Mermaids are real
There’s a lot to see in Copenhagen, from Tivoli Gardens to Rosenborg Castle to the Little Mermaid, but one of the truly unique experiences is visiting the Danish National Museum. Right, we’ve all been in museums, and they’re interesting — but you’ll learn some strange and wonderful things at the Danish National Museum that you won’t come across anywhere else.
The museum itself is impressive enough. Set in an 18th-century mansion in the middle of the historic city, it has fascinating collections of artifacts from Danish prehistory and the Middle Ages, Near Eastern and classical antiquities, the royal collection of coins and medals, and a children’s museum. It would take days to browse through all its displays.
But what makes the Danish National Museum really special is the quirky and sometimes completely bizarre displays that live among its collections — displays that make you step back, take off your eyeglasses and wonder, did I read that right? The people who curated this museum have a great appreciation for a good story, and if the line between truth and folk tale sometimes gets a little blurred, well, who’s to complain?
Mermaids are real
You thought the only mermaid in Copenhagen was the Little Mermaid down by the harbour? The Danish National Museum is here to prove you wrong. In fact, it has on display the
Skeleton of the Haraldskaer mermaid, discovered by a farmer while ploughing his field. (Click on the photo to see it larger.) The description says she was likely a member of the Asian branch of the mermaid family, which makes her a rare find in Europe — rare indeed!
According to the narrative, the Haraldskaer mermaid was about 18 years old, with long, thick hair and long, sharp canines. She had a purse containing a shark’s tooth, a snake’s tail, a mussel shell and a flower. The skeleton is complete, though she’s missing one hand — or possibly a fin.
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