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The Danes’ seemingly limitless enthusiasm for dressing up and re-creating history reaches its zenith at Den Gamle By. It’s an engaging, picturesque open-air museum of over 70 half-timbered houses brought here from all corners of Denmark and reconstructed as a provincial market town from the era of Hans Christian Andersen. It also includes a recreated neighbourhood from 1974.
You can take a horse-drawn wagon ride around the site and then visit each building, store and workshop to see craftspeople practising their trade. Small museums cater to different interests – the Danish Poster Museum has some fabulous retro pieces, the Toy Museum showcases antique playthings and the Gallery of Decorative Arts displays silverware, porcelain and clocks. The neighbourhood from 1974 is especially evocative, allowing you step into time-warped retro apartments and a string of businesses ranging from a hairdresser and grocery store, to a TV and hi-fi businesses stocking authentic 1970s gear. You'll even find a beloved local jazz bar that closed in 2008.
The website details kid-friendly activities for visitors – these peak in July and August and in the lead-up to Christmas.
Den Gamle By is 1.5km west of the city centre (a 20-minute walk from the train station); buses 3A, 14, 111, 114 and 116 stop nearby. There’s a detailed schedule of opening hours and admission prices (set according to the museum's activities) outlined on the website. Outside of opening hours you can stroll the cobbled streets for free.