The “curse” of the Wooden Man of Egeskov Castle

We are on the Danish island of Funen (Fyn), near Odense. Hidden among the dusty rafters beneath Egeskov Castle spire is a curious wooden doll. No one knows to whom it belonged, how old the doll is, how long it has been there, or how it came to be left in the dark attic of the imposing 16th-century castle. The dust-covered figure is the size of a child and has been left, as if asleep, on a old pillow. Egeskov Castle is one of 123 manor houses and castles on…

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Voergaard Castle: a Danish castle supposedly haunted by a woman too independent to not be a witch….

In short, it is said that the lady of this Renaissance castle had the architect thrown into the moat and left to drown, so that he could never build another one like it… Voergaard Castle, locally know as Voergaard Slot, is popular both for its art collection and for its ghost stories, and it is located in Drottninglund, in northeastern Denmark. It houses works by artista like Goya, Rubens, and Raphael, as well as furniture belongining to both Louis XIV and Louis XVI and, with its oldest part dating back…

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Hans Christian Andersen and his borrowed grave at Assistens Kirkegård in Copenaghen

Assistens Cemetery, Assistens Kirkegård in Danish, in Copenhagen, Denmark, is the burial site of many local notables. An “assistenskirkegård” (which means “assistance cemetery”) is originally a generic term in Danish, used to refer to cemeteries which were laid out to assist existing burial sites, and therefore a number of cemeteries by the same name are found around Denmark.Inaugurated in 1760, it was originally a burial site for the poor laid out to relieve the crowded graveyards inside the walled city, but during the Golden Age in the first half of…

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St John’s eve: ancient rituals to mark midsummer

Saint John’s Eve, starting at sunset on 23 June, is the eve of celebration before the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist. The Gospel of Luke states that John was born six months before Jesus, therefore, the feast of John the Baptist was fixed on 24 June, six months before Christmas according to the old Roman calculation. This feast day is one of the very few saints’ days which commemorates the anniversary of the birth, rather than the death, of the saint being honored. The Feast of Saint John…

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Kransekake: the queen of cakes!

Around the world, holidays are an excuse for ambitious baking projects and, above all, for eat! But few delicacy are as architecturally impressive as the almond-based cake Kransekake, a Norwegian (and Danish) speciality. Its origin can be traced to the 18th century, where it was first created by a baker in Copenhagen. The Kransekake (or Kransekage in Danish), literally translated as “wreath cake”, is a type of tower cake. It’s more like a cookie than a cake, bakers make its rings from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar, and arrange…

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The Øresund Bridge that connects Sweden to Denmark and dives into the sea

The Øresund strait separates Sweden from Denmark, and the bridge linking the two nations is a masterpiece of engineering and architecture that has few equals in the world. The two connected cities are Copenhagen, the Danish capital city, and the Swedish city of Malmö. The bridge, the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe, runs nearly 8 kilometres from the Swedish coast to the artificial island Peberholm in the middle of the strait. The crossing is completed by the 4-kilometre Drogden Tunnel from Peberholm to the Danish island of…

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1# Christmas Risengrød, the Danish rice pudding that appeases wicked elves!

In Denmark, the tradition of eating rice pudding, or risengrød, on Christmas starts with a mischievous elf. In many European countries, traditions linked to Christmastime feature magical creatures who are slightly less benevolent than the American version of Santa and his elves. In fact, it seems that many of these curious sprites, in fact, are trying to steal or otherwise make trouble for people. Danish folklore features a gnome or elf-like creature known as “nisse”, who lives in barns and becomes particularly exuberant during the Christmas season. If treated well,…

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Denmark: Skagen, Sand-Covered-Church, Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse and the Power of nature

Skagen is a town in Denmark located in the region of northern Jutland, in whose area there is Grenen, a sandy strip that extends to the north-east at the point where two parts of the North Sea join. Skagen can be considered a natural pearl, with an environment that has inspired many local artists between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, artists whose works are exhibited among other things in the Skagen Museum, but also many fishermen. In the area there are some suggestive abandoned places, such as the Den Tilsandede…

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