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Why is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark?

The lovely grounds of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

I love museums, and I have a memory from a couple of years ago (in my pre-blogging existence) of reading a travel magazine (have Googled this article to no avail) and seeing beautiful photos of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. I can recall thinking, I’d really love to go there. I can remember feeling puzzled why something called the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art was in Denmark. And then, upon realizing that this museum is not even located in Copenhagen, I dejectedly thought to myself, I’ll probably never get to go.

Well, I got to go! And it was fantastic! A must if you’re visiting Copenhagen. Or really anywhere in Denmark. The county’s not that big.

Alexander Calder sculptures in the Sculpture Park of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is in Denmark.

Alexander Calder sculptures in the Sculpture Park of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. You can see the cafe on the left…

After we left our friends in Skane, Sweden, last July, we were on our way to Copenhagen for three nights before we returned to New York City. We decided to take advantage of having a car before we would have to give it back the next day (no need for a car in Copenhagen). So my idea was that we would drive directly from Sankt Oloft, a small town in Southern Sweden to the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, Denmark. Then we would arrive in Copenhagen that evening after having spent the afternoon at the museum. The museum is 35km outside of Copenhagen, which is approximately a 30-minute drive or train ride. The whole plan worked out quite well…

The original villa on the property that's now the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

The original villa on the property that’s now the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

The verb “explore” really describes what you do at The Louisiana Museum. It’s not like it’s a huge building where you just shuffle around, gazing at art. No, it’s a bunch of little buildings (modern and historic) and paths. You’re really moving the entire time. The landscaping of the grounds is just incredible; both the artwork and the plants are laid out on the rolling hills just perfectly. And then you’ve got the Oresund, the sound between Denmark and Sweden, as your backdrop. At times,  I spotted some turquoise in the water, which is not what I was expected so far North.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (in Denmark!) is open year-round, but it's best to go in the late spring, summer or fall so you can enjoy the gardens.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is open year-round, but it’s best to go in the late spring, summer or fall so you can enjoy the gardens.

Even when you’re inside the museum, it’s not a passive experience. You’re constantly in and out of spaces, taking in some of the finest pieces of art produced from 1945 on. The impressive artist roster includes Picasso, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Rauschenberg, Henry Moore, Louise Bourgeois, Philip Guston, Morris Louis, Jorn, Baselitz, Polke, Kiefe, Per Kirkeby and many more. When we were there in July 2012, there was a special exhibit about Nordic Design. The exhibit focused on architecture included dwelling designs (that you could go inside) from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. I love being able to learn more about the place that I’m visiting.

Interesting architecture at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark

Interesting architecture at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark

So how did the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art get its name? It’s because the first owner of the property, Alexander Brun, who named the villa (the original museum) after his three wives, who were all named Louise. I guess Alexander knew his type: women named Louise!

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art has one of the best collections in Europe, and the world.

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art has one of the best collections in Europe, and the world.

Like so many museums and historical sites in Scandinavia, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art remembers its youngest visitors. There's a whole Children's Wing, with ample room for them to get creative!

Like so many museums and historical sites in Scandinavia, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art remembers its youngest visitors. There’s a whole Children’s Wing, with ample room for them to get creative!

The Sculpture Park at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a beautiful place... to send a text message!

The Sculpture Park at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a beautiful place… to send a text message!

10 Responses to Why is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark?

  1. Lindsay
    Twitter: thetraveluster
    July 3, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    Hilarious! I love this! I’m from Louisiana and have been trying to get to Denmark for quite some time. I love that the museum was named after this Alexander fella’s THREE wives- all named Louise! Good story! There’s also an Alexandria in Louisiana, by the way. :-)
    Lindsay recently posted..Movie Monday: Our Private Beach in Maupiti, French Polynesia

  2. Karen July 3, 2013 at 2:41 am #

    What a great looking museum! I love that you said it’s all spread out and kind of meandering. I think art should be experienced and loved, not just stared at from behind some velvet rope. It definitely seems like this is that type of place. As if i needed another reason to want to visit Copenhagen!

  3. Penny Sadler July 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    Nice story. Looks like a nice outdoor space too, which is great for photographs!
    Penny Sadler recently posted..Postcard: Duomo di Milano

  4. Kate July 5, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    The greens in these pics are so vibrant. Denmark seems like a fun place to visit. I’m a big time amerophile but I really should give europe more of a chance.
    Kate recently posted..Lovin’ This Slow Travel Life in New York City

  5. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    July 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Love the amazing setting of the Louisiana Museum and all of the green space that you get to explore going in an out of the exhibits.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Proves Yelp Can’t Be Trusted

  6. Gabi @The Nomadic Family
    Twitter: nomadfamtravels
    July 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    the grass, the openness to the sky, the kids section… all lovely and perfect. thank you for sharing.
    Gabi @The Nomadic Family recently posted..Part 1: Life on the Road Education- Meeting Raffy Our Neighbor in Maolbaol, Philippines

  7. Larissa
    Twitter: changes_long
    July 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    What a beautiful place! I love learning about things that are a bit off the beaten path–and the story of the the “3 Louises” is terrific! :)
    Larissa recently posted..Your Independence Day: How to live a nomadic life

  8. Sandra Foyt
    Twitter: SandraFoyt
    July 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    How lovely to experience these pieces within such a beautiful landscape. I’m curious about the architectural exhibit; do the walk-in structures remain, or were they only temporary?
    Sandra Foyt recently posted..15 Irresistible New York City Treats

  9. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter: flashpackerfam
    July 7, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    Looks like a great place to take little kids… lots of space to run around and an opportunity to get interactive.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Our European Bucket List

  10. Ashley at NOXP January 4, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    I just visited the Louisiana this past October, and it’s one of the best museums I’ve ever been to! The sculpture garden and the views from the cafe are absolutely stunning. I could of admired the Calders all day long. Walking up to the museum settled in a little residential area, you really have no idea what to expect…the Louisiana was highly recommended by friends and I’m so glad it lives up to all the hype.
    Ashley at NOXP recently posted..Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

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