15 December 2007

The Cycle Girl Statue

P1140299 (by jesign24)
The Weather Girls - Vejrpigerne - have been somewhat of a landmark in Copenhagen since the 1930's. They sit atop the Richshuset building on the City Hall Square. Stretching below them is a long, neon thermometer - also from the 1930's - which still works today.

The Cycle Girl, however, is no longer active. There are two versions of the girl; one [as seen above] of a girl in a skirt and one with a girl in a jacket and holding an umbrella with her dog next to her [the brolley is just visible on the right].

The girls are on a rotating disc and provided a weather forecast for Copenhageners. If fair weather was expected, the girl on the bike would rotate out to the edge. Rain? The other girl would rotate out.

Hardly scientific and really rather vague, but an excellent example of how women on bikes are an integral part of the Danish culture and mentality. And in a respectable, integrated way.

Indeed, in a thesis entitled "The Modest Democracy of Daily Life - An analysis of the bicycle as a symbol of Danishness" by Marie Kåstrup (who now works for the City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office), the cycling girl is described as:

"A unique front figure for the democratic bike culture. She is, all at once, a modest, charming and everyday representation of Danishness."
P1140301 (by jesign24)
Thanks to jesign24 on Flickr for the lovely photos.


Randall said...

I love the Cycle Girl! Reminds me of the Falstaff beer sign in New Orleans that used to light up in all sorts of different ways depending on the weather. The building is now being converted into condominiums, and I'm hoping they restore the old sign.

Jack Straw from Wichita said...

Fix the mechanism and get rid of the Philips sign. This is a cultural and architectural landmark and should not be left in disrepair as a pedestal for advertising. Cultural perversion in the City of the Cycle.