suggest visiting Ordrupgaard first. A lavish country home built in the early 20th-century, it first opened as a museum in the 1950s. The original building now has a contrasting modern extension by acclaimed Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, and houses an extensive collection of French impressionist painting as well as many important works from the Danish Golden Age of art in the 1800s. In addition, Ordupgaard puts on some great temporary exhibitions showcasing living as well as historical artists, and its roaming park is freely available to wander around: adjoining these grounds is a house built by the Danish designer Finn Juel, which is now attached to the art museum.
Bridge in grounds of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. — Photo courtesy of Sakena
On the other side of the royal hunting forest Jægersborg Dyrehave, one of Scandinavia's leading museums for contemporary art, Louisiana, sits perfectly on the Øresund coast between Copenhagen and Helsingør. Like Ordrupgaard, Louisiana blends a country residence with a modern extension, and sits in an attractive park. Louisiana's grounds have been made into a sculpture park and the walk around the reclining figures of English sculptor Henry Moore is boosted by views out to Sweden.
One of the Giacometti sculptures in Louisiana and the gardens beyond. — Photo courtesy of Pedro Layant
If you visit Louisiana during the week, the museum is open as late as 10pm, meaning you can stay for dinner at the excellent onsite restaurant and – if visiting in summer – enjoy the great long days of Scandinavia, when the sun doesn’t set until 11pm. The museum has some great pieces by the Italian sculptor Giacometti - and don't miss out either on the museum's south wing extension, home to its newest acquisition, the monumental Hockney painting A Closer Grand Canyon.