Iowa May 31, 2020
Iowa’s Charming Town Of Elk Horn Is Home To A Little Slice Of Denmark Right Here In America
If you’re always looking for a unique day trip destination in the Hawkeye State, make plans to head to Shelby County and visit an authentic Danish-American village in Iowa. The town of Elk Horn is one of a kind!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Elk Horn is home to the largest Danish settlement in America, and this charming and historic village in Iowa is worth a visit.
Together, with the neighboring village of Kimballton, these Danish villages are home to about 1,000 Iowans, many of whom have roots that trace back to the villages' founding in the early 1900s.
The town's most significant landmark is the 1948 Danish Windmill.
It was built in Norre Snede, Denmark, and it took over $100,000 to move the windmill across the ocean and country to its current spot in 1976. Now, Danish law prohibits any windmills from leaving the country, so the Elk Horn mill is the only authentic Danish windmill in America.
There are so many landmarks that have been preserved within the town. In the Danish Windmill complex, you'll find the beautiful and tiny Morning Star Chapel.
The chapel was built in 1951 by Danish immigrants and recently added to the complex. It was once called the world's tiniest church.
You must make time to visit the Museum of Danish America if you visit this charming village in Iowa.
The Museum showcases the life of Danish-Americans over the past 120 years. You'll learn so much about both the Hawkeye State and the Danish culture.
Artwork and artifacts line the walls, and rotating displays and exhibits showcase the contributions that the Danish have made to our Hawkeye State society.
Whether you're looking for contemporary art or historic artifacts, you'll find plenty to discover here.
You'll want to visit the Jens Dixon house behind the museum before you walk away!
This was the actual home of a Danish-American who lived in North Dakota. Dixon was a teacher, and his tiny home was his schoolhouse.
The Museum also owns and operates the Bedstemor House.
This historic home was built by a Danish immigrant in 1908. Bedstemor means "grandmother" in Danish, and the home has been restored to a replica of its original self. You can see just how Danish-Americans lived at the turn of the century.
Another interesting landmark celebrates a difference slice of Nordic history. Visit VikingHjem to discover the Viking lifestyle.
You'll find this replica of Viking Smithy's home and can see what a blacksmith shop and Nordic home would have looked like in the year 900. This unique house is located next to the Danish Windmill.
No trip to Elk Horn would be complete without an authentic Danish meal. The Danish Table & Hygge Kitchen serves up delicious dishes!
Stop in to try their inspired dishes, all made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
For a Danish pub experience, it's hard to beat Larsen's Pub, where you'll find a selection of European beers and one of the best tenderloins around.
When you visit the village of Elk Horn, Iowa, you'll find an historic and welcoming community that will make you feel right at home.
Find more information about the charming Iowa village of Elk Horn on the
town’s website, here.
To learn more about the neighboring village of Kimballton, read about
The Iowa Park That Will Make You Feel Like You Walked Into A Fairy Tale. Address: Elk Horn, IA 51531, USA