Century of the Child

There’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but when exactly is Children’s Day? Swedish author and educational reformist Ellen Key put children in focus in 1900, dubbing the 20th century the ‘Century of the Child’ (‘klunketid’ in Danish). And now the 100 years of the children’s century that followed are being celebrated at Design Museum Denmark.

With a focus on Nordic design, the exhibition chronologically presents art, architecture and design through the 1900s. It includes classic toys, such as BRIO, LEGO and Kay Bojesen’s wooden animals. And on a slightly larger scale, it also shows the change in paradigm of playgrounds; while modern ones focus on safety, older ones consisted of leftover construction site materials and no rubber flooring.

A photo exhibition shows how architecture embraced natural light, both with regards to school buildings but also housing, in contrast to the late Victorian era. Furniture from the time is showcased besides modern ‘tumbling furniture’, which is also designed with the child in mind. Ensuring that the child’s interests are indeed a first priority, the exhibition also has play areas – a far cry from the previous centuries’ view of children as tiny workers.

As everyone either is or was at some point a child, this exhibition can be enjoyed by several generations, separately or together.

Century of the Child
Jan 17-Aug 30, open Tue-Sun 11:00-17:00, Wed until 21:00; Designmuseum Danmark, Bredgade 68, Cph K; over-26s: 100kr, under-26s: free adm; designmuseum.dk