The M/S Maritime Museum of Denmark operated by a private foundation since 1915, was for the first 97 years located at Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, Denmark. Its collections cover Danish trade and shipping from 1400 to the present day. In 2013, the museum moved into new underground premises designed by Bjarke Ingels Group around a former dry dock.
Model ships, paintings, photographs and related artifacts illustrate the Napoleonic Wars as well as Danish trade with China and India. Special exhibitions are devoted to navigation, the Danish lifeboat service, lighthouses, shipbuilding, and the sailor's life since the 16th century. The museum also has several thousand paintings, a collection of over 33,000 photographs illustrating virtually all Danish ships since 1880, and a library of 20,000 volumes.
A new museum designed by Bjarke Ingels Group opened in October 2013. Located in a former Helsingør dry dock, it is placed in an underground area of 7,600m2 with an interior designed by Dutch architects Kossmann.dejong. Equipped with teaching facilities, workshops and a café, the museum also hosts conferences and cultural events.
Ingels' decision to build underground was the result of height restrictions imposed on the design in order to safeguard views of nearby Kronborg. The old dry dock, 150m long, 25m wide and 9m deep, proved to be an ideal location but it was first necessary to reinforce the old dock walls before constructing the museum on its periphery. The dock itself will remain an empty space crossed by ramps and bridges providing access to the museum and the exhibition areas. The overall intention is to give the museum the feel of a ship's deck. The competition jury welcomed the proposal, believing it would create a world-class maritime museum for Denmark. Financed by 11 foundations, construction work began in September 2008 and the museum finally was opened on 5 October 2013.
- Architizer A+ Award
- 2014 RIBA EU Award
- 2014 WAF Award
- The design magazine Frame, has ranked the exhibition #2 on a list of the 10 Best New Exhibition Designs.
Culture Harbour Kronborg
Kulturhavn Kronborg is an effort of 2013 to offer a variety of culture experiences to resistance and visitors to Helsingør. Kulturhavn Kronborg is a joint initiative
by Kronborg Castle, Danish Maritime Museum, kulturværftet and Helsingør harbour.