Holger Danske at Nyborg Castle

02. July 2014 | Nyborg Castle

The well-known children's and young people's author, Josefine Ottesen, is working on a new and thrilling project that involves Nyborg Castle.

On October 2, the author's newest novel will be published, Helgi Daner, which tells the story of the childhood and youth of Holger Danske. Since this publication will mark Ottesen's 30th anniversary as an author, she has decided to take advantage of the occasion to explore new ways of spreading her message. She will focus not only on the book itself, but especially on its readers, who will be able to get involved with the book's plot in the form of fan-fiction, roleplaying, family reading and music. During the fall break, (October 11-19), the book will be presented at several libraries on Fyn (Funen).

For Josefine Ottesen to choose Nyborg Castle for her event is no mere coincidence. "We have focused on the story of Holger Danske for a long time in our research," says department leader of Nyborg Castle Museum, Janus Møller Jensen, who is looking forward to collaborating with the author from Funen. He hopes that the new book and activities surrounding it will cast further light on the fantastic story of how the myth of the Danish prince Holger has developed to the present day.

"We do know that one of the kings who is most closely connected to Nyborg Castle, Christian II, was actively involved in bringing the legend of Holger Danske into the national consciousness of all Danes. We're very interested in using Josefine Ottesen's version, Helgi Daner, as an example of a retelling of a long-lived story," continues Janus Møller Jensen.

Most Danes know Holger Danske as the figure asleep in the basement of Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, waiting for a day when the kingdom of Denmark is seriously under threat, and he will awaken and come to the aid of his country. But that is far from the whole story about him; in the medieval version of the myth, he raced around establishing an enormous Christian empire in Asia!

In this way, Josefine Ottesen's new book will reveal the hero's childhood and youth for modern readers, at the same time giving us historians a unique opportunity to cast light on the old myth from around 1000 AD or before, showing how it has developed from the Middle Ages until today.

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