Sweating in a Christmas wonderland

That’s no summer hallucination. You really did see Santa Claus today. The jolly old elf really does exist, and he’s at Bakken to take part in the World Santa Claus Congress with all his helpers

Walking through the Bakken funfair this week will leave you checking your calendars to see if you’ve left your Christmas shopping too late. No fear though, one of the Santas might be able to pull something out of their sack for you.

As temperatures reach summer highs this week, Santas from around the world are flocking to Copenhagen for the World Santa Claus Congress, pulling on their winter best to spend hours bringing Christmas cheer to Bakken visitors during the four-day event.

“We only think of icebergs when we’re outside melting,” joked Cheryl Etherington, a Canadian Mrs Claus participating in the congress for the first time. Her companion, Peter Boxall, is an old pro, having attended seven of the events so far. 

The World Santa Claus Congress is an annual forum that brings Santas from around the world together, offering opportunities to trade professional advice (who knew being a Santa was so tough?) and to socialise with other Christmas enthusiasts. It was created by Bakken’s 'Professor' Tribini, an entertainer who mourned the fact that Christmas came but once a year, and decided to do something to lift his sorrows. And with that, Christmas in July was born, and has been celebrated every year since 1957. 

But it hasn’t quite worked its way into public consciousness yet.

“We forgot about the Santas,” said Nanna Volqvartz, who was enjoying an ice cream with her two young children. “It’s an extra bonus for us. We were here last week and it rained all day.”

While most people at Bakken stop to buy ice-cold sodas, slushies or ice creams, the Santas are hard at work, being constantly reminded to drink water lest the heat get the better of them.

A parade of Christmas characters marches through Frederiksberg today on its from the Zoo to the city centre (Photo: Scanpix)“I feel sad for the Santas,” said Volqvartz. “It must be so hot to be Santa today.”

But the heat isn’t enough to keep away these Santas, especially those who return year after year though they receive no compensation for their efforts and must pay for their own airfare and lodging.

“When you get home, you forget how hot it was,” said Lorri Gislund, a Danish Mrs Claus from Skagen. “But when you come back to Bakken, all you notice is the heat.”

Gislund was at the event with her husband, and for the past six years, has forged friendships with Santas from around the world.

“I come to be with friends and have fun together,” Gislund said. 

Bakken isn’t the only business reaping the benefits of one of this summer's rare sunny days. 

Knud Olsen, a horse carriage driver, thinks that the sunny weather does encourage more customers, but having spent 16 years in Africa, is not particularly impressed by what the Danes consider a hot day.

“The Danish saying is it doesn’t depend on the weather,” he said. “It depends on the clothes you wear.”

By 3pm, Olsen and his horse had already made seven trips between Bakken and Klampenborg Station, and as he waved goodbye, two more passengers were hoisting themselves into the carriage.

The Santas will be at Bakken again tomorrow, so take a train to Klampenborg to take in the unusual sight of crowds in T-shirts and shorts revelling in the sun amid tinsel and decorated Christmas trees.

  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.