Copenhagen: The fairytale capital of the world

Copenhagen: The fairytale capital of the world

(CNN) — As soon as on a time in Scandinavia, a place emerged wherever the Covid restrictions that several other nations are nevertheless residing underneath have been absolutely lifted.

Denmark’s choice to come to be the first European Union member to entirely relax Covid-19 procedures is thanks in big section to the effective way nearby traditions of samfundssind or “social mindedness” have aided end the distribute of the virus.

With Covid passes no extended needed to enter eating places and nightclubs, Copenhagen is open and ready for small business, its pleasant citizens primed to welcome new and returning website visitors to take pleasure in its understated charm.

A fairy tale ending to a dim chapter? It would unquestionably be apt in the Danish money exactly where couple points are as central to tradition as fairy tales. Especially those people by Hans Christian Andersen.

A stop by to the enchanting homeland of Hans Christian Andersen is absolutely sure to reignite one’s creativeness.

Even though the writer of classics this kind of as “The Minor Mermaid” and “The Emperor’s New Outfits” died practically 150 yrs back, his spirit is very substantially alive in modern Denmark.

And everyone encountering performer Torben Iversen could be forgiven for imagining Andersen is very a lot alive in person.

Iversen, who can regularly be found dressing and speaking like Andersen, alongside with a band of fairytale fanatics have taken it on them selves to continue to keep the author’s stories alive for upcoming generations.

“Anyone has to act Andersen, to journey the entire world to present the stories,” claims Iversen, dressed in complete 19th century garb. “I don’t say to people today ‘I am Andersen’. I engage in Andersen because Andersen explained ‘to journey is to live’. I say to engage in is to dwell. So, that’s what I do.”

Torben Iversen: “Normally make your personal existence a fairy tale.”


Iversen founded the Hans Christian Andersen Parade in 1988 and has taken his exhibit, that includes 20 figures from Andersen’s fairytales, all all over the earth. It can be back residence in Denmark, nevertheless, where he has selected to go on his perform, right now conducting distinctive guided excursions around the Andersen Museum in Odense, west of Copenhagen.

Andersen’s crafting and tales are, says Iversen, all about making certain we keep our perception of ponder and creativeness outside of the early a long time of childhood.

“I will inform you that you shall usually make your very own lifetime a fairytale. If you recall that, that will be the most significant issue.”

The tales, in their balance amongst light-weight and dim, are component of the human spirit.

“[People] get natural vitamins for their existence, for their thoughts, for their considering, for their coronary heart, for their thoughts,” claims Iversen of Andersen’s function. “That’s what art is all about, that is what society is all about, natural vitamins for your daily life.”

A day with a Viking

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Richard Quest discovers his internal Viking.


If tales of mermaids, naked emperors and princesses are deep in Danish society, then so far too is the long and storied heritage of the Vikings. These marauders were dominant through a lot of northern Europe during the early Middle Ages, traveling as considerably as Russia, Greenland and North The us. Their pillaging has led to a status which endures to this day, one which has violence at its coronary heart.

It truly is a popularity that flamboyant artist, designer and photographer Jim Lyngvild is striving to transform, trying to shift perceptions and showcase the Vikings’ Norse beliefs and pagan rituals.

For Lyngvild, this is individual. He is descended from Viking royalty and has the family tree to confirm it. But his competencies as a designer signify he’s taken things to the subsequent level, creating his personal Viking castle and even a temple to the Norse gods which is, he claims, the initial to be developed on Scandinavian grounds in a thousand years. It was done in 2016.

Denmark and Vikings are connected in historical past and lore. CNN’s Richard Quest finds himself transported while going to a modern day-working day Viking castle outside Copenhagen.

“My objective right here in daily life is to not endorse, that is the erroneous term, but to convey to people today about outdated Norse beliefs and Vikings. And make them a lot less stereotyped.”

“Vikings have been taken hostage by the stupidest of people today,” provides Lyngvild. “The Nazis utilized the symbols… So, I am torn in between becoming particularly happy of my inheritance, but also remaining exceptionally mindful that very little evil will occur from it.”

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Jim Lyngvild lives in his individual Viking castle.


Lyngvild’s extravagant acquire on Viking record has found him turn out to be a person of Denmark’s most renowned folks. He wears the clothes, he has taken on the religious beliefs and has produced magic all-around this generally misunderstood element of Danish record. But he has also invited Syrian refugees to a reconstructed Iron Age village in Odense to give them an practical experience of Danish lifestyle. It speaks to his singular method to demonstrating off the very best of Denmark.

“We have this pretty conservative, ‘you have to do this in a pretty rigorous previous way’ [approach]. But we also adore the cracks in the canvas in which the wild horses can operate by,” he claims.

