Model monkey and Rolex work stolen from Danish museum

Two characteristic pieces of art have been stolen from the Trapholt museum at Kolding in southern Jutland.

Model monkey and Rolex work stolen from Danish museum
A file photo showing smaller versions of the Kay Bojesen monkey. A model monkey weighing 30kg was stolen from Trapholt. Photo: JØRGEN JESSEN /Ritzau Scanpix

On December 10th, several individuals broke into the museum, carrying away a 30-kilogram model of a monkey Kay Bojesen, a Danish designer of the early 20th century known for creating wooden animals.

A second break-in, just after midnight on New Year’s Day, resulted in the loss of ‘Rolexgate’, a piece by Denmark-based Chilean artist Marco Evaristti. Two people are thought to have been involved in the second break-in.

The Rolexgate piece depicts the entrance to the Second World War concentration camp Auschwitz. It is made partly from gold and diamonds and has a Rolex watch at its head.

“This is every museum director’s nightmare. Trapholt is naturally secured according to all the rules and recommendations and has the same security level as other museums in Denmark. But it is difficult to prevent all possible scenarios,” Trapholt director Karen Grøn said in a statement published on the museum’s website.

“When persons carry out a harsh and unconscionable break-in like this, it’s not just Trapholt but all of us who lose important art,” Grøn added, noting that the museum’s collection is the property of the Danish public. 

“For the purposes of our inquiries, police are looking for witnesses or others who can contribute to the investigation of the break-in,” South East Jutland police said in a press statement.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of the same culprits being involved in both break-ins,” the statement continued.

Thieves may have cycled to the museum before breaking in during the early minutes of January 1st, according to police, who called for people who may have seen persons cycling close to Trapholt to contact them.

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Museums, art galleries and zoos reopen in Denmark

Museums and zoos began reopening in Denmark on Thursday, as the country decided to accelerate its exit from lockdown and health officials said the spread of the new coronavirus was slowing.

Visitors come to the ARoS art gallery in Aarhus, which opened on Friday after two months' closure. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix
The original plan for Denmark was to keep museums, zoos, theatres, cinemas and similar attractions closed until June 8.
But after a deal was struck in the country's parliament late Wednesday they were instead allowed to open immediately.
“It was pure cheer. Finally, we can get started,” Peter Kjargaard, director of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, told broadcaster DR.
Kjargaard added that he was excited to show off the museum's new dinosaur exhibit, even if it wouldn't be ready for another month.
But not all museums reopened their doors on Thursday. Some said they would start receiving customers over the weekend or next week.
Under the deal agreed in parliament, the Danish border remains temporarily closed, but starting next week the list of exceptions allowing travel to Denmark will be expanded to include permanent residents of all the Nordic
countries and Germany wanting to visit relatives, loved ones, or homes they own in Denmark.
High school students will also begin returning to classrooms shortly.
Also on Wednesday, the Danish health agency SSI, which operates under the health ministry and is responsible for the surveillance of infectious diseases, released a report indicating the spread of the disease seems to be slowing, even as the country had started opening up.
SSI said that as of May 18 the infection rate, or reproduction rate, was estimated at 0.6, compared to 0.7 on May 7.
A reproduction rate of 1.0 means that one person with COVID-19 infects on average just one other, while a rate of below 1.0 indicates that the spread is declining.
On April 15, the country started reopening pre-schools and resuming classes for the youngest primary school children — under strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
Danish middle schools followed suit this week.
Another report this week by SSI, however showed that only one percent of Danes carried antibodies for the virus, raising concerns that the country could be vulnerable to a new wave of the virus.