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Tour the History of Denmark with the National Museum of Denmark and D-A-D

Denmark After Dark

The exhibition Denmark After Dark take visitors back to the 1980s, when a rock-star-dream came true and D-A-D was born. It opens on March 3rd 2024.

The 80s was a time of change. In a basement in Copenhagen, a rock-star dream was about to be born. The result would be D-A-D – one of Denmark’s biggest ever rock bands. In a new exhibition, Denmark After Dark, visitors will follow a dream that took shape in the 1980s – at a time when the Cold War was still hot and youth unemployment was at its peak. The future looked bleak. But the dark decade kindled new music, new consumption patterns and new dreams. Then, when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the world reopened.

Now, with D-A-D as a prism and their music in the ears, visitors have an opportunity to visit that period. A tour bus will take visitors on a journey through time – from the 1980s to the present. Along the way, visitors will pass through scenes in the story – the band’s first flat, an airport, a backstage room, a music video set up, a rehearsal room and a studio. Finally, they can feel the thrill of being on stage with D-A-D one summer evening in 2023.

The exhibition features traces of events that changed both the course of the world and our everyday lives. The rapture of the carefree ‘90s, the trauma of 9/11 and the shock of the financial crisis – events that caused us to pause, to change course or to close in on ourselves.

“D-A-D is perfect for the story we want the exhibition to tell. We look at how the advertising industry, music, the United States and popular culture shaped an entire generation and our cultural assets. The band is a kind of time-travel tour guide, transporting visitors back to their own youth and following them into adulthood. There’s so much to explore – music, the electronics of the time, TV and fashion,” says Ulla Hahn, a museum curator and director of the exhibition.

The exhibition presents the band’s instruments, costumes and personal items alongside other items from the history of Denmark. There are period phones, music players and consumer goods, all of which shaped both the band and Generation X – those people who were born between 1965 and 1979.

“The exhibition will transport visitors back to our youth. We skateboarded, practised and went to punk concerts. Yes, it was the 1980s – a pretty gloomy time – but we were lucky. We grew up in semi-academic, middle-class homes, and just about everything was up for grabs. You didn’t need top grades in high school. You didn’t need to start studying law immediately, nor did you have to go out and wait tables or start an apprenticeship as a carpenter or paver. We were allowed to play and it was not until we throttled up those ambitions direction came. D-A-D was a result of coincidences and fun and games. We were brought up on Donald Duck and Poul Nesgaard,” says the band.

What’s in store for visitors

  • Visit the band’s digs in the 1980s.

  • See iconic D-A-D items – a selection of Stigge Nasty’s costumes and bass guitars, Jacob’s guitar, on which the riff for ‘Sleeping My Day Away’ was created, and Molly the iconic cow skull.

  • See a selection of items from the past 40 years of popular culture and electronic development.

  • Enter the band’s rehearsal room, where you can play music and mix a track.

  • Hear the band’s own stories from 40 years in the music industry.

  • See the phones, music players, adverts and consumer products of the time.

  • Feel the thrill of being onstage with D-A-D at Smukfest, Skanderborg in 2023.

Denmark After Dark opens on March 3rd 2024, the 40th anniversary of the rock band D-A-D. Open during the museum’s regular opening hours, the exhibition will run until September 1st 2024.

For their generous support we would like to thank

Manufakturhandlerforeningen i Kjøbenhavns Almene Fond
Inge og Asker Larsens Fond til støtte af almennyttige formål
Knud Højgaards Fond
Axel Muusfeldts Fond