Sunday, May 24, 2009

mermaids and castles and swans, oh my

after reading your post on minnesota's official state bird and the like, we did a bit of research. we can't really find that there are so many officially designated things that are danish national symbols, but a couple of things come to mind.

the swan is one of the few things we could find that has official designation as the national bird.

this was as close as we wanted to get to the swans, as despite their beauty, they're really pretty mean.

the other national symbol that comes to mind is the little mermaid. she originated in hans christian andersen's fairytale and there is a statue of her in copenhagen harbor that people come from around the world to see. i always imagine they're rather disappointed because it isn't a very large statue--but it's not really false advertising since it is called the little mermaid.  but, as you can see, whole boatloads of tourists are there to see it.  this picture was taken last year when my cousin was in town, so it's sabin and my cousin gisel.

and here's one of just sabin, so you get the idea of how little the mermaid really is.

there is something elegant and wistful about her. but it is somehow a testament to the marketing genius of the danes that such a little statue is such a big attraction. she's actually going to be sent to china to be part of the world exposition and she'll be there for about a year. we think that's pretty cool that the little mermaid gets to travel.

denmark has had kings and queens for over a thousand years, so that means that there are castles around. the danes never had ostentatious castles on the scale of the english or the russians, but there is one famous castle in particular--kronborg. it's famous as the hamlet castle, because after all, hamlet was a danish prince.

we were on TOP of kronborg when this picture was taken
another important castle is called rosenborg. it's a little bitty very dark (on the inside) castle in the center of copenhagen. it's where they keep the crown jewels. it's fun to be there and read that it was once considered to be on the outskirts of copenhagen, when today it's really in the center.

looking up at the tower at rosenborg
other distinctively danish symbols include bright red mailboxes:

the colorful houses along nyhavn:

which you can also find immortalized at legoland in billund:

and which is, of course, one of sabin's favorite places to visit:

and lastly, the main danish symbol we can think of is the red and white danish flag. it's used quite a lot. people have flagpoles and fly the flag in their yards on holidays and special occasions. people line their driveways with little paper flags when there's a birthday in the house. danes love their flag.


  1. I just traveled vicariously! Fantastic..I especially like the Mermaid, and I hadnt known about it, so it is going on my list of things to visit when and if I make a trip, hopefully it isnt in China at the time!

  2. I like the look of Legoland and would really like to travel there one day. The flags in the yard on someone's birthday is really cool too. Thanks... Sydney.
    p.s. the little mermaid sounds cool too!!!

  3. Legoland...reminds me of Madurodam. Ever been there Julie & Sabin? (one is built from Legos and one is not)