Virtual recreation of Esrum Abbey

Esrum Abbey is originally a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1151. Until 1559, Esrum was one of Denmark's most significant abbeys. After the Reformation, most of the Abbey was demolished and only a single building has survived to this day. Over time, a village has emerged on the grounds of the Abbey. Which means it is almost impossible to imagine how the area looked, where magnificent buildings like the Abbey Church were situated, and how it has towered in the surrounding landscape.

Today EKM is a modern cultural institution tasked with telling a broad and diverse audience about the abbey’s history in an inspiring and relevant way. However, this is challenging when only one building remains and the rest is hidden and inaccessible, lying underneath a mix of modern houses, old farmhouses, private gardens, cars and asphalt. Until now, visitors have been taken on guided tours with skilled guides painting pictures of the past in people’s minds of the abbey complex, demanding the visitors’ active imagination and open-mindedness.

EKM has long wanted to give the visitors a more immersive experience. In collaboration with Khora, we began recreating the abbey in virtual reality. Using studies of the area, old drawings, copper engravings, paintings, pictures as well as reference pictures of other Cistercian abbeys from the same period in Denmark and throughout Europe, we have recreated to the best of our ability Esrum Abbey as it might have looked at the end of the 15th century.

The experience is now a permanent part of the museum’s exhibition, allowing a first hand experience of this historically important cultural heritage site.

"Thank you for this. It’s impressive and I think you should be proud. As a former museum director I have followed the development of VR use in museums over the past 20 years and I will especially congratulate you with the interactivity you have used in visualising the abbey. I’ve been at Esrum Kloster several times years back and can really imagine how your visualisation of the complete structure is fulfilling a need." – Henrik Zipsane, PhD. Director, European Museum Academy

A case video on the project:

"The experience in 360:

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