The branding process is mainly focused on three of the museums under the National Museum: the National Museum itself and the Royal Danish Arsenal Museum (Tøjhusmuseet), both in Copenhagen, and the Old Denmark – Open Air Museum (Frilandsmuseet) in Lyngby, north of Copenhagen. The National Museum is convinced that all three museums have the potential to attract a considerably bigger audience than they are currently doing. Meanwhile, surveys conducted by the National Museum have found that many Danes find the museums’ profiles vague and lacking in appeal.

A boost in a time of shrinking budgets

The branding process is enabled by a grant from the New Carlsberg Foundation and is intended to give Denmark’s principal historical museum a boost at a time when it faces major cuts in state funding.

‘Despite political consensus about the important role of culture and history, there appears to be a political majority in support of the current endless automatic two-percent annual cuts in museum budgets. That has produced an untenable situation for our country’s museums that makes it difficult to look ahead, as budgets are being cut to the bone. With this grant to the National Museum we wish to support a process that helps the museum identify a core that is sustainable economically and in relation to the museum’s core purpose, without compromising its crucial role as the backbone of our common knowledge of culture and history,’ says Karsten Ohrt, chairman of the New Carlsberg Foundation.


The grant from the New Carlsberg Foundation supports the National Museum’s desire for a thorough revitalization of the museum.

‘As the new director, I aim to reclaim National Museum’s position as a national beacon. A place where profound scientific insight and research-based knowledge go hand in hand with living, engaging communication. But that won’t happen on its own. And in this process we need to ask our audience, our closest cooperation partners and ourselves, internally, how we can best convey our key message: that the past is not only interesting but also relevant to our efforts to build a common future,’ says the director of the National Museum, Rane Willerslev.

An agenda-setting museum 

The branding process will be overseen by the National Museum’s new Development Department.

‘The support from the New Carlsberg Foundation enables us to lay a firm foundation for our ongoing efforts to develop the National Museum into a visible and agenda-setting cultural institution that communicates our common history in a manner that is engaging and relevant. I am very happy that the New Carlsberg Foundation has given us this opportunity,’ says Camilla Mordhorst, director of research and communication.

Among other elements, the branding process will include comprehensive analysis, a formulation of the museums’ mission and vision and a specific plan of action for highlighting their respective characteristics and offerings to the audience. The New Carlsberg Foundation has previously supported similar processes at Faaborg Museum and other institutions. In connection with the project at Faaborg Museum the foundation published the 2016 report ‘Branding og Synliggørelse – Metoder og redskaber’ (Branding and Profiling – Methods and Tools), which will serve as a source of inspiration for the branding process at the National Museum.

The grant from the New Carlsberg Foundation is specifically limited to the branding process and does not include general support for the day-to-day operation of the museum.