Until recently most of the state-run museums in Copenhagen were completely free to visit, which made it possible to spend a whole day sightseeing on a super-tight budget.
But thanks to recent government cuts, many of those museums are now charging admission fees. We’re never afraid of a challenge, though, so we decided to create a guide to all of the museums and galleries in Copenhagen that are still totally free to visit.
From quirky modern art exhibitions to beautiful old houses filled with sculptures, there are still lots of fun cultural attractions to enjoy in Copenhagen without spending a single krone. We’ve added all of these suggestions to this handy map.
You can get more ideas for frugal things to see and do in Copenhagen by reading this huge guide, which lists 50 free activities.
Museums and galleries that are always free
The David Collection
Wednesdays seem to be the big day for free museums in Copenhagen (see below) but there are still a couple that are free to visit all the time. The David Collection, located just across from the Rosenborg Castle Gardens, is probably the best of the bunch.
It contains an impressive collection of Islamic art, as well as some 18th-century furnishings from around Europe. The artworks here were collected by a local lawyer named Christian Ludvig David, who died in 1960, and the gallery occupies his old house.
Tues–Sun 10am–5pm (until 9pm on Weds)
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Just west of the city centre in Frederiksberg lies Møstings Hus – an old country house turned exhibition space. Fronted by a pond and a couple of mature trees, it seems a little out of place among the nearby apartments and shops.
Small concerts and book launches take place here but the main reason to visit is to check out one of the six annual art exhibitions. It’s all contemporary stuff, covering everything from drawings and paintings to sound installations. The gallery is always free to visit.
Tues–Sun 11am–4pm (closed in July)
There’s a small, free-to-visit museum at Copenhagen’s cathedral, which locals know as Københavns Domkirke. The subject changes each year (paintings have been shown here, and there was once an exhibition about the Danish philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard). At the time of writing, the focus was on religious textiles. As long as there’s no church service taking place, you’re free to look around the cathedral, too.
Mon–Thurs 11am–4pm; Fri & Sun noon–4pm
Museums that are free on Tuesdays
The family behind Denmark’s most famous beer brand, Carlsberg, became very rich indeed. Glyptoteket is testament to just how rich: it’s home to an incredibly array of art and antiquities, including Egyptian mummies and Greek statues. It usually costs 95 DKK to get inside but you can visit for free on Tuesdays.
Dantes Plads 7
Tues–Sun 11am–6pm, Thurs 11am–10pm
Museums that are free on Wednesdays
The Hirschsprung Collection
Another art collection built on the back of Danes’ fondness for intoxication, this gallery was founded by the tobacco magnate Heinrich Hirschsprung. Polished wooden floors and gilded picture frames give the galleries a regal feel, and paintings from Danish ‘golden age’ act as snapshots from the country’s past.
There’s also an extensive collection of drawings, many of them depicting idyllic scenes from rural Denmark.
Ordinarily you have to pay 75 DKK to get into the gallery but on Wednesdays it’s totally free.
Update: This museum is no longer free on Wednesdays, but we think it’s still good value at 75 DKK. Under 18s still go free at all times.
A visit to Thorvaldsens Museum gives you the chance to admire work by Denmark’s most successful sculptor – Bertel Thorvaldsen – in beautiful, laid-back surroundings. When you see his smooth marble statues, which depict gods, cherubs and army chiefs, you’ll understand how he became famous across much of Europe. He even created statues for the Pope.
The museum is free to visit every Wednesday (it’s usually 60 DKK to get in).
Bertel Thorvaldsens Plads 2
Art often comes with a political or social message at Nikolaj Kunsthal, which occupies a converted redbrick church in the centre of Copenhagen. Half a dozen exhibitions take place here every year, tackling subjects as diverse as trust and the internet economy. It’s free to visit every Wednesday.
Nikolaj Plads 10
Tues–Sun noon–5pm (until 9pm on Thurs)