Scandinavian Saga Part 1: Copenhagen.

The one day well spent in Copenhagen was warm, bright and sunny (the story of the trip itself can be found here). The first ‘point of interest’ was on my way to the free tour – first of the statues at the sight of a planned collection of such.

Here is the plan for that place in detail 🙂

Random trivia facts about Denmark:
1. Denmark is the homeland of the Germanic ethnicity and culture. The Franks, Burgundians, Jutes, and the Norses (Vikings) all trace their origin back to Denmark (as well as Norway and Sweden for the latter).
2. In the 9th and 10th centuries, Danish Vikings invaded and settled in parts of Western Europe as far as North Africa. They founded the Danelaw in Northern England, and were granted to Duchy of Normandy (named after the Norse men) by the King of France.
3. As a result of the “Danish exodus” in ancient and medieval times, most people in Germany, the Benelux, Northern and Eastern France, and Britain can claim Danish ancestry.
4. The Danish royal family is probably the oldest uninterrupted European monarchy. It traces back its roots to legendary kings in the Antiquity. Gorm the Old, the first king of the “official line”, ruled from 934 C.E.
5. Between 1397 and 1524, the whole of Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland) as well as southern Finland was unified under Danish rule, with Copenhagen as capital. The Denmark-Norway Union (including Iceland and Greenland) lasted until 1814.
6. There are 443 named islands in Denmark, 76 of which are inhabited.
7. The flag of Denmark, Dannebrog, is the oldest state flag in the world still in use by an independent nation. It was adopted in 1219.
8. The country’s average height above sea level is only 31 meters and the highest natural point is Møllehøj, at 170.86 meters.
9. The Danish prince Hamlet, the fictional character of William Shakespeare’s famous play, was inspired by an old Danish myth of the Viking Prince Amled of Jutland.

Copenhagen is one of the world’s greenest cities. The vast majority of citizens are obsessed with recycling, all things organic, cycle all year round or use electric public transport. 64% of the city’s hotel rooms are certified as eco-friendly and three-quarters of the food served in public institutions is organic. Copenhagen will be the 2014 European Green Capital – the title awarded to the cities with consistently high environmental standards. By 2025, Copenhagen plans to be the world’s first carbon-neutral capital.

The City Hall square is located at the site of the old city hay market and its Western City Gate. When the fortifications were disbanded in the 1850s, it was decided to use the vacant land for an exhibition area which played host to first the Nordic Exhibition of 1872 and later the Nordic Exhibition of 1888. Vilhelm Klein designed a building for the first exhibition in red brick, inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture, at the corner of Vesterbro Passage. In the 1880’s it was decided to build a new city hall building at the site and a competition was held for the best design. Nyrop won the competition, while Vilhelm Dahlerup and Valdemar Koch were among the participating architects. On 28 July 1894, the foundation stone was laid and the new building was inaugurated in 1905.

Copenhagen (in Danish – København) was founded in the 10th century as a Viking fishing village – many historians believe it was possibly done by Sweyn I Forkbeard. The town was originally called Køpmannæhafn, meaning “merchants’ harbor”, or “Chapman’s haven” in English equivalent. The city gave name to the element hafnium and the bacterium Hafnia, the latter coined in 1954 by Vagn Møller of the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen. Copenhagen grew in importance since, partly due to an excellent harbor and great fishing facilities, until it became the capital of Denmark in the beginning of the 15th century. During the 17th century, under the reign of Christian IV, it became a significant regional center, nowadays referred to as the capital of Scandinavia. Since the turn of the millennium, Copenhagen has seen strong urban and cultural development, partly due to large investments in cultural facilities and infrastructure.

Behind the Dragon and the Bull fountain you can see one of the entertainment centers of Copenhagen, and the famous Tivoli – the world’s oldest amusement park – is just a stone’s throw away to the left. Open from April 10 till September 21st, then again on Halloween and for Christmas, Tivoli is an open-air space hosting countless events, exhibitions, open-air performances, places to eat and activity choices. Entrance is 95 DKK, unless you’re up to 8 years old – then it’s free :).
If that’s not enough fun for you, you can also visit Dyrehavsbakken – the world’s oldest operating amusement park located 10 km north of Copenhagen. Its origins can be traced back to the late 16th century, when entertainers and artists working in this spring park attracted crowds from all over Europe. Cabarets made their appearance in 1866, and the first wooden roller coaster opened in 1932. Other modern attractions followed, and the park now features six high-speed roller coasters and over 30 other rides.
For free entertainment one can stroll along Strøget, especially between Nytorv and Højbro Plads, which in the late afternoon and evening is a bit like an impromptu three-ring circus with musicians, magicians, jugglers and other street performers.
If parks and street entertainment aren’t exactly your thing, do not despair: Copenhagen has one of the highest number of restaurants and bars per capita in the world. The nightclubs stay open until 5 or 6 in the morning, some even longer. Denmark has a very liberal alcohol culture and a strong tradition for beer breweries, however binge drinking is frowned upon and the Danish Police takes driving under the influence very seriously.
The city also has several recurring community festivals, mainly in the summer. Copenhagen Carnival takes place every year since 1982 during the Whitsun Holiday in Fælledparken and around the city. 120 bands, 2000 dancers and 100,000 spectators participate.
Copenhagen Pride is a gay pride festival taking place every year in August. Among the events is “Tivoli goes pink” and it ends with a parade.
Copenhagen Distortion is a youth culture festival capturing the zeitgeist of the city, gathering every year (5 days up to the first weekend of June) up to 100,000 people in the streets, in shops, galleries, clubs, bars, in boats and buses, with a cultural focus on street culture, art and avant-guard dance music.

The large polar bears symbolize Greenland, which is still officially a protectorate of Denmark.

Statue of Bishop Absalon. By the 11th century, Copenhagen had already grown into a small town with a large estate, a church, a market, at least two wells and many smaller habitations spread over a fairly wide area. However, Copenhagen’s founding has traditionally been dated to Bishop Absalon’s construction of a castle on the small island of Slotsholmen in 1167 where Christiansborg Palace stands today.

The “Lurblæserne”: two bronze Lure Blowers standing on their Column at the east side of the Town Hall (Rådhus), blowing an ancient type of trumpet called a Lure. The Column was first set up in 1909 – with only one Lure Blower – when the national exhibition in Copenhagen opened. The statue with two of them was erected in 1914 and given to the city in 1911 by The New Carlsberg Foundation in connection with the centenary of the brewer and founder J.C. Jacobsen’s birthday (1811-1987). They are so cozily squeezed together that they are commonly referred to as “stacked up flour bags.” The common myth is that the blowers will blow their horns if a virgin passes by the monument, but it may be difficult to test in this day and age :D.
Bronze lures – usually used in pair during religious ceremonies – date back to the Nordic Bronze Age (1800 BC). They are S-shaped conical tubes, 1.60 m – 2.40 m long, without any finger holes, with an embossed metal disk at the end. They sound a bit like a trombone and a good lure player can manage 10-15 notes. 37 Bronze Lures were found in Denmark, some of them displayed at the National Museum. The last 6 found at “Brudevælte” in North Zealand in 1797 date back approximately to 800 – 700 BC and are in such fine condition that they are among the oldest instruments in the world that still can be played today. The last Lure was given as a gift by King Frederik VII in 1845 to the Russian Czar Nikolaj I and can be seen at The Hermitage in St. Petersburg

