The urban fairy tale
It is an unavoidable truth: Copenhagen has a solid reputation for being a romantic, urban fairy tale. and it is not just HC Andersen who has let loose tin soldiers, princesses and dogs with eyes as big as tea-cups on to the streets, as now many are treading in his footsteps, quite literally sometimes, sprinkling the city with magic dust.
The fairy tales are still out there, in the middle of the city – both above and below the water’s surface …
The princess on the pea mountain
Bambi, beavers and polished floors are usually not an eye-catching combination but even so, it is what Kathrine Ærtebjerg has been able to mix. Ærtebjerg has decorated the kitchenette at Frederik VIII’s Palace, the home of the Crown Prince, and it’s pretty clear she’s a vegetarian. at the National Gallery you can immerse yourself in Ærtebjerg’s fantasy world, where grass is growing up the duvet and humans are transformed into animals.
Statens Museum for Kunst, Sølvgade 48-50, 1307 Cph K; open Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00 & Wed 10:00-20:00; smk.dk
The Merman and his unfaithful wife
The old Nordic ballad ‘Agnete and the Merman’ has come alive in Holmens Kanal near Gammel Strand. For eight years, the human girl Agnete lived happily with her dashing Merman on the sea bed, but then she changed her mind. below the water’s surface, the abandoned and desolated Merman and their seven children are now looking up through the waters towards the dry land to which Agnete has returned.
In the water by Højbro, 1200 Cph K
Ugly, left out and different?
The very best of Hans Christian Andersen has all of his main characters feeling the worst of all. The days where you feel ugly, left out and different are also those days when you most need a pat on the back. Andersen himself often read aloud from one of his fairy tales in the living room at Bakkehuset, where the celebrity Kamma Rahbek resided – and the diffident man never forgot that pretty Kamma was the first to call him “a poet”.
Bakkehusmuseet, Rahbeks Allé 23, 1801 Frederiksberg; open Tue-Sun 11:00-16:00;bakkehusmuseet.dk
The greatest tourist attraction in Denmark, ‘The little Mermaid’, has a sister. at the end of Dahlerups Storehouse you can find a genetically-modified version of the fabled being, created by Bjørn Nørgaard. she is a part of the sculpture, ‘The Genetically Modified Paradise’, which visited Hannover for the World fair EXPO in 2000.
Ny Dahlerup Torv, Langelinie Alle, 2100 Cph Ø
The Princess’s Pea in the Treasury of Art
“And the Pea was put in the Treasury of Art, where it may still been seen, if no-one has stolen it!” Thus ends the fairy tale ‘The Princess and the Pea’. Andersen wrote the fairy tale in 1835 – ten years after the actual Royal Treasury of Art had been dissolved. The Royal Treasury of Art is the mother of all Danish museums and the articles from the king’s private collection formed the basis for museums such as the National Gallery, the National Museum, Frederiksborg Castle and the Zoological Museum.
Nationalmuseet, Ny Vestergade 10, 1471 Cph K; open Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00; natmus.dk