So far this year, Denmark has gained plaudits for its world-beating restaurant (Noma), moody TV whodunits (The Killing) and a contemplative, Oscar-winning film (In a Better World).
How refreshing, then, to discover a
textbook example of kitschy, down-home fun in this designer-clad land:
Graceland Randers, a replica of Elvis Presley’s Memphis mansion (but double the
size of the original, to avoid the disappointment some fans feel at the size of
the real Graceland). It opened in mid-April in the unlikely location of a field
in Randers (population 60,000), some 20 miles north of Denmark’s second city,
The man behind this bold tribute is
superfan Henrik Knudsen, head of the Elvis fan club in Denmark. Knudsen’s
personal collection formed the basis of the small Elvis Presley museum he ran
in Randers’ town centre for 16 years, attracting 25,000 visitors annually. My
favourite among his treasure trove is the rare photo of a star-struck young
crown princess Margrethe (now Denmark’s queen) meeting Elvis in Hollywood in
Now Knudsen has spread his jumpsuited
batwings and moved his collection to Graceland Randers. Alas, although the
exterior mirrors the Memphis mansion, there’s no replica Jungle Room inside.
Instead, alongside Knudsen’s memorabilia you’ll find an Elvis shop, American
diner and mini movie theatre. The King living on in Denmark? It’s not the most
likely spot but we'll take it, "thank-you-very-much".
Elvis oddities from around the world
In 2009, a cut-out silhouette of Elvis was unveiled in Friedberg, to
commemorate the time Elvis spent in the city during his stint of military
service. The monument drew criticism for its odd squatting shape, with some
observers wondering if Elvis was missing a horse, or a toilet.
Hair Museum, Missouri
A lock of Elvis’s hair is featured alongside that
of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and hundreds of "hair art" exhibits at
Leila’s Hair Museum – the star attraction of the Independence School of
Cosmetology in Missouri, founded by retired beautician Leila Cohoon, and
dedicated to all things hair and nails.
Elvis Inn, Israel
A roadside café and gas station just outside Jerusalem, the Elvis Inn sells
Presley memorabilia alongside shawarma kebabs and hummous. Four statues bearing
a certain degree of resemblance to the man himself decorate the parking area, and Elvis postcards left by visitors line the walls
of the café.
Bain is currently researching the new edition of Lonely Planet’s Denmark guide.
This article was published in partnership with Lonely