When travelling to another country, I used to try my darnedest to pretend to be one of the locals, and not wanting to be one of those tourists who look lost and helpless. As the years go by, I learn to relax and figure out that it is okay to look lost and helpless, and experience the joy of exploring a country unfamiliar and unknown to me.

Being a proud a tourist in Europe, one of the must-do on my list is to tour a castle (and after that I went on to tour a few more). I have chosen a tour of the Christiansborg Palace which is located in Copenhagen city. The Palace has only one English tour per day and it is conducted at 3pm. So before I embark on my tour, I drop by the National Museum of Denmark which is next to the Palace.

The National Museum of Denmark is one of my favourite museums that I visited in Copenhagen. The museum itself houses a variety of exhibits from around the world and of course a good part of it focused on Danish history. I particularly like three of their main exhibits – The Danish Prehistory, Stories of Denmark and The Children’s Museum.

One of the most interesting and puzzling exhibits at the Danish Prehistory section is the Haraldskaer Mermaid. When I first saw the bones of the mermaid, my brain was going “mermaids are real”. But after reading the guide, I realised this piece was created by an artist called Mille Rude. It is rare that a museum would display a fictional piece especially in the prehistorical section. Yet at the same time, it makes understanding history a bit more fun.

Stories of Denmark chronicles the history of Denmark from 1660 to 2000. It features the everyday life of the Danish, and how the nation progressed through different periods of time. I particularly like to see the kitchenware that was used in the early years – how bowls and pots were first crafted with wood then later created with copper. And you know the workmanship of the kitchenware is excellent as it is still on display after few hundred years. It also makes you wonder how they cook without a Kitchenaid or a food processor. I can only imagine the work the Danish put in to prepare a meal.

As you move along, you start to see how the lives of Danish have progressed and improved with technology – the electric stove, refrigerator, radio, television and so on. And the pots! They are so beautifully designed that I really want to steal one and bring it home. Of course, the Stories of Denmark is not just about pots and pans. It also captures the political environment. As you roam, you will see propaganda posters, Hilter figurines, war-related materials.

My favourite part of the museum is definitely the Children’s Museum. I am a big kid at heart and I love toys. I can spend all day at the Children’s Museum. On display are these boxes of building tools – they are like Lego. The pieces look so intricate and I think it will keep kids entertain for hours. Oh and the museum also has these miniature enamel cookware and reminds me of masak-masak. There are so many toys that I want to play.

Like any typical tourist, I ended my day at the museum at the gift shop. And it was a pretty good gift shop. There were replicas of some of the toys that I seen at the museum. And I managed to buy a few gifts for my friends. I left the museum pretty happy.

National Museum of Denmark
Ny Vestergade 10, Copenhagen
Opening hours: 10.00 am – 5.00 pm (Tue-Sun)
Admission is free.