Science difficult background

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DNA scientist Eske Willerslev has uncovered some surprises about Vikings.


Even though Lyngvild’s very pleased choose on Denmark’s Viking history is hard stereotypes, new exploration implies that much of what we know about these plunderers and empire builders may perhaps not be as concrete as at the time assumed.

Stage ahead Eske Willerslev, a DNA scientist and director of the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for GeoGenetics. Eske, a previous adventurer who after led expeditions as a result of Siberia and Greenland, has been blowing up a thousand decades of Viking background by way of his chopping-edge research.

His work has demonstrated that Vikings weren’t just Scandinavians. Investigation of 400 skeletons from burial sites from throughout Scotland and Greenland has in simple fact observed that several of individuals buried had no Scandinavian genetic heritage, with some staying locals and other individuals even acquiring connections to southern Europe and Asia.

“Of class there are Scandinavians, Danes, that are Vikings, numerous of them. But there are also Vikings that have no genetic ancestry coming from Scandinavia,” clarifies Eske.

It seems that Viking was much more of a occupation description, a way of existence alternatively than a quirk of beginning. These skeletons had been buried using Viking rituals, with the very same swords and shields you’d anticipate to locate in Scandinavia.

“Our full identification as Scandinavians… is based on the Viking myth. But you know as a researcher, what is your purpose? Your aim is to find out what in fact happened somewhat than ‘what do we imagine occurred or think about happened.'”

And Eske has one other shock.

“[They] have been fewer blonde and blue eyed than Scandinavians are these days.”

It would seem our preconceptions about this cornerstone of Danish background have been effectively and certainly blown out of the h2o.

A rebellious aspect

In a land of extensive-standing ideals, even the rule breakers embody the essence of Denmark.

Copenhagen has made a track record internationally for its simplicity, consensus mentality and reasonableness. But which is not to say it isn’t going to have a rebellious side. And nowhere is that additional in proof than Christiania.

The Danish capital’s famous freetown dates back to 1971, when a group of free of charge minded settlers broke into the Bådmandsgade armed forces barracks and established up what has become a single of the world’s most renowned experiments in collective residing.

Through that time, Christiania has develop into recognized for its free and effortless technique to lifetime, with critics highlighting concerns with open drug use and the area’s inbound links with organized crime. Website visitors are warned not to get photos close to its infamous Pusher Road, with a list of policies noticeable to all individuals who enter this exclusive corner of Copenhagen.

Given that 2011, having said that, the area has been owned by the Foundation Freetown Christiania, a team committed to shielding their way of lifestyle and the spot they have termed household for 50 a long time.

So, what would make it so alluring right after all these a long time?

Tanja Zebell is a very long time resident and remains committed to the trigger of communal residing and undertaking things in different ways. Slipping by means of Christiania’s tranquil streets on roller skates, she is a picture of the rebel spirit that however endures in this article. She is passionate about the commune exactly where she lives and in particular the art which adorn the area’s walls. The graffiti, she describes, is all portion of the attraction of the area.

“You look at what is currently painted there, and then you talk to your self, ‘can I do this far better?’ If the respond to is no, then you will not overpaint,” she says, firmly.

This polite riot is specially Danish in its sensibility. A single aspect rebels, the other side tolerates. Just one aspect pushes, the other side acknowledges. It is really what goes to make Copenhagen and Denmark at large such a heat and welcoming position.

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Ulla Terkelsen: “It is a really gorgeous place.”


In the considerably less rebellious environment of a traditional Danish bakery, globetrotting Danish correspondent and author Ulla Terkelsen, is in a reflective temper. Ulla has worked and traveled all above the environment, but however has a deep passion for the put she termed residence for the initially 20 many years of her lifetime. Like Tanja, she loves this city.

“I assume it is a really beautiful state. I imagine it is also a extremely pragmatic, smart state,” she claims more than standard Weinerbrod.

“When you are right here, you are as if you have stepped off the entire world. The planet is perilous and diverse and you move off it and phase into a quite rather backyard garden. Very very well-saved in which anything is sweet and pleasant. But outdoors the back garden gate, you can find a thing else heading on.”

Terkelsen states that, as she wanders the quite cobbled streets of her home metropolis, she grows emotional contemplating of the connections to household and her previous, tapping into a broader feeling of Copenhagen becoming a location to appear back again to.

That sense is most likely best summed up in the fairytales which originate from these shores. The safety, enchantment and wonder of home, but with a twist in the tale, whether or not it can be in rebellious Christiania or the new science revealing the truth about the Vikings and Denmark’s previous. It can be honest to say that if you stop by Copenhagen, you can live fortunately at any time following.

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