Christmas markets are high on our list of 12 Dates of Christmas list, and it’s always fun to see a variety of them. The traditional ones are my favorites, but I also appreciate different takes on them to get ready for the holidays. In the summer time, The Frilaandsmuseet (the Open Air Museum) is a regular on our list. Mostly because there is lots of space suitable for toddlers running amok – since our forest schooler is used to being outside and walking all day, this place is perfect for burning off excess energy on the weekends.
The Frilaandsmuseet is only open seasonally but they add a few weekend openings for holidays, like Christmas. While not all buildings are open, most are, and are the backdrop for different workshops or tours or other activities. One hosts a Christmas Carol, one hosts a little play in Danish. As I don’t speak Danish I didn’t follow along much, other than see that this was about an odd looking elf (“nisse”) who was tossing hay everywhere. My daughter, who does speak Danish though, thought it was hilarious. Go figure. In general though, the weekends are aimed at teaching those what Christmas was like in Denmark through two hundred years ago – a few tidbits from a visit here plus a viewing of Babette’s Feast will definitely make you appreciate how far creature comforts have come in Denmark since then.
This place is a great walk, a healthy dose of fresh air and is open one more weekend. However, after visiting ourselves, there are a few tips that came to mind of how you can make the most of the visit, since it is a pretty unique space:
- Prepare for “all-weather”: Truly. This principle pretty much applies everywhere in Denmark, but since this is open air, it really is out in the open. And chances are high that it will rain. Because it’s mostly out in the field, anything more than a sprinkle turns the grounds into a regular mud bath. Galoshes, rain pants, waterproof coats, hats, are all great gear for this. This is the time to be practical. Plus with such glorious puddles all around, if you have little ones, they won’t be able to resist jumping in them at full speed. Trust me. And if you have the stroller bound set in tow, this is the time to bring out the all-terrain one that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Bring change and small bills: There are activities such as the horse carriage, workshops, etc that are in the 20-25 DKK range. Most take mobilpay, but ours did’t seem to work so having some change on hand definitely helped. Try explaining to an eager 4 year old why she can’t get on the horse yet. That is reason enough to have change on hand.
- Review the program ahead of time: This is especially true if you’re not a Danish speaker. They do have a handout with all the activities listed, but it is in Danish, and if it happens to be raining, it’s hard to read it anyway. The program is here in Danish and not available online in English, but you can find the google translate version here. Just having some sense of what the activities are can help since the terrain is quite large and you’ll want to be sure you get to everything. The museum is open from 10-16 but the activities are from 11 to 15 so try to aim to spend the bulk of the early afternoon there.
- Pack a thermos: It can start to feel chilly and this is more of a Christmas exhibit rather than a Christmas market, so to speak. Huts peddling glogg are not exactly at every farm post here so consider bring a thermos of hot chocolate or tea (or glogg) so that you can warm up – helps the hygge feeling. A few easy snacks help too since again, distances are big and you can work up a bit of an appetite.
- Take pictures early: If you do want a few pictures of the museum or yourself/kids at the museum, over focus on those at the beginning – after about 2:30 you start to lose light fast. You can still take them but the best ones will be the ones closer to the start of the visit. The days are short now so frontloading that helps the quality of the pictures – plus, then it means you can take a few and then put the camera away to enjoy the rest of the visit.
- Put a change of dry clothes for any little ones, or dry socks for yourself: If it does happen to be rainy and wet, it will be a nice feeling once you’re back in the car or train.
Enjoy your visit!