Denmark’s economy might not be in tip-top shape right now, but that hasn’t deterred northern country’s government from awarding 2.5 million Danish kroner ($430,000) in grant money to a study that investigates the existence of underground trolls (mythical creatures, not internet haters).
The money will be received by Lars Christian Kofoed Rømer, a PhD student and part-time anthropology lecturer at the University of Copenhagen, who has spent two years studying ghost activity. With the new funds, he now plans to research ‘actual relationships’ between humans and trolls on the Danish island of Bornholm.
Bornholm is well-known for its flourishing tourism industry, which is mostly centered around the belief that the island is inhabited by trolls who live underground and come out at night. They even have a ‘national troll’ named Krølle Brølle, who is ‘small and cute’ and lives with his troll family on Langebjerg, and comes out at night to have ‘many exciting adventures’.
Kofoed Rømer will visit the island in search of these trolls, spending all the money allocated to him by the Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF). “I think it is fascinating that the legend of the island’s trolls continues to thrive in today’s world and I want to look at the creatures’ physical manifestations on the island and the way they are interacting with locals,” he said.
Meanwhile, DFF chairman Peter Munk Christiansen expressed his confidence that the study is going to be a very useful one. “At DFF, we believe that humanistic research should be funded on equal footing with all other research areas and we actually support that area more than we support societal research,” he explained. “We profess a pluralism and broad coverage – we don’t just pursue things that are the most popular right now.”
Unsurprisingly, the announcement has not gone down well with the Danes, especially because it follows severe cuts to health and welfare services. With thousands of nurses expected to lose their jobs in the coming year, news of the ‘troll study’ has been met with severe criticism from a lot of people.