The emblem and concept of the museum is the Hebrew word Mitzvah, which can be translated as “obligation”, “deeply felt reaction”, “involvement” or “good deed”. The word Mitzvah represents the generally positive Jewish experience in Denmark and the special experience of being saved, and has become part of the museum’s logo.
The museum is built within a space which is already historic, and is thus placed in unique surroundings. The Royal Boat House was built at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Christian IV. When the Royal Library was built in 1906, the Royal Boat House became part of the new building, and at the end of the twentieth century the building was changed again, when the Royal Library was refurbished and the Black Diamond was built.
Now the museum is a new phase in the fascinating development of this building. The space and the change in its functions through almost half a millennium express unusual continuity, and the building’s many layers reflect strikingly the many layers of Danish-Jewish history.
Libeskind himself describes the corridor space as a sort of text running within a frame made up of of many other surfaces – walls, inner spaces, showcases, virtual perspectives – and draws a parallel with the way in which Jewish core texts such as the Talmud are always presented surrounded by commentary, and are always seen in relation to this commentary. An additional text is written into the corridor space: the corridor area is shaped in the form of the Hebrew letters from the word Mitzvah, so the museum’s guests walk inside the four huge letters.
As a visitor, you step into an exhibition made up of an enigmatic and expressive landscape. The light wood casing on the walls is a reference to the Nordic context, while the sloping floors remind one of high sea, and luminous glass windows are cut into the walls as another reference to Mitzvah. Visitors experience the space with all their senses and in their own way. In Libeskind’s words: “The Danish Jewish Museum will become a destination which will reveal the deep tradition and its future in the unprecedented space of Mitzvah. The intertwining of the old structure of the vaulted brick space of the Royal Library and the unexpected connection to the unique exhibition space creates a dynamic dialogue between architecture of the past and of the future - the newness of the old and the agelessness of the new.
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Get a discount of 10% at selected cafés by showing your ticket from the museum (Photo: Eddie Michel Azoulay).
- an exhibition about Jews in Denmark
The exhibition is a broad story of Jewish life in Denmark and focuses on co-exixstence and indentity through 400 years. Read more...
1. June - 31. August:
Tuesday-Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm