In 1844 a band of boys were engaged by Tivoli amusement park founder Georg Carstensen as his guard of honour. Now there are 94 youth guards aged 8-16, including 20 girls.
Copenhagen's Tivoli Youth Guard is celebrating its 175th anniversary, making it the oldest one of its kind in the world.
In 1844 a band of boys were engaged by Tivoli amusement park founder Georg Carstensen as his guard of honour for special occasions.
Now there are 94 youth guards aged 8-16 – including 20 girls who have been welcomed to join since 2015.
The head of the Youth Guard Lars Sogaard recalls: "We were very interested in finding out, does this appeal to girls? Will girls do this? Since being a kind of a soldier is may be considered as a boys' activity. But about one-third of our guards and musicians are girls."
The uniform dates back to 1872 and the guards carry 1882 Remington rifles, making this the only Youth Guard in the world that carries real rifles. The equipment weighs eleven kilos and the kit, including a bearskin hat, keeps the recruits toasty – almost too much so in summer, but recruits said the extra layers are welcome in the cold Danish winters.
The anniversary is set to be celebrated with a series of events and concerts and will also see the inauguration of the Tivoli Music School, which is affiliated with the Tivoli Youth Guard.
As well as regular marches around the Tivoli park and gardens, Youth Guard members participate in official Danish foreign visits and perform tattoos.