A Jewel of a Museum: Orlogsmuseet
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On location research for the Kydd series one of the first stops I always make are the local sea connections. And on my latest trip, I was most agreeably taken with the Orlogsmuseet, the Royal Danish Naval Museum in Copenhagen. It’s a jewel of a museum, located in a former naval hospital on Christianshavn, near to the site of Nelson’s great battle with the Danes, where he used his telescope to good effect!
It houses one of the world’s finest assembly of naval models, some dating back to the late 17th century, the oldest ship, a vessel from the 1660s. The collection consists of several hundred large and small models, ranging from fully-rigged ships-of-the-line to entire docks and other dioramas. All the models display very fine craftsmanship and exquisite rigging detail. As was the practice in the Age of Sail in many countries, the models served as blue prints for ship builders.
One of the largest of the models is the ship-of-the-line Phoenix, launched in 1810. An incredible model, both in its size and detail. I wonder just how many thousands of hours it took to build!
There are also displays of ships’ equipment, uniforms and nautical art. Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, a luminary of Danish painting, produced some very dramatic work which is represented in the museum.
A place to linger in and soak up the long and illustrious maritime history of Denmark!
One exhibit that I had to pay particular attention to was the indoor display by section of the submarine Spaekhuggeren (killer whale). During my Cold War days in the Navy one of my NATO acquaintances was Orlogskaptajn Johan Knudsen. We are friends to this day and Spaekhuggeren was the first boat he sailed in – and his last command.
The children’s section of the museum is great fun and very hands-on! It was full of enthusiastic schoolchildren when we passed by.
Most of the information on the various exhibits is in Danish and English. The very fine website is in Danish but it gives a good idea of the range of the exhibits.
The Orlogsmuseet website
Pardon my ignorance, Julian, but the dredging machine was mounted on a vessel? What type, please?
This one as all were run by the local harbour authority – keeping the harbour open was in their interest. It was never carried on a vessel and was normally powered by convict labour.
Ahoy Big Jules; have you considered visiting the Royal Norwegian Navy Museum in Horten? It is said to be the oldest Naval Museum in the world.
Certainly plan to when I visit Norway! Not sure when that will be just yet, though.
How does the museum compare to the Maritime Museum at Greenwich for models? I am an amateur artist and would like to start painting sail warships.
The National Maritime Museum is paramount in the world for models but this certainly holds its own.
Thanks, I went there as a boy, as I lived in Charlton,but haven’t been back since.