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The World's Oldest Tattoo Parlor Fights For its Life

The World's Oldest Tattoo Parlor Fights For its Life

Tattoo Artists3 min Read

Tattoo Ole has been a fixture in Copenhagen for 133 years but may soon lose its lease. Learn about the shop and what you can do to save it.

Setting up and running a successful business is an incredibly difficult task, even if you have a killer idea and a dedicated and talented staff. Every week brings new challenges and only the select few are able to say that their business has been around for years, even fewer can say decades. This is even more true in the tattoo industry where new shops pop up only to disappear a few months later all the time. So when we found out that Tattoo Ole in Copenhagen, Denmark, had been open for 133 years our collective jaw hit the floor.

The perfect sign for a shop in a port city like Copenhagen.
The perfect sign for a shop in a port city like Copenhagen.
Majbritt Petersen, better known to the world as Lille Ole, hard at work tattooing.
Majbritt Petersen, better known to the world as Lille Ole, hard at work tattooing.

From its humble beginnings sharing the space with a bar, to tattooing members of the Danish royal family, the spot at Nyhavn 17 has seen it all. Majbritt Petersen, better known to the world as Lille Ole, is the current owner and leading the fight to keep Tattoo Ole in its home.“It is a living institution of art and believed to be the oldest parlor in the world still remaining at its original location,” Petersen says. “In the beginning it was a table in the far corner, and as far as we know, there was always a tattoo artist working there.”

The designs on this flash sheet show what an international clientele Tattoo Ole has had over the years.
The designs on this flash sheet show what an international clientele Tattoo Ole has had over the years.
Just some of the many memories crammed into the small space.
Just some of the many memories crammed into the small space.
Lille Ole and the Tattoodo crew outside the historic shop.
Lille Ole and the Tattoodo crew outside the historic shop.

Now, in order to keep that tradition alive, Peterson will be going to court in an effort to prevent the landlord from turning this vital piece of tattoo history into a kitchen. As members of the tattoo community, Peterson is calling on you to raise your voice and help. “We are going to court very soon, I hope we will be allowed to stay but my little shop may have seen its last days,” Peterson says. “We have made a signature collection that you can share and sign, so we can show how much our story and store mean to us. I hope with all my heart that you will support my fight.”


Charlie Connell
Written byCharlie Connell

Likes: writing, baseball, dumplings, American Traditional tattoos, punk rock. Dislikes: kale, things that look like kale and words that rhyme with kale. Managing Editor @tattoodo

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