Tag Archives: Denmark

Denmark’s Glass Museums

Glass Museums in Denmark

While researching the museums in Denmark, I have been amazed by the number and variety of cultural institutions. Denmark is 16,573 square miles, approximately the size of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Despite its size, it has over 600 museums. This high number is a testament to support from the government and the Danish people.

Museums range from the internationally known institutions like SMK National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen to local museums like Kokkedal’s Fredensborg Local History Museum. Denmark even has four Viking museums. However, I was fascinated to learn about there are two museums solely dedicated to glass as an art form. I have been interested in this art form ever since visiting Venice over twenty years ago, and this interest inspired me to learn more about these museums. In the port town of Ebeltoft is Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, and Hempel Glasmuseum is located in the southern city of Nykøbing.

Danish glass artist Finn Lynggaard, along with Erling Rasmussen and Bent Fredberg, created Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in 1986. It is a private institution directed by the Foundation for the Collection of Contemporary, International Glass Art. Even though it does not receive financial support from the government, the staff regularly informs the Ministry of Cultural Affairs about their projects. The museum exhibits contemporary, international glass art. It takes an interesting approach to collecting. They select artists to join the collection; once the artists accept, they send objects as a donation or loan. Artists even exchange work or send new items in order to keep the collection current. There are approximately 1,500 items in the permanent collection. It highlights over 700 artists. The museum has integrated into the town of Ebelfort through events like lectures, concerts, and children’s programs and by offering a studio space.

Nykøbing is twice the size of Ebeltoft with a population just over 16,000. Its glass museum Hempel Glasmuseum grew from the collection of industrialist J.C. Hempel (1894-1986). Similar to Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, it is a private museum. Hempel Culture Foundation manages it. In contrast, the Hempel Glasmuseum focuses on the history of glassware and not just contemporary glass art. The museum claims to have Northern Europe’s largest private collection of European glass from 1500 to 1900, as well as the largest collection of ornamental glasses and decorated goblets. In order to promote Danish glass artists, it awards the annual Hempel Glass Prize to a prominent Danish glass artist and displays their work. The museum provides similar programming with concerts, lectures, and children’s activities. Hempel Glasmuseum also tries to create an immersive experience when visiting. As visitors drive up, they see life-size bronze figures surrounded by shrubbery in the Viggo Jarl Sculpture Park.

While these museums have slightly different focuses with contemporary glassware versus historical, they both provide valuable insight into the art medium of glass.

Map of Denmark from Wikimedia Commons
Photograph of the port town Ebeltoft, Denmark, from Wikimedia Commons


Last semester I spent becoming familiar with the Georeferenced Cultural Repository Inventory Codebook. For example, I had to research sites in order to rank them by cultural significance. Some sites proved easier to rank than others. I also became familiar about how to use Google Maps to mark a precise latitude and longitude. The focus of our information gathering had an almost frenetic feel because we were researching sites in the Caribbean, many of which was affected by Hurricanes Rita and Irma.

This semester has started with a continuation of locating and describing relevant institutions. However, there is a different feel to the approach and pacing because I am researching the developed Western European country of Denmark. Unlike the Caribbean islands, De Gruyter’s Museums of the World is filled with sites for Denmark. However, there is still a need for in-depth research and digging. Names need to be translated as best as possible and double checked to see if they still exist. Some museums are part of a larger complex which can present issues when creating tidy or manageable data. There are still some strange cases where museum associations are included, and the decision needs to be made on whether to include them or not. I was grateful that our supervisor Gracie Golden has answered our questions in a timely manner. Because of this, I was able to determine that two of the museum associations did not need to be included in the dataset. I have also been able to make final decisions about translations.

Overall, I’m looking forward to seeing how the individual information we have been collecting will play out in the larger mapping project.

Image result for denmark museum
View of the Design Museum in Copenhagen/København (Wikimedia Creative Commons)
Several museums listed in De Gruyter’s Museums of the World, but additional research was necessary.