Ordrupgaard Museum- Art Playground 2018

Do you remember Alice in Wonderland? Alice fell into the hole under the hedge and woke up in a magical garden, full of funny creatures and an amazing new landscape.

This is exactly how my children feel when we visit the gardens of the Ordrupgaard Museum in Charlottenlund, a city 8 km north of Copenhagen. A magical Wonderland appears under the trees: a pine cone house, a gigantic mushroom, a mirror where you can see yourself reflected forever and their favorite one: Olafur Eliasson’s Vær i vejret (Weather the Weather), a ring that emits a gust of fog depending where the wind blows. Magical, believe me.

Now they will inaugurate two new works in the park and I fear my children will want to move there forever.

Ordrupgaard was 100 years ago the home of the successful insurance man Wilhelm Hansen and his wife Henny. Wanting to share with others their unique art collection of Danish and French artists from the 19th and beginning of the 20th century , they opened their beautiful house to the public and this is how this amazing museum was born.

It is difficult to describe with words how beautiful this country mansion is and how well has been conserved. Everytime we go, I can pictured myself in one of these old English movies, where the butler was opening the door to the mansion or the lady of the house was taking care of the roses in the French garden.

In 2005, a new extension was added to the museum, built and designed by one of my favorite architects: the Iraqi-born Zara Hadid. This new crystal building makes the museum even more magical than it was before. House of the restaurant and cafeteria in the building, there is nothing more relaxing that a cup of coffee and a Smørrebrød, the typical Danish open sandwich.

Although at the moment the interior of the museum is closed until the new extension by Norwegian architects Snøhetta will be finished, its interior is the house of French Impressionist art works from Monet, Degas, Renoir or Gauguin among others, as well as from the Danish Golden Age, as Hammershøi.

But what my kids enjoy the most, the reason why we come back once and again, are their magical gardens.

As if the original landscape and gardens were not special enough, every Summer since 2013, internationally acclaimed artists create site-specific works that can be touched and enjoyed. It is what Ordrupgaard calls the Art Playground.

Vær i vejret (Weather the Weather) from Olafur Eliasson

As their webpage says

‘Art? Surely it is something one plays with, jumps on or climb! Indeed, this is what you can look forward to at Ordrupgaard.’

The art displayed in the Ordrupgaard’s park is designed to encourage children and adults to use and enjoy art in a freer way than is possible in the traditional museum space. It is the Wonderland for every Alice that lives in ourselves. A paradise for children and adults alike.

If you are wondering what it is coming next, you will not be disappointed. At the end of May, Ordrupgaard will host  a big Summer party for the inauguration of two new artworks: a giant bamboo maze called “Geometry of Innocence” by the US artist duo Doug and Mike Starn, and a teahouse in the park’s treetops by the Japanese architect Terunobu Fujomori.

In 2019 a Water pavilion by the Danish artist Jeppe Hein will complete the Playground installations.

If you are around on the 31st of May, I highly recommend you to join the Garden party. You and your children will be able to travel to the tree tops in Starn’s impressive bamboo installation Geometry of Innocence or attend a Japanese tea ceremony in Fujimori’s distinctive tea house Tea Tree House .

There will be music by DJ Emma Leth, balloons, candyfloss and if you feel hungry, there will be carts of street food to feed the hungriest. The little one can make great soap bubbles, romp in the beautiful park and participate in the kaleidoscope workshop.

It sounds as amazing as it is. If you cannot go, we will be there to tell you if we have tea with Mad Hatter or the March Hare. Promise!

More info