Hans Christian Andersen

*A Part of the Danish Cultural Heritage*
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Welcome to Hans Christian Andersen Country - Denmark
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen 200 year birthday - 2005
Our Tribute to a Great Dane
Prologue
Hundred and hundred of biographies have been written by experts and non-experts about Hans Christian Andersen’s life - but the summery of all biographies ends with the same outcome - that his life was the story about an ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan. Just like in one of his famous fairytales.

Here is our version and contribution to celebrate a Great Dane and a world famous writer.
 
Hans Christian Andersen (1805 - 1875)
 
The Ugly Duckling - turned into a beautiful Swan
Hans Christian Andersen - 1860
 
Once upon a time…
Hans Christian Andersen was born 2. April 1805 - in Odense on the Isle of Funen in the 19th century and right in the middle of the Napoleonic wars - where Denmark was undergoing tremendous changes in the way of living. At that time there was a lot of poverty and slum in Denmark as most cities often were filthy and overcrowded - with raw sewage everywhere and a water supply that left a lot to be desired - and the poorer areas suffered the worse with diseases and mal nutrition as a constant threat to the poor inhabitants vulnerability.
Blooming imagination and fantasy...
It was also in this type of environment Hans Christian Andersen lived and spent his childhood and probably - it was in the early period of his life where he created his blooming imagination and fantasy by dreaming of better times and places, that possibly later had great influence in his writing. He went to the infant school for the poor next to his home and then the cities charity school - where he received very little education. Nearby his home was also the great St. Knuds Cathedral and Odense Canal where he played and often dreamed of being a prince and becoming famous.
 


Hans Christian Andersen
dreamt of being a
prince
and becoming famous
during his Childhood













Home in Odense
Hans Christian Andersen's home in Odense - and today also the museum of the famous writer.
The Infant School
The infant school for poor - where Hans Christian Andersen went as a pupil - next to his home.
 
Lived during the reign of 5 Danish monarch’s...
When Hans Christian Andersen was born - the reigning King in 1805 - was King Christian VIII - and when Hans Christian Andersen was about 9 years old in 1814 - a new set of school laws went to effect under King Frederik VI - making it obligatory that all children between 7 and 14 years had to go to school and receive compulsory education. In 1814 - the Danish state was bankrupted and the later King Christian VIII had to cede Norway to Sweden. In 1849 the “Absolute Monarchy” was replaced by a “Constitutional Monarchy” given to the Danes by King Frederik VII. In 1864-66 - Denmark lost Schleswig-Holstein to the Prussians under the reign of King Christian IX.
The Parents and upbringing…
Hans Christian Andersen's father - Hans Andersen was a poor shoemaker - who had great influence on his son's upbringing - because he read stories and played toy theatre with him. He died when Hans Christian Andersen was 11. His mother - who worked all her life as a simple hard working washwoman - earned a living by washing peoples laundry. She protected him during his childhood - as he was a highly emotional child with many emasculate interests like sewing and playing with dolls. His mother was remarried and died in 1833.
 
St. Knuds Cathedral - Odense
St. Knuds Cathedral in Odense where the famous writer was confirmed in 1819 - and a full size statue of him facing Odense Canal and the Fairy Tale Garden. The Cathedral is placed next to his home and the park was one of the favourite playgrounds during his childhood.
Odense Canal
Odense Canal next to the Fairy Tale Garden - where Hans Christian Andersen spent many hours playing and dreaming of being a prince and becoming famous. Here is the paper boat from "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" sailing in the Canal for inspiration and the public to enjoy.



St. Knuds Cathedral and Odense Canal -
were places and historical venues - where
Hans Christian Andersen
spent his childhood
 
The troublesome Juvenile years…
After his father died - Hans Christian Andersen was forced to work in a factory where he often was mobbed because of his high squeaky voice - tallness and long legs. Life was not very easy for a young boy - who lived his life in poverty and on the shadow side of the street. After is mother had remarried to a man - who hardly understood her son - and after he found the home to crowded - he made up his mind to move from Odense.
Departure and new career…
Inspired by his creative talent and nature plus his search for a better life Hans Christian Andersen decided to move to Copenhagen. With help from his mother and only 12 “Kroner” in his pocket - he left Odense for good on 6. September 1819 - at the age of 14 - and headed towards Copenhagen. His ambitions were to start a career in the theatrical world as an actor - singer or ballet-dancer.
 
Copenhagen and The Royal Theatre…
Three years after he arrived to Copenhagen - he was still not successful trying to earn a living as an actor - dancer or singer. In the following years he got more acquainted with the Royal Theatre and also writing poetry - but due to his voice changing to another level and his lack of ability to dance or act he stopped at the Royal theatre.
 



