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About the exhibition

Trash is a constant feature of city life. Every day we must contend with rubbish. We recycle and repair; we throw away and we dump. In 2009, Copenhageners threw away nearly 1 million tons of garbage. The city has reacted by developing systems that conceal the sight and smell of this inconvenient truth. This exhibition invites children and grown ups to explore Copenhagen’s hidden rubbish in landfills, on the streets, in backyards and in our homes

Museum of Copenhagen, 14th of October 2011 - 31st of July 2012
Open every day 10 am - 5 pm
Adults: 20 DKK
Children: Free 

In the reception of the Museum you will find detailed descriptions of the displays in the exhibtition.
Download your own copy of the detailed descriptions here

Build out of trash and scavenged materials
The exhibition presents 300 items, more than 100 photographs, paintings, engravings and film clips as well as interactive installations, that invite you to participate and contribute your own story. The exhibition is built out of rubbish and trash, recycled and scavenged construction materials from the dustbins, dusty attics and forgotten hiding places of Copenhagen. Among the trash you can experience historical movie clips, beautiful photographs, funny games and peculiar items that tell the unexplored stories of waste.

There is no mapped out route but the exhibition contains four main themes that you can explore:  Landfill, Street, Backyard and Home. It is up to you to discover the stories that you are most interested in.

Glimps from the landfill theme

In Copenhagen, almost a third of our waste is incinerated. In the past, our rubbish was abandoned on open dumps, where gulls and pigs indulged themselves. In the Middle Ages there were no landfills: people simply left their waste in their backyards or in the street, and there it remains to this day. Excavations under Copenhagen’s surface will reveal our ancestors’ rubbish.

Watch the movie about Christana who is supporting herself by collecting bottles.

Glimps from the street theme

Wherever there is street life, there is street refuse. Once it was horse manure; now it’s mainly cigarette butts. Throughout time, the city authorities have attempted to help Copenhageners to resist throwing their litter all over the place by installing systems of refuse disposal transforming a network of stinking open sewers to rows of green dustbins.

Glimps from the backyard theme

Every morning, bin men collect over 500 tons of waste from Copenhagen backyards. It has been collected in this way for more than 100 years. There was a time when bin men had to contend with deep, dark backyards filled with toilets and garages. In contrast, most Copenhagen backyards nowadays bustle with activity and leisure; therefore people prefer to hide their rubbish from sight. But it’s still there, and it attracts others than those employed to remove it: from rats, flies and alley cats to human scavengers.

Glimps from the home theme

You throw away more than your parents did. Your parents threw away more than their parents did. Unlike our frugal grandparents who saved, patched and repaired, our generation tends to buy new things and throw away the old. Some Copenhageners, however, have rediscovered past practices through recycling and avoiding excess waste. Their motives are not so much driven by economics, but more importantly it is about caring for the environment.

Read about our TRASH! gift shop

Read about the exhibition’s activities for children