A close-knit family and a brilliant idea was all it took for LEGO to become the world’s favourite toy. In 1932, a Billund carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen began producing children’s toys after his business was hit hard by the economic downturn. Initially making wooden toys, the business proved to be a success and in 1949, under the management of Ole Kirk’s son Godfred, the company began producing the first version of the LEGO brick.
In 1959, the plastic bricks that we know and love today – with piping on the underside to ensure the blocks properly connect – began to take shape and after a fire in the original store destroyed much of LEGO’s stock in 1960, a decision was made to focus exclusively on plastic toys.
Today LEGO is owned by the third and fourth generations of the Kristiansens – Kjeld Kirk and his children. Over the years the company has produced more than 560 billion LEGO bricks for small and big kids around the world.
There are no set tours of LEGO, but visits for special guests and groups can be arranged. You can read more here.
LEGO® production began in the Kristiansen family house in the centre of Billund. ‘The Lion House’ – named because of the two stone lions which guard the entrance – is still standing today and is a reminder of LEGO’s humble beginnings when it was just the Kristiansen family and their tools.