Disappointed by the lowly proportions of Copenhagen’s most famous landmark, The Little Mermaid? The city has plenty of other statues with a story to tell, either in what they depict or the fuss they caused while being made. Check out these effigies for size.
1. Lurblæserne (The Hornblowers), Rådhuspladsen
The two bronze hornblowers have been standing on a high pillar in Copenhagen’s City Hall Square since 1914, supposedly waiting for a virgin to walk by to blow their horns. If they seem unsteady on their perch, it’s because the decision to turn one figure into two came late in the design process.
2. Gefion Fountain, Langelinie/ Kastellet
The monumental statue of scary-looking Norsk goddess Gefjun towers above its fountain close to Kastellet. According to the Viking sagas, after the Swedish king promised Gefjun as much land as she could plow in one night, she turned her four sons into oxen – and plowed enough earth to create the Danish island of Zealand.
3. The Elephant Gateway, Carlsberg Byen
The old Carlsberg brewery is filled with crazily OTT architecture, but it is the gateway, with its formidable stone elephants, that greets most visitors first. The swastikas on the elephant’s back date back to 1901, preceding the Nazis and referring instead to brewery boss Carl Jacobsen’s obsession with ancient civilizations and symbols.
4. The Stork Fountain, Amagertorv
The type of birds depicted on ‘the stork fountain’ has generated debate since it was made in 1894, with persistent claims that the birds are herons: In 2008, representatives from the Danish Ornithological society stated this is not true – they’re storks. This fountain acts as a meeting place and even had a popular Danish folk song written about it during the ’60s.
5. Frederik V, Amalienborg Slotsplads
The French sculptor Jacques Saly took 20 years and a huge budget to complete this monument to the reigning Danish monarch, King Frederik V, during the 18th-century, demanding free housing during his stay not only for himself but for most of his family from his commissioners, the Danish Asiatic Company. Neither party were happy with the financial conclusion.
Pictured: Gefion Fountain by Klearchos Kapoutsis/ Creative Commons.