Sporvejsmuseet Skjoldenæsholm: A tram venture
Text: Signe Hansen | Photos © Sporvejsmuseet Skjoldenæsholm
As one of the world’s leading tramway museums, Sporvejsmuseet Skjoldenæsholm (The Danish Tramway Museum) comprises not just historic trams, but also historic buses, beautiful scenery and period buildings. Located in the centre of Zealand, the museum is a favourite destination for families and tram fans from all over the world.
Though there have been no public trams running in Denmark since 1972, the history and charm of the trams continue to thrive at Sporvejsmuseet Skjoldenæsholm. Since opening four decades ago, the museum has continuously expanded both its collection of trams and the activities taking place. “We have built the museum up to be a Denmark-based international tram museum,” explains chairman of the Danish Tramway Historical Society, Mikael Lund. “Today, we’re considered one of the world’s five leading tram museums, and we have travellers coming from all over the world to visit Sporvejsmuseet.”
In total, the museum comprises 90 trams and 50 historic buses exhibited over a number of buildings. Furthermore, thanks to an old railway embankment, guests can enjoy a 1.8-kilometre tram ride into the surrounding forest: at the end of which, many choose to enjoy their lunch at the lovely picnic and cafe area.
Not just for tram enthusiasts
Having expanded with five new buildings over the last decade, the museum today comprises much more than just trams. There is a separate bus exhibition, and, between two buildings, an authentic shopping street from the time between the 1940s and the ‘70s has been created. “We do everything we can to attract as many visitors as possible, also those who are not just interested in trams and buses. It’s a destination for a day out with the picnic basket – we’ve got trams running every ten minutes, and bus rides, as well,” says Lund.
One of the less obvious but remarkable features of Sporvejsmuseet Skjoldenæsholm is that it is run entirely by volunteers: 150 in total. Dedicating their time to the museum, the volunteers are passionate about preserving its heritage and history, explains Lund. “We are dedicated to upholding the historic and cultural heritage of the museum, but at the same time, we go to great lengths to ensure that everybody has a good experience. It is possible to really get deep into the history of the trams and everything, but also just as possible to just take a quick tour, ride the trams and enjoy a picnic in the forest. We also have days when there’s a chance to try to drive a tram yourself, under close guidance, so it’s for all ages and interests.”
A royal tram
While many additions and changes have happened over the years – a historic depot brought in from Valby, two ex-Copenhagen trams brought back from Egypt, and 14 additional historic buses – the arrival of the Danish Crown Prince couple’s tram has been one of the absolute highlights. In 2006, the museum secured an iconic 1950s vintage tram from Melbourne, a city where Australian-born crown princess Mary lived for several years and, while doing so, took the tram to and from work. The tram was gifted to the couple, transported to Denmark by ship, and initiated by the Royals at the museum the same year. Thus, while the tram officially belongs to the Royal family, it is based and in use at the museum. “It’s a very nice, green tram, and it’s still a big attraction – a lot of guests come to ask us exactly where in the tram the Royals were seated and how they liked the ride,” says Lund.
Once the ticket for the museum is paid for, guests can ride the trams all day, and many spend a good half day at the museum, enjoying their lunch in the beautiful nature and watching the old trams pass by.
Facts: Sporvejsmuseet is located by Skjoldenæsholm Manor, an hour’s drive from Copenhagen. During the summer holiday, the museum is open 10am to 5pm, all days except Mondays. Outside of the summer season, it is open on weekends between April and May. Tickets: Adults, 120DKK (around 14.50 GBP); children, 60DKK. The museum is closed during the winter, but can always be booked for private visits and events. The museum also hosts a number of open special events, including events with music, veteran cars and much more. For a full programme, see the website. www.sporvejsmuseet.dk
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