Hans Christian Andersen
left for Copenhagen
to start a career as an
actor - singer and
ballet-dancer
The Royal Theatre
The Royal Theatre built around 1875 - and centrum for Hans Christian Andersen's first years in Copenhagen. His debut as a play-writer was in 1829 - and the drama was played at this venue.
Nyhavn 20
Hans Christian Andersen lived in this building in Nyhavn 20 - where he wrote is first fairy tales in 1835. The house exists today and can be seen from the outside.
 
School and education…
Hans Christian Andersen's debut as a was writer in 1822 - with the title “Youthful Attempts” - and his fascinating way to recite stories began to pay off. As he already had written several plays too - fortunately one of the directors from the Royal Theatre Jonas Collin felt great sympathy for this young man and his growing authorship. After reading some of his first plays he offered him a scholarship - and in 1822 - he entered the Latin grammar school at Slagelse - where he was among much younger pupils. He then later went to the grammar school at Elsinore.
University student…
After several years at grammar schools supported by Jonas Collins - Hans Christian Andersen gained access to the university in 1827 - where he finished his education as a university student.
Authorship - novelist and Fairytales…
In the following years Hans Christian Andersen received a lot of attention from the upper-class literary circles - as he developed a sensitive and farcical authorship that also had an appealing effect to a very broad Danish audience. His first works “A Walking Tour from Holmen’s Canal to the Eastern Point of Amager” was published in 1829 - and the same year his debut as a play-writer with “Love in Saint Nicholas Church Tower” a musical drama - which was played at The Royal Theatre. His first novel “The Improvisatore” was published in 1835 - and in the same year his very first collections of Fairy Tales - Told for Children was published and received by the public with success.
 
First English translation
Hans Christian Andersen's first English translation of fairy tales published in 1846 and distributed world wide.
Paper Cuts
One of Hans Christian Andersen’s many paper cuts - which he gave to friends and children. Many motifs illustrated his fairy tales.




Hans Christian Andersen
was a very
creative person
-
beside of being a gifted writer and author

 
Breakthrough and aristocratic society…
Hans Christian Andersen created a new style of writing. Especially the stimulating and captivating content in his fairy tale stories broke with the traditional way of writing - which gave him his literary breakthrough and international fame. He mastered the direct interpretation of the spoken language into written words and formed a simple structure of sentences that was light and easy to read and understandable for common people and children. He combined his supreme storytelling with a noble sense of humour and genuine pathos. His sharp sarcastic commentary of the social life was in general based on his cultural background - and his distinct witnessing of people and places was imminently written in his tales.
The Founder of Modern Fairytales...
Hans Christian Andersen was soon recognized as a great author and considered as the founder of modern fairytales. He was often invited as a celebrity to the inner-circles of the aristocratic society and was a welcome and usual guest at manor houses and also a regular visitor at the royal residences here and abroad.
"To travel is to live…"
Hans Christian Andersen philosophy and favourite phrase was “To travel is to live” and over the years 1840 – 1858 he became a busy traveller that journeyed all over Europe - meeting fellow writers - celebrities - princes and royalties. He found the experience of travelling so touching that he wrote his first travel journal - and later a number of travel books - which all were published. Many of his journeys were financed by public funds often initiated by the King to ensure his continued travel activities and making it possible to visit foreign destinations like Amsterdam - Austria - Germany - Holland - Italy - Morocco - Norway - Portugal - Spain and Switzerland. When Hans Christian Andersen travelled around in Denmark or abroad - he always had a long rope packed with his travel kit that could be used as a fire escape - because he always was scarred of fires braking out during his stay.
 



Hans Christian Andersen philosophy and favourite phrase was
:


"To travel is to live"
Original dairy book and travelling notes
Hans Christian Andersen’s original dairy book and travelling notes from his trip to Germany and Harzen in 1831.
Travelogues
Original text from hans Christian Andersen's dairy book with drawings of his carriage during his journey to Germany in 1831.
 
A popular and productive author…
During the following years Hans Christian Andersen became a very productive and popular author with a large production of fairy tale collections - travel literature and autobiographies behind him. Since - his entire stream of literary works have been translated into 152 different languages and published all over the world. His biography and memoirs, “The Fairy Tale of My Life” was a bestseller and his famous poem about “The woman with the eggs” leaves the reader with thoughtfulness and an timeless educative side of life that reminds you to - never leave all your eggs in one basket.
168 fairy tales...
All together Hans Christian Andersen wrote 168 fairy tales and some of the best known are literary classics today like "The Tinderbox" - "The Emperor's New Suit"
See video - The Emperor's New Clothes
“Clumsy Hans”- "The Nightingale" - "The Princess and the Pea" - "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" - “The Little Mermaid” - “The Nightingale” - “The Darning Needle” - “The Swineherd” - “The Little Match Girl” - "Little Claus and Big Claus" - "The Snow Queen" - and last but not least “The Ugly Duckling” (See YouTube video)
 
 
The Ugly Duckling - Cartoon (Youtube)
 