The court house is, conveniently, connected by passages to the prison – you could get into your cell after receiving the sentence in a very short time 🙂

A modern style court of justice, Hof- og Stadsretten, was introduced by Johann Friedrich Struensee in 1771. The two High Courts were introduced as courts of appeal in 1805 and a new court house was needed for this emerging legal system. Copenhagen’s City Hall was lost in the Great Fires of both 1728 and 1795 and it was finally decided to build a combined city hall and courthouse at a site previously occupied by the Royal Orphanage built in 1728. Christian Frederik Hansen, the leading Danish architect of the time, was charged with the commission. Construction started in 1803 but was delayed by scarcity of building materials as well as the British bombardment of the city in 1807 in the Battle of Copenhagen. Materials from the demolition of Hirschholm Palace were used for the building, which was finally completed in 1816. The building, ornamented by six large Ionic Columns and masonry, served its dual purpose for almost one hundred years, until the current Copenhagen City Hall was inaugurated, and exclusively as the District Court of Copenhagen ever since.

Both the facades of the courthouse and the jail feature inscriptions. The inscription above the entrance of the courthouse, “Med lov skal man land bygge”, means “With law shall the land [i.e. the nation] be built”), is a quotation from the preamble of Codex Holmiensis, while the inscription on the jail reads ” For almeen sikkerheden” – “For the public security”).

Right in front of the Court House, here these youngsters are currently chilling out, is the spot where public executions have been taking place. Often the victims of executions were mothers who have killed their babies because they were too poor to take care of them at the time.

One of the Neoclassical buildings at Nytorv

Beer lovers, lo and behold: this rather unimpressive building is where the Carlsberg empire (with its own cool history about the rivalry between the son and the father over the science of beer-making) had begun!
(While we’re at the topic: Tuborg is also a Danish brand)

Opposite from the Carlsberg birthplace is one of the lovely old streets where affluent people used to live back in the days when sanitation was handled slightly differently than today. Can you believe it was somebody’s job to collect waste buckets from all these houses and dispose of the waste in them? Well, it was. However, as Danes are notoriously very community-oriented and helping people, they were trying to think of ways to make the jobs of those poor lads at least a little bit less shitty (pun definitely intended). One such attempt was the agreement to put a shot of schnapps near the entrance to keep the bucket collectors happy…

The schnapps idea, however, didn’t go down too well… As you can see, there are quite a few houses on that short street, so it was not too long before everything got out of hand for the consumer of so much alcohol, things got spilled rather easily and the idea was abandoned :). All hail the modern sewage system!

Street art

Strange street art…

Do you also know that ‘trivia piece’ about the position of the horse’s legs having something to do with how the person riding it died? Yeah? Well… Complete urban legend with no basis in reality. Horse’s legs arrangements had to do entirely with the ideas of the artist or the person commissioning the monument and nothing with the manner by which anyone had died.

And we’re back with Bishop Absalon.
Copenhagen is located at the most important approach to the Baltic Sea and the rich North German trading towns of the Hanseatic League, providing it with power and wealth but also threatening its very existence, since the town was besieged and laid waste by the Hanseatic League over and over again.
Whereas other cities in the Danish realm were under the governance of the king, in around 1160 Copenhagen was given by Valdemar I to Absalon, Bishop of Roskilde as its lord and master. The city was fortified with a stone wall and Bishop Absalon was a notoriously fierce and terrifying defender of his territory. He pulled of such stunts as beheading the invaders’ armies and sending them back the severed heads as ‘souvenirs’ (and friendly reminders not to fuck with the Danes).

Absalon is revered as one of the key figures in the history of Copenhagen and Denmark. The town grew tenfold in size under his reign. Churches and abbeys were founded. Copenhagen’s economy blossomed as a result of the hugely prosperous herring fishery trade, which provided large parts of Roman Catholic Europe with salted herring for Lent.
From about 1290 until the middle of the 19th century all traffic entering and leaving Copenhagen had to pass through one of Copenhagen’s four city gates or the harbor.
In 1416 Eric of Pomerania took over control of the town and Copenhagen came back under the rule of the Danish Crown.

Listening to the stories of beheaded invaders 🙂

By the time of Christian IV’s coronation in 1596, Copenhagen had become rich and powerful. The new king decided to make the town the economic, military, religious, and cultural centre for the whole of the Nordic region. The king established the first trading companies with sole rights to trade with lands overseas. In order to restrict imports, factories were set up so that as many goods as possible could be manufactured at home.

The building of the former Stock Exchange house is currently for sale, in case you’re looking for a small crib in the region… 😉

The spire features four dragons with intertwined tails

Not all the times were bright for Copenhagen. In July 1700, Copenhagen underwent a bombardment from a British-Dutch-Swedish navy but did not suffer much damage. From June 1711 to March 1712, it was haunted by the plague which killed about a third of the population. About a third of the city (the entire northern part), 1,600 houses and five churches burned down in the course of four days during the fire of 1728 – allegedly started by a restaurant owner’s little kid who knocked off a candle… Ops!
Danes, however, stood together through the hard times and were able to bounce back with gusto. In 1731–32 Christian VI tore the old Copenhagen Castle down to replace it with Christiansborg Palace, and during the reign of Frederick V Frederiksstaden, the most distinguished district of Copenhagen, with Amalienborg Palace at its center, was developed.
Near the end of the 18th century, Copenhagen’s trade and the wealth that followed reached its so far highest level. Although the fire of 1795 destroyed about a quarter of the city and rendered 3,500 homeless, the damage was relatively quickly repaired and most of the city was rebuilt again by the turn of the 19th century.

We’re doing the “Hygge” during our tour’s lunch-break stop :). This Danish word (pronounced “hooga”) loosely translates as “coziness”. It is the warm and fuzzy, sociable feeling that comes from sharing pleasant, friendly times with friends. For Danes, it is one of the highest states to which humans can aspire.
Looks like they know what they are doing! According to the UN’s 2013 World Happiness Report, Denmark, with a score of 7.6, beats every other country on a global happiness scale from zero to 10.

On 2 April 1801 a British fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker fought and defeated a Danish-Norwegian fleet anchored just off Copenhagen. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson led the main attack. He famously disobeyed Parker’s order to withdraw when he “put the telescope to the blind eye” in order not to see Admiral Parker’s signal to cease fire, destroying many of the Dano-Norwegian ships before a truce was agreed. Copenhagen is often considered to be Nelson’s hardest fought battle, surpassing even the heavy fighting at Trafalgar.

The Second Battle of Copenhagen (or the Bombardment of Copenhagen) (16 August – 5 September 1807) was a British preemptive attack, targeting the civilian population in order to seize the Dano-Norwegian fleet. The British landed 30,000 men and surrounded the city, continuing the attack for the next three days, during which at least 2,000 civilians were killed and most of the city was, yet again, destroyed. The devastation was so great because Copenhagen relied on an old defense-line rendered virtually useless by the increase in shooting range available to the British.

