HERE & NOW Edinburgh joins the worldwide celebration of HCA

10 March 2005 the magic of Hans Christian Andersen was presented at the press launch of the Scottish contribution to the celebration of the great storyteller's 200th birth in 2005.

By on - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 12 March 2005

At an event held at Edinburgh City Chambers the impressive list of Scottish Hans Christian Andersen projects was released. The list includes everything from an international fairy tale exhibition about Andersen's life and works to festivals and symposiums concerning Andersen. For information about each of the Scottish Hans Christian Andersen projects please se below.

At the event at Edinburgh City Chambers the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation also took time to appoint 3 Scottish Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors. They are; Dame Muriel Spark, Billy Boyd and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC. They were appointed by the representative of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, Mr. Jakob Steen Olsen, who handed over the official golden Ambassadors-pin and the official Ambassador diploma, designed by the Danish designer and Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador, Lin Utzon.

The event at Edinburgh City hall was hosted by Edinburgh City Council in association with the Danish Cultural Institute, the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation and Have PR & Kommunikation A/S.

Please find below information on the Scottish Hans Christian Andersen projects, the three Scottish Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors as well as information on the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation and information on the humanitarian foundation, the HCA-abc Foundation.


Edinburgh joins the worldwide celebration
In 2005/2006 the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen, one of the planet's greatest storytellers. The international campaign is co-ordinated by the Danish Hans Christian Andersen Foundation, under the personal patronage of Her Majesty Queen MargretheII of Denmark. To mark this literary landmark, the City of Edinburgh's Culture and Leisure Department has joined with a range of other partner organisations in Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature to produce this commemorative programme of exhibitions, performance, music, arts and crafts, film and of course storytelling.

The fairy tale continues
The centrepiece of the celebration programme is the exhibition The Greatest Fairy Tale: The Amazing Life and Story of Hans Christian Andersen at Edinburgh's City Art Centre. The exhibition is produced by the United Exhibits Group, Denmark, and has been designed in New York by renowned exhibition designers Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The Greatest Fairy Tale is an interactive journey through Hans Christian Andersen's world. Targeted at children of all ages, the exhibition will include original Andersen artifacts and mind blowing visual experiences.

A sequence of six sets features favourite Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales reflecting significant episodes in the great writer's life.

Childhood   (1805-1818) The Ugly Duckling
The Young Artist  (1819-1830) The Tinder Box
Journeys and Passions  (1831-1840) The Flying Trunk
Friendship   (1841-1850) The Shadow
Solitude   (1851-1860) The Little Mermaid
Fame    (1861-1875) The Emperor's New Clothes

The exhibition ends with the legacy of Hans Christian Andersen, and the show is dotted throughout with icons, storytelling alcoves, activity areas and audio posts.

In May 2005, the exhibition premiers at Copenhagen's Rosenborg Castles. Following the Danish display, the exhibition will transfer to Edinburgh's City Art Centre. Supported by EventScotland, the Edinburgh show runs from 1 October 2005 to 29 January 2006 and is a United Kingdom exclusive. See the chronological listing for opening hours and admission details.

MARCH 2005

Connecting Cultures
The International Symposium on Hans Christian Andersen
Thanks to the generous support of the Hans Christian Andersen Foundation, this International Symposium examines Hans Christian Andersen's role as a cultural mediator. For further information, contact Bjarne Thomsen, Scandinavian Studies, University of Edinburgh: email

University of Edinburgh
11-12 March 2005
Call 0131-650-4022 for further details

APRIL 2005

Happy Birthday to You!
While The Greatest Fairy Tale is the centrepiece of the programme, the curtain raiser takes place at Edinburgh's Museum of Childhood on Saturday 2 April 2005. From 12 noon to 1.30pm, local children will join young people from the Danish community to say 'Happy Birthday Hans Christian Andersen!' on the date of  the great storyteller's  birth 200 years ago. Suitable for children age 6 to 10 years, the birthday party will be set within a special display of Hans Christian Andersen books from the Museum of Childhood's own collection. It will include party games, stories, refreshments and a special birthday cake.

