KØS Museum of art in public spaces

Denmark’s museum for public art

As Denmark’s only museum for public art, KØS collects sketches, scale models, and a variety of other preliminary works for the art that is placed or takes place in public spaces in Denmark. These are artworks that many feel ownership of because they are close to us in everyday life, and therefore are often the subject of wonder, discussion, disapproval, and interest among local users.

The finished works are typically placed permanently somewhere out there, unless they take place as temporary projects that over a period occur in more or less direct interaction with the audience. The works themselves therefore do not form part of the museum’s collection, which instead through drawings, watercolors, and models in plaster, clay, paper, and wood or in the form of project descriptions, notes and sketches, films and photos etc., shows the quality of and the range in the country’s publicly placed works.

The collection’s often impressive sketch sequences, which typically can accommodate many phases in the artistic creation process - from early, loose drafts to gradually more detailed studies and composition sketches to final, thoroughly worked templates and working drawings - can be studied when the museum shows collection exhibitions.

The Queen’s tapestries

The main works in the museum’s collection are visual artist Bjørn Nørgaard’s extensive sketch material for Queen Margrethe II’s tapestries, which she received as a gift from Danish Business in 2000. The sketch material for the 10-year-long work process consists of 11 colorful cartoons in full size with a wealth of historical motifs.

Changing collection exhibitions The KØS Collection is regularly shown in collection exhibitions at the museum and typically consists of a mix of new acquisitions and known works from the collection. Read about our current exhibitions here. The collection consists of more than 18,000 unique sketches, models and preliminary works for art in public spaces and an archive that documents processes and conflicts around art in public spaces. Selections from the collection are regularly exhibited at the museum and activated in KØS’ teaching, just as artists are periodically invited to engage in dialogue with the KØS collection and KØS as an institution.

Explore indoors over three floors or outside on the artistic forecourt by visual artist Ann Lislegaard.

Combine the visit with a trip to the KØS Café and the museum shop with exclusive design items.

Free guided tour the first Sunday of every month."


Current exhibitions:


In her three new photographic series, visual artist Elina Brotherus takes us deep into the heart of Alvar Aalto’s architecture. The new photographic series by Elina Brotherus, one of Finland’s most internationally acclaimed artists, are captured in three key Aalto buildings in Finland: Aalto’s home in Helsinki, his summer cottage also known as the ‘Experimental House,’ and the modernist masterpiece Paimio Sanatorium.

The three new series are now being exhibited for the first time in Denmark through a collaboration between KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces and the Alvar Aalto Museum, where they premiered in 2023. In 2019, the Aalto Foundation granted the artist exclusive access to photograph in Alvar and Aino Aalto’s home in Helsinki and Alvar’s and his second wife Elissa’s private summer villa, the Experimental House in Muuratsalo. The summer villa is a pilgrimage destination for designers and architects due to the couple’s numerous material experiments conducted in the central, beautiful courtyard. It is brought to life in Elina Brotherus’ masterfully composed photographs and takes on a new vitality and presence.

'(self)infatuation', 06.02.24-09.06.24

When a Country Falls in Love with Itself is the title of Elmgreen & Dragset’s artistic dialogue with the Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen’s world-famous sculpture, The Little Mermaid. Erected on Langelinie in 1913 as a gift to Copenhagen from brewer Carl Jacobsen, The Little Mermaid is undoubtedly the most viewed and photographed sculpture in Denmark today. The romantic sculpture is both a tourist magnet and a national symbol.

In 2008, the Danish-Norwegian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset casually placed a mirror in front of the mermaid, in which she – the symbol of the nation – self-reflects. The resulting photographic artwork, When a Country Falls in Love with Itself seemed to indicate that she, the nation, is no longer so interested in gazing out to distant shores but prefers to admire herself. Like The Little Mermaid herself, When a Country Falls in Love with Itself is now a central piece in art history, illustrating how public art functions as focal points for interactions between different viewpoints. It is an example of how contemporary art can elegantly contribute to adding new layers and narratives on top of the already existing.

In 2012, Elmgreen & Dragset once again mirrored the small sculpture with symbolic significance when they created Han for Kulturværftet in Helsingør — a male version of The Little Mermaid who gazes longingly, not at himself, but out into the world. Unlike his sister on Langelinie, who is crafted in bronze, both Han and the stone he sits on are made of polished stainless steel, reflecting the surroundings and those who look at him. And if you are lucky enough to visit the sculpture at the right time, you may experience the young man on the stone opening his eyes and blinking. With Han, Elmgreen & Dragset invites us to look at both him – Han – and ourselves with a loving, but also investigative, curious gaze. Perhaps an invitation to fall in love with something other than ourselves?

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Opening Hours

02.01.2024 - 23.12.2024:
Monday: closed
Tuesday: 11:00 - 17:00
Wednesday: 11:00 - 17:00
Thursday: 11:00 - 17:00
Friday: 11:00 - 17:00
Saturday: 11:00 - 17:00
Sunday: 11:00 - 17:00


Nørregade 29

4600 Køge