While the previous 25 years had been a heyday for Copenhagen, the next 25 years became a period of poverty. Surprisingly, science, literature and art blossomed. Following the July Revolution of 1830 the Danish liberal and national movement gained momentum, and after the European Revolutions of 1848 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy on June 5, 1849. On January 1, 1840, the city was given a new municipal constitution which was expanded on March 4, 1857.
Roughly at the same time, mainly due to The Second War of Schleswig in 1864 (where Denmark lost a third of its area), the old ramparts were replaced by the Fortification of Copenhagen and opened to allow new housing to be built around the lakes (“Søerne”). This dramatic increase in space was long overdue,mainly because of bad sanitation in the old city where, since the reign of Christian IV, despite a fourfold increase in the population, the buildings had become taller and the amount of space available to residents had decreased.

Niels Juel – brother of the diplomat Jens Juel – was a Dano–Norwegian admiral. He was the noblest and most amiable of men, equally beloved and respected by his sailors, simple, straightforward and unpretentious in all his ways. During his latter years he was popularly known in Copenhagen as the “good old knight”.
Despite the warm and loving nickname, he was a great accomplisher. He began his career by serving his naval apprenticeship under Maarten Tromp and Michiel de Ruyter, taking part in all the chief engagements of the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–54), acquiring a thorough knowledge of shipbuilding during a long indisposition at Amsterdam in 1655-1656. Once back in Denmark, he served with distinction during the Dano-Swedish Wars of 1658-60 and took a prominent part in the defense of Copenhagen against Charles X of Sweden.
During fifteen years of peace, Juel, as admiral of the fleet, labored assiduously to develop and improve the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy. He then won a European reputation, and raised Danish sea-power to unprecedented eminence, by the system of naval tactics, perfected by Michiel de Ruyter in the Third Anglo-Dutch War and afterwards by Horatio Nelson, which consists in cutting off a part of the enemy’s force and concentrating the whole attack on it.
Juel took a leading part in Cornelis Tromp’s great victory off Battle of Öland (1 June 1676), which enabled the Danes to invade Scania unopposed. On 1 June 1677 Juel defeated the Swedish admiral Erik Carlsson Sjöblad in the Battle of Møn. On the 30th of June 1677 he won his greatest victory, in the Battle of Køge Bay. This victory, besides permanently crippling the Swedish navy, gave the Danes the self-confidence to become less dependent on their Dutch allies.
After the Treaty of Lund Juel showed himself an administrator and reformer of the first order, and under his energetic supervision the Danish navy ultimately reached imposing dimensions, especially after Juel became chief of the admiralty in 1683.

Hotel d’Angleterre – one of the first deluxe hotels in the world. It is located on Kongens Nytorv opposite Charlottenborg, the Royal Theater and Nyhavn. While its history dates back to 1755, it has been in its current building since a fire in 1795 damaged the previous building beyond repair. Between 1872 and 1875, the building was significantly extended and refurbished by architects Vilhelm Dahlerup and Georg E.W. Møller. It was here that the first draft for Denmark’s constitution was presented, thereby ending the king’s absolute power in Danish affairs.
The Hotel d’Angleterre re-opened in May 2013 following extensive restorations. The new d’Angleterre has 30 rooms and 60 suites. It also has a restaurant “Marchal”, led by executive chef Ronny Emborg, a cocktail and champagne bar as well as a spa and health club.
Among those who stayed in this hotel are (in alphabetical order by last name):
AC/DC, H.C. Andersen, Morten Andersen, Cecilia Bartoli, David & Victoria Beckham, Karen Blixen, Bono, Victor Borge, Mariah Carey, José Carreras, Helena Christensen, Winston Churchill, John Cleese, Bill Clinton, Cameron Diaz, Walt Disney, Barbara Hendricks, Alfred Hitchcock, Whitney Houston, Henrik Ibsen, Julio Iglesias, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Juan Carlos I of Spain, Grace Kelly, Diana Krall, Madonna, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Brigitte Nielsen, Connie Nielsen, Ozzy Osbourne, David Rockefeller, Rolling Stones, Claudia Schiffer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Justin Timberlake, U2, Lars Ulrich, Robbie Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Angus Young.

According to the history section of the hotel’s website, “the d’Angleterre is the result of a love affair between two young people. In the middle of the 1700’s Jean Marchal, a servant in the royal court, and Maria Coppy, daughter to the royal chef, fell in love. Maria was known for her cooking talent and Jean knew everything about serving the privileged. Together Mr. and Mrs. Marchal established a restaurant on Kongens Nytorv in 1755 [“The Strong Man’s Garden”]. This is where the d’Angleterre story begins.
The founder, Jean Marchal and his successors’ talent and sense for providing exceptional service, hospitality and comfort has carried the identity of the d’Angleterre throughout more than 250 years. This tradition is the foundation of the d’Angleterre legacy.”

The Royal Danish Theatre (Danish: Det Kongelige Teater) is both the national Danish performing arts institution and a name used to refer to its old purpose-built venue from 1874 located on Kongens Nytorv. The theater was founded in 1748, first serving as the theater of the king, and then as the theater of the country. It presents opera, the Royal Danish Ballet, classical music concerts (by the Royal Danish Orchestra, which dates back to 1448), and drama in several locations.

However, the hotel also hosted other types of guests: it was selected as Germany’s military headquarters during the Nazi occupation of Denmark.
And this is where one absolutely epic Danish guy comes into the story: Thomas Sneum.
Born on 21 May 1917 (died on 3 February 2007 in Roskilde ), he was a Danish flight officer who was among the first English agents in Denmark during World War II. Sneum was lieutenant in the Naval Air Service, but resigned on 14 April 1940 to come to England. He planned to flee to Sweden with a cutter, but failed. He then went home to his parents in Fano. But this isn’t even remotely the whole pie of awesome of this guy…

In a way, his personal history is one of one epic failure after another, with a few equally epic stories in between. For instance…
Remember how the hotel was used as the German officers’ headquarters? Right. Across the street from the hotel resided Oda Pasborg – a beautiful blonde who featured in the Danish film “A Perfect Gentleman” – she got an apartment from her father right in this portion of the building that you can see on the picture.
Thomas, in the meantime, was planning to assassinate a very high-ranking German official who, he had learned from a few sources, was due to visit Copenhagen in a few months’ time…
Oda Pasborg comes into the picture because Thomas was quite a womanizer and she was his old girlfriend (according to one version of the story, he deliberately seduced her once he had heard of the high-ranking German official’s visit). And she had given him a key to the apartment… with a perfect vantage point over the hotel’s main entrance!
It was an ideal plan, but he did not want to compromise Oda. His solution to the dilemma was to use a steel bow that was both silent and quickly disassembled. Sneum had shot with a bow as a kid, so he bought a new steel bow at a hunting store and practiced in Tivoli and Fano. He had written the expected Himmler’s arrival date on the arrows: 9 April 1940.
Sneum had two informants: gossip-providing Niels-Richard Bertelsen, and a former colleague from the naval air force Arne Helvard who worked at Heathrow airport and to reported on German officers’ movements. On February 6 Bertelsen called Sneum and told that one of Hitler’s leading men was bound to arrive. Luckily, Oda was not answering Sneum’s calls and, most likely, was not at home. Sneum let himself into the apartment and began to wait, and wait, and wait…
But nothing happened. Later, Bertelsen called again and told that there had been a change in the plan: the official, who had been sick on the way from an inspection of the SS troops in Norway, cancelled his visit to Copenhagen and flew straight home to Germany…
The absolute magnitude of this incident can only be appreciated when you learn that the German official in question was no other than… Heinrich Himmler! Imagine how different the history of WWII might have been had he not fallen sick that time!

