People dressed as Santa Claus take part in the World Santa Claus Congress, an annual event held every summer in Copenhagen, Denmark. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
People dressed as Santa Claus take part in the World Santa Claus Congress, an annual event held every summer in Copenhagen, Denmark. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Simon Broens fra Amager from Denmark takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress in Copenhagen. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Simon Broens fra Amager from Denmark takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress in Copenhagen. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Gunter from Germany takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Gunter from Germany takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Uamamoto from Tokyo takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Uamamoto from Tokyo takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Ken Yamaya from Spain takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Ken Yamaya from Spain takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Nielsen fra Vanloese from Denmark takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Nielsen fra Vanloese from Denmark takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Jim Chan of Hong Kong takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
Jim Chan of Hong Kong takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
A person dressed as Santa Claus' helper takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
A person dressed as Santa Claus' helper takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
People dressed as Santa Claus take part in the World Santa Claus Congress in Copenhagen. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
People dressed as Santa Claus take part in the World Santa Claus Congress in Copenhagen. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
The World Santa Claus Congress is held every summer in Copenhagen. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
The World Santa Claus Congress is held every summer in Copenhagen. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
A man dressed as Santa Claus takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters
A man dressed as Santa Claus takes part in the World Santa Claus Congress. Picture: Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via Reuters

Copenhagen - Braving Europe's heatwave, more than 150 Santas from around the world donned their heavy suits and full beards at their annual conference in Denmark.

As the 61st World Santa Claus Congress kicked off in Copenhagen, many of the delegates - from countries as far away as Japan and the United States - took a paddle in the sea, to the amusement of local bathers.

The three-day event will see the Santas visit the Little Mermaid statue during a parade and go head to head in the Santa Obstacle Course World Championships.

"Normally us Santas work alone," said Santa Ian Tom, 67, from Scotland, who is attending his sixth congress this year.

"This is like a big family. But a family you get on with."

For Santa Douglas, 60, from Washington D.C., attending his twelfth convention, it's the international feel of the event that keeps luring him back.

"It's interesting how when meeting others their culture starts to rub off on you and yours on them. For example, a lot of the Santa suits now are not the traditional grey Danish one. They've gone more American, which in a way is a shame."