Discover what the abbey looked like more than 500 years ago.
Lofty red brick walls tower over the landscape. This Cistercian abbey was so magnificent that God must have helped the monks who built it. That’s what some peasants must have thought as they stood in front of Esrum Abbey more than 500 years ago. But today, most of the walls have disappeared. Only a fraction of the abbey now remains. That is what makes it so difficult to realise just how impressive it was in its heyday. But we have made the impossible possible! Virtual and augmented reality enable you to see the ancient brick walls rising from the ground and to enjoy a close encounter with the monks’ lives.
Digital time travel in the landscape
Upon your arrival at Esrum Abbey & Møllegård when you buy tickets, you will be lent an iPad in the abbey shop. It will whisk you back 500 years into the midst of Denmark’s history. As you move around the area surrounding Esrum Abbey, on your screen you will see the abbey resurrected in its full size, precisely where the enormous buildings were actually located.
Meet the Spirit of Esrum Abbey
At the beginning of your journey back in time, you will be welcomed by the Spirit of Esrum Abbey, brought to life by the voice of the actor Lars Mikkelsen. The Spirit is your guide. It has seen, and knows everything about Esrum Abbey. It will accompany you, making the huge abbey buildings rise from the ground beneath your feet. At the start of the journey, the Spirit will provide you with an overview of the area. It will then take you into the holy of holies – the abbey garden. You will visit the monks’ library and dormitory, and hear how the monks devoted their entire lives to the abbey. The Spirit will even show you where a monk lies buried. Your digital journey will end with a bang. 400 years of glory end with the Reformation. The king takes over the area and demolishes just about all the buildings. You are left with dust swirling around your ears.
The journey continues inside the abbey
Continue your digital journey through time in the abbey’s exhibition. You can discover the interior of the huge church, and put on a pair of virtual reality glasses for an aerial view of the area. The digital experiences at Esrum Abbey & Møllegård were created in collaboration with Khora, an award-winning virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) production studio.
“Augmented reality is a totally new kind of cultural experience. Until 2021, the technology involved in augmented reality was not yet sophisticated enough to be rolled out smoothly and on a large scale in our museums. Now we have crossed a border, and Esrum Abbey & Møllegård can develop and use it actively for the purpose of interpretation and public engagement. Esrum Abbey & Møllegård is one of the first institutions in Denmark to invest in it”.
Matias Katajavaara Seidler, partner i Khora
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