The port of Holbæk lies on the north coast of the Danish island of Zealand. Andelslandbyen Nyvang (which loosely translates as ‘share the village’) is an open air museum of the co-operative movement which portrays in detail life in Danish villages and small towns between 1870s and 1950.
The movement in Denmark began with the founding of a shop in Thisted in 1866. In 1882 a group of farmers in Hjedding in Jutland established a co-operative creamery, which was followed by many others, and by co-operatives producing bacon and ham for export. The 24 buildings in the museum include a co-operative shop where, in addition to the wares offered for sale, visitors can examine a complex cash register of 1925, before progressing to the living quarters of the manager and his wife. A red-painted barn houses agricultural machines and devices for weighing coal, coke and peat, as well as a horse gin. There is a large collection of road vehicles both motor-driven and horse-drawn. A saw mill of the 1890s was designed to be driven from the power take-off of a portable steam engine and later of a motor tractor. A co-operative cold store had boxes where families, on payment of an annual fee, could keep perishable foods. A butcher’s shop shows how meat was prepared for sale in the form of sausages, salamis, pâtés or smoked ham and bacon. A steam-powered dairy, typical of many in Denmark, shows how farmers co-operated to produce butter and cheese that could be marketed nationally or exported. A radio shop of the 1930s has shellac records for sale as well as radio sets and the many spare parts that were necessary to keep them going.