What happens when a promising carpenter has no money decides to get creative and ends up creating a toy that is both fun, creative and stimulating for kids of generations to come? We start this series off in Billund, Denmark where Ole Kirk made his dream a reality brick by brick.
A century-old tale
Where did LEGO come from? Almost one hundred years ago a carpenter took his skills at making interior furnishings and used them to create toys, first out of wood and then plastic. This is the story of LEGO.
1916: Billund, Denmark
The times were tough then, everyone tucking in their shirts to make an honest day’s work. Ole Kirk Christiansen was no exception, not a man scared by hard work. He opened a small workshop, a place where he could play with his ideas and build home furnishings. Jump-starting an idea at this time was a risk, especially with little money. But then it hit him. He started making small bricks to be used to create small-scale models and the idea took off. Initially made of wood, these small bricks became known as LEGO. In Danish it’s short for “leg godt,” meaning “plays well.”
Who would have guessed that from a small workshop a huge theme park would evolve? Legoland was created in 1968 and since then the number of visitors, like the square metres of the park, have grown beyond what anyone could have imagined.
Today LEGO is everywhere. The Danish company is constantly buying licenses to launch new products and explore new markets like video games (15 under its belt so far) and themed LEGO sets for movies like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman.
Weekend in Billund
Of course there is more to do in Billund than just scouting out the beginnings of LEGO. If you’re on holidays in the heart of Denmark, here are some ideas to add to your itinerary.
LEGOLAND. Let’s get this one out of the way first, shall we? It’s an essential stop to see this world, built entirely of LEGO blocks. It is without a doubt the biggest homage to the toy. 100,000 square metres big, the park is like a small town, built literally brick by brick.
- Address: via Nordmarksvej n°9, Billund (7190)
- Open: March to October
- More info: legoland.dk
BILLUND KIRKE. More than just a church, this architectural gem is the centre of everything cultural in Billund, housing a theatre, cafe and even a library inside.
- Address: via Hans Jensensvej n° 4, Billund
JELLING. There is a hint of history in the air here, just 18 miles outside of Billund. Between rune stones and burial mounds, Jelling is protected as an UNESCO World Heritage Sight. It’s worth spending a half day here, especially because the scenery is remarkable.
- More info: kongernesjelling.de
How to get there on a dime
Thinking of a trip to Billund? Don’t worry because Ryanair connects London to this beautiful Danish town in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Take-off from Stansted with a low cost airline or from other London airports, Birmingham or Manchester with regular scheduled airlines.Cheap flights to Billund
Have you ever been to Billund? Have you ever visited Denmark?