A global scavenger hunt is happening right now

A global treasure hunt is happening right now


Codes hidden at the foot of 99 statues across the planet reveal a formidable enigma: Danish artist Thomas Dambo, famous for his huge statues made of recycled wood, launched a global treasure hunt on Monday for find his hundredth troll, hidden in the greatest secrecy. 

With their happy faces sometimes a bit melancholy, his sculptures several meters high are often placed at the bend of a path or of a forest on the edge of major cities, from Australia to South Korea, via the United States or Belgium, to encourage city dwellers to rediscover nature.

The 99 statues all have a position already known on a map held by the artist (trollmap.com). But for the past few weeks, Thomas Dambo has been hiding clues there in the form of metal QR codes to find his 100th creation.

“I decided to make it a super secret and make it a complex treasure hunt,” the Copenhagen-based artist, in his forties, told AFP.

For the moment, it is impossible to know where exactly “Moon Mother” is. A privileged few, including AFP, were lucky enough to be able to discover it, but after a drive with tinted windows.

Thomas Dambo

Six meters tall, the matron with a face made from scrap wood, came deep in a wood to give birth, according to the story imagined by Dambo.

Finding her promises to be an adventure. For a long time, even the artist's collaborators were unaware of his whereabouts.


Former graffiti artist and rapper, Thomas Dambo launched his project in 2014, after performed two first trolls for a music festival.

“Throughout Scandinavia, we have trolls in our mythology and in our folklore,” he says.

The artist explains that he reconstructs his childhood fairy tales through his sculpted giants, all of which have their own name and story.

On a rainy Thursday in March, his team members carefully fasten long branches of wood to create the flowing hair troll.

“We opted for a wild, untamed hairstyle,” laughs one of them.

According to Thomas Dambo's estimates, no less than ten million people have visited his works, all of which are still accessible except one, “Hector Protector” in Puerto Rico, swept away by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

All continents are home to trolls except Africa.

Once the clues of the 99 giants have been collected – collectively – fans will need to find the secret place, solve an enigma individually.

“It's a bit cryptic, a bit difficult”, savors the visual artist. According to him, the mystery should be solved in two or three weeks.

With the desire to make the public think, in addition to getting them out of their homes.

“ I hope my art can be part of the movement that shows people that waste isn't gross and isn't worthless,” says the Dane.

“It's something which has the capacity to push thousands of people to discover it like a treasure”, savors the creator.