Obviously, after a few months of preparation and such a let-down, Thomas Sneum was less than happy. He REEEEEEEEALLY wanted to make a difference in the war and to fight the evil Germans. When going to Sweden didn’t quite work out and he had to return to Fano, he just so happened to stumble upon a goldmine…
Just nearby, Germans set up some “metal frames”. Sneum’s most spectacular achievement was when in 1941 he photographed those “frames”, which he managed to do because he obtained express permission from the German local kommendant to hunt rabbits in the area and used that ‘cover’ to carry a photo camera around under his ‘hunting gear’.
He showed the pictures to Danish officials, who failed to see anything significant about them. Thomas was rather upset at such indifference, so figured he needed to get back to England to be closer to action and to more intelligent people. There was one small issue though: there were no available civil flights…
Well hell, he wasn’t the type of a guy to give up easily, so he searched for anyone who had any sort of an aircraft in private possession. Of the 23 possible options he discovered, he chose a DH.87B Hornet Moth, standing at Pal Andersen Else Memorial at Sanderumgaard nearby Odense. He had been told that Pal was ‘good enough’ – that is, national-minded. Thomas expressed the desire to buy the plane, to which Pal Andersen replied: “You can not. But the plane is in that westward barn over there…”
Thomas took the hint and, as Pal turned around and left, immediately proceeded to the barn, got the plane out and set off to the UK in the evening of June 21 with his colleague Kjeld Petersen.
Sounds good, heh? Not so fast! You see, the plane had a small tank and could only make it two-thirds of the way across the North Sea… They carried small 5- and 10-liter cans of additional fuel, except the plane had nowhere to land on the sea. Thus, in an ultimate feat of bad-assery, Sneum stepped out onto the plane’s wing during the actual flight and inserted a hose into the fuel tank, so that they could refuel from the cockpit. If that alone wasn’t whacko enough, Kjeld Petersen spilled fuel inside the cockpit… This may not sound like too much of a big deal, but petrol vapors were effectively anesthetizing them during the flight, making it all the more dangerous.
After landing in England, they were greeted by four RAF officers who had difficulty understanding how they could have flown over from Denmark in the rotten box. Luckily, their explanation was quickly confirmed – in particular by contacting Sneum’s British contact officer in Stockholm. Unlike the Danes, the British took a closer look at the photographs and realized their importance, first recognized by the Head of the English scientific intelligence organization, RV Jones and his colleague Charles Frank who interrogated Sneum. The German “metal frames” proved to be radar stations of the Freya type!
Unfortunately, the British intelligence agency MI 5 in a not-so-intelligent manner commissioned the films to be produce by a local photo retailer, which had almost destroyed all the negatives. Footage brought by Sneum was very important evidence about the Germans’ activities. It was the British first actual pictures of the German radar.

Still engrossed in the story (as we were)? It goes on 🙂
As a way of expressing grand gratitude, Sneum was sent right back to Denmark away from trouble by the British SIS. He landed in September 1941 along with another Dane. He set up a spying network by acquiring a better model of a radio, tapping into Germans’ communication and sending that info over to the Brits and seemed content with that for a while… But not for long! Thomas was resolved to be on the front lines of the events!
On 26 March 1942 Sneum fled to Sweden by (ready for this?) walking across the whole damn way on thin ice! Having lost two companions, Thomas and his buddy Helvard were ‘warmly welcomed’ by the Swedes into immediate imprisonment… Although they later managed to convince the local authorities to be freed.
As if one ‘deportation’ was not enough, Sneum went on to (you’d NEVER guess…) England, where he was (you’d ABSOLUTELY NEVER GUESS!!!) imprisoned yet again because the British Intelligence believed that he was a German double agent. He used influential persons to finally be released, but never got to fly for the RAF. Instead they paid him approximately 3000 pounds. He was also given the opportunity to fly for the Norwegian Airforce.
After the liberation Sneum returned back to Denmark and was (seriously, there’s seriously nooooo way of guessing this time…) immediately taken into interrogation by the National Police and army intelligence services. According to Sneum, they said that he had collaborated with the Germans, for they have said that it was impossible for Danish officers to come to England. So they were supposed to want him to be German friendly. And everything was supposed to be kept hush-hush, otherwise people began all that talk about why the others had not done the same. Basically, it should preferably be kept completely secret that there was someone who had come to England.
Sneum was released and offered to resume his old position as Danish Flight Lieutenant. As in English service he had achieved the rank of colonel, the offer was an exquisite insult to a man who had fought so hard. Sneum left defense. He was then to build the Falck Flying Corps before he traveled to Switzerland.
Unlike Sneum’s countrymen, RV Jones never forgot Sneum. Many years later he wrote in his memoir Most Secret War:
“One might have imagined that after all this Sneum would deservedly become a national hero. But maybe this is why he got the cold shoulder from those who after the war had power in Denmark.”
The incredible story of Thomas Sneum was finally given justice only recently. Ken Follett’s novel London Calling was inspired by it. In addition, Mark Ryan was so drawn by this amazing man’s personal history that he conducted hours upon hours of interviews with Sneum and, finally, in 2008 published a book The Hornet’s Sting: The amazing untold story of the Second World War spy Thomas Sneum.

Completely unrelated to the epic man: something probably related to some sort of ‘green energy’ or ‘green fuel’ 🙂

King Christian X ruled Denmark during the turbulent years of the German occupation.
Initially, he was not the most popular guy on the block, considered too authoritarian and focused on the royal dignity and power, in spite of the growing importance of democracy. This attitude resulted in the Easter Crisis of 1920, in which he dismissed the democratically elected cabinet with which he disagreed, and instated one of his own choosing. Nominally, this was his constitutional right, but facing the risk of the monarchy being overthrown he was forced to accept democratic control of the state and the role as a nominal constitutional monarch.
In spite of his initial unpopular stance, during the German Occupation of Denmark he grew to be a popular symbol of resistance. This was particularly because of the symbolic value of the fact that he rode daily through the streets of Copenhagen unaccompanied by guards.
He also became the subject of a persistent urban legend according to which, during Nazi occupation, he donned the Star of David in solidarity with the Danish Jews. This is not true, as Danish Jews were not forced to wear any insignia. However, the legend likely stems from a 1942 British report that claimed he threatened to don the star if this was forced upon Danish Jews.
In addition, when the threats grew more imminent, he helped finance the transport of Danish Jews to unoccupied Sweden, where they were safe from Nazi persecution. Thus, with a reign spanning two world wars, and his role as a rallying symbol for Danish national sentiment during the WWII, he has become one of the most popular Danish monarchs of modern times.
In August 1943, when the government’s collaboration with the German occupation forces collapsed, several ships were sunk by the Royal Danish Navy in Copenhagen Harbor to prevent them being used by the Germans. On 8 May 1945 Copenhagen was officially liberated by British airborne troops who supervised the surrender of 250,000 German armed forces across Denmark of which near on 30,000 were stationed around the capital.

