The Workers’ Museum is in a building that has belonged to the Danish Labor Unions for many decades. The building also houses the historic Union Assembly Hall, which is still used for union meetings to this day.
Various scenes from the history of the Danish labor movement have been built up in the museum, including this one which shows (in passing) how important bicycles were even many decades ago.
This re-created shop from the 1950s has not only radios and a black-and-white television on display, but also a reel-to-reel tape recorder (see my post on Cutting edge technology … of bygone decades) and an eight-millimeter film projector. And a photo of Elvis before he started putting on weight.
This cartoon was part of a union campaign for women’s rights and equality, showing a woman doing nine things at once — with each of her eight arms, and making coffee on her head at the same time. When I got home I printed this cartoon onto an overhead transparency for use in my English conversation classes, whenever I want to have a discussion on the topic of multitasking. The slogan under the original cartoon read “KVINDERNES KRAV: FULD LIGELØN NU!” which means “Women’s demand: full equal pay now!”
This is part of a new permanent exhibition on Industrial Work, showing how new machines, new processes, mass production and unemployment have changed and continue to change the conditions for the workers.
To bring the history of the Danish labor movement to life, the museum shows the living conditions of three generations of the Sørensen family in Copenhagen from 1885 to 1990. (Note the portrait of S.M. Sørensen on a bicycle.)
Entire apartments of theirs have been reconstructed to show how they lived, as in the years 1889-1891 when Karen Marie and Peter Martin Sørensen lived in a tidy but very small flat with three children and a fourth on the way. The accompanying text says that for the “first years of their marriage they had moved from place to place in search of a decent home.”
The Workers’ Museum is at Rømersgade 22, DK-1362 København K
My photos in this post are from 2009. I revised the text in 2018.
See more posts on Copenhagen, Denmark.
6 thoughts on “The Workers’ Museum in Copenhagen”
A good account of what seems like a very worthwhile museum
The mock-ups of the various apartment rooms look really well done and very interesting. They remind me a little of the East Side Tenement Museum in NYC since the rooms there too are based on those of real families who once lived at that address
Thanks, Sarah. Yes, I thought the re-created apartments were well done, and evidently well researched.
Very amusing drawing of the multitasking lady! Very true too.
I love museums that show the simple life of times past. We have quite a few older houses in Texas. I am astonished they have lasted for hundreds of years with our weather and termites.