Down the rabbit hole at Anneberg Kulturpark’s art, culture and culinary retreat
By Lena Hunter
In the heart of Denmark’s spectacular UNESCO Geopark Odsherred – a protected landscape in the north of Sjælland – lies Anneberg Kulturpark, surrounded by forest, fjord and fields.
For a century, the complex of 48 buildings and stunning parkland functioned as a mental hospital. With its own church, fire station, assembly hall and public baths, the park encouraged wellbeing via space, calm and natural beauty.
In 2019, under the direction of owner Gitte Klausen, Anneberg Kulturpark opened 15 of the buildings to the public, continuing the values of joyful community as a powerhouse of arts and crafts, wellness, cultural history, gastronomy and sustainable food production.
The park houses a diverse artist community named Kunstnerfløjen, whose studios and workshops are open to visitors. Newly-opened restaurant MOTA, helmed by Michelin chef Claus Henriksen, was nominated as Breakthrough of the Year 2022 in The Danish Dining Guide.
Meanwhile, two cultural museums, an on-site brewery, a sculpture park and a calendar of festivals, events and tours are just part of Anneberg Kulturpark’s rich offering.
Local, clean, gourmet cuisine
Placing Anneberg firmly on the international culinary radar, restaurant MOTA embodies the Nordic food philosophy of hyper-locality and sustainability. As such, Henriksen’s signature dishes make use of Odsherred’s rich harvest of wild herbs and ingredients.
Nearby fjords and coastlines provide crabs, oysters, mussels and seaweed, while organic vegetables are sourced from the park’s many gardens, farmsteads and wild forests.
In fact, the seaweed deserves a special mention. “This has become ‘the place’ for Danish seaweed,” says Klausen. “We’re a stone’s throw from three different coastlines, which support a variety of species. Sustainable seaweed supplier Dansk Tang was one of the first food companies to come. They’re the first and only in Scandinavia delivering fresh and dried seaweed to restaurants.”
Dansk Tang delivers to Michelin spots all over the Nordics, including the pearl of its dining scene, noma. Yet no restaurant is closer than MOTA.
That’s not the only uncompromising standard under MOTA’s roof. Beyond Henriksen’s exquisite food, the interior alone is worth a visit. The furniture is custom-made by Klausen, produced in Anneberg Kulturpark’s own workshop, while Henriksen himself has designed the ceramics.
Contemporary art, social activism and a psychiatric museum
The three-floor Artist Wing of the main building hosts a community of 35 contemporary artists. Formats on display include photography, jewellery, ceramics, painting, print, textiles and sculpture.
Two on-site museums – the Cultural History Museum, and the newly-opened Psychiatric Museum – also offer a range of art and history exhibitions, as well as guided tours.
Alongside these retrospectives, Anneberg Kulturpark advocates art for social change: “We’re establishing a first-of-its-kind sculpture park in collaboration with 17 artists, which will present a physical manifestation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” explains Klausen.
“The sculptures in 17 Goals on My Mind fit together and interact. They ask: if you want to fight hunger, then what are you going to do about the climate? You can experience these objectives and artworks in relation to one another, by walking around and feeling connected to them.”
Good food, good drinks, goodnight
Even more is blooming this springtime at Anneberg Kulturpark. Skønvirkehaven, a Baroque-inspired garden at the centre of the park is being reconstructed. A new brewery – or ‘fermentary’, as Klausen refers to it – is in the works, which will produce beers and ciders inspired by the local landscape and natural resources.
A guesthouse is also slated to open. “Until now, the best way to experience Anneberg Kulturpark has been via daytrips from Copenhagen. It’s a short drive, and local coaches offer roundtrips of the area that stop in at regional wineries and so on,” says Klausen. “But now we’re thrilled to offer overnight stays. There’s so much to experience – the gourmet treats at MOTA, the unique coastlines and wilderness, the museums, art and history – that it’s a joy to be able to extend your visit.”
With so many new openings, a packed schedule of events and celebrations is on the horizon this summer, including markets and music, drinks and literature festivals. Sankt Hans – the Danish midsummer festival – will take place in June with a bonfire land-art project. September will welcome gravel-bikers for a cycling festival in the forest.
In August, the Royal Theatre’s perennially popular and free-to-attend tour, Opera i Det Fri (meaning ‘Outdoor Opera’), will take place on Anneberg Kulturpark’s central green, filling the summer evenings with the sound of arias.
Anneberg Kulturpark’s beating heart
The community at Anneberg is growing fast, and there’s no more exciting time than now to visit. “What’s really unique is that we’ve grown organically,” says Klausen, who humbly describes herself as a catalyst and facilitator, though her deep expertise and passion for the park’s cultural heritage is the beating heart of the project.
“There are about 100 artists and professionals here daily, working together left, right and centre. There’s a palpable synergy in the air that allows for truly interdisciplinary collaboration,” she says. “Everyone at Anneberg came to experience this – to find a community with others. I didn’t search for anyone. They found me. I am grateful to be able to share it with everyone who visits.”
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