One of the most special attractions in Denmark has to be Den Gamle By. This open air museum in Aarhus is about urban history and -culture. Original houses, shops and other buildings from the 19th century, the twenties and the seventies of the previous century have been moved from their original location and rebuild in Den Gamle By.
The city in 1864
The first and largest part is a market-town of the 19th century, the time of Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish fairy tale writer. The layout is a reconstruction, but the houses are real. The first house that was built was the Renaissance style mansion of the mayor of Aarhus in dating from 1597. It was saved from demolition, carefully dismantled and rebuilt in 1909. Eight merchant houses from Aalborg dating around 1723 and more buildings threatened with demolition from municipalities throughout Denmark followed. The result is a town like that might have existed in 1864 with a small shipyard, a smithy and a village waterpump. With some houses that date a few centuries back. Crafts, dignitaries and grandeur of merchants. The houses are traditionally furnished and there is staff present dressed in costumes of the period, pulling handcarts, baking bread or drive around in a horse drawn carriage.
The city in 1927
The nineteenth century turns into the twentieth. The theme here is the Modern City, where the effects of industrialization, such as petrol pumps, electric light, telephone wires and things like a bicycle can be seen against a backdrop of modern houses with more glass surface. And advertising, industrially produced things like bicycles, cigars, crockery and buckets.
The city in 1974
The latest addition and supposedly the most popular among the elderly, who can explore their youth sentiment, and young people who can see what their parents and grandparents had in their youth. Like TVs that are not flat, cassette tapes and other endearing simple-looking objects.
It is striking how the devices are made of visually very distinct parts made of different materials with seams, screws and edges. And the relatively coarse controls like buttons and switches. Many products from today already look like the things used in science fiction movies of that time. Or the have already surpassed those. But the time machine is still only realized in Den Gamle By.