The number of places at the party is limited and admission is by invitation only. To win your invitation to the party, enter the special Evening News competition. See the paper on Wednesday 23 March 2005 for full details.

Museum of Childhood, Royal Mile
Saturday 2 April, 12 noon-1.30pm
Call 0131-529-4142

...if Hans Christian Andersen were alive today
In collaboration with the Danish Cultural Institute in Edinburgh, students from the Design School of Kolding, Denmark, exhibit works inspired by the vision of how Hans Christian Andersen might have expressed himself had he been writing today. Based on Andersen's work, in particular The Red Shoes, the Kolding students have translated his dreams and ideas into modern media and forms.

The Danish Cultural Institute, 3 Doune Terrace, Edinburgh
2 April to 30 April, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
Call 0131-225- 7189 for further information

Teens Tell Tales
A competition for teenage users of Edinburgh City Libraries.

Write/create a story which you, or your parents, could read to 3-8 year olds at bedtime or anytime, taking one of Hans Christian Andersen?s famous stories as your inspiration e.g.:

The Emperor's New Clothes
The Little Mermaid
The Snow Queen
The Tinder Box
The Ugly Duckling
The Red Shoes

There are many others to choose from. Alternatively, you could also decide to feature the fact that the great writer struggled with dyslexia, or write about his visit to Edinburgh and Scotland in 1847.

To enter:

You must be between 13 and 18 years old, and your story should run to 2,000 words- roughly five pages of A4.

Send your story by email to along with your forename, surname, library membership number and a note of the library you use most. If we publish your story on the website, you will receive a book token.

End April to end August

JUNE 2005

The Magical Castle
A Fairy Tale Extravaganza at Lauriston Castle

This enchanting day of children's and families' workshops and fairy stories celebrates the bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen, in the grounds of Lauriston Castle at Davidson's Mains. 

Lauriston Castle, 2 Cramond Road South
Sunday 12 June, from 12noon-4pm
Free event. Car Parking £3

Around the World and Around the Clock
During the summer of 2005, the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary will be the theme depicted on Edinburgh's famous floral clock. The fairy tales picked out in plants will include Thumbelina, The Tin Soldier and The Little Mermaid.

West Princes Street Gardens
Mid June to Mid September 2005

JULY 2005

Off the Wall! Hans Christian Andersen in Scotland
In the summer of 1847, Andersen travelled to Scotland with the intention of meeting Sir Walter Scott. Entertained by Dickens and Disraeli in London, Andersen travelled to Edinburgh and stayed at Lixmount House at 73 East Trinity Road. The distinctive culture of the bustling fishing village of Newhaven reminded Andersen of life in Danish fishing communities. During his stay in Edinburgh, Andersen was a sought after dinner guest in the fashionable New Town. Andersen wrote of his impressions of Scotland, including sailing on the Forth, and visiting the Trossachs and Loch Lomond. Andersen was invited to join Queen Victoria at Loch Laggan, but he declined, concerned that his retinue would not be grand enough.

Andersen never met Scott, but on returning to Denmark, he wrote:

"My stay in Scotland floats before me like a fantasy of joy and sunshine".

Andersen's time in Edinburgh is being celebrated by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at 10.30am on Monday 11 July at 73 East Trinity Road, his Edinburgh lodgings.

73 East Trinity Road
Monday 11 July 2005, at 10.30pm


HCA at the Edinburgh International Book Festival
At the 2005 International Book Festival a number of events will focus on Hans Christian Andersen. There will be discussions about new translations and a panel of authors will seek to get to the core of Andersen's vast body of work. Danish participants include Stig Dalager, Jens Andersen and Brigitte Berntsen. The Book Festival will also include Andersen themed events for children.

Full details will be available from 16 June. Visit the Festival website on

Edinburgh International Book Festival
Charlotte Square
13 to 29 August

A Birthday Party Adventure with Hans Christian Andersen and his Fairy Tale Friends
The Danish Cultural Institute and Frantic Redhead Productions present a children's play on the Festival Fringe 2005. Based on Andersen's Thumbelina, the first act will be performed in the gallery of the Institute, at Doune Terrace, and then proceed to a park on the Water of Leith for the rest of the play.

