Beatles from the museum collection

The history of the museum

The Natural History Museum of Denmark is organised as a department under the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen. The museum was established in 2004 in connection with a merger of the Zoological Museum, the Geological Museum, the Botanical Museum and the Botanical Garden.

Throughout the last decades, the museum has maintained its three locations at the Zoological Museum, the Geological Museum and the Botanical Garden. However, with the construction of a brand new museum building in the Botanical Garden, which is finished in 2025, the museum is finally united at one address. To strengthen the branding of the new museum, the former Geological Museum at Øster Voldgade was renamed The Natural History Museum at the beginning of 2020, and the Zoological Museum at Østerbro closed to the public in October 2022 to make room for the preparations for the relocation of the museum's collections.


Museum Wormianum

Museum Wormianum

Although the Natural History Museum of Denmark is a relatively new organisation, the museum's history can be traced back to the 17th century.  In the middle of the 17th century, the physician Ole Worm (1588-1654)  created the Museum Wormianum, which consisted mainly of a wide-ranging collection of natural specimens: stuffed animals, dried plants and rocks and minerals from all over the world. Museum Wormianum formed together with the Royal Kunstkammer the nucleus of what later became the Geological Museum and the Zoological Museum.

To this day the Museum Wormianum is not only regarded as the first museum of Denmark, but of the world. It held many strange objects, one of which can still be found today in the museum collections: an oak root (mounted upside down) grown around the lower jaw of a horse.

In 1621 Ole Worm also became the director of the Botanical Garden, which at that time had been quite neglected. Here he established a large variety of medicinal plants as well as introducing rare species from abroad.

Zoologisk Museums historie

The present Zoological Museum was established in 1862 as a merger of the Royal Kunstkammer, the Royal Natural History Museum, and the zoological University Museum.







The history of the Geological Museum

The collections of the Geological Museum are rooted in the 17th century Museum Wormianum and the Royal Kunstkammer. The oldest object in the museum is the 218 kg silver specimen from the Kongsberg silver mine in Norway dated 24th August 1666. It is one of the very few objects that can be traced back to the Royal Kunstkammer for certain.






In 1893 the museum moved to Østervold where a new building was constructed to accommodate both the Mineralogical Museum and the Chemistry Laboratory of the University of Copenhagen. A few years later the exhibitions were ready to let in visitors. In 1962 the chemists moved out and the geologists took over the entire building at Østervold 5-7.




The history of the Botanical Garden

Akvarel af Palmehuset


The history of the Botanical Garden dates back to August 2 1600 in Krystalgade in Copenhagen. The garden has developed extensively over the years and has had four different addresses.