Danish artist Thomas Dambo makes his work from materials found in dumpsters and elsewhere around the city. Because his famous creations are often gargantuan, he and his team have to hunt for hundreds of discarded wooden pallets, old fences and broken trees.

Although he makes furniture and smaller art projects, one of Dambo’s most popular series is “Forgotten Giants,” a collection of six large sculptures located on the outskirts of his hometown of Copenhagen.

Made completely from local scrap wood, lumber remnants and recycled materials, the huge works are all hidden in beautiful locations. The goal, says Dambo, is to invite people to go on a treasure hunt. That way, not only will they find the giants, but they’ll also discover other magical sights in nature.

Each giant contains an engraved treasure map or poem leading visitors to find its gargantuan siblings. Here’s a roster of the giants visitors will find.

Little Tilde

'Little Tilde'

‘Little Tilde’
(Photo: Thomas Dambo)

Little Tilde hides in Vallensbæk Mose, an area in the outskirts of Copenhagen known for its wilderness and animal life. Visitors can get a glimpse of this shy giant from a distance as she peeks through the trees on the other side of a small lake.

Made from scavenged local wood, Tilde was made by Dambo’s team with help from a group of volunteers. They included two senior craftsmen as well as a local woman named Tilde, who was the inspiration for the sculpture’s name.

Dambo added a special surprise to this creation. There are 28 birdhouses tucked inside Tilde, offering birds and even squirrels a safe haven when winter hits the area.

Thomas on the Mountain

'Thomas on the Mountain'

‘Thomas on the Mountain’
(Photo: Thomas Dambo)

This giant sculpture was also created from local scrap wood found by Dambo’s team. Volunteers from a local school, as well as some seniors, helped create the massive resting giant.

According to the website, “Thomas On The Mountain has found a good place to chill on top of a hill. From here he has a great view of the municipality of Albertslund, and so can you if you join him. His legs are long, and a good place to sit with your friends.”

He was not named for Dambo, but for an intern on the project, also named Thomas, who helped create all six sculptures.

Teddy Friendly

'Teddy Friendly'

‘Teddy Friendly’
(Photo: Thomas Dambo)

The distinctive Teddy Friendly stands at a stream alongside a lake, holding out his very long hand to help people cross. Teddy was crafted out of local wood remants, including pieces of downed trees, which were used to make his fur.

Dambo’s team had help from an area activation center, which helps unemployed people get back in the workforce. Four people and a teacher assisted in building the giant sculpture. The teacher’s name was Teddy, and he became the project’s namesake.

According to the website: “He was a super friendly and hardworking guy, and together with his team he made a huge effort, therefore Thomas Dambo decided to name the sculpture after him.”

Hill Top Trine

'Hill Top Trine'

‘Hill Top Trine’
(Photo: Thomas Dambo)

Clamber to the top of Hill Top Trine and you can get a great view overlooking Avedøresletten while standing in the palms of her hands. Trine is resting on top of a small hill in Hvidovre, Copenhagen.

Like her massive siblings, she’s made from scrap wood, branches and old pallets. She’s named after one of the volunteers who helped Dambo and his team build the wooden sculpture.

Oscar Under the Bridge

'Oscar Under the Bridge'

‘Oscar Under the Bridge’
(Photo: Thomas Dambo)

If you’re walking over this bridge, you might not notice Oscar until you see his huge hand grasping the railing.

Oscar Under the Bridge is made from scrap wood collected from a demolished watermill, as well as broken pallets gathered from local industry. He was named after an artist from Chile who came to visit Dambo and helped him work while he was creating this sculpture.

Sleeping Louis

'Sleeping Louis'

‘Sleeping Louis’
(Photo: Thomas Dambo)

Relatively well hidden by trees, Sleeping Louis is taking a nap on a hill in a secret spot in Rødovre outside of Copenhagen. Once visitors find the resting giant, they can crawl into his yawning mouth or even take their own nap inside of him.

Sleeping Louis is constructed entirely of local wood scavenged by Dambo’s team. They had help building the sculpture from a group of young volunteers who helped unemployed people get work experience before reentering the job market.

Louis, Dambo’s former assistant from Bristol, England, was in Copenhagen for a visit and worked with the team to help finish the sculpture. The giant was named in his honor.


In the video above, Dambo tells the story of his forgotten giants. (Don’t worry: There are subtitles!) And you can see more photos of Dambo’s giants and other recycled work on Instagram and Facebook.

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

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