The Danish Cultural Institute, 3 Doune Terrace, Edinburgh
6-14 August and 20-21 August at 11am
Call 0131-225-7189 for further information

An Exhibition from Odense
This touring exhibition has been created by the museums in Hans Christian Andersen's birthplace, the City of Odense. The story of the great writer is told through text and facsimile images, which include letters, portraits and personal belongings.

The Danish Cultural Institute, 3 Doune Terrace, Edinburgh
3 August to15 September, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
Call 0131-225-7189 for further information


Get Organised
A lunchtime organ recital celebrating the Bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen. Organist John Kitchen.

The Usher Hall, Lothian Road
Tuesday 6 September 2005
Box Office 0131-228-1155

The Queen and the Fairy Tale Writer
Hans Christian Andersen works by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

The fairy tale universe of Hans Christian Andersen has been a recurring source of inspiration for the artist Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The Queen has drafted a set design and costumes for the TV theatre performance The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep. For the animated film The Snow Queen, the Queen created a number of découpages (illustrations cut from paper or card), which were digitally transformed into set scenery. More recently the Queen has created set design and costume drawings for the ballet Love in the Dustbin for the Pantomime Theatre in The Tivoli Gardens.
Queen Margrethe has kindly made a selection of original works available for exhibition at the Danish Cultural Institute.

The Danish Cultural Institute, 3 Doune Terrace
16 September to 28 October, Monday - Friday 9am-5pm
Call 0131-225-7178 for further information.

Once Upon A Time: Hans Christian Andersen and Fairy Tales
This Museum of Childhood exhibition looks at the work of Hans Christian Andersen in the context of other fairy tales and writers. The exhibition looks at favourite fairy tales, Scottish fairy tales, famous fairy tale illustrators and the great storytellers.

Museum of Childhood, Royal Mile
24 September 2005 to January 2006
Call 0131-529-4142


The Greatest Fairy Tale:
The Amazing Life and Times of Hans Christian Andersen
Major exhibition

City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Edinburgh
1 October 2005 to 29 January 2006
Monday to Friday 10am-5.00pm, Sundays 12 noon-5pm
Admission £6, concessions £4.50, family ticket £16

Produced by the United Exhibits Group, Denmark, presented by the City of Edinburgh Culture and Leisure Department and supported by EventScotland

National Tell-a-Story Day
Stories will be bursting out across Edinburgh as the Scottish International Storytelling Festival launches Scotland's fifth National Tell-a-Story Day, which will take place this year on Friday 28 October. It's an opportunity for everyone to have a go at telling a story. Would you like to arrange a storytelling event, or discover what's on in your area?

To celebrate his bicentenary, the theme of this year's Tell-a-Story Day is Hans Christian Andersen. From the Ugly Duckling to the Snow Queen, Andersen's stories reach out to people of all ages. So set your imagination ablaze by sharing some of his fairy tales on National Tell-A-Story Day, or make up some modern fairy tales of your own. To register your interest in taking part, contact the Storytelling Centre by 23 September 2005

Call 0131-556-9579 or email:

Across Scotland
28 October 2005

HCA at the Movies
Edinburgh's Filmhouse joins forces with Storytelling Festival to celebrate the bicentenary in a season of Andersen stories and themes that have graced the silver screen. Details will be available in August. Watch the website on

The Filmhouse, Lothian Road
Late October 2005

Call 0131-228-2688


Choir and Organ Concert
The Edinburgh Royal Choral Union joins forces with City Organist, John Kitchen, in a festival of choral music 'lollypops', including works celebrating the Bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen.

