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.
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.