Aarhus – Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By (meaning old town) is a substantial open air museum with tens of recreated buildings. The site is large, with several museums and visitors can go in most of the buildings.

One of the main streets around the museum, which are all clearly described on plaques which are placed on the building. They’ve also got a handy app which I downloaded, although there was sufficient information on the buildings to mean that I didn’t really use it much.

It did feel like a rather quaint old town that could have been anywhere in northern Europe. There were also characters placed around the buildings, and walking between them, who visitors could interact with (or ignore if they preferred).

To add to the character of the museum there was a horse drawn carriage being taken around which offered rides to visitors.

Inside the site there were several museums, including one which told the history of Aarhus. This plan to build a huge road through the centre of the city in the 1950s was only narrowly avoided, but it showed the contempt that some officials had for heritage. The museum itself opened in the 1920s in a bid to protect historic buildings which would otherwise be demolished and they’ve done a great job of getting so many.

As well as saving buildings from the last few centuries, work is now on-going to create a 1970s section. They’ve made good progress with this, with a new harbour section currently being constructed opposite. Given that there isn’t a huge amount of land for the museum to use, as it’s actually in the city and not in a rural location, they’ve done really well to fit quite so much into the site.

The museum went on and on, with so many of the buildings being packed with exhibits. This is the motorcycle workshop, with the signage explaining that initially there was no such thing as a car mechanic. The job evolved from bike repairers moving on to repairing motorbikes, then in turn repairing cars.

The train was a bit of a surprise, I hadn’t expected it to have sound effects and for smoke to pump out of it as I walked by. Very impressive, and visitors are allowed to board it to see how all the engineering worked.

I spent several hours at the museum, unfortunately not as long as I wanted because I had some pain with my foot because of the whole coast to coast walk from last week. As usual I was very brave, although my resting it has rather put an end to the day’s exploration of the city.