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The history of the museum

The Danish Jewish Museum must be a gathering point for research, knowledge and cultural life within Danish Jewish history and cultural heritage in both a local, national and international context. The museum is state-recognised and an independent institution with financial support from Copenhagen Municipality, the state and various foundations.

The Danish Jewish Museum was inaugurated on 8 June 2004 in the presence of Queen Margrethe, former Minister of Culture Brian Mikkelsen, former Mayor of Culture and Leisure Martin Geertsen, the Municipality of Copenhagen, the museum's board, Daniel and Ninna Libeskind, Studio Daniel Libeskind, representatives from the supporting foundations and others who had carried the museum forward.

The museum received great reviews in both the national and international press and was able to begin life as a proper museum with opening hours, staff, research, collection work and fundraising for the museum's operation.

The opening of the museum was the culmination of many years of work. The initiative for the museum came from a group of private individuals who were involved in various ways in a series of exhibitions that were shown in Copenhagen in 1984 on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Mosaic Faith Community. Several of these were involved in the Society for Danish Jewish History, which at the time was the only organizational framework for work with Danish Jewish history. The Art Association Gammel Strand showed the exhibition "Inside the walls: Jewish art and culture in Denmark". An exhibition about Jewish life "You must tell it to your children" was shown at Copenhagen City Hall. The special exhibition "Kings and Citizens" celebrated the anniversary of the Community of Faith in the United States. From this work arose the idea to establish a Jewish museum in Copenhagen, so that the public had a permanent opportunity to encounter Jewish culture in Denmark.

The museum was anchored in a commercial foundation that was founded in 1985 with Hans Weinberger as the museum's first board chairman. The museum has since had its own board and has been an independent institution. The museum was state-recognised from 1 January 2011, and the Danish Jewish cultural heritage thereby became part of Denmark's cultural heritage. The museum manages this special part of Denmark's cultural heritage, is subject to the Act on Museums in Denmark and has the Cultural Heritage Agency as the supervisory authority.

Since its early beginnings in 1985, the museum has received support and help from countless individuals and foundations. In addition, the Mosaic Faith Society has made a significant donation to the museum's collection, which was transferred to the museum's ownership upon state recognition on 1 January 2011. Part of this donation can be seen in the museum's exhibition.

In 2007, the museum launched an extensive research and dissemination project on the wartime experiences of Danish Jews from 1943-1945. The special exhibition "HJEM", which opened in October 2013, is the culmination of this project.

In 2022, the museum reopens after a longer shutdown during the corona pandemic and a major renovation project, which leads to a new entrance. The then Minister of Justice, Mattias Tesfaye, came and cut the cord for our reopening.















Reopening in 2022

In 2022, the Danish Jewish Museum reopened with a new entrance. It was carried out by the Polish-American star architect Daniel Libeskind, who has previously been responsible for the museum's distinctive architectural expression. The entrance area grows out of the existing forecourt in front of the museum in Bibliotekshaven in the heart of Copenhagen. It creates a better and more visible entrance to the museum. In addition, it is in many ways a completion of the work that was begun with the foundation of the museum in 2004.
The entrance party signals that the Danish Jewish Museum is working hard to make Danish Jewish history more visible, accessible and current. In connection with the work on the entrance, a new strategy for the museum has been drawn up, and at the same time work is being done to create completely new exhibitions and experiences in the unique architectural setting. In this way, the new entrance also ushers in a new era for the museum and the dissemination of Danish Jewish history.
Minister of Justice Mattias Tesfaye cut the cord for our reopening. Later in the year, H.M. The Queen also stopped by the museum on the occasion of the marking of 400 years of Danish Jewish life in Denmark.
It was a great pleasure to be able to show H.M. The queen around the new exhibitions, which represent a completely new exhibition approach in Libeskind's iconic architecture. Especially because there is a special connection between the Danish royal house and the history of the Danish Jews, which goes all the way back to 1622, when Christian IV officially invited Jews to live in Denmark. 

Museum director Janus Møller Jensen

Our area of ​​responsibility

Area of ​​responsibility

The museum's area of ​​responsibility is Danish Jewish cultural history in Denmark, mainly in the period after the year 1600 until today.

Here you can read more about the museum's latest accounts, articles of association, business plan, strategy and latest quality assessment. 


Press kit for download

On our website you can download press releases. In addition, we have put together a joint press kit with quotes and descriptions of the various events in connection with the 80th anniversary. Remember to credit and quote - and feel free to write to us when you use the material. You will find it all → here.

If you need logo packages, contact Laura Hoffmann Jensen at lhj@jewmus.dk
















The history of the galley house

The Danish Jewish Museum is housed in the Galley House, which was originally part of Christian IV's (1588-1648) newly established harbor facilities, where the navy's ships, shielded from the eyes of spies, picked up ammunition, cannons and got provisions on board.

The galley house is the same age as the history of the Jews in Denmark and was created under the king who invited the first Jews to Denmark in 1622.

Museum inspector Hans Henrik Appel, Tøjhusmuseet, tells about Galejhuset: The designation galley house originates from the latter part of the 1800th century. It refers to a number of mentions from the years 1642-44 of some boats that were stored under the vault at the provision house. In connection with the construction of the house's 5 vaulted rooms 1605-09, the house is referred to as "the most beautiful house". The house was part of Christian IV's large clothing house complex with i.a. provianthus and port of war that had been begun in 1598.

The house originally had a flat roof with parapets, which could indicate that the house, among other things, was to serve as a defense. Against this, however, the wall on the outside of the facility is only half as thick as the gable wall. In the years 1614-16, a large roof structure was erected, and a smoking chamber was subsequently arranged below. Christian of Anhalt, who visited the facility in 1623, refers to the building as "Det lille tøjhus" and says that "ship pieces" are stored here, i.e. protection for ships. At the beginning of the 1700th century, the building was referred to as "the southern magazine house". The facility was ravaged by a major fire in 1719, and on that occasion the porthole that connected the galley house and the provianthus was completely torn down. In connection with the reconstruction, a bakery was set up in the building.


The construction of Christian IV's Tøjhusanlage with war port begins.


Builder Joseph Matzen gets the contract for the building of "the most beautiful house".


Carpenter Vidt Kragen gets a contract to erect a roof over the flat-roofed building.


Master bricklayer Rasmus Bern gets a contract for fitting out a smoke chamber during the roof erection of the vault at the Provianthus.


Christian of Anhalt mentions in his diary "the second clothing house" with 5 vaults, in which 1000 pieces of ship (cannons) are stored.


Construction of trusses on the semi-roofed house outside the vault at the Provision Farm, in which large quantities of ammunition are stored.


Christian IV mentions the storage of and work on boats in the vault at the Provianthus.


The building is ravaged by fire together with the Provianthus. During the reconstruction, a bakery will be installed on the ground floor. The gate that connected the building to the Provianthus is not being rebuilt.


A harness magazine is set up on the 1st floor, while the vaults are used for a workshop and magazine.


The port of war is fulfilled.


Hans J. Holm's library building is built above the building.