The Port of Copenhagen is one of the largest ports in Scandinavia. The harbor itself is actually a man-made canal built by soldiers between 1671 and 1673 so ships could access Kongens Nytorv. Back in them days it served as a key industrial, trading and strategic port, although the importance of these uses has waned over time.
In 2001, Copenhagen Harbor merged with the harbor in Malmö to create multi-functional Copenhagen-Malmö Port. Its most important function is that of a major cruise destination. The number of cruise ships visiting or starting/ending cruises at Copenhagen, as well as the number of transported passengers keep steadily growing. As a result, the cruise industry facilities are being expanded and improved.
At the World Travel Awards in 2008, Copenhagen Port was named the number one cruise destination in Europe for the fifth year in a row.

Nowadays the port is a lively, colorful tourist destination, but it wasn’t always the case. Originally, it was a regular busy port of questionable hygienic standards and most of the houses offered services high in demand among the sailors – namely, ladies for the night.
The area remained a de-facto red light district for a long time. At one point, the government decided it was no longer a good greeting card for the arriving visitors to see and decided to prompt the ladies to move their industries elsewhere.

The original plan (whoever was the genius behind it) was to paint the houses into lively colors. As you can see, the plan was executed. Miraculously, however, the ladies didn’t pack up their things and leave – they stayed. Now they just had prettier houses…
Eventually, the government managed to transform the port by creating cultural hubs and other much more family-friendly spaces and buildings around the port and, slowly, the area indeed has transformed into the busy tourist and family hang-out, while the red light district has moved elsewhere.

People enjoying the sunny warm weather…
What you see in the background is the The Copenhagen Opera House (Operaen) – one of the most modern opera houses in the world. It is also one of the most expensive ever built with construction costs well over 500 million U.S. dollars.
Techically, it was donated to the Danish state by the A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation in August 2000. Some politicians were, however, unhappy about it, in part because the full cost of the project would be tax deductible, thus virtually forcing the government to buy the building. Nevertheless, it got a green light.
The Opera House was designed by the architect Henning Larsen, engineers Ramboll and Buro Happold and Theatre Consultant Theatreplan. The acoustics were designed by Arup Acoustics and architectural lighting by Speirs and Major Associates. However, Møller maintained the final say in the design of the building, among other things adding steel to the glass front – a feature aimed to shelter the glass front from aging and weathering that earned the Opera a local nickname of the “barbecue grill”.
It was opened on January 15, 2005 in the presence of Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and Queen Margrethe II, who also attended when the tenor Plácido Domingo made a gala guest appearance as Sigmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre on April 7, 2006.

Love was definitely in the air for those two… 🙂

Apparently a minor symbol of national shame – this is the ship that accidentally fired inland during some training navy exercised and caused a bit of a havoc – proudly displayed next door to the Opera.

Back to the Opera… It seems that the amount of money that has gone into that thing was worth it: it is one of the best-equipped opera houses in the world.
There are only between 1492 and 1703 seats, depending on the size of the orchestra, because a larger number of seats would hamper the quality of sound. If the orchestra is small or absent, the pit can be covered and more seats can be set. The 1492 seats are all individually angled in order to provide the best experience.
The orchestra pit is one of the largest in any opera house, with room for 110 musicians. The building provides excellent sound quality in the pit and the auditorium.
Just like in the old Royal Danish Theatre, the Queen has her own balcony on the left side of the auditorium, closest to the stage. Apparently, she preferred this arrangement rather than the more conventional central placement because she loves to be close to the stage to see the artists preparing behind the sidewalls before entering the stage.
The foyer has been designed for comfort, based on nothing less than actual behavioral research on opera goers, maximizing the wall area for standing against, while still providing views across the entire foyer and one of the best views on Copenhagen.
Guided tours cover most of the building, including both the auditorium and backstage areas.
Besides the main stage, the building also includes a small stage for experimental theater, a so-called “black box” theater named after the original Takkelloftet – a building just south of the Opera built between 1767 and 1772 for storing ropes for the navy. Thus the Opera maintains a connection to the marine history of its location.
The Opera has 6 main stages: 1 visible for the audience, and 5 for rehearsals and set preparation. It has almost everything needed for opera, ballet etc., including stage elevators, movable ballet floors and so on. The building totals 41,000 m² and contains more than 1000 rooms on 14 floors.
Unlike at the old opera in Copenhagen, the artists are allowed to take the elevator from their dressing room to the stage, because the reliability is very good. Unfortunately, it takes more time to get to the stage than previously, which makes it impossible to get back to the dressing room for a quick change of clothes. This was forgotten during the initial design, but the scene technicians have constructed temporary dressing rooms near the main stage for quick changes of clothes or makeup.

Some parts of the city are under extensive construction

You either havet, or you don’t 🙂

If you know what these columns are about – tell me!

Dive in for the pot o’gold!!!

The equestrian statue of King Frederik V on Frederiksgade (Frederik’s Street) was commissioned by Moltke and made by French sculptor Jacques-Francois-Joseph Saly. The foundation stone was laid in place in 1760 at the 100 year celebration of political absolutism in Denmark. The statue was finally unveiled in 1771, five years after King Frederik V’s death.
Just opposite the main castle Amalienborg, built in alignment with The Marble Church, is the Opera house with a great view over the castle.

Frederik’s Church (Danish: Frederiks Kirke), aka The Marble Church (Marmorkirken) – an Evangelical Lutheran church.
Probably inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, it was designed by the architect Nicolai Eigtved in 1740 and was, along with the rest of Frederiksstaden district, intended to commemorate the 300 years jubilee of the first coronation of a member of the House of Oldenburg.
Frederick’s Church has the largest church dome in Scandinavia with a span of 31m, though there are three larger domes elsewhere in Europe. The dome rests on 12 columns.
The foundation stone was set by king Frederick V on October 31, 1749, but the construction was slowed by budget cuts and the death of Eigtved in 1754. In 1770, the original plans for the church were abandoned by Johann Friedrich Struensee. The church was left incomplete and, in spite of several initiatives, stood as a ruin for nearly 150 years.
In 1874, Andreas Frederik Krieger, Denmark’s Finance Minister at the time, sold the ruins of the uncompleted church and the church square to Carl Frederik Tietgen for 100,000 Rigsdaler — none of which was to be paid in cash — on the condition that Tietgen would build a church in a style similar to the original plans and donate it to the state when complete, while in turn he acquired the rights to subdivide neighboring plots for development.
The deal was at the time highly controversial. On 25 January 1877, a case was brought by the Folketing at the Court of Impeachment, Krieger being charged with corruption over this deal. He was, however, eventually acquitted.
Tietgen got Ferdinand Meldahl to design the church in its final form and financed its construction. Due to financial restrictions, the original plans for the church to be built almost entirely from marble were discarded, and instead Meldahl opted for limestone. The church was finally opened to the public on August 19, 1894.
Inscribed in gold lettering on the entablature of the front portico are the words “HERRENS ORD BLIVER EVINDELIG” – Danish for “the word of the Lord endureth for ever”

