The elephant's house in Copenhagen Zoo

Menagerie for the masses


Copenhagen Zoo opened on 20 September 1859. Ornithologist Niels Kjærbølling had been granted unrestricted use of the Princess Wilhelmine Gardens at Valby Bakke. He exhibited stuffed birds and eagles, hens, ducks, owls, rabbits, a fox, a seal in a bath tub and a…

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The human zoo

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" Between 1880 and 1903, a series of 'human caravans' performed in Tivoli and the zoo. A Sami Caravan and one of Native Americans visited the city in 1901, followed a year later by a Japanese Caravan. Many of the caravans toured the amusement parks of Europe. They exhibited foreign races and their way of life to Danes who rarely travelled abroad. An account of the Japanese Caravan goes: "It was a performance of talented craftspeople, singing and dancing geishas, coolies with their two-wheeled rickshaws; a fisherman with cormorants tamed to catch fish...". Just as the animals were on show to display the diversity of the species, the aim of the caravans was to give spectators a sense of the wide world beyond Denmark. "

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The human zoo

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