I have already written on the one who is undoubtedly the most famous author in Denmark, the writer and poet Hans Christian Andersen. But Denmark has another child-darling of its literature: Karen Blixen, the author of Out of Africa. I visited the house where she lived a good part of her life.
On my first trip to Denmark a few years ago, I bought myself a copy of Out of Africa. And this autobiographical novel had blown me away. With her lyrical style, Karen Blixen recounts her life when she was managing a coffee farm in Kenya. The film that was loosely based on the book, with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, won seven Academy Awards in 1985.
I have been wanting to visit Karen Blixen’s house for a long time. This is where she was born, and where she died. The former manor house, called Rungstedlund, has been transformed into a museum and is undoubtedly the main attraction of the coastal village of Rungsted. And since I recently stayed in Hørsholm, the neighboring village, I took the opportunity to finally go visit it!
The old house of Karen Blixen is not very big and only a few rooms have kept their original appearance, including the two rooms where she wrote her works. The rest of the house has been converted into a museum where the milestones of the writer’s life are retraced.
Born in 1885 in Rungsted, Denmark, Karen Blixen was 28 when she left her homeland for Kenya to settle on a coffee farm with her husband. The farm quickly experienced some financial difficulties, and the marriage of the Danish couple fell apart, so that in 1921, the couple divorced, and Karen Blixen took over the management of the farm.
She left Kenya ten years later, after the death of the great love of her life and the failure of her coffee plantation. She returned to live in Denmark with her mother, in the house of her childhood. It is there that she wrote her works, first under the pseudonym of Isak Dinesen, then under her real name.
Visiting the museum is a must if you like the author or her works. There is a lot of information about her life, pictures, some of her paintings, objects that belonged to her, and a short video about the influence of her works. It’s not very big, but it’s charming and there are explanations in English almost everywhere. And it really made me want to read Out of Africa again.
There is also a nice little cafe on site as well as a large garden with a few farm animals. It is in this garden, at the foot of an old oak tree, that her grave is.
The village of Rungsted is easily accessible by train from Copenhagen. And if you go there, take the opportunity to go for a walk near the marina, where there are some restaurants and fishmongers.