Things to do

Spend the potato holiday at an open-air museum

Just before closing down during the cold months, the open-air museums take advantage of the potato holiday to invite adults and children inside for a day of fun activities.

By Stine Rosengren             Pictures: Private/ PR the museums

If you are a fan of going back in time to study life in the “good?” old days- then the Danish open-air museums are an excellent place to start. They are also a great way to get a look back in time to see who the Danes were before they became one of the world’s wealthiest societies.

The museums have collected items from old watermills, utensils and clothing, to the local grocery store, in order to portray Danish life through hundreds of years.

They are also extremely good at creating family friendly activities. Here, adults and children can spend a day having a fun, relaxing time together while learning more about the daily life of the Northern Europeans 100 to 200 years ago.

If you haven’t been yet, they are an amazing insight into how the 20 and 21st centuries’ modern technology revolutionised the way people lived and greatly improved their quality of life.

We have chosen three that are all connected to country and farm life, and take advantage of the autumn season in their activity offers.

They  focus on living history, and strive to be buzzing with life and activities, involving people and animals to make their buildings come alive and communicate important aspects of the history of the village, the farm, or the old grocery shop you might just have entered into.

North of Copenhagen, in Lyngby, you find Frilandsmuseet. Here you can see impressive and atmospheric buildings, old breeds of domestic animals in the fields and attractive, historic gardens.  You can walk around or  take a ride in the horse-drawn carriage.

The museum is one of the oldest and largest open-air museums in the world. It contains over 50 farms, houses, smallholdings and mills from the period 1650-1940.

The potato holiday is always a busy time at the museum and they are really good at creating activities for all age groups.

This year they have organised small theatre plays where you can meet characters from Hans Christian Andersen’s many tales.

Open every day from the 15 October to the 22 October from 11:00 to 15:00. His fantasy characters will be walking around and performing in front of the many historic houses.

Of course, you can buy food to eat in the market’s food hall and buy local produce to take home – it all comes from the agricultural production still taking place at Frilandsmuseet’s many farms.

The website, however, is really not catering from non-Danish speaking foreigners, as the activities of the potato holiday disappear when you select the English language version!

Go anyway and find out more once you are there.

Location: Frilandsmuseet Kongevejen 100, 2800 Lyngby. The museum is part of the National Museum so you have to go on their site to find them. www.natmus.dk/museerne/frilandsmuseet. Phone: 313 4411. Children under the age of 18 free. Adults DKK 65.

Visit a co-operative village at Andelslandsbyen Nyvang and learn more about andels concept used to describe many economic activities that are community based in Denmark. Located near Holbæk on West Zealand you can discover life at a co-operative village.  Here 24 houses and buildings create the framework for how life was lived in Denmark 100 years ago and the village is a museum of cultural history covering the period from 1870-1950.

At Andelslandsbyen you will come across men working on the farms or in the fields with their horses, women washing clothes on washboards, farmers’ wives offering you samples of their cooking.

You can hear the ringing sound of the blacksmith shaping red-hot iron into horseshoes in the background. An activity loved by children is when they take part in the activity at the blacksmith and forge their own clothes hook from hot iron.

These were the years when the co-operative movement had its prime time in Denmark.

The spreading of the movement was of great importance to the democratic development in Denmark and despite its heydays being over the co-operative movement is still a strong part of Danish society today. The influences are found in everything from the production and distribution of dairy products to co-housing and the use of windmills.

During the whole week of the potato holiday there is a daily extra activity schedule, culminating with the livestock market the last weekend (21 &22 October) where you an experience how a real live stock market takes place.

Open every day during the potato holiday from 10:00 to 16:00 at Andelslandsbyen Nyvang, Oldvejen 25, 4300 Holbæk, more information at www. adlbn.dk or phone: 5943 4030. Tickets: children aged 7 to 15 DKK 50. Adults DKK 120.

Check out life a the time of Hans Christian Andersen near Odense on Funen, at Den Fynske Landsby, an open-air museum presenting a Funen village milieu as it could have appeared in the time of the famous writer.

The village includes some 30 buildings dating from the 17th to the 19th century, all of which were moved to the museum from various sites in the region. It comprises half-timbered houses, gardens, fenced enclosures, livestock and animals, a village pond and a village street surrounded by cultivated fields.

Also here the efterårsferie is a busy week with many extra activities every day. Since we are in the potato holiday week, you can of course harvest your own potatoes from the museums fields and take them home for dinner!

One of the more typically Danish  activities is the live slaughtering of a pig, which takes place on Wednesday 18th together with the butcher.

This is only for children when accompanied by an adult and may we add – maybe consider if your young child is ready for this kind of an experience!

The next day (19 October) the butcher will cut out the different parts of it and in the kitchen you can watch how the head is used to prepare “sylte” – a typical Danish winter meal.

The mission of the museum is too teach about the importance of preparing for the long and harsh winter – as in the old days you couldn’t stock up at the local supermarket, but had to prepare during the autumn.

Den Fynske Landsby, Sejerskovvej 20, 5260 Odense S – more information  http://museum.odense.dk/museer/den-fynske-landsby/kalender/efteraarsferie-kartoffelferie. Phone 6551 4601. Open 16 to 20 October from 11:00 to 15:00 Children free. Adults DKK 85.

What’s with the potato? Find out here


How to find other potato holiday events

If you want to find out what is going on at any given museum just put the name of the museum and the word efterårsferie in your browser, and you will certainly find a website full of information.

A lot is still only in Danish, no one seems to believe that tourists will be attracted to them, so you may need to translate the Danish text. Clicking the English language option often makes the Danish efterårsferie part disappear, so that may be no help.

If you enjoy special events – and are in Denmark during this week – it’s really a lot of fun for both adults and children.