Copenhagen’s Tivoli Guard is this year celebrating its 175-year anniversary, making it the world’s oldest youth guard.
Girls and boys continue to march in step to commemorate a tradition that dates back to 1844, a year after the founder Georg Carstensen founded Tivoli – the third oldest amusement park in the world (after Bakken, 1583, and Wurstelprater in Austria, 1766).
The Lilliputian Military
The youth guard was originally formed by Carstensen as the Jonathan Swift-inspired ‘Lilliputian Military’ with only 11 boys. Today there are almost 100 boys and girls in the guard, who start at the age of 8 and retire aged 16. They also typically perform as musicians in other parades, concerts, orchestras and special events at Tivoli.
The little ones carry 11 kilos-worth of traditions on their shoulders, including an authentic Remington rifle, a uniform, leather boots and a woollen hat made from the skin of a Canadian black bear.
The Tivoli Guard was cited as an inspiration by the technicians who created the entertainment at Walt Disney World Resort (formerly Disney World) in Orlando.
Celebrating the milestone
The 175-year milestone will be celebrated by a series of events and concerts, as well as the inauguration of the Tivoli Musical School and the Youth Guard Day.
Prepare for a fantastic sight on 31 August, Carstensen’s birthday, when the Danish Royal Life Guards and the Tivoli Youth Guard walk from Rosenborg to Tivoli.
With 175 years of history, we can well believe that the Tivoli Youth Guard is here to stay. Auditions are held every June for young boys and girls to apply to join.