Old Town, Aarhus (Denmark)
Den Gamle By – The Old Town
The ‘Den Gamle By’ (The Old Town) is a perfectly unique attraction in Aarhus for the whole family to go on fascinating journey back in history. The museum is awarded the maximum three stars in the Michelin Travel Guide. Here you will meet people dressed and acting as folk at the end of the 19th century, and also as how people lived and worked in 1927. You can also take a walk through a town district from 1970s’ Denmark, complete with streets, townhouses, shops, backyards, and workshops re-erected exactly as they stood in the past.
In the Welfare State of Denmark
In the 70s town district you can drop by the shops, including Poul’s Radio and TV shop, the mini-supermarket, the gynaecologist clinic, the kindergarten, and the hairdresser’s. The townhouses are inhabited by various people, including a nuclear family, a commune, and a blind man. In the backyard are parked a Beetle and the plumber’s Citroën. And you can also go inside the moped workshop and the scouts’ meeting room. At the end of the Havnegade street lies the historical Aarhus jazz bar Bent J with occasional live music on stage.
Once upon a time before 1900
The oldest part of the Den Gamle By is representative of a small Danish market town complete with houses, gardens, dwellings, shops and workshops. The buildings originate from towns all over Denmark and they have been re-erected in the museum’s grounds. From April and throughout the year you can meet the people of yore in the kitchens, the living rooms, and in the grocery shop.
The 1920s – modern times have arrived
In 1927, the townscape has become modern with cars in the streets, pavements, electric street lamps, telephone poles, and painted wall adverts. In this town quarter of the Den Gamle By lie an ironmonger’s, a bookshop, a Schous Sæbehus chain store, a post office, a telephone exchange, and several residences from before Denmark was hit by the recession in the 1930s.
Close-up to the Danes’ favourite cars in the 1920s
If you enjoy or are curious about motorcars, the town district of 1927 in the Den Gamle By has a treat for you at the authentic motorcar dealer and workshop ‘Automobilforretning Carl Christensen’. Here you can find superb old cars, a showroom, a spare parts shop, and workshops carrying out engine renovations and bicycle repair. This is a great opportunity to get close-up to the infancy of Danish motoring and learn more about the many fascinating vehicles of the time.
Museum of living history
You can meet people dressed, working and behaving just like they did in the olden days. They are cooking food, chopping wood, sewing and needling, or attending to customers in the shops. Feel free to stop for a chat with them; perhaps they will tell you to go and fetch water from the well or throw rubbish on the midden.
Go for a ride in the horse-drawn carriage, or make a good bargain in the period shops. Have a pint in the beer cellar and enjoy a cup of coffee with cake in the tea garden.
In the Festival square the whole family can race on stilts, play skittles, or have fun on the swing boats and on the merry-go-round.
Special exhibitions and smaller museums on site
During the year there are theme days, concerts, activities for children, and a number of special exhibitions. The Den Gamle By museum grounds are also home to other smaller museums, including The Jewellery Box, The Decorative Arts Gallery, The Danish Posters Museum, and The Toy Museum and The Aarhus Stories with 700 square meters of underground exhibition space dedicated to portraying the birth, development, and potential future of Aarhus.
Go on a virtual time travel through The Old Town
Walk through the old, narrow cobbled streets and alleys, and admire the intriguing architecture of the past. Visit the hardworking tailor, stop off at The Toy Museum and see what children once did play with or visit the charming grocery store Rahbek’s Minimarket. Whether you cannot wait to visit The Old Town or just want to refresh the memories, you can take a virtual time travel on your computer screen, clicking past 23 selected houses at the museum to have a foretaste of the experiences that await you or to relive the special atmosphere. You can start the journey here.
Journey back in history for the whole family
In the Den Gamle By urban museum there are buildings which date back all the way to the 16th century. Every year around 500,000 visitors tour the museum.