The area in front of Kronborg is evidence of the maritime history of Denmark. The area used to be the home of one of the largest shipbuilding wharfs in Denmark – the shipyard was shut down in 1983 just over hundred years after the shipyard were founded.
The wharfs had a special place in the history of Helsingør since it was by far the biggest employer of the city. During the heyday of the wharf in the 1950s it employed more than 3½ thousands people – during which time the total population of Helsingør and the neighboring towns were less than 30,000 people. The shipyard went downhill like most of the European shipyards during the 1970s when most of the construction of ships relocated to Asia and the shipyard were closed down.
But the maritime history never left Helsingør. The Danish Maritime Museum was located for many years at Kronborg castle. Today the museum has been moved from the castle to the old dry dock of Helsingør shipyard.
After a visit to the Maritime Museum you can walk around the old shipyard which has been changed into a cultural harbor. One part of the harbor is a small museum about the history of the shipyard.
It is a short walk from the Maritime Museum to the shipyard museum. When you get to the entrance to the little museum you walk by a couple of statues of old shipyards workers. The statues have different sizes which give them a special impression when you walk towards them. The museum has two parts on each side of a little walkway. You can get a ticket at the ticket office – but when I got there nobody was at the office so I just walked inside the museum.
One part of the museum had a little display of different tools the workers used when building the ships. There is also a reconstructed board office where the leadership of the wharf used to hold their meetings during the operation of the wharf. When I visited there was a shipyard worker volunteering at the museum – he tried to tell a little bit about the museum and history but he was the best person to explain the history and he looked a bit like he had issues with alcohol.
On the other side of the walkway there are more displays – especially different models of the ships which have built at the shipyard. When I walked around the museum the man working there actually showed up asking for the entrance fee. I had a Copenhagen Card which included the museum. If you don’t have a ticket you can buy one covering the shipyard museum and three other museums in and around Helsingør.