The Frederiksstaden district was built on the former grounds of two other palaces. The first – called Sophie Amalienborg – was built by Queen Sophie Amalie, consort to Frederick III, in the early 17th century. Other parts of the land were used for Rosenborg Castle, Nyboder, and the new Eastern fortified wall around the old city.
On 15 April 1689 King Christian V, Sophie Amalie’s son, celebrated his forty-fourth birthday at the palace with a performance in a specially built temporary theater that was a great success and was repeated on 19 April. However, immediately after the start, a stage decoration caught fire and both the theater and the palace burned to the ground, killing many people.
The King planned to rebuild the palace whose church, Royal Household and garden buildings were still intact. Ole Rømer headed the preparatory work. In 1694 the King negotiated a deal with the Swedish building master Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, who completed his drawing and model in 1697. The King, however, found the plans too ambitious, and instead began tearing down the existing buildings that same year, with the reclaimed building materials used to build a new Garrison Church.
The second Amalienborg was built by Frederick IV at the beginning of his reign to commemorate in 1748 the tercentenary of the Oldenburg family’s ascent to the throne of Denmark, and in 1749 the tercentenary of the coronation of Christian I of Denmark. This development is generally thought to have been the brainchild of Danish Ambassador Plenipotentiary in Paris Johann Hartwig Ernst Bernstorff. Lord High Steward Adam Gottlob Moltke, one of the most powerful and influential men in the land, headed the project with Nicolai Eigtved as the royal architect and supervisor.
The project consisted of four identical from outside (but different in styles on the inside) mansions, built to house four distinguished families of nobility from the royal circles, placed around an octagonal square.
When the Royal Family found itself homeless after the Christiansborg Palace fire of 1794, the palaces had been empty for long periods throughout the year, with the exception of the Brockdorff Palace that housed the Naval Academy. The noblemen who owned them were willing to part with their mansions for promotion and money, so the Moltke and Schack Palaces were acquired in the course of a few days. Since that date successive royal family members have lived at Amalienborg as a royal residence and kings have lent their names to four the palaces; Christian VII’s Palace (used for events and official royal ceremonies), Christian VIII’s Palace (currently Amalienborg museum), Frederick VIII’s Palace (residence of King Frederik XI and Princess Mary) and Christian IX’s Palace (residence of the Queen and Prince Consort).
Interestingly, Christian VIII’s Palace was sold tot he royal family by the entailed estate of Restrup, which had been established in 1756 by Levertzau, the late owner. The family set one condition when they sold the building— that the Count’s coat of arms should never be removed from the building. It can still be seen beside that of the monarch’s.

Amalienborg is guarded day and night by Royal Life Guards (Den Kongelige Livgarde). Their regular blue full dress uniform dates back to 1848 and is fairly similar to that of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army: a scarlet tunic; blue trousers; and a navy bearskin cap. The Tall Fur Bearskin Cap weighs 4 Kg – and if the temperature reaches over + 30° C the fur cap is replaced by a smaller and more cool and comfortable Garrison Cap.
On special occasions and other ceremonial matters within the Royal House, such as birthdays, weddings, christening, anniversaries, the Royal Danish Life Guards will wear the red uniform dating back to about 1660.
The guard march from Rosenborg Castle at 11.30 am daily through the streets of Copenhagen, and execute the changing of the guard in front of Amalienborg at noon. In addition, post replacement is conducted every two hours.
When the Queen is in residence the The King’s Guard (Kongevagt) also march alongside the changing the guard at noon, accompanied by a band that plays traditional military marches. The Guard Lieutenant (Løjtnantsvagt) is always alerted when Prince Henrik or another member of the royal family are reigning in absence of the Queen.

Face-off between the forces of light and darkness 😀 😀 😀

The guys stared at one another for a full minute! 🙂

And off they went… And so did we, as this was the end of the city tour.
By the way, speaking of the Queen…
Queen Margrethe II (full name: Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid), born 16 April 1940, is the queen regnant of Denmark. her main tasks are to represent the Kingdom abroad and to be a unifying figurehead at home by participating in ceremonies such as exhibition openings, inauguration of bridges, anniversary celebrations and the like. She receives foreign ambassadors and awards honors and medals.
Margrethe is no boring queen – it seems most Danish Royalty is bad-ass in one way or another :). It turns out that she is an accomplished painter and has held many art shows over the years. Her illustrations—under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer—were used for the Danish edition of The Lord of the Rings, which she was encouraged to illustrate in the early 1970s. She sent them to J.R.R. Tolkien who was struck by the similarity of her drawings to his own style. Margrethe’s drawings were redrawn by the British artist Eric Fraser in the translation published in 1977 and re-issued in 2002. She even is rumored to have participated in the Danish LoTR translation, as she also happens to be an accomplished translator.
In 2000, she illustrated Henrik, the Prince Consort’s poetry collection Cantabile. Another skill she possesses is design, having designed the costumes for the Royal Danish Ballet’s production of A Folk Tale and for the 2009 Peter Flinth film, “De vilde svaner” (the Wild Swans). She also designs her own clothes and is known for her colorful and sometimes eccentric clothing choices. She was listed as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s by the Guardian in March 2013.
On top of all that Margrethe is a chain smoker famous for her tobacco habit. However, on 23 November 2006 the Danish newspaper B.T. reported an announcement from the Royal Court stating that in future the Queen would smoke only in private.

More random Danish trivia:
1. Danish men marry the oldest of all Europeans – at 32 years old in average.
2. The country’s average height above sea level is only 31 meters and the highest natural point is Møllehøj, at 170.86 meters.
3. The World Audit ranks Denmark as the world’s most democratic and least corrupted country in 2008. It is also second for freedom of press.
4. A 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries ranked Denmark as the 3rd best country overall after the Netherlands and Sweden.
5. Danish people have the lowest income inequality in the world, with a Gini index of 24.7 in 1997.
6. Denmark has had no less than 14 Nobel laureates, including 4 in Literature, 5 in Physiology or Medicine, and one Peace prize. With its population of about 5 million, it is one of the highest per capita ratio of any country in the world.
7. According to the WHO (2002 stats), Danish women have the lowest incidence of obesity in the EU.
8. The architect of the iconic Sydney Opera House was the Dane Jørn Utzon (1918-2008). In 2007, he became only the second person to have his work recognized as a World Heritage Site while he was still alive.
9. In 1989, Denmark became the first country to legalize same-sex unions (although same-sex marriage was not granted until 2012).

