Hans Christian Andersen’s Motto was “Enjoy Life”

Hans Christian Andersen is depicted in a bronze sculpture staring at Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. Both Andersen (1805-1875) and Tivoli, opened in 1843, were dedicated to the joy of children with just a little fear thrown in. My husband and I stayed at a hotel near the Tivoli and heard the screams of delighted children as they rode the rides.  Andersen's statue was very popular, and I had to wait a long time to take a photo when he was alone.  In his own life, Andersen had many friends and and a huge number of admirers, but never married or was in a romantic relationship.

Hans Christian Andersen is depicted in a bronze sculpture staring at Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. Both Andersen (1805-1875) and Tivoli, opened in 1843, were dedicated to the joy of children with just a little fear thrown in. My husband and I stayed at a hotel near the Tivoli and heard the screams of delighted children as they rode the rides. Andersen’s statue was very popular, and I had to wait a long time to take a photo when he was alone. In his own life, Andersen had many friends and and a huge number of admirers, but never married or was in a romantic relationship. This statue sits on H.C. Andersen street, named after the author.

“Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.”

~ Hans Christian Andersen ~

Some of my favorite childhood stories were written by Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish writer, who was born in 1805. ” The Ugly Duckling,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “The Little Mermaid” are some of the most famous.   I also loved “The Princess and the Pea” and “Thumbelina.”  On a recent plane ride home from Copenhagen, my husband and I thought of “The Princess and the Pea” when we heard a passenger endlessly complaining to a flight attendant. And think of the many pompous and narcissistic politicians and other leaders who have been described as being like the emperor whose imaginary new clothes are fawned over by courtiers, even though the emperor was naked.

Andersen is celebrated throughout the world and is especially beloved in Copenhagen. Statues and plaques dedicated to Andersen can be found throughout Copenhagen, including the gardens of Rosenborg Castle.  April 2, Andersen’s birthday, is celebrated as International Children’s Book Day. A statue of “The Little Mermaid,” based on Andersen’s story, sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbor.

Here are some of the colorful houses in Copenhagen’s beautiful Nyhavn, which means New Harbor. Hans Christian Andersen used to live in No. 20 in Nyhavn, where he wrote the fairy-tales “the Tinderbox,” “Little Claus and Big Claus,” and “the Princess and the Pea.” He also lived 20 years in No. 67 and two years in No. 18.
Nyhavn was originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. No. 9 Nyhavn is the oldest house in the area dating back to 1681 and looks very similar to its earliest days. The area is still colorful and bustling and is a shopping, dining and tourist destination. Many of the houses in Nyhavn were once the homes of prominent artists and writers.

Andersen was much loved and appreciated, but his personal relationships didn’t always go so well.  For example, he forged a friendship with the celebrated British writer Charles Dickens, although his second visit to the Dickens home didn’t end well.  Hans Christian Andersen Wasn’t the Best Houseguest.

About Hans Christian Andersen.
Hans Christian Andersen’s Nyhavn.

A store in the Nyhavn area of Copenhagen, Denmark, is dedicated to merchandise based on the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson.  Here are "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Tinderbox."

A store in the Nyhavn area of Copenhagen, Denmark, is dedicated to merchandise based on the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Here are “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Tinderbox.”

A prominent street in Copenhagen, Denmark, is named for the author Hans Christian Andersen. The boulevard runs along Tivoli Gardens amusement park and Copenhagen's City Hall.

A prominent street in Copenhagen, Denmark, is named for the author Hans Christian Andersen. The boulevard runs along Tivoli Gardens amusement park and Copenhagen’s City Hall.

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark Postcard
“The Little Mermaid” Statue in Copenhagen.

 

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Hans Christian Andersen’s Motto was “Enjoy Life”

  1. Lynn

    Some great shots and loved reading about Hans Christian Andersen. I have always loved his stories and it’s fun to see where he lived. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Conozco cuanto nos ensañas en este bonito reportaje. Gracias por recordármelo.
    Un abrazo.

  3. I have a beautiful book of his stories with incredible illustrations that I share with my third graders each year. It is said that “The Ugly Duckling” was inspired by his own feelings about his prominent nose.

    • I still think of H.C. Andersen’s stories as relevant to my adult life. He had a hard life and yet he was joyful. I haven’t had a hard life, so all the more reason I should be joyful. He did have a huge nose, and the numerous statues of him depict it unsparingly, but he achieved a swan career! Thanks for visiting, Jan!

  4. Sadly I cannot embrace such a radical motto. 🙂

  5. That’s an interesting motto considering how dark some of his stories are… the one about the evergreen, and the really odd one about the two snails in the burdock patch. I don’t think a lot of people even know how morbid the original telling of The Little Mermaid is. Andersen is one of the greats, no doubt, and there are plenty of shadows to go with the sunshine. Thanks for sharing Copenhagen with us!

    • And I guess I can’t go back and edit, but I can’t *believe* I spelled Andersen wrong! Sorry! My Scandinavian forebears are ashamed of me!

      • I fixed it. I misspelled Andersen once in my post and had to fix that. The only Andersons I know spell their names with the “o” so it’s easy to us “o” instead of “e.” I do remember Andersen’s fairy tales being very dark, especially “The Little Tin Solider.” He must have said “Enjoy Life” to cheer himself, considering the bleakness of part of his life.

        Thanks for visiting and for your comment!

  6. Reblogged this on sweatingthewriting and commented:
    Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of Andersen. Thanks for your words and images.

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