thomas dambo troll denmark

Troll Hunting With Danish Artist Thomas Dambo’s Larger Than Life Creations

You have undoubtedly heard of the fantastical creatures we call trolls, but have you heard of Thomas Dambo and the larger-than-life trolls he creates from recycled and found objects?

In 2011, artist Dambo set out on a mission to show the world the beautiful things he could create from trash. He breathes life back into discarded materials by turning them into large-scale artwork, including giant trolls, birdhouses, plastic creations, and Happy Wall exhibitions. 

By working with the communities and making them his co-creators, Dambo has successfully installed unique, recycled creations in over twenty countries and plans to install many more. Have you hunted for any of his trolls?

1. Malin’s Fountain, Austin, Texas

troll group kid
Image Credit: Julie Royce.

Earlier this year, Dambo created an incredible troll called Malin’s Fountain in my fair city. Located in the newly renovated Pease Park in the heart of the capital city, the enormous troll is sitting cross-legged and holding a large circular fountain that symbolizes the community’s strength and ability to come together. 

Malin is also sporting a fantastic blue gemstone woven into a necklace that adorns his neck. Shrieks of laughter and amazement reverberated throughout the park when we visited on opening weekend. 

2. Jakob Two Trees, Issaquah, Washington

jakob two tree troll
Image Credit: Ian Dewar Photography/Shutterstock.

Completed in 2023, Jakob Two Trees is located in Issaquah, Washington. He is one of the many trolls that adorn Washington state. 

Jakob is around 13 feet tall and wears a ponytail holder and bracelet made by the Snoqualmie Tribe. He also wears a necklace of birdhouses and holds onto the two trees, taking in the tranquility.

3. Rita the Rock Planter, Victor, Colorado

rita rock planter colorado
Image Credit: Faina Gurevich/Shutterstock.

Dambo built Rita the Rock Planter on a mountaintop where miners used to dig for gold in Victor, Colorado. The humans left many holes, so Rita wanted to make sure no one fell into them, so she planted rocks and filled them back in. 

This environmentally conscious troll was commissioned by the Gold Camp District Impact Group, which is on a mission to conserve the natural beauty that Colorado offers. 

4. Una & Joures, Boom, Belgium

una joures trolls belgium
Image Credit: Chedko/Shutterstock,

One of Dambo’s earlier works is of Una and Joures, located near Antwerp, Belgium, in a little town called Boom. You can find the pair lying in a field, with Una’s head resting on Joures’s shoulder as he points up to the heavens. Perhaps he is pointing out different cloud shapes or birds, who knows, but the two are enjoying a quiet, peaceful moment together. 

I like to think it’s a message for all of us to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. 

5. Joe the Guardian, Chicago, Illinois

joe the guardian illinois
Image Credit: Big Joe/Shutterstock.

Joe The Guardian is one of six trolls featured in the “Troll Hunt” exhibition. In this exhibition, the trolls have grown tired of humans constantly polluting and destroying their cherished natural environment. Determined to address the issue themselves, they aim to capture humans to teach them a lesson. 

Joe watches Highway I-88 for troublemakers attempting to enter the trolls’ realm. He and the other trolls are constructed entirely from scrap wood and other recycled materials.

6. Hector Protector, Culebro, Puerto Rico

hector protector puerto rico
Image Credit: Thomas Dambo.

Commissioned by Santurce Es Lay, Hector the Protector was completed in 2014 but, unfortunately, had to be torn down after incredible damage from Hurricane Maria ravaging the Puerto Rican island. 

Dambo created the giant to contribute to Culebra Es Ley’s art festival, completing it in just five days using discarded pallets from the local junkyard. Placed on the ocean’s jetty with crystal blue water all around him, Hector was built to protect the island and save it from anyone wishing to harm it. ‍

7. Ben Chiller, Aarhus, Denmark

ben chiller denmark
Image Credit: Thomas Dambo.

The giant troll Ben Chiller is the coolest of all Dambo’s trolls. Seen just hanging out, sprawled on a grassy hill with the wind blowing his hair. The music festival Northside, located in Aarhus, Denmark, commissioned him. 

Ben chills to the music and puts out his 36-foot-long legs for people to relax. He was built with the help of a small group of volunteers and made solely from scrapwood donated by local industries.

8. Isak Heartstone, Breckenridge, Colorado

isak heartstone troll
Image Credit: Thomas Dambo.

Isak Heartstone was created for the Breckenridge Creative Arts Festival, Breck Create. He received his name when three little girls gifted him a stone heart, which Dambo incorporated into the sculpture. 

As always, Isak was constructed entirely from locally recycled wood with the help of local volunteers. His popularity soared, attracting over 3,000 visitors on some days. This influx of visitors angered some neighbors, leading to Isak’s removal. However, Dambo later reinstalled him in a new location.

9. Bruun Idun, Seattle, Washington

bruun idun troll seattle
Image Credit: Thomas Dambo.

Bruun Idun stands on the shoreline, playing her flute to the orcas to inquire why they have left Puget Sound. Her flute, crafted by artist John Halliday, also known as Coyote from the Muckleshoot Tribe, adds to the significance of her quest. 

On August 25th, Seattle’s Mayor, Bruce A. Harrell, declared it “Bruun Idun Day.” This special recognition honors Bruun Idun and the Trolls for their contributions to environmental stewardship, water protection, habitat restoration, preservation, and conservation. Henceforth, every August 25th will be celebrated as Bruun Idun Day.

10. Rocky Bardur, Chicago, Illinois

rocky bardur troll
Image Credit: Ken Schulze/Shutterstock.

Rocky Bardur is one of six trolls featured in the “Troll Hunt” exhibition. In this exhibition, the trolls have grown weary of humans’ constant pollution and destruction of their beloved nature, prompting them to take matters into their own hands and capture the little beings to teach them a lesson. 

Rocky, a troll who loves rocks, despises the strange metal horses (cars) created by humans that spew smoke into his face. He was heartbroken about a parking lot built at one of his favorite hangouts. He gathered some of his favorite rocks and started smashing the cars in response. Rocky was constructed entirely from scrap wood and other recycled materials but dismantled in 2021.

11. Nora, Boom, Belgium

nora troll boom
Image Credit: jordan slbb/Shutterstock.

Nora the Troll might be one of the “smaller” creations from Thomas Dambo, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t still mighty. Seen here pulling her sled of rocks in De Schoore, Boom, Belgium, Nora was commissioned by Tomorrow Land and completed in 2019. She is only one in a series of eight trolls adorning the De Schoore landscape.

12. Kamiel, Boom, Belgium

kamiel troll belgium
Image Credit: jordan slbb/Shutterstock.

Last but certainly not least is Kamiel. This mighty troll guards the magic tower and is friends with Nora, Una, Joules, and many more. The legend says that whenever Kamiel wears his mask, he can speak the languages of all animals. 

If the weather is good, visitors to the magical kingdom of the seven trolls can see Belgium’s number one tourist destination and international symbol, Atomium

With a passion for travel, great food, and beautiful art, Julie put aside her 15-year career in the tech industry and dove head-first into a more creative sphere. Utilizing her degree in Communications, she is pursuing freelance writing. An avid traveler, Julie has experience writing and documenting the amazing spots she has visited and explored, the delicious food she has tasted, and the incredible art she has admired and purchased! When she’s not writing, she can be spotted around Austin, TX, at various art gallery openings, having a delicious meal with her husband and friends, and playing with her two dogs.