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The Little Mermaid turns 100 years – celebrated by seashell-clad mermaids worldwide

Denmark’s fairytale Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen turns 100 years on 23 August 2013. Celebrating the centennial, body painted mermaids will invade the world, bringing Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid fairytale to life. And VisitDenmark hosts a mermaid photo competition on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
One of the world’s oldest – and smallest – kingdoms, Denmark is home to the Little Mermaid statue, the embodiment of The Little Mermaid fairytale by Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Just as the Eiffel tower is the symbol of Paris, the Little Mermaid statue has become the symbol of Denmark and the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Celebrating the centennial, body painted mermaids will invade Shanghai, Beijing, Delhi, Sydney, Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Oslo and Stockholm bringing Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid fairy-tale to life worldwide. 

High passions

The embodiment of Hans Christian Andersen’s tragic fairytale, the heartbroken Little Mermaid statue sits on her stone by the Copenhagen harbour yearning for the prince of her dreams. A tiny bronze statue, just 125cm (49 inches) tall and weighing 175 kg (386 lb.), the Little Mermaid has inspired visitors with her tale of enduring love for a century. But she has also stoked controversy. Twice beheaded by radical artists (1964 and 1998), the Little Mermaid has also had her arm severed (1984). And an attempt has even been made to blow her up with explosives (2003). In 2010, the Little Mermaid statue travelled to China where she was exhibited at the Shanghai World EXPO in the Danish pavilion. 

A little history

The Little Mermaid statue from 1913 was originally a gift to the city of Copenhagen donated by brewer Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914), son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries. The sculptor, Edvard Eriksen (1876-1959), used his wife, Eline Eriksen, as a model for the statue. The artist was first inspired to create the Little Mermaid statue after having witnessed a ballet performance of The Little Mermaid in 1909 by the Royal Danish Ballet featuring ballerina Ellen Price in the title role. 

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For more information on the events taking place to celebrate the 100th birthday, please visit VisitDenmark and VisitCopenhagen.


To win a 7 night holiday for two to Denmark with Radisson Blu and VisitDenmark, take a photograph of the mermaid or your interpretation of the mermaid and share it on Instagram or Twitter using #littlemermaid100 or visit VisitDenmark for more information.

Fun facts about the Little Mermaid
Little Mermaid - tough life:

September 1, 1961
Bra & knickers were painted on her and her hair was painted red

April 28, 1963
She was covered in red paint

April 24, 1964
She was decapitated, and her head had to be replaced

July 15, 1976
The Mermaid was covered in paint

July 22, 1984
The right arm of the Mermaid was cut off

August 5, 1990
Another attempt was made to decapitate the statue

January 6, 1998
She was decapitated, but the head was returned

September 11, 2003
The Mermaid was not on her stone in the morning. Later she was found in the
water blasted off her stone!

March 5, 2007
She was painted pink from the top of her head to the tip of her fish tail

March 25 – November 1, 2010
The little Mermaid was sent to China to represent Denmark
at the world EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.

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