The Usher Hall, Lothian Road
Sunday 13 November at 3.00pm
Box Office: 0131-228- 1155

The celebration continues
The Scottish Hans Christian Andersen programme will continue to evolve during 2005/6. For further information, visit:  for new Edinburgh events.  for the Danish Cultural Institute programme   for events in the rest of the United Kingdom    for events in Denmark and internationally

For general information call 0131-529-7903

Facts on the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors of Scotland

The Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors are all celebrated artists, politicians, athletes, journalists, business people or other prominent citizens from around the world who are asked by the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation to represent the celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen.
All nominees are highly acclaimed within their field and have through their work and life earned great respect and influence in the world around them.
The over-all goal of Hans Christian Andersen 2005 is that people across the world should be given the opportunity to know Hans Christian Andersen and his magical universe. Therefore the The Bikuben Foundation has established the humanitarian foundation The HCA-abc Foundation to address illiteracy in the name of Hans Christian Andersen. Hopefully, the worldwide attention will be a catalyst for focusing on this global problem.
It is the hope of the organisers that the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors will help create awareness to the celebration as well as the HCA-abc Foundation in their respective home countries.

Dame Muriel Spark, author, born in Edinburgh, has been at the top of the international literary world for more than half a century. Dame Muriel Spark made her debut as a novelist in 1957 with The Comforters, and in 2004 her latest and 22nd novel, The Finishing School, was published. She is also the author of a large number of biographies, critical studies and collections of poetry and her reputation has broadened through radio, television, film and theatre. Her best-known book, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which tells the story of a Scottish school teacher whose liberated and eccentric lifestyle in the inter-war period leads to her losing her job, was adapted into a movie in 1969 and remade as a television series in 1978.
The Sparkian world is peopled by ordinary, familiar characters and often features powerful and iron-willed women. Her perceptive portraits of the present age disclose a poetic outlook on the world and a characteristic humorous edge. As an admirer of the art of storytelling Dame Muriel Spark has loved Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales all her life.
During her career she has received countless literary tributes and honors. In 1993 she was appointed Dame of the British Empire, and in 1997 she received the David Cohen British Literature Prize for Lifetime Achievement. The National Library of Scotland has more than 300 records of translations of Dame Muriel Spark's works - an indication of how well the author communicates across different cultures. Dame Muriel Spark has traveled in the Middle East and India and lived in Africa, America and France and currently resides in Italy.

Billy Boyd, actor, born 1968 in Glasgow, is probably best known for his parts as Pippin in the Oscar winning movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings and as Barrett Bonden in Master and Commander, both from 2003. Mr. Boyd, however, had worked as an actor for several years when director Peter Jackson came to Scotland personally to audition him for The Lord of the Rings. In the 1990s Boyd starred in the television series Taggart and in British movies such as Urban Ghost Story and Julie and the Cadillacs. Moreover, Boyd has acted in several plays at Edinburgh theatres, such as Royal Lyceum and Traverse. In the staged version of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, he played Tommy and Sick Boy. Before graduating from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with a diploma in Dramatic Arts Billy Boyd worked as a bookbinder in Glasgow. He is also a skilled singer and musician, playing both guitar, bass and drums, and has been voted one of Scotland's most attractive bachelors

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, born in Glasgow, is one of Britain's leading lawyers, famous for her work as an advocate for human rights and social justice. Her practice as a barrister has involved a number of prominent cases such as the Guildford Four appeal and the bombing of the Israeli embassy. She has also defended many battered women who have killed their abusive husbands and contributed to books on women's legal position in Britain. The latest book in her own name is Just Law: The changing face of justice - and why it matters to us all (2004).
Baroness Helena Kennedy holds a large number of appointments, including president of the Human Genetics Commission, honorary member of Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, president of the National Children's Bureau and chair of the British Council, which she has led through a period of dynamic change. From 1992 to 1997 she was also chair of Charter 88, the constitutional reform group, which persuaded the Labour government to make devolution and human rights legislation central planks of their manifesto, and from 1994 to 2002 she was chair of the innovative London International Festival of Theatre. She is a frequently used television hostess and journalist, and in 1987 she presented the TV drama Blind Justice, based on her own life and experiences.
The importance of knowledge and education is emphasized throughout Baroness Helena Kennedy's work, and the Helena Kennedy Foundation, of which she is president, is a registered charity supporting 'second chance' students to study on higher education courses at UK universities.