13 December 2010

Neon King

Of all the vintage landmark neon signs in Copenhagen, the Irma strip is King, I think of it as my own little Vegas. The crown piece is the egg laying hen from 1953, with her very own neon-egg counting fan website (made by even bigger nerds than me, haha). 

The neon strip lining the lakes is a defining part of the skyline, and it is always the first thing I look for when I return home from a trip out of the country. I have been meaning to show you the Irma hen for ages, battling the night time camera settings, but I think I finally got it. It just happens that the sign has frozen, so all the eggs are showing at once. That's not how it is supposed to be, but for the sake of the full picture, it may not be a bad thing. 


This used to be the headquarters of Irma. Thankfully they left the neon behind when they moved.

Hard to beat...

...but this one is a contender:

The liquorice "Ga-Jol" sign used to live next to the recently retired neon frogs on Osterbro, now relocated on Vesterbro. The Gajol is flying through the air, like the eggs, and the sign reads: the Danish weather is Ga-Jol weather. I get weak in my knees just looking at it, crazy nostalgia.

When the time comes for the big Classic Copenhagen Awards, these two are nominated in the category "Best Neon Sign".


  1. I love it!! Those signs are the best but are so hard to "capture" properly. Thanks for doing such a great job :)


  2. Hi Celena, they are really fickle to catch, when I finally got the sky black, and the signs somewhat sharp, I was making a happy dance on the spot. It only took a year to get there, haha. I'm happy you like them too. :-)

  3. I used to dream about having the flat just below the egg. That would be so cool! At least it would make it very easy to give directions ;)

  4. That is so funny. I once ran into one of my customers in my local Irma, and as we got to talk about where we live, she told me that she lives in the apartment right below the egg (that would be yours, then). Later I went to some parties there, it is huge rental apartments with some very long hallways, and beautiful old wood floors, with extra wide wood beams (is that the word, I wonder..).

  5. This is great - I had the idea to do kind of a photo series of old neon signs in Portland as well, anything from theater marquees (we have a number of theaters from the 1920's which still operate as independent theaters), restaurant signs (there is a great chinese food restaurant near us with a fantastic neon sign), and then advertisements like these (unfortunately, most of those type of neon signs are gone from Portland, but a few are left).

    Also, I wish it was easier to find salty licorice here, the only place I can get the really salty kind is at IKEA :-/

  6. You should definitely capture the neon while you can. This is also a good way of letting the people in charge of maintaining them know that they are appreciated, and should not be retired.

    Ever since I heard of this neon sign graveyard in Las Vegas, I have dreamed of going. Now that I have the camera settings down (I hope I can remember what I did right that night), I have a list of signs I want to photograph.

    Shipping from Denmark is kind of expensive, but if you are desperate, I don't mind shopping some real salty licorice for you here. Just let me know (I know what it's like to crave the licorice..).

  7. Maybe we could do a trade, if there is anything you would be interested in from this part of the world? We have some great coffee roasters in Portland. Or perhaps a photo print? Or something you liked while you were in the U.S. which you can't find there? :)

  8. Haha, that is a funny idea. But since i discovered ebay, I am very well updated on all things American. If I think of something, I will let you know.

  9. Here are the photos of neon stuff I've taken so far (at least, the ones I've posted online so far):


  10. Remember the frogs on the chimney of the Toms factory? At ØSterbro? Maersk pulled them down.

    mm chocolate frogs nom nom

  11. Yes," the retired frogs" the Gajol sign used to hang near by. I miss them. Did not know it was Maersk that pulled them down, but I have read somewhere that they are still intact, stored indoors.

  12. Neon signs are great. I have a series of photograph my dad took of a carnival, and I'm glad he gave them to me. So Irma... a supermarket? Salted licorice really? Hmmm never tried. I love licorice but salted...

  13. Hi Carole, yes Irma keeps popping up in here, with the Japanese people going crazy over it, and with the heart shaped stickers.. The licorice here is mostly salty or very strong (my mouth waters just writing about it, haha), I like mine so strong that they almost hurt. Just found one made with chili, mmm. But we also have sweet ones, and menthol. Any kind you can imagine, the Gajol's alone come in a ton of flavors.

    Seriously, now I need a licorice! :-)

  14. I know, you've got me craving licorice now too - I might need to go to IKEA and get some :D Actually, there is a Dutch import store that has it too, but it's way outside of the city, you have to drive, and it's still like 30 minutes driving. Not somewhere you can kind of pop by in an evening.

    I hear that in the Netherlands, they also have straight salmiak lollipops :) Not sure I'm quite that big of a fan, but I do like them quite salty.

  15. Haha, I have always been a huge fan of licorice, but now I am starting to consider the fact that it stains the teeth. I don't want a yellow grin..

    Salmiak is my favorite, and I love the "Turkish pepper". Never thought about salty candy being weird before, but I guess it is. It sounds gross, but it is so yummy.


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