Karen Blixen was a Danish writer who became known throughout the world as Isak Dinesen, the author of the best-selling novel Out of Africa. Her family home, situated less than half an hour’s drive north of Copenhagen Denmark, became a museum after her death here in 1962. She is buried in the grounds. (M’Bogani House, the Blixens’ farm near Nairobi, is part of the National Museums of Kenya).
Karen Blixen was born in 1885, in this house, to a family of landed gentry. Rungstedlund was one of four properties the family owned here, and indeed it still owns one. Blixen was brought up here, and returned here in 1931 after having spent 17 years coffee-farming in Kenya. Out of Africa is a marvellous book depicting some of the stories and characters that she came across during her life there and it was an instant success. In 1985 an Oscar-winning film was made of the book.
The living rooms in Karen Blixen Museum Denmark are almost exactly as they were while the author was still alive. Some of the furniture was brought back from Kenya, including the favourite chair of her lover, Dennis Finch Hatton. One room is now a gallery displaying some of her art (she studied at Copenhagen’s Academy of Art in her youth), including portraits that she painted while in Africa. Two others are devoted to Blixen’s personal library. Poems, drawings, letters and manuscripts are on display.
In 2004, Karen Blixen Museum Denmark two more rooms were opened, one of which is dedicated to the birds she loved so much. Behind the house are 5.7 ha (14 acres) of garden, meadow and a grove of beech trees, which she made a bird sanctuary in the 1950s. Some 40 different species of bird breed here, in an area supervized by the Danish Ornithological Society.
The museum and former home of Denmark’s first lady of literature.
Half an hour’s drive north of Copenhagen.
You will need a whole day as the house and grounds are extensive.
Tuesday-Sunday May-September, Wednesday-Sunday October-April.