Stories from Denmark: The Little Known Copenhagen and the “The World Bears Your Mark Project”

Stone-001-300x300Copenhagen is a lovely city that has stolen many visitors’ hearts . If you are one of those who have been to Copenhagen, you most likely have visited Nyhavn, the Little Mermaid; have seen the castle Amalienborg where Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II lives. You most probably have passed by Christiansborg – the castle hosting the Danish parliament. We really like these places, but Copenhagen hides many more less known spots and charming stories that will give you even more reasons to fall in love with the city. Welcome to the little known Copenhagen!

Have you ever seen this monument before? Actually there are seven of them in seven different languages scattered all over Nørrebro – a district in the heart of Copenhagen. The art installation “The World Bears Your Mark” is created by Astrid Gjesing as her graduation project. The engraved stones are recycled from one of the Copenhagen cemeteries – the original scripts were removed, and the sentence “The Earth Bears Your Mark” was engraved twice – in Danish and one other language.

Nørrebro, just like the art installation, is emblematic for Copenhagen because of its multicultural connotation, and each of the places, where the engraved monuments are installed, is selected because of their historic or symbolic meaning. Here are the languages, the locations of the seven stones and the story behind their selection:

  • Stone-002-300x300The Chinese monument can be found on Blågårds Plads on the side of Blågårdsgade where used to be the center of the iron industry and later – a home for squatters.
  • The French monument is situated by Assistens Kirkegård on Nørrebrogade. Many of the engraved names in the cemetery are French, German, Italian, but not Danish. This monument celebrates the diversity present in Denmark.
  • The English monument is on Droning Louises Bro next to the traffic light just before you enter the neighbourhood of Nørrebro. The bridge is one of Copenhagen’s most popular places to spend a sunny afternoon.
  • The Arabic monument lies beside Brorsons Kirke next to Rantzausgade. The church is famous for giving asylum to rejected asylum seekers.
  • The Spanish monument can be found next to Nørrebro station at the end of Mimersgade, where cars, buses, trains, cyclists and pedestrians are in constant movement.
  • The Urdu monument is next to Rådmandsgades Skole beside the main entrance. One of the main aims of education is realizing integration is not a separate effort but an integral part of going to school.
  • The Danish monument is situated beside Klarahus on Agnes Henningsens Vej. The place previously served as a hospital, and nowadays it shelters an elderly home as well as apartments for elderly people and it is in constant interaction with the young people living around.

instagram-amager-strand-300x300The seven stones can be looked upon as a reminder that our lives will someday come to an end, but more importantly they are here to remind us we indeed have the opportunity to utilise this time and leave a trace behind. It is not a coincidence Nørrebro was selected to be the home of the installation as it is one of the most culturally diverse districts in Copenhagen.

It should be no surprise Copenhagen is the home of a project like “The Earth Bears Your Mark”. The project is significant because it emphasizes we are all different; it facilitates understanding of other cultures’ background and improves mutual respect and acceptance. Thus, it creates a common ground for all people living in Copenhagen and it builds bridges across cultures and space.