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Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city, is often hailed as a city of smiles due to its welcoming atmosphere, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Nestled in its heart is an extraordinary gem that not only exemplifies Danish history but also offers a deep dive into the timeless knitting traditions — the outdoor museum, "Den Gamle By" or "The Old Town."

This unique museum takes you on an enchanting journey from 1864 to the present day, recreating the daily life of Danish society across various eras. From quaint cobblestone streets to meticulously recreated homes and shops, stepping into "Den Gamle By" feels like stepping through a time portal.

What struck me most about this captivating museum was the constant presence of yarn and knitting, a testament to Denmark's deep-rooted knitting tradition. This omnipresence of knitting across the ages beautifully showcased how integral this craft was and continues to be to Danish society.

Den Gamle By's old spinnery

In the oldest part of the museum, a painstakingly detailed recreation of a 19th-century spinnery provides an intriguing glimpse into the process of turning raw wool into yarn. Here, you can witness the meticulous selection and washing of wool, which was then spun into yarn. Without today's dyeing technologies, the resulting wool came in natural shades of white, grey, brown, and black, lending an authentic, rustic charm to the garments and accessories created from them.

recreation of a 19th-century spinnery
© Esperanza Rivera de Torre

on the left, shelves with yarn, on the right, wooden trunk with wool fleece
© Esperanza Rivera de Torre

The knitting relax spots

Venturing further into the museum, you'll discover hand-knit items like cozy sweaters and blankets nestled within the recreated homes, reflecting the personal, homemade touch that has always characterized knitting. Picturesque knitting nooks, complete with a comfy chair and in-progress knitting projects, further emphasize this craft's enduring presence in Danish households.

on the left, stranded knitting project, on the right, armchair covered with crochet blanket
© Esperanza Rivera de Torre

on the left, sofa and table with knitting on the center, on the right bed covered with knitted blanket and teddy bear
© Esperanza Rivera de Torre

Appreciating timeless craft

My visit to "Den Gamle By" underscored the profound significance and longstanding tradition of knitting within Danish culture. If you're an avid knitter or a history enthusiast, this museum offers a unique, hands-on exploration of the Danish knitting tradition that you won't want to miss. So, next time you find yourself in the charming city of Aarhus, do take a step back in time with a visit to "Den Gamle By" — you'll leave with a renewed appreciation for the timeless craft of knitting.

If you want to learn more about Danish culture and knitting, check out this article about the Loppemarked.


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