Rank it up! Copenhagen has been placed in the following positions by the various ranking entities:
1. No. 1 in June 2013, a Financial Times preview of the Monocle, on the list of the Top 25 Most Livable Cities 2013.
2. 9th for personal safety and 11th for quality of living in the 2011 Mercer worldwide survey of 221 cities.
3. In 2008, No.4 on the Financial Times-owned FDi magazine list of Top50 European Cities of the Future after London, Paris and Berlin. In 2006/07 the Magazine named Copenhagen Scandinavian City of the Future and in 2004/05 Northern European City of the Future ahead of other cities from Scandinavia, UK, Ireland and Benelux.
4. It is the world’s No.7 most expensive city and No.3 most expensive in Europe on the Forbes List.
5. In 2009, named Innovation Nexus City and ranked 12th in Europe and 17th globally for innovation across 31 sectors, out of 256 cities in the Innovation Cities Index published by 2thinknow.
6. 14th in the world and 1st in Scandinavia in the 2008 Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index, published by MasterCard.
7. 3rd in Western Europe and 1st in the Nordic countries for attracting head offices and distribution centers, only surpassed by London and Paris.
8. No.1 out of 254 locations in the Location Ranking Survey performed by ECA International that has asked European experts where they prefer to be stationed worldwide.
9. No.7 as Preferred City For Investment Projects.
10. No.1 in the 2006 Global Earning Ranking.
11. The 5th most popular city in the world for international meetings and conferences.
12. As of 2011, the 17th most expensive city in the world according to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey.
13. The Copenhagen Metro has been named the Greenest in Europe by Siemens/Economist Intelligence Unit and the Best Metro in the World by industry experts..
14. No.6 in Grist Magazine’s “15 Green Cities” list in 2007 making it the greenest capital of Scandinavia.

And more Danish trivia – all hail the local economy!
1. Denmark has the highest employment rate in Europe (75%).
2. In 2012 Denmark enjoyed the 2nd highest nominal GDP per capita in the European Union, after Luxembourg. At purchasing power parity (PPP), Denmark was ranked in 8th position within the EU.
3. As of December 2005, Denmark had the highest percentage of broadband subscriptions in the world, with about 32% of the population connected. In 2010, Denmark ranked third, with 37.7% of the population connected.
4. Denmark has, along with other Scandinavian countries, the second highest standard V.A.T. rate in the world (25%) after Hungary.
5. The world famous building toys Lego are from Denmark. Grown up men who make it to the Lego museum are known to break into tears – and for all the right reasons (I know for a fact if I now got a Lego set, I’d be lost for the society for a very long time!)
6. The A.P. Møller-Mærsk Group (commonly known simply as Mærsk), headquartered in Copenhagen, is the largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the world, employing over 100,000 people in 125 countries.
7. The Danish company Bang & Olufsen (B&O) manufacture some of the most upscale audio products, television sets, and telephones in the world.

The church at the Kastellet.

The Kastellet (The Citadel) is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It is constructed in the form of a pentagram with bastions at its corners. King Christian IV of Denmark initiated Kastellet’s construction in 1626 with the building of an advanced post, the Sankt Annæ Skanse (St. Anne’s Redoubt), on the coast north of the city. The redoubt guarded the entrance to the port, together with a blockhouse that was constructed north of Christianshavn, which had just been founded on the other side of the strait between Zealand and Amager. Kastellet was continuous with the ring of bastioned ramparts which used to encircle Copenhagen but of which only the ramparts of Christianshavn remain today.

The area today has some military presence still, but is designated as a public park and even includes a couple of smaller museums, alongside several other buildings and a mill.

The Church at the Citadel was built in 1704 in heavy Baroque style during the reign of King Frederik IV.

The Gefion Fountain (Danish: Gefionspringvandet) is a large fountain on the harbor front. that features a large-scale group of animal figures being driven by the legendary Norse goddess, Gefjun. It is the largest monument in Copenhagen and used as a wishing well.

Designed by Danish artist Anders Bundgaard, the fountain was donated to the city of Copenhagen by the Carlsberg Foundation on the occasion of the brewery’s 50-year anniversary. It was originally supposed to be located in the main town square outside city hall, but it was decided instead to build it near the Øresund in its current location near Kastellet.

The fountain depicts the mythical story of the creation of the island of Zealand on which Copenhagen is located. The legend appears in Ragnarsdrápa, a 9th-century Skaldic poem recorded in the 13th century Prose Edda, and in Ynglinga saga as recorded in Snorri Sturluson’s 13th century Heimskringla.
According to Ynglinga saga, the Swedish king Gylfi promised Gefjun the territory she could plow in a night. She turned her four sons into oxen, and the territory they plowed out of the earth was then thrown into the Danish sea between Scania and the island of Fyn. The hole became a lake called Lögrinn and Leginum (locative). Snorri identifies the lake Löginn, as the lake of Old Sigtuna west of Stockholm, i.e. Lake Mälaren, an identification that he returns to later in the Saga of Olaf the Holy. The same identification of Löginn/Leginum as Mälaren appears in Ásmundar saga kappabana, where it is the lake by Agnafit (modern Stockholm), and also in Knýtlinga saga.
In spite of Snorri’s identification, tourist information about the fountain identifies the resultant lake as Vänern, Sweden’s largest lake, citing the fact that modern maps show that Zealand and the lake resemble each other in size and shape. Snorri, however, was well acquainted with Vänern as he had visited Västergötland in 1219. When he referred to this lake he called it Vænir.

You’d probably looks just as furious if your mom turned you into plow beasts and made you work all night!

Obviously, we couldn’t leave without paying a visit to this young lady. One of the most prominent symbols of Copenhagen – the Little Mermaid statue.
Her fairy tale daddy Hans Christian Andersen, who was born and lived in the colorful harbor, is also well known for such tales as “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Ugly Duckling”.
There is a line of people waiting to take a picture with the Mermaid who, true to its name, is indeed very little in size :).

The statue was created by sculptor Edvard Eriksen after it was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, who had been so fascinated by a ballet about the fairy tale in Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre and asked the ballerina Ellen Price to model for it. In the end, the statue’s head was modeled after Price, but as the ballerina did not agree to model in the nude, the sculptor’s wife Eline Eriksen posed for the body.
According to German magazine Der Spiegel, the statue located in the harbor has always been an exact copy, with the sculptor’s heirs keeping the original at an undisclosed location. This is probably a very good idea, as the poor thing has been a victim of vandalism for decades: it was beheaded on April 24, 1964 by politically oriented artists of the Situationist movement, among them Jørgen Nash; it lost its right arm on July 22, 1984, although it was returned two days later; almost lost its head again in but 1990 but escaped merely with an 18cm deep cut in the neck; did lose its head again on January 6, 1998 by unknown folk who then returned it anonymously to a nearby TV station; it was knocked off its base with explosives on the night of September 10, 2003 and later found in the harbor’s waters; had pain spilled over it several times; was draped in a burqa in 2004 as a statement against Turkey joining the European Union and again in a Muslim dress and head scarf in May 2007; it even had a dildo attached to the hand, green paint was dumped over, and the words ‘March 8’ written on it on March 8, 2006 – and episode that could be connected with International Women’s Day.
Tired of all this trouble, in 2006, Copenhagen officials announced that the statue may be moved farther out in the harbor, so as to avoid further vandalism and to prevent tourists from climbing onto it.
Aside from the poor martyr of the statue we all see, the mermaid idea is rather popular and thirteen undamaged copies (‘Mermaids of Earth’) are located around the world, including those in: Solvang, California; Kimballton, Iowa; Piatra Neamţ, Romania and a half-sized copy in Calgary, Canada. The grave of Danish-American entertainer Victor Borge includes a copy as well. The fate of a half-size replica that constitutes the Danish contribution to the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City was a bit less peaceful: it was stolen on 26 February 2010, but was recovered on 7 April, evidently abandoned in the park after the thief became nervous about being caught with it.
The statue is under copyright until 70 years after the death of the creator (2029); therefore several copies of the statue have provoked legal actions. As of 2012, replicas of the statue can be purchased on the internet, authorized for use by the Eriksen family.
One 76cm replica worth $10,000 was installed in Greenville, Michigan in 1994 to celebrate the town’s Danish heritage. In 2009 the town was sued by the Artists Rights Society claiming the work violated Eriksen’s copyright, and asking for a $3,800 licensing fee.The replica, however, is half the size of the original, has a different face and larger breasts as well as other distinguishing factors, so the copyright claim was later reported dropped.
There are also similarities between the Little Mermaid statue and the Pania of the Reef statue on the beachfront at Napier in New Zealand. The statue of a woman diver (titled “Girl in a Wetsuit” by Elek Imredy) in Vancouver, Canada was placed there when, unable to obtain permission to reproduce the Copenhagen statue, Vancouver authorities selected a modern version.

