Skagen: An Insider's Guide

Museum Quality: Skagen’s Arts Tradition Continues at the Grenen


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Grenen Kunstmuseum sits at the tip of Denmark`s northernmost dunes, just above the point where the waters of the Kattegat and Skagerrak meet. 

Axel Lind, a prominent modern Danish painter known for his marine-inspired artworks, established the museum in 1977. His goal was to make northern Jutland a cultural landmark, expanding the horizon of the local arts movement to an international vision of how art and nature are essential to our well-being. Today, Kristen Lind continues this legacy begun by her late husband. Here she explains how the nature of Skagen is inextricably tied to the nature of the art she exhibits. 

How would you describe the artists you show?

“We have an exciting group of artists here, among them Danes, Spaniards, Italians and Dutch. When selecting works, what matters most is not their nationality, but their art. Our art director always says that when choosing artists and works of art he needs to be convinced that the work is art we cannot do without. And judging by all the work you see around you, there’s a lot of art we can’t do without.”

What inspires Skagen’s modern painters?

“Today’s Skagen painters are inspired by, amongst other things, the surrounding nature and the old Skagen painters. Everyone knows and loves the special nature and light found here. There’s no one style of Skagen art or Danish art nowadays; everything has become much more international thanks to modern media, which spreads inspiration and influences like wildfire.”

What impresses visitors the most about your exhibitions and/or gallery?

“Our paintings affect people in different ways. Some rush through the gallery and museum in no time at all, while others spend quite some time and/or return several times. We have a psychologist who comes here daily to meditate in front of the maritime paintings; many guests return again and again.”

Do you think the art coming from this area has inspired Danish design? If so, how?

“There is no doubt that Skagen, and the art coming from this area, have inspired Danish design, both furniture and all things decorative.”

What is Skagen like in the wintertime?

“Skagen is quiet in the winter compared to the hectic summer months, but that’s what’s so wonderful about it. The nature here is beautiful all year round.”