H.C. Andersen theme park inches closer

But backers are adamant that prospective investors should be from the private sector and not from the state

The US has Disney World, Melbourne has Luna Park, Abu Dhabi has Ferrari World and soon Denmark may have Hans Christian Andersen World.

Ole Sohn (Socialistisk Folkeparti), the minister of business and growth, wants to boost Denmark’s tourism appeal by building a theme park based on Hans Christian Andersen’s world-famous adventures and children’s tales.

It is especially the Chinese and other Asian tourists that Sohn hopes to attract, and to this end he urged private investors and industry professionals to embrace the project.

“Why don’t we have a H.C. Andersen World in global dimensions, so that it’s not just ten small little mermaids, but a massive park of international size based on some of Andersen’s famous tales? If it were up to me, it should be a huge investment – in the billions," Sohn told Politiken newspaper.

And while Denmark already has sites such as Tivoli, Legoland and The Little Mermaid, Sohn argues that they’re simply not enough and that on his many travels to Asia it is Andersen who is the most popular.

“I have found on my trips to China, Korea and Singapore that, unquestionably, Andersen is the biggest, oldest and the most valuable brand Denmark has,” Sohn told Politiken. “His adventures are known throughout the world, including Asia and Russia. It’s odd that Denmark hasn’t utilised this incredible trademark to greater effect.”

Sohn was backed up by Christian Ingemann, the director of the business advocacy group Dansk Erhverv, who called it “one of the best ideas he had heard in ages”, but was also adamant that investment should not come from the state.

According to Sohn, if the state were to assume responsibility for a theme park of such dimensions, it would be doomed to fail. He stressed that the project should be run as a commercial business.

Odense, which is Andersen’s city of birth, has reserved a large plot of land for the construction of a theme park, but Ingemann indicated that it must be situated in a place that can attract the big-city tourists, as well as the camping and summer-house tourist crowd.

It’s not the first time that a Hans Christian Andersen theme park has been discussed. In May, Chinese billionaire Huang Nubo said he was interested in creating an Andersen orientated theme park on Funen in a bid to attract Chinese tourists. Huang also tried purchasing 300 square kilometres of Iceland back in 2011 in a deal that ultimately fell through.

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