The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo

The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo

Trolls are Scandinavian mythical and whimsical monsters that children find themselves frightened over. However, the trolls of Thomas Dambo most people will find adorable.

You can enjoy these sculptures at some of Denmark’s most remarkable off-the-beaten-path spots.

The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo
Teddy Friendly by Thomas Dambo

Dambo grew up as a self-described “hippie kid” doing street art and graffiti. One of the trolls Dambo has made was for the city of Horsens as a part of their “Feel Horsens” campaign, a troll sitting on the ground holding a swing people actually can use. Dambo is concerned about three issues, interactive use, nice to look at and recycling.

The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo
Louis by Thomas Dambo

If you want to experience the wonderful world of Thomas Dambo you should explore the unknown depths of Copenhagen’s forests which are hiding six giant sculptures throughout six different municipalities in the area.  He calls it “the open air sculpture treasure hunt.”

The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo
The open air sculpture treasure hunt

Dambo says he always spent a lot of time in dumpsters trying to find wood to build his tree top house or at flea markets “hunting” for stuff to play with. Now he has made six giants from recycled wood in areas where most regular Copenhageners never would have heard of or considered to visit.

The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo
Oscar by Thomas Dambo

The sculptures are tucked away underneath bridges, behind trees, up on hillsides or within the brush of the forests. How can you find them? Only by using a treasure map provided on Dambo’s website or deciphering poems engraved in stoned near the sculptures.

We advise you to go by bicycle, making it possible to visit all the sculptures in one day. You can however reach them by public transportation.

The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo
Tomas and his team of volunteers in front of Tilde (Thomas left)

“When the municipalities of west Copenhagen contacted me about a project, it seemed natural to make something which could get people out and explore the beautiful nature in the hidden outskirts,” Dambo said in a video on his project.

Each of the sculptures came to life thanks to scrap wood that would have otherwise been thrown out, mainly 600 old pallets, a fence or whatever. All of the sculptures were made with the help from local volunteers.

The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo
Thomas by Thomas Dambo

The six giants all have names. There is “Little Tilde”, hiding behind a big tree filled with 28 different birdhouses. “Oscar Under the Bridge” is a giant troll holding onto the bridge’s rail. Oscar is in fact named after an artist from Chile who came to Copenhagen to help with the project.

You can sit on the long legs of “Thomas on the Mountain”, and you can crawl up to “Hill Top Trine” and gaze at the grazing sheep in the distance. You can crawl into the gaping mouth of “Sleeping Louis”. You can even play and sleep inside of him.

The Trolls of Danish Artist Thomas Dambo
Trine by Thomas Dambo

Four unemployed people and a teacher assisted in building “Teddy Friendly”.

Dambo has a Masters in design and has a huge workshop filled with scavenged stuff.

“I hope my art will inspire people to see the big potential in recycling and taking better care of our planet,” Dambo wrote in a blog post.

written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): Little Tilde

All images © Thomas Dambo

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Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.