Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kronborg and Ogier the Dane; Charlemagne's Holger the Dane. Legends and Sleepers

Holger the Dane

Town of Helsingor: Ogier the Dane; 
and Kronborg Castle: Ogier the  Dane.

From the Tale of Charlemagne.
I.  The Helsingor Town Statue
2.  The Story
3.  The Sources
4.  The Kronborg Castle Statue

1.  The Town statue.

Ogier the Dane, or Holger the Dane.  This figure, part legend, part probably-history somewhere, is diminished in Kronborg Castle.  He appears there, in the castle at the dungeons-tunnels as a white plaster-looking caricature, in deep casemates, with hokey lights spooking you as you approach.

Give Ogier a break from the hype.  Find him instead in a business office complex parking lot in the city of Helsingor:  vital, brooding, in the light, watching in his mind,merely dormant, watch out.  Our found statue was near Hamlet's Grove.  He is not asleep. He is waiting.  When was this one made? We have no information.  He is highly visible, however, if you aim to park near Hamlet's Grove.

Learn his story before seeing the silly Disney setting in Kronborg Castle, in the catacombs or casemate tunnels beneath.  To research his story, check several spellings:  Ogier, Holger.  The legends are worth a superhero full-length film.  Life without legend is lackluster, and Holger here brings to the party Morgana la Fey, flying horses, and Rip Van Winkle.

This town statue, of course, must be a reproduction since it is not publicized and, is not in a glamor location. But the reproduction is better.
The parking lot Ogier is far more impressive than the artificial stone at Kronborg.  The statue in Kronborg looks like plaster,  see

This statue is surprising in its location, the parking lot for a commercial building, a prosperous one; but a parking lot. At least Hamlet's alleged tomb is not far up the hill on the other side of the road, so there is come continuity with imagination and culture there. Address:  we do not recall.

2.  The Story. 

The sources.  These are hard to follow if read together, and inconsistent with other sources.  Like the Bible or any other long-transmitted and changed old text, story source, interpretations and translations vary.  Not a problem.  Something of value emerges from reviewing as many as are available.

It all must be true enough.

So:  Begin. Ogier, or Holger, was a mercenary for Charlemagne. Is even that so? Other stories depict him as a prince in his own right.

Most agree that he became homesick while fighting for Charlemagne.  Then did he walk his way from the South of France to Denmark where he promptly went to sleep?  That we are told at

Is that so, or did the site not read the story itself?

3.  Where is corroboration. Go back to the real accounts sources, not other people's summaries later, with their own agendas.
There is a French version, Les Enfances d'Ogier le Danois in that Vol. 1 of the British Chronicles. See

Holger?  On a walk to Denmark? Like poor little Robin, walkin' to Missouri?

We do not find that corroborated. We see no mention at all of Holger or Ogier in the contemporary account by Charlemagne's scribe,  Einhard, in his Life of Charlemagne, see

As for Morgana la Fey, some accounts have Morgana and other women with special powers casting blessings on him at his birth; and Morgana built in a way for her to enjoy his company down the road.  Smart, Morgana.

4.   Boring Holger Statue in Kronborg.

The Castle offers little in comparison with the parking lot.  The Castle tunnels Ogier is white, from the catacombs at Kronborg Castle. See this fair use thumbnail, Ogier the Dane, Wikipedia  Some other reproductions also look more brooding than asleep.  Do an images search and see the others, as on stamps.

 Holger danske.jpg

The statue was made in 1907 by sculptor H.P. Pedersen-Dan.  The story provides that Ogier will wake if ever Kronborg is threatened, and his awakening is to be greatly feared because he never lost a battle. 


Anonymous said...

So the one in Kronborg is from 1907? When was the out door statue made? I've never seen that one!

Anonymous said...

The one in the catacombs (casamatta, since it's technically not a catacomb) under the castle is actually the mold for the bronze statue. So the bronze is the original (or intended original) while the mold is the best known version, it later got replaces by a concrete copy because the plaster mold was "melting" from 60 year of catacomb* moisture.