It took 29 years, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and seven Oscars but at last there is a museum to honor one of Denmark's most famous writers.
Since Karen Blixen died in 1962, her home Rungstedlund House, with its grounds overlooking the Sound between Denmark and southern Sweden, has been preserved by a trust funded from her book royalties.But not until "Out of Africa," the film of Blixen's life in Kenya in the 1910s and 1920s, swept the Academy Awards in 1986 did her book sales produce enough cash to turn the house into a museum.
Baroness Blixen, also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen, grew up at Rungstedlund House and lived there from 1931, when she returned after her Kenyan coffee farm failed, until she died.
"She wrote almost all her books in this house," museum director Marianne Asmussen told reporters on a recent visit. "It was extra sales of her books after the film was made that enabled the foundation to create the museum."
The Karen Blixen Museum, opened May 14 by Denmark's Queen Margrethe, has preserved much of the house as it was when Blixen lived here.
Plans to turn part of the house into a literary conference center have been set aside until sponsors can be found.
Blixen, played by Meryl Streep in the film, was born at Rungstedlund House on April 17, 1885, to a wealthy, conservative Danish family. She lived there until 1913, when she went to Kenya to marry her second cousin, Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke.
She returned in 1931, shattered after the failure of her beloved farm in the Ngong hills near Nairobi, and ill with syphilis caught from her husband before their 1925 divorce.
On her desk stand photographs of her father and of Denys Finch Hatton, the English hunter she loved in Kenya who died in a plane crash only weeks before she left Africa. African spears and shields decorate one wall of her study where she wrote "Winter's Tales," her favorite collection of stories. A chest from her home in Africa is in the living room, and furniture and other African memorabilia in the Green Room.
Blixen is buried at the foot of a spreading beech behind the house, her grave marked by a stone bearing only her name.