Lenin in Copenhagen

A couple of weeks ago I visited the exhibition about the suburbs at Copenhagen’s Arbejdermuseet (museum of the labour movement). Look who I spotted in the yard round the back!

statue of Lenin in Arbejdermuseet, Copenhagen

The statue was commissioned by the Danish Sailors Union, who erected it at their training college in Hørsholm in 1986. Ten years later the union passed the statue on to Arbejdermuseet. In 2004 bellydancing MP Louise Frevert requested that the museum add text by the statue stating that Lenin was a ‘tormentor and mass murderer’, sparking a  heated debate (på dansk).

Lenin visited Copenhagen for a month in 1910 for the Socialist World Congress, held at Odd Fellow Palæet. He stayed at Vesterbrogade 112a, undertaking research into Danish agriculture and the co-operative movement at the Royal Library (article | another). As the husband of a librarian he observed to rules to the letter, and, libraries being libraries, traces remain – see Lenin at the British Library.

Also in attendance was Rosa Luxemburg. A portrait of her at Møns Klint, painted by Ursula Reuter Christiansen in 2007, hangs in Arbejdermuseet’s main hall. (Update: Rosa as graphic novel | Amazon | podcast.)

portrait of Rosa Luxemburg in the assembly hall in Arbejdermuseet, Copenhagen

Arbejdermuseet is nicely done if a little fusty, clearly short of the money to transform itself into an interactive experience centre. Hurrah for that!

If you fancy a bit of lefty tourism in Copenhagen see Red Pepper’s article from 2011 on Something radical in the state of Denmark, which makes much of the idea of fristeder (free places): “a model for a better society or a Neverland for escapist youth?”.

It seems there is one more Lenin statue in Denmark, in the village of Lund near, of course, Herning. This one dates from 1974 and previously stood in Jelgava (Latvia). It was bought by Danish businessman Mads Eg Damgaard in 1995.

statue of Lenin in Lund

Lenin in Lund (source: Leninstatues.ru)

Updates: right on cue, a story about the fight to save people’s history as cuts threaten Manchester’s radical heritage, the Lenin selfie project and Lenins of the world, unite! from Laurence Mitchell, another Lenin spotter. In Germany, Lenin is still around. In Ukraine, not so much.

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