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Tracing Copenhagen's literary heritage

Copenhagen will host the 2017 Presidents' Meeting of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. Presidents from 22 national associations gather at these annual meetings and besides the formal meetings, get a chance to see some of the city's bibliophile treasures and cultural highlights. 
Below is a list of some of the less known places anyone who is interested in literature, books in general and Denmark's history should explore.
Tracing Copenhagen's literary heritage

The Karen Blixen Museum is located directly by the Øresund Sound in Rungstedlund, an enchanting park and bird sanctuary north of Copenhagen.
Karen Blixen (1885-1962), considered one of Denmark's most significant 20th century writers, was born in Rungstedlund, where she lived most of her life before and after her years in Africa. 

Out of Africa

From 1914 to 1931, Karen Blixen ran a coffee plantation in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Among her best known literary works are the novel Out of Africa, describing this important period of her life, and the short story Babette's Feast, both of which were turned into Oscar-winning films.

The Museum

The museum occupies the rooms where Karen Blixen lived, and it also houses a gallery featuring Karen Blixen's drawings and paintings, a documentary exhibit on her life and work, a library, a film screening room, a café, a museum shop, and an auditorium used for lectures and special exhibitions.


Tracing Copenhagen's literary heritage
Hans Christian Andersen's room at the Magasin du Nord Museum

H.C. Andersen (1805 - 1875) is probably Denmark's most famous writer. His fairy tales have been translated into more than 125 languages, popular until the present day. There has been much speculation about Andersen's real family history, it is likely he was the illegitimate child of Denmark's crown prince and later king, Christian VIII. His funeral was attended by the King and Queen of Denmark and throughout his life he received royal support, but nevertheless at times lived in dour poverty. 

Copenhagen's most famous department store Magasin du Nord houses a museum on Denmark's retail history which also incorporates the years when Andersen lived and wrote in a rented "hotel" room in the building. The museum offers guided tours for a minimum of 10 attendees and is open to the public.
A glimpse into the life of a writer whose fairy tales and poetry have enchanted adults and children alike for almost 200 years. 


Tracing Copenhagen's literary heritage

The Storm P. Museum is another real find and little treasure! The museum is dedicated to the life and work of Robert Storm Petersen (Storm P.), to humour and satire in art and to Danish cartoon history.

Storm P. (1882-1949) was a Danish artist and an influential character in the shaping of Danish humour in the 20th Century. His portrayals of everyday life in his numerous daily comic strips, have made him part of Danish cultural heritage and identity.
Housed in a former police station in the elegant suburb of Frederiksberg, the museum uses sound clips, photographs, films and newspaper clippings to tell the story of his life, his time and his art.
It's quirky, it's different and it's timeless. 


Every year, the presidents of all 22 national antiquarian booksellers' associations that form the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB), meet at the Presidents' Meeting. For 2017, the Danish Antiquarian Booksellers' Association ABF has invited the international rare book trade to Copenhagen. This will be a week of formal meetings with reports and updates from each country, but it is also a week of exchanging ideas with colleagues, networking and a programme to visit some of Copenhagen’s cultural and bibliophile treasures!
Read further. 

Images and Copy © Karen Blixen Museet, © Magasin du Nord Museum on Tripadvisor, © Storm P. Museum

Published since 24 Aug 2017