Lego House

On a recent family trip to Denmark we spent a day at the Lego House in Billund. It’s set back behind the Lego theme park, and has only been open for about a year.

In the large open plan ground floor there’s a restaurant and a lego shop, these being the only commercial offerings available. The ticket barrier greets you by name, and allows you to walk up a long ramp, winding around a huge lego tree to the top of the building.

From there you’re greeted by dinosaurs and bins full of lego.

Initial Impressions

The first thing that struck me is how quiet it was. Children were busy concentrating on things they were building. The atmosphere was more like a museum.

At the huge tray full of Duplo we were confronted by the only rule I saw all day “please take your shoes off before you get in the lego”.

You slowly work your way down through the building stopping off in each room where activities are laid on.

A room full of car parts and ramps encourage you to design a vehicle that can jump through a hoop.

A room full of stop-frame animation studios allowed children to animate a scene and record it as a video.

A bin full of yellow blocks just encouraged you to build towers and bridges from uniform pieces.

Build your own minifigures.

Design an insect and watch it bounce on a vibrating platform.

The list goes on.

The whole building was set up and designed for creativity. Every bench had a tray of lego at each end.

Augmented Reality

From a technology angle, one room really impressed me. You were encouraged to pick up a tile of lego, build a small scene on it, and deposit it on one of hundreds of glowing squares. When you did this a city scene was projected down, bringing your tile to life with little characters. Different coloured tiles represented different parts to a city, parks are green, shops are blue.

The characters all expressed needs (for shops, parks, etc…). When their needs had been met they made a bee-line for a stadium in the centre of the city. When the stadium was full, a concert or football match would start.

This was sim city with lego. I was watching (whilst busy making my own buildings) children collaborate on city design, moving green spaces together, building shopping precincts, etc.. My 2yo just delighted in putting the tiles on/off the table.

More augmented reality was met with ice-exploring robots. You programmed them with a scratch-like interface to rescue people trapped in the ice. When the people were free they would dig up buried mammoths which would walk across the terrain and back to your boat.

Lego City

There was plenty of lego to look at. As well as several large models and animated scenes, there were beautifully built models of every day items.

6 Red Blocks

On the way out, instead of passing through a gift shop, you walked past one of the machines that moulds and packages the lego bricks. You were free to pick up a packet of six red bricks (or Duplo bricks).

Apparently there are over 915 million ways to combine your bricks, and one of these combinations is calculated for you, and you’re given the design on a plastic card. This was a nice touch.


Several things struck me about my day there.

  1. Everyone had a great time. The children in our family are 2, 6, 9 and 40, and they all enjoyed themselves in equal measure.
  2. The staff were amazing. Whilst my 6yo was having a tantrum, one member of staff came over and took time to talk to him, look at his lego model, and brought him around. I have never met a member of staff anywhere that would approach a child having a tantrum.
  3. Creativity was the only objective. I don’t know if they even make a profit. There wasn’t the usual commercialism that’s associated with theme parks (see Legoland as an example).
  4. Value for money. Tickets were 199DKK each.
  5. Use of technology. As well as the augmented reality mentioned here, you could photograph your creations, and swipe a wrist band to store it online for download later.

At the end of the day, as we were getting ready to face the long walk back in the cold to our accommodation I asked my lego obsessed 6yo whether he enjoyed himself.

“No!” he exclaimed as he burst into tears. “You brought us here to this house full of lego, and there weren’t even any instructions!”.