Where in the world was emiko this summer?! Why, in Europe, mostly Scandinavia - beautifully tranquil, very green, so many happy people (and a bit on the cooler side as you can see by my many layers). And of course they are happy - LEGO® lives here! Billund, Denmark is the original and current home of The LEGO Group and the first LEGOLAND. Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen as a family owned business (that is still so today), they began making wooden toys and in 1958 patented the plastic brick design as we know it, plus a few extra designs just in case (check out the photo). LEGOLAND came to be ten years later in 1968, really exploding the brand and the small farm town of Billund - so much so that LEGO builds an international airport here just a few minutes away.
After a full day at LEGOLAND (always interesting to roam the park as adults sans kid) we spent the following day on a VIP Tour of the company - as much as allowed since a majority of the departments are top secret! A stop at the company's historical museum was a definite treat as we got a private docent tour spanning the history of the company and it's product lines. Our docent was super enthusiastic and had so much knowledge to share, we could have easily spent all afternoon chatting away on LEGO trivia. Check out the timeline of LEGO here.
One of my fav parts of the museum was the Wall of Reject Girls Toys. Cool that these are displayed out in the open - like airing dirty laundry for all to see and remember. Inspiration to Let's Do Better! The museum is not open to the general public, but we were told that all employees of LEGO (I'm figuring from the store managers on up) from all over the globe are flown out to headquarters for Orientation and this museum is part of the itinerary. Understanding LEGO Culture is embraced as a priority.
The cherry on top was visiting the local LEGO Factory and witnessing the automated robots and machines pump out rainbow of parts. No photos allowed inside, except for the lobby (cool logo sign made of hats and minif hair parts). Humans still work here, but mostly to keep the robots in working order. Super quiet and clean and efficient and mesmerizing.
We returned to our boutique hotel all abuzz with excitement, across the street from which they were still building The Lego House which opens TODAY. An interactive, play and learning experience for kids that sounds amazing, hopefully they'll build one in the States someday too.