     
Literary footprints and unforgettable marks all over the world…
Hans Christian Andersen was a gifted writer that could explain the simple things in life in a very imaginative manner. His marvellous illustrative way of describing how – The old queen who laid a "pea" under twenty goose feather mattresses and on top of these twenty more eider down quilts to ensure that she could find a real princess for the prince. Clumsy Hans that went on a goat to marry the princess and said: “If she takes me - she will take me - and if she doesn't take me - I'll take her - anyway." The Emperor who was possessed of wearing new clothes and swindlers who pretended to put a new invisible suit on him - until a little child proclaimed “But he hasn't got anything on!” The Ugly Duckling who went through so much misery - until it one day surprisingly saw it’s own image reflected in the water surface as a “beautiful white swan”.
These extracts and others have been and will be interpreted by generations - and his visionary metaphorical authorship will continue to be studied in many centuries to come - as well as his literary footprints that have set unforgettable marks all over the world.
 
See Video - The Ugly Duckling
 
The Emperor's New Clothes
Original hand written manuscript with corrections and additions of The Emperor's New Clothes - which was published in 1837.
Clumsy Hans
The fairy tale about Clumsy Hans was written by Hans Christian Andersen around 1853-54 and published 30 April - 1855.



Hans Christian Andersen wrote 168 fairy tales
during a lifetime
 
The end of a real fairytale…
Hans Christian Andersen was an extraordinary person who believed that his life was a real fairytale. Many of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales became immortal and the fairy tales immortalised Hans Christian Andersen - as they will live happily forever after.
Died in 1875...
The flame of his life went out on August 4 - 1875. The great Dane and cosmopolite died in his home called “Rolighed” after several years of serious illness - and the funeral was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Copenhagen on August 11 - 1875 - in presence of the royal family and other prominent persons together with crowds of admiring fellow citizens.

Final Resting Place
 



Hans Christian Andersen
Died in Copenhagen
70 years old in 1875
with a great production of fairy tales
left behind -
that immortalised
Hans Christian Andersen

 

Hans Christian Andersen - A Great Dane
Statue of Hans Christian Andersen in The Kings Garden at Rosenborg Castle - was given by the Danes in memory of a great fairy tale poet - and erected in 1880 five years after his death.
“The Ugly Duckling” - most translated story
The story about “The Ugly Duckling” that turned in to a beautiful white swan is a classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen - and one of the most translated and read stories in the world.
 
The Unofficial National Anthem
 
H.C. Andersen -1850
Portray of H.C. Andersen from 1850 by Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann - and was one of the paintings he liked best of himself.
 
 
The Cappella Choir
The Danish A Cappella Choir - Vocal Line - in concert in the USA.

 

”I Danmark er jeg født” - The Unofficial National Anthem

This song is one of the most favourite and beloved hymn that touches the Danes deeply inside - and is known by every Dane - who has sang this song from a very early age - and leant every word and line by heart. The song is written marvellously by famous Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen in 1850. Each written word and sentence is a broad compassionate portray of Denmark plus its passing history - and the text has a great deep-felt affection on the Danes appreciation and faithfulness for their beautiful country and cultural heritage.

The text is written by a true master that strikes the entire soul of the national identity - as well as the Danish mentality and mindset. That was his legacy - and true area of excellence.

No one like Hans Christian Andersen can interpret Danish in such an inspiring and picturesque way - which makes his storytelling and song writing so imaginative and outstanding - that leave Danes of all ages with a meaningful understanding of their native tongue. It’s a pity that the words and text is impossible to translate into any other languages - as well as songs from other countries are just as hopeless to translate into Danish without missing the deeper meaning and spirit of the lyrics. Many Danes have suggested during the past that “I Danmark er jeg født” should be our national anthem.

“I Danmark er jeg født” is written by Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) as a tribute and honour to his country where he was born and raised. In some senses - it’s a very patriotic song that praises Denmark in a passionate - poetic and inspiring way - and also describes admiringly how proud he is of his Danish background - and how much he loves Denmark as his homeland.

See and enjoy the video with the Danish choir - Vocal Line - that was formed in 1990 - as a modern a cappella choir of 30 singers - who really can express their native Danish mother tongue brilliantly - in a unique vocal style - with delicate and sophisticated harmonies heaping the arrangements full of flavour and texture - while performing this special arrangement of “I Danmark er jeg født” at the old Koldinghus Castle from 1268.


See Video


Once upon a time…
The story of a poor shoemaker’s son that became world famous - is a story of a person who wanted to be accepted for what he achieved during his life in spite of his background and complicated nature. His constant search for recognition and devotion from others is the story of an ugly grey duckling that turned into a graceful and beautiful white swan that flew away - as an elegant royal bird out to freedom.

There - that is a true story...

In deep respect and admiration -

George B. Moller
Editor-in-Chief

 
 
To be continued!

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