Memorial to the Danish Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War at the Churchill Park.
The monument was erected for the 220 Danes who died in Spain 1936-38 and was unveiled on 1 November 1986 on the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The inscription on the back is a quotation from Martin Jensen’s poem “A Greeting to You, Comrades”, which he wrote in homage to the volunteers who fought in Spain in 1937.
On the front of the pyramid in relief lettering: “TIL MINDE OM DE DANSKE SPANIENS FRIVILLIGE” (In memory of the Danish volunteers in the Spanish Civil War); on the front of the plinth carved: “MADRID JAMARA [skal være: JARAMA] HUESCA TERUEL” (Madrid Jamara (misspelling for Jarama) Huesca Teruel); on the left rear side of the pyramid in relief lettering: “EN HILSEN TIL JER KAMMERATER TIL DIG MIN VEN OG MIN BROR DER KÆMPEDE I SPANIENS BJERGE FOR FRIHED OG LYKKE PÅ JORD” (A greeting to you comrades, to you, my friend and my brother, who fought in the mountains of Spain for freedom and happiness on earth); on the right rear side of the pyramid in relief lettering: “550 DANSKE DROG TIL SPANIEN FOR AT BEKÆMPE FAS-CISMEN UNDER DEN SPANSKE BORGER-KRIG 1936-1939 220 GAV DERES LIV” (550 Danes went to Spain to fight fascism during the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 220 sacrificed their lives); on the right rear side of the pyramid carved: “GUADALAJARA EBRO”

Churchillparken (Churchill Park) is a public park in Copenhagen, Denmark, occupying a tract of land between Kastellet and the street Esplanaden. Located on the former esplanade which used to surround Kastellet, the area has a long history as a greenspace but received its current name in 1965 to commemorate Winston Churchill and the British assistance in the liberation of Denmark during World War II.

The bronze statue of a valkyrie, a female figure in Norse mythology who chooses who will die and battle and brings her chosen to Valhalla, an afterlife hall of the slain. It was designed by Stephan Sinding and executed in Paris in 1908 but is based on a sketch from 1872. A smaller version in painted wood, metal and coloured stone was exhibited in 1901 and another version from 1910, in bronze and ivory, is in the collections of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. A gift from Carl Jacobsen’s Albertine Trust which was created to provide statues and monuments for the parks and squares of Copenhagen, the present statue was originally placed at Langelinie close to the waterfront but was moved to its current park setting when the Kastellet was reconstructed in the 1990s

A little visitor to our car 🙂

A little bit more of the Danish trivia:
1. A lot of Copenhageners cycle — fast. Half of the people pedal to work. Cycling is actually one of the best ways to explore the city, and you can take bikes on trains.
Public transport is efficient. It takes 15 minutes to travel from the airport to the city center by metro, and trains run 24 hours a day.
2. Copenhageners are also law-abiding. Even at 3 a.m. on an icy cold night, with no traffic in sight, they’ll wait for the green light at pedestrian crossings.
3. Copenhagen is glittering with 15 Michelin stars that belong to such places as Noma – the “new Nordic” restaurant that’s been named the World’s Best Restaurant three times, or Relæ (Jægersborggade 41; +45 3696 6609), an experimental, basement restaurant on a street packed with food shops and eateries.
Other great places (not featuring the stars) worth getting a bite at include:
-Kødbyens Fiskebar (Flæsketorvet 100; +45 3215 5656), a stripped-back industrial space that specializes in fish and seafood.
-Aamanns Deli & Take Away (Øster Farimagsgade 10; +45 3555 3344) where smørrebrød, the classic Danish open sandwich, is turned into a delicious work of art.
-Royal Smushi Cafe (Amagertorv 6; +45 3312 1122), which serves “smushi,” a fusion of sushi and smørrebrød.
Make dining reservations early — most restaurants open for online bookings at least two months in advance. Copenhageners tend not to dine late, meaning not a lot of places keep late hours.
Finally, bear in mind that tipping is minimal. Restaurant bills normally include a service charge and taxi drivers don’t expect a tip, although it’s customary to round up the amount.

Since the summer of 2000, Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö have been connected by a toll bridge/tunnel (Øresund Bridge), which carries railroad and automobile traffic. As a result, Copenhagen has become the centre of a larger metropolitan area which spans both nations (that’s the one you see on this picture).

Danes are generally industrious – a trait obvious even from their money (Danish Krone bank notes bear more pictures of bridges and historic finds than famous people — typical of a nation that values construction and craftsmanship over ego).
Another famous bridge – the Great Belt Fixed Link is a suspension bridge between the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen. It is the longest free span bridge (1.6 km) in Europe, and the third longest in the world, after the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in Japan and the Xihoumen Bridge in China.

Besides inventing awesome bridges (and Lego 🙂 ), they also invented the pedal bin (thank Holger Nielsen who thought one up in 1939 for his wife’s hairdressing salon); existentialist angst — the flip side of all that happiness – is another one of the Danish inventions.

Last sunset of the day… Bye-bye, Denmark, off to Norway, Sweden and Finland!

About in shade

A cocktail of personality traits hard to digest for some but ultimately soothing for those who can. I observe, enjoy, travel, interact, photograph, dance, contemplate, write and love my way through this life's countless occurrences. This blog is a way to share with the world and its people some of the treasures they give me every day.
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3 Responses to Scandinavian Saga Part 1: Copenhagen.

  1. Pingback: Scandinavian Saga Part 2: Norway – Kjerag and the Scenery. | Travel tales

  2. Pingback: Scandinavian Saga Part 3: Sweden and the Stockholm Syndrome | Travel tales

  3. Pingback: Scandinavian Saga Part 4: Hello, Helsinki! | Travel tales

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