Do you have any Spanish fly to jumpstart my vacation? And how is your supply of dried buck blood and whale oil boiled in dark beer? My shoulder is a bit sore from playing golf.
If you make these requests in the pharmacy in Jens Bang's House today, you might not have much luck, as it has been years since these ingredients have crossed the counter.
However, under the roof of the old house, they still exist. In the museum, the Chemist's Collection, they lie in a grey painted drawer waiting to tell the story of Danish medicine through the past 300 years. And there are plenty of drawers for the guide to open for the visitors to the Chemist's Collection – and plenty of stories to tell.
You must see the Spanish fly. If nothing else because of its beauty. This emerald green insect was used as an aphrodisiac – and some people still use it.
The fascinating stories pertain to more than what was kept in the old pharmacy drawers. On a shelf in the museum is a 300 year old bottle of this time's super drug called Theriak. The main ingredient was the venom from the viper snake, but the drug allegedly consisted of more than 70 ingredients from viper meat to rhubarb – additionally, opium was added, and this drug mysteriously made the sick and the weak more comfortable.
Everything in the museum comes from Svaneapoteket, which has functioned as a pharmacy on the ground floor of the old house since 1665. Throughout the years, shelves and drawers, herbs and medicine and tools to produce pills and powders have been stored in the attic, when they were replaced with more modern remedies. And now, bearing witness of Denmark's pharmaceutical development, they are still to be found here in Jens Bang's House.
You cannot visit The Chemist's Collection on your own, because it is the guide and the stories that make the experience exceptional. These are stories about the perception of disease and life quality and many other aspects of the lives of the people of the time.
For example, did you know, that 300 years ago, the chemist was the only one allowed to sell liquor, wine and candy? And he allegedly had more than 2000 medicinal remedies in stock.
Planned tours of the museum are in Danish, but group tours in English can be booked. Contact Nordjyllands Historiske Museum on +45 9931 7400.