Denmark, Day 3: Is It Vikings Yet?

Friday, May 5 started a lot like the last two days: looking for breakfast. Our one plan for the day was to visit the National Museum, which we assumed would take a long time to get through (we were right). So we bused it downtown and took a little walk. On Wednesday we had spotted the Improv Comedy Copenhagen Theater and Cafe, which caught our eye because it advertised improv comedy in English. They also advertised their own breakfast plate. We thought, what do we have to lose? We were pleasantly surprised because the food was delicious.


The National Museum is in a beautiful building. Everything is in a beautiful building here.


The museum has the modest goal of telling all of Danish history, beginning with the arrival of the first humans. These are all pre-Viking pieces. Prehistory photo dump, go!

Apparently it was common practice to sacrifice your slain enemy’s weapons, tools, horses, etc, into bogs after a battle, so the museum just has cases and cases of this stuff (as you can see in the sword-case picture).

There wasn’t a ton of artifacts from the beginning of the common era through the conversion of Denmark to Christianity. They don’t explicitly say why. Here were some of my favorites:

One thing I didn’t have a lot of knowledge of before this museum was how active the culture of sacrifice was under pre-Christian Scandinavians. If a wealthy person died, they would have tons of physical grave goods, plus sacrificed horses, dogs, and slaves. Very intense.

There was a lot of Medieval and Renaissance-era artifacts, some of which were pretty gnarly. Enjoy:


Apparently there was a lot of concern during the Enlightenment/Global Colonial Times about Danish folk customs and how they probably weren’t in keeping with Christian faith (especially post-Reformation). Thankfully, the museum didn’t have an opinion on that, but they did have some fun folk artifacts:

And folk costumes:

And some fun nautical-themed stuff:


Most of us are familiar with the broad strokes of 20th century European history — I am no exception. Here’s the last National Museum photo dump, all from the previous century. There’s no particular theme here, I just thought they were neat:


Worn out, we naturally decided to wear ourselves out more by wandering the streets of Vesterbro in search of dinner. Highlights include these next-door neighbors,

Dinner at Cafe Zakabona (my burger had fresh cucumber and pickled jalapeno, which sounds like the opposite of good but was delicious),


And a final stop at a coffee shop/record store. The guy was a little standoffish, so I didn’t take any pictures. It was pretty tiny anyway.

Stray observations and surprises:

  • Not a lot of Viking history at the National Museum.
  • It is impossible for us to pick a place to eat when we’re starving.
  • There’s a TON of takeout places in Vesterbro, which would be great if we didn’t have to cross over a highway to get back to our apartment, which would render anything we bought too cold to be appetizing. Most takeout places have two or fewer seats, so they’re not super welcoming to eat in. Hopefully we’ll have good weather the next couple days so we can enjoy that famous Danish pizza al fresco.

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