The lawsuit against Tattoo Ole

Tattoo Ole is the world's oldest still functioning tattoo shop​

A lawsuit threatens the store's existence

At the end of 2016, Tattoo Ole receives a termination of the contract with demands for eviction from the premises, in the basement under Nyhavn 17. The building is owned by the restaurant "Nyhavn 17" and they wanted to expand their kitchen, by including the premises rented to Tattoo Ole.

The termination of the contract was a gasp for the young owner. Not only has she recently lost her friend and business partner, she now also stood to lose her store. But when the first shock had subsided, Majbritt decided to take up the fight.

She takes the case to court, referring to the age of the store and the cultural history it represents.

It has its effect.

The lawsuit is postponed in the first instance, as the Palaces and Culture Agency wants time to assess the store and its facade. Majbritt had hoped for a preservation of the premises, but the Palaces and Culture Agency unfortunately turns out to be most interested in the façade and its half-timbering.

However, this does not knock Majbritt off course. At the time, she was writing several letters to various bodies, including one to the then Minister of Culture, Mette Bock. In addition, she carries out a number of other activities.

​February 8, 2017: The tattoo you see in the intro to DR’s series ømSailors of the World´ was made in the store. See also:

  • A lecture was given in the Shop. watch the video here
  • May 13, 2018: Majbritt was a judge on prison ink.

  • 11 September 2018: In connection with Golden Days, about the B side of art, Majbritt participated as a lecturer on the history of tattoos, from the shop in Nyhavn 17.

  • October 12, 2018: At the culture night, she was with the Copenhagen Museum inside the National Archives. Here she became the first and so far only tattoo artist ever to have tattooed in such a different and unique place. The presence in the National Archives at the culture night was like a pop-up event in Stormgade with the purpose of telling the story of the tattoos the women had in the women's prison in the Lagkage house, in the early 1900s.

  • April and September 2019 Nyhavn 17 will be formally branded under several different categories, including tattoo services.

Nyhavn 17 is known for its crookedness and tattoos, here has always housed an artistic environment. The trademark at the address was strictly impossible to get, but after a long argument with the help of lawyers, it finally succeeded because that address is so well known for its tattoo history. Incidentally, tourists come from all parts of the world to see this little shop.

Majbritt’s protests find earplugs

What on paper should have been a simple matter between a tenant and a landlord, is now finding its way to the press. Things are picking up speed and everywhere in the world from the Washington Post to the Daily Mail, as well as several tattoo magazines, the case is now being described. In the Danish media, Ekstra Bladet, Berlingske Tidende and TV2 also appear on the field. The case even found its way to German EU politician Martin Sonneborn, who recommended preserving the store.

Majbritt has not gone silent with the doors, and the world has now listened.

You can read more about the trial in the press here. On February 19, 2019, the case will come to court. It ends with a victory, with 2 judges voting against 1.

The restaurant "Nyhavn 17", however, chooses to appeal the case to the high court, but the outcome remains the same and on March 10, 2020, Majbritt won the case in the high court. The store is allowed to continue.

Here we are now.

It has been more than 100 years since the doors first opened in the old tattoo shop. Although the setting has changed from a raw and harsh port environment, to a fashionable tourist area, the spirit lives on in the old walls. The small rooms under the old cobblestones still buzz with activity, and ink still finds its way to skin, as it always has.

Who knows? perhaps you, dear reader, are the next in the chair. Ready to take your place in history, next to all those who came before you. You are welcome. We are waiting for you.

Contact information

Copenhagen department

003-maps-and-flags  Nyhavn 17, 1051 København K​

002-phone-call  +45 33 15 90 86​​

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Faroe Islands department

003-maps-and-flags  Tròndargøta 29, 100 Tòrshavn​

V-tal 651966​​

002-phone-call​  00298775050

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Welcome to Tattoo Ole. The world's oldest tattoo shop

- A true connection to history.

Opening hours


12:00 – 20:00​


12:00 – 20:00​


12:00 – 20:00​


12:00 – 20:00​


12:00 – 20:00​


12:00 – 20:00​


12:00 – 20:00​

Changes in opening hours are taken into account.

Closed Monday and Sunday in the Faroe Islands. Open 12-20.

CVR​: 37776610

®All Rights Reserved Tattoo Ole - Nyhavn 17