The Museum

Ever since we discovered the writings of Isak Dinesen in high school, we've been devoted fans. She remains our favorite Danish writer (forgive us, Hans). Since the 1985 release of Out of Africa, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, thousands of fans have visited the former home of Baroness Karen Blixen, who wrote under her maiden name, Isak Dinesen. Her home, Rungstedlund, at Rungsted Strandvej III (tel. 45-57-10-57), is midway between Copenhagen and Helsingør on the coastal road.

Karen's father, Wilhelm Dinesen, purchased the estate in 1879. She left in 1914 for Kenya when she married Sweden-born Bror van Blixen Finecke, but returned in 1931 and stayed until her death in 1962. It was at Rungstedlund that Blixen wrote her first major success, Seven Gothic Tales, which we consider more memorable than Out of Africa. She also wrote collections of stories, Winter's Tales and Last Tales, here. Before Blixen's father acquired the property, it was called Rungsted Kro, attracting travelers going north from Copenhagen to Helsingør.

Blixen wrote in Ewald's Room, named in honor of poet Johannes Ewald, who stayed at the place when it was an inn. Before her death, Blixen established the Rungstedlund Foundation, which owns the property and its 16-hectare (40-acre) garden and bird sanctuary. The gardens have long been open to the public, but in 1991 the foundation invited Queen Margrethe to open the museum.

In one part of the museum is a small gallery with exhibits in oil, pastel, and charcoal -- all by Blixen. The museum is filled with photographs, manuscripts, and memorabilia that document Blixen's life in both Africa and Denmark.

Visitors pay DKK40 ($6.80/£4) to enter, although children 11 and under go free. It's open May to September, Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm; October to April, Wednesday to Friday 1 to 4pm and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm.

Blixen is buried in the grave at the foot of Edwaldshøj, a hill on the estate.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.