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Nordic Swan

Thomas Dambo


July 7, 2022 - April 11, 2023

On display outside the front entrance of the National Nordic Museum, the Nordic Swan by Thomas Dambo was installed in June 2022.

Danish artist and activist Thomas Dambo transforms trash into treasure to create public sculptures that beautify their surroundings. The Nordic Swan was fashioned from 300 recycled mayonnaise containers fitted over a wooden armature, also created from recycled materials.

Introduced by the Nordic Council of Ministers as an ecolabel in 1989, the swan is an emblem of environmentally friendly products that is widely recognizable to Nordic consumers today. It is also Denmark’s national bird, and the sculpture shows the country’s commitment to sustainability. Dambo's sculpture recalls the famous fairy tale of The Ugly Duckling, penned by author and fellow Odense-native Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875). The titular character in The Ugly Duckling experiences both alienation and acceptance in its journey from cygnet to swan.

    Nordic Swan (2015) is supported by the Embassy of Denmark in Washington, DC, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark, and the Ministry of Culture in Denmark. Additional support for the National Nordic Museum’s installation is provided by ScanDesign Foundation.

    Thomas Dambo (b. 1979 in Odense, Denmark)
    Nordic Swan, 2015
    Recycled plastic buckets and wood
    On loan from Embassy of Denmark in Washington, DC


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