The 1950s

The decade when Denmark bid farewell to war and deprivation and when working-class families joined the ranks of consumers.

After the 2. World War there was still lack of many goods and they were still rationed by the use of coupons which characterized life for the working class. However, during the decade the families slowly earned more and consumerism emerged heavily influenced by the United States. The exhibition takes you to the worker family’s apartment where the growing wealth is shown, as well as taking you down the street where lack of goods from the war and post-war is slowly replaced with a larger supply.


1950s Flat

This is the two-room flat where the five members of the Hansen family lived: Mr Hansen, who was a mason’s labourer, Mrs Hansen who was a hairdresser and worked from home in the living room, the oldest boy, who was an apprentice mechanic, the daughter, who was a shop assistant, and the family’s youngest baby. The three children shared the bedroom, and their parents slept on a sofa bed in the living room. Even though the family did not have much room, the apartment still shows the beginnings of increasing affluence with new, teak furniture and lamps in the latest colours. The depression of the 1930s and war and austerity of the 1940s were finally over.

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The High Street Shops and Coffee Bar

In A.C. Hansen’s clothes shop you can see the latest fashions, like nylon shirts and denims.

Meyer’s Dairy is like the dairies that used to exist in every Danish town. They sold fresh milk, butter from barrels, cheese, eggs and blocks of ice for the icebox – the precursor of the refrigerator.

Radio Denka sells televisions, reel-to-reel tape recorders and gramophones, not commodities working-class families could afford until the end of the decade. Until then they had to make do with renting a radio on a monthly basis or hiring a vacuum cleaner for the day.

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