Architecture knowledge in the Nordic countries has a significant role in society. Why is this? Notable architects and designers across history, such as Jørn UtzonSverre FehnArne JacobsenAlvar Aalto, among others, have emerged from the Scandinavian region. Architecture and design specifically have always been present in the Nordic population, so as on their traditions, it is on their DNA. These two practices play a vital role in essential human needs and activities, not to mention that they create emotional effects on people’s wellbeing and preferences on home decor.

However, this role is not only limited to interior and product design inside the Nordic homes. Citizens actually take part in architecture in many different ways, including close contact with architectural and design history and knowledge. As designers from the Scandinavian region had transformed in such a positive and sustainable way their cities, architecture museums have become cultural hubs where citizens learn from the local and international history of architecture and design. Also, Nordic citizens incorporate cultural activities on their agendas, especially during the summer, they find quite fascinating the evolution of their cities so as their transformations. Therefore, once in a while, attending to exhibitions and other cultural activities aside related to architecture and design represents a constant activity that involves them in such processes of transformation. They get to understand what’s their historical background and also how these transformations are carried out.

Here is the list of the top architecture museums you can visit in the Scandinavian region to have an insight into the historical and contemporary movements across the time being. Some of them are allocated in classical buildings, and others have been newly built to create not only exhibition spaces, but to be great cultural spots where different activities take place. These museums serve as places to re-build social fabric, promote resilience, and encourage social participation. If you happen to be in the Nordic countries, do not miss any of them! Enjoy 🙂

Danish Architecture Center (DAC)

© Rasmus Hjortshøj, COAST Studio & BLOX

DAC was located in the historic warehouse Gammel Dok from its origins until 2018, when they moved to BLOX, a newly built building in the waterfront of Copenhagen. BLOX hosts the Danish Architecture Center and also the BLOXHUB, an interdisciplinary innovation environment for sustainable development. This stunning cultural hub is also home for a restaurant, DAC’s café, private homes, a fitness center, a playground and public squares in the surrounding outdoor spaces, which will offer cultural activities all year round.

The Danish Architecture Center’s objective and legitimacy consist in promoting co-operation across the professional boundaries of the construction sector and architecture so that the players, working together, are able to contribute to the forward-looking development of architecture and construction specifically and Danish society in general.

Danish Architecture Center

DAC’s exhibitions consist of showcasing the most exciting and notable architects and their projects across Denmark. They promote dialogue between social issues and future innovations on architecture and its role in the welfare of society. Nevertheless, DAC’s agenda also involves many other artistic practices such as dance, contemporary art, food events, live spectacles, sports, festivals, and so on.

  • Location: Bryghuspladsen 10 1473 København K Danmark
  • Website:

National Museum Architecture Oslo

© Candida Höfer

The National Museum – Architecture in Oslo is one of the departments from the National Museum. Which holds the largest collection in Norway of art, architecture and design. It has hold important exhibition such as “After Belonging” part from the Oslo Architecture Triennale.

The museum presents permanent exhibitions of objects from its collection, and temporary exhibitions of loaned and own material. The museum’s venues in Oslo are currently the National Museum – Architecture and Villa Stenersen. The museum offers a range of exhibitions showing Norwegian and international art, architecture and design, both at its venues in Oslo and elsewhere in Norway in conjunction with its nationwide touring programme, and abroad.

About the National Museum – Architecture collection:

  • The collection includes drawings and photographic documentation, models and other objects.
  • This is Norway’s largest architecture collection and consists of more than 300,000 artefacts, dating from the 1830’s and up until today.
  • Important architects whose works are in the collection are: Ove Bang, Blakstad & Munthe-Kaas, Wenche Selmer, Jan & Jon, Knut Knutsen, Arne Korsmo, Christian Norberg-Schulz, Magnus Poulsson, Erling Viksjø and Sverre Fehn.
© Thomas Mayer Neuss
© Elisabeth Heier

Sweden’s National Centre for Architecture and Design

© ArkDes

ArkDes is an active collecting institution, focused on Swedish modern and contemporary architecture, and maintains, catalogues, conserves and exhibits a collection of around 4 million objects.

Our mission is to increase knowledge of and cultivate debate about how architecture and design affect our lives as citizens. Sweden is in the middle of an unprecedented building boom, one that will define its towns and cities for decades to come. The work of ArkDes aims to influence this change through debate, exhibitions, campaigns and research relating to Swedish and international architecture and design. We aim to put the citizens at the centre of the debate and look at the world through their eyes.

© ArkDes
© ArkDes

Alvar Aalto Foundation

© Alvar Aalto Foundation

The Alvar Aalto Foundation maintains the material and intellectual legacy of the world-famous architect and designer Alvar Aalto, and acts to make his work and thinking more widely known.

The Alvar Aalto Foundation’s sites in Helsinki and Jyväskylä are meeting points for friends of architecture and design from all over the world. The Alvar Aalto Museum, founded in 1966 in Jyväskylä, is a specialist museum of architecture and design, and a national and international centre for information about Alvar Aalto, with extensive collections that form the basis for its exhibitions and publications.

Don’t miss Alvar Aalto Academy for more information on the vast cultural offer and learning activities to spread Aalto’s heritage.

© Alvar Aalto Foundation
© Alvar Aalto Foundation

Credits from the cover photo belong to © Lorena Cruz. This photo was taken in the city of Copenhagen in 2019 and it is showcasing “Formgiving” exhibition at DAC.

By Lorena Cruz

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