Where to Celebrate an Old School Danish Jul

Finding old-fashioned Christmas hygge around Denmark

The Danes adore Christmas and hold fast to their holiday rituals. From what they eat to how they decorate their trees and abodes. Want to get a sense of where those customs all started? Step back in time at one of these historic spots across the country. It’s a fun way to explore the beginnings of all those Danish Christmas traditions.

Den Gamle By | Aarhus

400 years of Danish history come alive behind the walls of The Old City, or Den Gamle By, an impressive open-air history museum in the middle of Aarhus. Follow the “julerute,” or Christmas route, to enjoy costumed characters in period dress as they share the evolution of Danish Christmas traditions from 1864, 1927, and 1974. Taste the Christmas cookies in the bakery or take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Every day from 19 November 2022 to 6 January 2023. Plenty of places to warm up inside each historic building.

Den Gamle By
Viborgvej 2, 8000 Aarhus C
19 November 2022 – 6 January 2023

This photo and cover photo credit: Den Gamle By
Visit Den Gamle By Open Air History Museum in Aarhus Denmark | Walk the Streets of Danish history | Oregon Girl Around the World
Kransekage, traditional cakes, and cookies from the bakery at Den Gamle By
Visit Den Gamle By Open Air History Museum in Aarhus Denmark | Walk the Streets of Danish history | Oregon Girl Around the World
READ MORE: Walk the Streets of Danish History at Den Gamle By Museum in Aarhus

Hjerl Hede Open Air Museum | Vinderup

Young and old alike will love the Hjerl Hede cultural museum in the middle of Jutland. Christmas is a perfect season to explore Denmark’s oldest working farm village. Say hello to the animals and taste the classic vaniljekranse cookies made fresh at the bakery. Take a scenic tour on their little train or a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Walk through the workshops and pick up some products for your own traditional Danish Christmas dinner. But don’t miss the season, Hjerl Hede will be open for holiday festivities the first three weekends in December 2022.

Hjerl Hede
Hjerlhedevej 14, 7830 Vinderup
3-4 December, 10-11 December, 17-18 December 2022

Jul på Ærøskobing | Island of Ærø

Take a ferry to the island of Ærø in the south Funen archipelago for a dose of adorable Danish village charm. For three Saturdays beginning the 19th of November to the 3rd of December, the town square hosts a Christmas Market (Julemarked) strung with twinkly lights over cobblestone streets. The decorated lanes and pop-in shops serve mulled wine and Christmas treats. Don’t miss Den Gamle Købmandsgaard for an impressive selection of locally produced goods and gifts inside a cozy spot, good for coffee or lunch.

Julemarked på Ærø
Torvet 5, 5970 Ærøskøbing
19 November, 26 November, 3 December 2022 | 10:00 – 17:00

Half-timbered cuteness in Ærøskobing
Varm chokolade (hot chocolate) from Den Gamle Købmandsgaard, Ærøskobing

Frilandsmuseet | The Open Air Museum | Kongens Lyngby

Similar to the Hjerl Hede in Jutland, the Frilandsmuseet in Kongens Lyngby offers a walk back in time to Danish rural life. The Open Air museum is one of the largest of its kind in the world – sitting only thirty minutes outside the capital Copenhagen. Most years, Christmas happens the first three weekends of December when you can follow naughty Nisse and maybe meet the Julemanden, Denmark’s own version of Santa. Music, theater, history, and more are on display as you move through the farm. Daily parades for Swedish Saint Lucia will illuminate the dark December afternoons. Grab a cup of gløgg or varm chokolade (hot chocolate) to warm your fingers as you wander the grounds. Check their website for this year’s details.

Kongevejen 100, 2800 Kongens Lyngby
Jul season from 26 November – 18 December
Open Saturday through Thursday, closed Mondays and Fridays | 10:00 – 16:00

Thatched roof house at Frilandsmuseet

Esrum Kloster & Møllegade | North Zealand

The pastoral setting of the former Esrum Abbey in North Zealand is especially pretty dressed up for a classic medieval Christmas. Littles will love the nature playground if the weather is reasonable. Step inside the Monastery to see what life was like for the monks who worked here since the 12th century. Warm up with the seasonal menu in the Mill Café. Christmas activities and frothy Abbey ales will be on tap at the Kloster for the last weekend of November and the first weekend of December 2022.

Esrum Kloster & Møllegade
Klostergade 12, 3230 Græsted
26-27 November, 3-4 December 2022 | 10:00 – 17:00

Photo credit: Visit Nordsjælland

Kronborg Castle | Helsingør

Home of Hamlet, the Kronborg Castle in Helsingør is well-known for its annual Christmas market, with plenty of stands selling crafts and good eats. But step inside for another seasonal skip back to the time of King Christian the IV. The rooms and grounds of Hamlet’s infamous castle will be decked out like when Christian was a boy. Children can make crafts and meet Julemanden. Characters in 16th-century dress will tell Christmas stories and play tunes to up the julehygge. Level up your adventure by planning ahead for a ride on the vintage Veteran train from Copenhagen or Klampenborg up north.

Jul at Kronborg Castle
Kronborg 2 C, 3000 Helsingør
26-27 November, 3-4 December 2022

Photo credit: Thomas Rahbek

This list is not exclusive, if you live in Denmark and have a palace or slot near you – chances are they will be hosting some traditional and old-fashioned Christmas fun. But plan in advance, as most spaces open for julehygge only a weekend or two during the advent season. And that might mean the end of November. Have a favorite old-school Danish holiday spot I didn’t put on my list. Offer it up in the comments below and share it with others who might want to visit. Christmas time in Denmark is one of the best in the world. Experiencing it old school definitely a unique way to go.

This post has been updated from the original article for The International Denmark, December 2020

So much more Christmas on the blog, just click here to find all the Danish Jul time content. Glædelig Jul. Cheers from here.

6 thoughts on “Where to Celebrate an Old School Danish Jul

  1. Interesting reading.
    My great grandfather lived at Hedegaarden in the area of Kølvrø (Karup) on the moor untill the German invasion in 1940. The farm was taken appartement Stone by Stone and moved to Friland Museet. The Germans wanted the land for an airfield. Today Karup Airport.
    My great grandfather was educated as a teacher and he practiced by walking from small fram to small farm to teach the kids at the farm. The agreement with the Frilans Museet was, that he would get wood and other material to build a new small house. He never got around to it. He moved in to my grandparents house untill he moved to the old peoples home in the town Sunds. He past away in 1947.
    Best regards
    Carsten Noergaard

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