Step into the world of money at the National Museum of Denmark

KA-CHING! – Show Me the Money is a brand-new exhibition at the National Museum of Denmark opening on September 28th 2022. The exhibition charts the history of money – and gives visitors a key to open the doors to its world.

The National Museum in Copenhagen opens a new exhibition where the lucky, the hardworking, the alert and the daring can try a brand-new attraction – the Money Shower. But first they have to take a trip through the history of money and win a million in ‘The Money Game’. Here they experience money’s inscrutable ways, and realise that some are born into money, while others struggle for every penny - just like in real life.

“The history of money goes almost as far back as the history of humankind. Ever since the first time a human being swapped something for something else we’ve had a monetary system. Bartering turned into coins, then banknotes, then numbers in an account. Our monetary systems have built societies, but also left others in ruins. In short, money is a key part of our cultural history and a precondition for understanding humankind,” says Rane Willerslev, director of the National Museum.

KA-CHING! – Show Me the Money  is supported by the Augustinus Foundation, Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond, the Spar Nord Foundation and the Beckett Foundation

People and Money

The National Museum of Denmark has a unique collection of coins charting trade, the birth of nations, and breakthroughs in Danish and world history. Based on ‘The Money Game’, the exhibition presents the cultural history of money right up to the economic challenges we face today. We equip visitors to understand how the money complex works, how financial bubbles are created, and how citizens, states and banks are connected by debt.

“We hope the money exhibition can help our visitors understand the world of money and give them more insight into their own personal finances. We’ve worked with economic experts, researchers, educators and communicators to help us through the twists and turns of economics in a fun, engaging way. Money is often taboo - something both those with and without money find difficult to talk about. We hope that by focussing on the subject we can generate more openness about money and consumption,” says Pernille Wahlgren, ethnologist and exhibition director.  

KA-CHING! – Show Me the Money presents visitors with a selection of coins from Denmark and the world at large. But money comes in many shapes and sizes. As well as coins and banknotes, it can be cocoa beans, cowrie shells or shares. Whatever form it takes, money has been with us ever since the first time we swapped one thing for another.

According to senior researcher Helle Horsnæs: “Coins have become our image of money. When we illustrate something like cryptocurrency, we still use pictures of coins. Coins can be laden with symbolic meaning and used to send a signal or message, also in religious contexts. People have collected coins and recycled them and their imagery almost as long they have existed. The Royal Collection of Coins and Medals at the National Museum has the most comprehensive collections of Danish coins in the world, and one of the finest collections of Ancient Greek and Roman coins worldwide. At the core of the collection are a number of private Danish collections, including the royal collection transferred to the state by the Danish constitution of 1849. Danes living abroad and their descendants have also donated vast numbers of coins from many parts of the world. Some of the coins have been in Danish collections since the 1600s, whilst others have been discovered and classified as national treasures later - right up to today.”

Visitors to the exhibition can:

  • See a selection of the museum’s unique coin collection with some of the oldest coins in the world.
  • Experience a millennium of coins in Denmark from Cnut the Great to Queen Margrethe II.
  • Take a spin on the hamster wheel delivering pizza to earn money.
  • Answer questions about the history of money in the exhibition quiz.
  • Lift a bar of real gold weighing 12 kg.
  • See an opulent display of some of the most precious treasures on earth – gold and unique collector’s items.
  • Look into the future of money.
  • Visit a bank from the 1920s.
  • Take the challenge of the investment game and try buying and selling shares and property.
  • ‘Win a million’ and a turn in the Money Shower.

The History of Money in Four Universes

The story the exhibition tells covers four universes - the Money Show, the Show Room, the Bank and the Future.

Learn more about KA-CHING!

The Money Show
Visitors can earn start capital to invest in The Money Game on the Hamster Wheel, as they learn about the hours we’ve worked in the past to put food on the table and money in our pockets. As in real life, every visitor has a different starting point. Some are born into money, whereas others have to work hard for it.

The Showroom

Throughout history people have been drawn to material possessions and the security, power and prestige they represent. The exhibition’s Showroom presents visitors with a world of luxury packed with valuables, gold, art, collector’s items, medals, archaeological treasures and sneakers, all of which tell a story about of who we are and how we spend our money. The things we consider valuable today could be worth nothing tomorrow. We live in a world where value is a construct in constant flux.

The Bank

The money system today is part of a complex, global network. Banks, corporations and states are connected to each other by debt. Very few people really understand how the system works. Who creates the money? What do we borrow all the money for? Why does your neighbour have a better loan than you? How are financial bubbles created? Can you make your savings grow? The answers to all these questions and more are waiting for you when you step inside the historical bank in the exhibition.

The Future

In the Future we look at the best and worst possible scenarios for our money. The Future is also where visitors can see how they did in the Money Game. If you’re high enough up on the list of winners, you get your headshot on the cover of the money magazine KA-CHING! If you win a million you can look forward to a Money Shower.

The exhibition focusses on:

  • The way money runs our lives.
  • The nature of value.
  • How we can improve our financial situation.

For their generous support of the exhibition we would like to thank:

The Augustinus Foundation

Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond

The Spar Nord Foundation

The Beckett Foundation






About Nationalmuseet

Frederiksholms Kanal 12
1220 København K

3313 4411

Nationalmuseet er Danmarks statslige, kulturhistoriske hovedmuseum og omfatter såvel danske som udenlandske kulturers historie

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