In Northern Europe, you can find a small village of rural farms that goes by the name Billund. Billund, Denmark still exists because of its ties to the Lego company founder. Ole Kirk Christiansen was born and raised in Billund, Denmark. He was a carpenter until the Great Depression when he decided to start making wooden toys. Shortly after, the Lego was born first from wood and later from plastic. In keeping with his roots and bringing ecotourism to the area; Christiansen created the lego metropolis that is the center of Billund town and all the surrounding areas.
The Lego Experience
You will arrive in Billund via one of three routes; bus, train or plane. When Lego became the house name that it is, the Christiansen family put in an air strip for all of the new found tourism traffic. After our visit, I would opt for renting a car in order to get around. The reason is this; unless you are staying at the lego hotel, all other lodging options are 15 to 25 minutes away by car/bus. The buses are lovely and efficient, but this area of Denmark is vastly unpopulated so driving is very easy and would give you a lot more freedom to stay at airbnbs, hostels, etc. The hostel we stayed at was an additional mile walk past the bus stop down a dirt road as well. A car would have been helpful.
Lego House: Why you should go there first
The first stop of your lego experience should be The Lego House. Recently opened in September 2017 and absolutely incredible. I recommend the Lego House before the amusement park for many reasons, but primarily because you learn so much about the history and the family. You also learn a great deal about how the park and house came to be and what the Christiansen name has done for the village. Inside the Lego House you will find seven different experience zones. They are color coordinated and range from duplo pits and activities for small ones, all the way up to designing cities and creating virtual lego sea life. My Grandmother had never been to Denmark and therefore she opted to join the kids and I for this portion of our travels. She was dreading lego house. Everything about 7 experience zones of screaming children translated to 7 layers of hell for my Grandma. By lunch time on lego house day she simply said, “it’s incredible. Very impressive.” Because it WAS! From the vast amount of things to do for every age (including Grandma) to the seating and gallery displays, there was so much to love. The best part, the staff. I have never encountered staff members like these before. They were a dream. Not only do they know the full Lego company history, but they know the Christiansen family history as well. To make it EVEN better; the staff are all huge lego fans. They refer to the lego designers as the rockstars of the company and they their groupies. The staff also shares with you the ins and outs of working with such fascinating people. As one staff member shared with me, in regards to the designer who created all of the huge city displays; “his name is Stewart, he walks around his art work all day long with a little ziploc bag of parts and fixes and adds to his masterpieces. Nothing looks the same two days in a row, he is constantly adding to it.” That means we will have to go back.
Lego House to Lego Land
From Lego house you can easily access Lego land. Both attractions lie within a few blocks of each other. In my opinion, it is a walk you should definitely do because the streets you navigate are owned by lego company and are full of warehouses, design offices, idea offices, creator labs, etc. You get a wonderful sense of what it actually takes to create and mass produce this toy. Legoland is very similar to the legolands you find in the United States (Carlsbad, CA and Winter Haven, FL) with the exception of; you will be the first to try and ride many new attractions as the Legoland Billund, Denmark is the test site and original park. Visiting the Lego House first also answers a lot of questions that arise from your. children once you are in Legoland amusement park. For example, my children are always asking me ‘how did they make that??’ These are some of the things that you learn inside Lego house, as well as who the first designers were for the massive scale of the amusement park. Little bonus information: The very first designer to come up and execute a creation for legoland park was a woman, Dagny Holm.
How much time is necessary to enjoy the Lego Empire?
Both the Lego House and Legoland amusement park each warrant a full 8 hour day. Passes are available so that you may re-enter both if you wish. More than likely it will be Lego House that you wish to re-enter because there is so much to do, see and learn. Give yourself three full days, especially during the summer as rain is a common occurrence and you or your children may need a day by the Lego hotel pool as well. The entry fees for both places differs drastically. Legoland amusement park is very expensive and Lego House is very reasonable, even cheap I would say. You may also want to spend an extended period of time driving through Denmark. It is a small country, but has so many wonderful things to offer any visitor, but especially those entranced by Viking history.