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Hans Christian Andersen's latest tale

    Hans Christian Andersen's latest tale

    Visitors walk by the Andersen Fairy Tale Castle in Shanghai. The theme park is to be replicated across China.

    Shanghai hosts the world’s first theme park centered on the Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen — but soon the park will be replicated nationwide. Thirty more such theme parks are planned within five years.

    The expansion plan is backed by the Danish government in a bid to promote Denmark’s culture.

    The Danish Consulate General in Shanghai signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Shanghai Andersen Paradise in Yangpu District to help to develop and promote the theme park as well as to boost Sino-Danish tourism and cultural exchanges.

    “We hope to attract more Chinese tourists to Denmark and bring more Danish tourists to China as well,” said Nicolai Prytz, consul general of Denmark in Shanghai.

    “Chinese visitors to the park may also want to see what the hometown of Andersen looks like in Odense and visit other Danish cities.”

    According to the memorandum, a steering committee for the park will be established with Danish diplomats to hold monthly discussions with the park operator to support future development and help to promote Danish culture through the park, Prytz said.

    About 30 more projects themed on Andersen as well as Denmark and other northern countries will be opened nationwide within five years with the help of the Danish government, said Gui Haozhan, who is the chairman of Shanghai Andersen Paradise Co, the developer and operator of the park.

    The projects will include cultural and tourism towns, indoor entertainment parks as well as eco-villages.

    More than 20 Chinese cities have signed agreements with the company for the projects to be built there, according to Gui.

    A similar Andersen paradise park, for instance, will be built in a historic town in Cixi City in Shanghai’s neighboring Zhejiang Province by 2019.

    For generations of Chinese, Andersen’s fairy tales are a happy memory of childhood, when parents would read them a bedtime story from his books — often this was the first Western literature a Chinese child would have encountered.

    Andersen’s tales are also listed as texts in Chinese primary and middle schools.

    Chinese writer and translator Zhou Zuoren (1885-1967) firstly introduced the author to China in 1913, and two years later writer Liu Bannong (1891-1934) translated “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” making it the first Andersen fairy tale known to Chinese.

    Andersen’s fairy tales have long been an important part of Danish culture as well as a bond between Danish and Chinese people, said Prytz.

    The park in Shanghai, which opened on June 28, has attracted over 350,000 visitors, mostly local families and students, according to the company.

    The park covers 81,300 square meters in Yangpu’s Xinjiangwan Town and features the world’s only Andersen museum outside Denmark, along with seven “theme lands” with sports facilities and sculptures based on the classic works of the Danish writer.

    The outdoor sports facilities for children aged 3 to 12 are imported from Denmark, according to the company.

    A standard admission ticket costs 180 yuan (US$27).