Tattooing in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Considering it’s great seafaring traditions it will hardly come as a surprise to find that Denmark has and always has had its fair share of great tattoo artists.

And possibly one of the Countries most famous tattoo artists would have to have been the late Ole Valdemar Hansen ‘Tattoo Ole Hansen’ (1929-1988) who tattooed out of his studio at Nyhavn 17. With Ole’s big claim to fame being that he tattooed many people including King Frederik IX of Denmark.

The first tattoo artist to tattoo in Denmark’s hub of tattooing studio’s in Nyhavn was Hans J Hansen (1882-1960) who called himself (Tusch-Hans).

The 1930’s, Niels Fischer tattooed from his boat in the seaports in and around the Danish coast, with his wife Agnete who is thought to have tattooed part time with her husband. Before the pair of them gave up the sea and retired in the 1950’s. ‘Tato Peter’ (Peter Petersen) who opened his own studio in Arhus in 1931, also tattooed in Ole’s studio from time to time before he passed away in 1972.  As did John Larsen (Bimbo Banger), who got his nickname because of his love of the ladies. Also tattooed in Ole’s as well as in his studio in Aalborg. Before he too sadly left earths mortal coil in 1982.

‘Tato Jack’ (Helmuth Michaelsen 1940-1984) Tato Tex (Leif Voldby) Tato Jim (Hakon Jorgensen) Jorgen Kristiansen and ‘Tattoo Lucky’ (Knud Gregersen) who went on to become of one Brazil’s most well known tattoo artists by opening a studio in Santos, have all worked or at least passed Nyhavn during their tattooing careers.

‘Tato Egon’ tattooed on the deck of his boat in good weather. As did ‘Tattoo Freddie’ who tattooed from his lovely sea coaster the ‘Venlefjord’ that had signs ‘Freddie’s tattoo studio’ displayed up on its mask and a large billboard on the vessels bridge.

‘Brooklyn Pete’ (Severin Nielsen) also tattooed from the ship ‘The Stjernen’ that was docked in Nyhavn Harbour during the 50’s. And the great ‘Tusch Arne’ tattooed with ‘Tato Holger’ (Holger Jurgens) at 40 Nyhavn during the 1960’s.

1972 saw ‘Tattoo Svend’ (Kukkerig) open a  studio in Nyhavn. And the 1970’s also had the very talented tattoo artist’s Soren Kristensen, Danny Hansen, Tato Richard, and Michael Andersen keeping the art alive. With both Soren and Danny Hansen (no relation to Ole) working at Ole Hansen’s place before the pair of them left to open a studio in Hamburg, Germany. Calling it ‘Tattoo Studio Danmark’ (Danmark is correct spelling). ‘Tattoo Freddie’ also sadly passed away in 1978.

Soren though, returned from time to time to work at Ole’s. And it was in Ole’s place, which incidentally is the world’s oldest tattooing studio, opening in 1901 (as of 2009) where he met Henning Jorgensen, and in 1987 the pair became business partners and started ‘Royal Tattoo’ in the studio Henning had been working from since the 1st of April 1983.

Henning who started tattooing in 1979 with ‘Tattoo Cay’ in Copenhagen, got his chance when Frank Rosenkilde had to leave the studio to join the army. Frank, who began tattooing in 1978, later joined Henning and tattooed at ‘Royal Tattoo’ from 1998 to 2007. Before opening his own studio ‘Bel Air Tattoo’ back in Frederiksberg.C. Copenhagen.

In 1977, Miss Roxy started tattooing at ‘Tattoo Svend’s studio, becoming Denmarks first professional female tattoo artist. Before going on to become one of tattooings most gifted and successful tattooers. Where she travelled the world and tattooed in Hawaii for many years, before returning to her native Denmark in 1990, to team up once again with with ‘Tato Svend’ and Tom Christensen in Copenhagen. 

Denmark is without doubt a beautiful Country. And it goes without saying, that tattooing is going from strength to strength, in regard to having some very talented tattoo artist’s, working and making sure that the history of the art, will carry on there for many more years to come. Just as it always has done.


Copyright…Paul Sayce

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