The World's Most Famous Rubber Duck

It first made waves in Hong Kong, but traveled all the seas

Rubber Duck in Hong Kong
The giant rubber duck made a bizarre addition to the Hong Kong skyline. IQ Remix via Flickr

Unless you were living under a rock in 2013 (or otherwise not on social media, i.e. living under a rock), you remember the proverbial waves that were made when a 54-foot rubber duck (known, officially, as "Rubber Duck") appeared near the Tsim Sha Tsui Pier in Hong Kong Harbor. Ascent of this story to "trending" status was rapid, but so too was the way interest in the yellow creature faded. If you've been curious about what happened to Rubber Duck—and what's coming for him in the future—continue reading.

History and Hong Kong Debut

If you know anything about the artist who created Rubber Duck, Dutchman Florentijn Hofman, neither the scale of Rubber Duck nor his strategy in deploying it will surprise you. By the time of the Duck's debut in Hong Kong, Hofman had installed a huge crow in the yard of a museum in his native Rotterdam, as well as several colorful "paper boats" (which were not made of paper) in the center of the same city. Hofman would later install a giant hippopotamus (adorably named "HippopoThames") in London's Thames River in 2014.

An Explosive Journey Around the World

Prior to leaving Hong Kong harbor, Rubber Duck shocked the world when it deflated one day, leaving a flattened version of itself behind, like a sad slick of bright yellow oil floating on the surface of the water. The second time something like this happened, however, was more explosive: On January 1, 2014, while docked at Keelung, Taiwan, the Duck burst open to the horror of onlookers and media representatives alike.

Of course, if you know anything about the history of Rubber Duck, you'll realize the poor guy has a penchant for deflating—or being deflated, as it were. Back in 2009, before RD's international fame, Hofman set up a relatively low-key installation in Belgium. It was stabbed 42 times by a local in some kind of Rubber Duck assassination plot.

The good news is that multiple versions of Rubber Duck exist, and they've been appearing in cities around the world in spite of the mishaps in Taipei, Hong Kong and Belgium. Rubber Duck has since appeared in coastal cities like Osaka, Sydney and Amsterdam, having visited New York just last year as well

The Future of Rubber Duck

Threats looming on the horizon or not, it seems like Rubber Duck (or, at least, versions of Rubber Duck) will be traveling around the world for the foreseeable future—and not just to coastal destinations anymore, although I should note Rubber Duck has previously "docked" in inland cities like Beijing and São Paulo.