Horsens, Cultural Capital of the Kystlandet Region in Denmark

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Horsens, Cultural Capital of the Kystlandet Region in Denmark

Horsens has emerged as a bright and colourful centre of excellence for art and culture after throwing off its cloak of industrialisation.

Central to this transition is the Horsens’ pedestrianised main street, Søndergade. Pods of tables and chairs are scattered outside alluring cafés and bars. The majestic buildings of hotels and apartments blocks mingles with historic buildings occupied by independent shops. Horsens also features several art galleries including Art’M, the largest art gallery in the Kystlandet region. In this gallery visitors can admire the work of established artists as well as young, up and coming artists displayed in two large showrooms. There is also a frame factory and a small gift shop. Enhancing the furniture of modern living is an open air exhibition of sculptures, transforming this city street into a sculpture boulevard.

Deer Well by Hugo Liisberg on Søndergade in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

The Sculpture Boulevard in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Søndergade provides the perfect streetscape for an ever growing collection of art pieces by renowned artists including Christian Lemmerz, Maria Rubinke and Michael Kvium who was born in Horsens. This array of sculptures flows in a natural line from the railway station towards the centre of town and then onwards to Horsens Harbour on the Horsens Fjord. It is appropriate that a massive, marble polar bear created by Maria Rubinke, graces the new harbour promenade. It is entitled Remember today… For it is the beginning of always – an inspirational quote by Albert Einstein. One of Horsens most popular restaurants, Dolly’s, is very close to this amazing work of art. Turning back into the town visitors will notice splashes of colour on the walls and gables of the buildings around them. An exciting Street Art trail meanders through many areas of the town.

Remember today... For it is the beginning of always a sculpture by Maria Rubinke in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

The Street Art Trail in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Street art is rapidly becoming a feature of many cities and in Horsens over forty pieces have been incorporated on a variety of platforms throughout the city. A trail map is available illustrating the extent and variety of the pieces included and suggest a route to follow. One striking example is The View from Here by the Italian artist Francesco Camillo Giorgino, known as Millo who paints large-scale murals featuring friendly inhabitants exploring their urban setting. The street art trail passes the lush, green Caroline Amalie Lund Park home to some famous statuary.

The View From Here by Millo in Horsens Kystlandet Denmark

The Caroline Amalie Lund Park in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Benches set amongst the mature trees in the Caroline Amalie Lund Park offer shade, rest and peace to busy people looking for a time out. It is also home to an interesting sculpture entitled Artemis Rides into Spring. The Greek goddess is depicted riding a deer bow her bow in her hand. Artemis was created by Johannes Bjerg using a stuffed deer borrowed from a zoo as his model. In 1936 and sold it to the municipality of Copenhagen. In 1942 it was sold to an industrialist who donated it to the city of Horsens to mark the 500-year celebration. This park was founded in 1843 by the Horsens Marksman Guild. Today the pavilion that was built when the park was created houses the Horsens Art Museum.

Artemis Rides into Spring  by Johannes Bjerg in the Caroline Amalie Lund Park Horsens Kystlandet Denmark

The Art Museum in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

The high profile Horsens Kunstmuseum, the Art Museum, features the largest collection of paintings, drawings and graphic works by the famous Danish artist Michael Kvium, who was born and raised in Horsens. Approaching the museum visitors will be enchanted by the art installations that surround it blending in with the trees, shrubs and flowers of the park Caroline Amalie Lund Park. This modern art includes works by other great Danish artists including Bjørn Nørgaard and Christian Lemmerz. Inside the art museum bright light galleries feature both permanent and temporary exhibitions of art ranging from the famous to the up and coming artists.

Bjørn Nørgaard Sculptures at the entrance to the Art Museum  in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

The Art Museum also features the Café Bella and the Best Beef Sandwich in Denmark 2022. This was developed by the chef here, Jimmy Bjerregaard. This café is very much a part of the art museum as it is situated between the ground floor galleries and the shop. Stroll across the Caroline Amalie Lund Park to a second museum, Horsens Museum.

