holger the dane

Danish folklore
  • Holger Danske (Holger the Dane)

Holger the Dane was said to be a knight of Karl the Great. The statue of him above is placed at Kronborg Castle, and it is said that when Denmark is under siege or in need, the statue will come to life, and rise to protect Denmark.

  • Gefion

Gefion is the nordic goddess of ploughing and virginity. She is said to be the one who ploughed the eastern region of Denmark (Zealand) from Sweden. In one of the folklores Odin sends her out to get more land, and she turns her four sons into oxen, and had them help her plow a part of Sweden, which is now lake Mälaren, and gave it to Denmark as Zealand. Additionally, all those who die a virgin become her attendants.

  • Nisser

Nisser is the most outspread danish folklore, that danish kids still believe in. In Denmark, kids don’t believe in Santa Claus for christmas, instead we have small three feet tall people, who live in your house or your barn. They tend to play pranks on you, but can be befriended easily by giving them food, and if you treat them nicely they will give the family of the house presents for christmas, and protect the house.

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Some shots of Kronborg Slot. That last picture is a statue of Holger the Dane - in reality he was a French soldier but he became a wildly famous legend throughout Denmark’s history. There are Holger the Dane stories for every time period and every war, and it’s said that even though Holger the Dane rests under the castle, he will rise in Denmark’s darkest hour on the side of the Danes. I really, really like that story! 

That great big hallway was once (and still is) a site of lavish parties. Parties so involved and crazy that people didn’t leave the room to pee. Well, men would go outside to pee but the women’s skirts were so wide that they couldn’t get down the stairs, so there were some piles of hay in alcoves so women could relieve themselves. 

They say that Shakespeare did some of his first performances in that room. There’s no archived history of these events in the castle’s archives, but there’s a reason historians think that Shakespeare was there. The police archives from that time still exist and are surprisingly accurate, and in these records one can find mention of men that Shakespeare was known to travel and act with…leading historians to believe that the Bard was probably with them! And of course, there’s Hamlet. 

Every summer there’s a Shakespeare festival there where they perform Hamlet. Someday I’d love to see it!