H C Andersen Celebrated In Chiang Mai

While Hans Christian Andersen’s bicentennial on 2 April 2005 was officially celebrated in some of the most important metropolises across the world, La Luna Gallery and the restaurant The House in Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand offered a very different kind of celebration.
      La Luna Gallery, partially owned by Danish journalist Lasse Norgaard and his partner Sommai Lumdual, paid tribute to the Great Dane with an art exhibition on the theme “Fairytales & Folktales” and in the evening another well-known Dane in the Chiang Mai community, Hans Christensen followed up the idea with a similarly multi-themed Fairytale Dinner in his restaurant The House.
      Meanwhile, Thailand’s Hans Christian Andersen Goodwill Ambassador, H.S.H. Prince Bhisadej Rajani was in Denmark getting ready for the dinner with HM Queen Margrethe and other goodwill ambassadors in Odense, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace.
     More than the mere scale of the event, the celebrations in Chiang Mai were different not least in the way focus was less on Hans Christian Andersen and more on the inspiration he had obviously been able to provide for both painting and culinary artists.
      Even the arrival on the scene of the Danish Ambassador Mr. Ulrik Helweg-Larsen and his wife Cristina was also … different. They arrived by Tuk Tuk – although of course the Tuk Tuk was flying the Danebrog!
     In performing the official opening of the exhibition, Mr. Ulrik Helweg-Larsen mentioned in his speech that Hans Christian Andersen was a great traveler, but never traveled as far as Thailand.
     “But imagine if he had. He would have traveled up the Chao Phaya and further up the Ping River all the way up here to Chiang Mai – what a fairy tale would that not have been!”
     Following the opening speech, Cristina Helweg-Larsen and Lasse Norgaard performed a lucky draw for three pieces of art – two of which where won by another Dane in Chiang Mai, Michael Jacobsen and his son.
     Helping to make the fairy tale event happen, a number of Danish companies and individuals in Thailand had contributed in various ways, SAS, Bang & Olufsen, Scand-Media, MPA, Euro-Center, and Mr. Ole Johansen, a fellow resident Dane in Chiang Mai.

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