Jimmy Bjerregaard at Bella Café in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Horsens Museum in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Horsens Museum focuses on local history over the past three centuries. But the many burial mounds that have been excavated locally have yielded artefacts on display here that provide evidence of settlements going back thousands of years. Special attention is paid to Vitus Bering, one of the world’s greatest explorers and a much loved son and citizen of this city. Bering was the man behind the largest expedition in history that involved more than 10,000 people. He has also had an ocean named after him. Horsens Museum occupies an elegant building that dates back to 1915 and was designed by the renowned architect, Viggo Norm, who lived and worked in the city. Norm, more than any other architect, has left his personal imprint on Horsens have been responsible for many significant buildings including the Electricity Works on Gasvej which are now occupied by the Industrial Museum.

Horsens Museum in Horsens,  Kystlandet in Denmark

The Industrial Museum in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

At Horsens Industrimuseum, the Industrial Museum, visitors of all ages can enjoy a journey through the industrial era of Horsens. The museum illustrates how the opening of some the first factories in Denmark influenced the development of the city. People moved here to work in those factories so there was a marked increase in the population. And these factories brought sights, sounds and noises here. These are replicated inside the museum in authentic surroundings which include an assembly line, worker’s living quarters, old stores in a shopping street and huge machines in the plant room. Interaction with the exhibits is encouraged – an all-senses experience. But, Horsens was not only an industrial town, it was also a prison town and home to a state penitentiary which is now a very unusual museum, an experience of prison culture.

Industrial Museum in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Fængslet the Prison Museum in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Fængslet, a state penitentiary was commissioned in 1853 and the last prisoner left its confines in 2006. Initially, this prison was for prisoners serving life sentences and the cells they occupied were barely large enough for a single. Over the years the prison was extended and different categories of prisoners were catered for. During the 1980s and 1990s a Biker Unit was created due to the need to separate members of two outlaw motorcycle groups, the Hells Angels and the Bandidos. It was also necessary to separate them from the other prisoners due to their negative effect on them. Although this unit was officially named Unit 4 West it was generally referred to as the Biker Unit of the Biker Corridor. Learn about life in this prison through a guided tour or, perhaps, spend a night in the cells.

The Biker Corridor at Fængslet the Prison Museum in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Visitors to the prison will be fascinated by the use of moving shadows to create the effect of prisoners still moving along the corridors. This is especially effective in relation to the tunnel painstakingly fashioned by the prison’s most famous escapee Carl August Lorentzen. This, and many other stories are related around the prison’s walls. The prison is also a venue for large events and concerts, in particular Denmark’s largest Medieval Festival held here every year in August. Of course, no culture scene would not be complete without a theatre to stage live performances and the citizens of Horsens are very proud of their New Theatre.

The Great Escape from Horsens Prison in Horsens Kystlandet in Denmark

The New Theatre in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

The New Theatre was established in 2016 through the restoration of the original theatre building which was more than 100 years old. It was intended to offer guests in the theatre a unique experience. To achieve this spaces inspiring moods and emotions through the right lighting have been created by the use of the right lighting. Beyond these areas three indoor stages offer performances that range from local talent, stars of the Danish music scene and international artists. This venue offers approximately 200 shows every year and aims to provide new and exciting cultural experiences. For a different cultural experience in the fresh air visit the trolls on Langelinie.

New Theatre in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Langelinie beside Horsens Fjord in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

Langelinie is a long promenade that stretches along the Horsens Fjord not far from the city centre. It has a restaurant, a sandy beach, a bathing jetty and a large grassy area for relaxation and play. It also has two famous residents, the trolls Laura and Julian. These giant trolls are the work of Danish artist Thomas Dambo who has created his own troll culture of giant trolls created through the use of recycled materials. Traditionally, trolls are mythical monsters but the trolls of Dambo are a different breed – funny and friendly. Six of them are hiding around the Horsens area but others can be found all over the country. Dambo writes “I hope my art will inspire people to see the big potential in recycling and taking better care of our planet”. It certainly makes us smile.

Trolls on Langelinie in Horsens, Kystlandet in Denmark

For more information about attractions in Horsens in the Kystlandet region. click here

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Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller
Valery Collins the Experienced Traveller
 An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing four books she turned to online travel writing.