The Little Mermaid in Copenaghen – Facts and Real Story

The Little Mermaid is Copenhagen’s smallest attraction. It stands just four feet tall and is located on the shores at the cruise port “Langelinie” (an old port district in Nyhavn), a short walk away from the main pier as well as other tourist attractions in Copenhagen.

Who was the author of the original Little Mermaid story?

Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a well-known film. It was based on Hans Christian Andersen‘s 1836 story.

This is the story about a 15-year old Little Mermaid, who saves the life of a prince and travels dangerously to win his love. She must pay a high price to become human. Her beautiful voice and tail are gone, and she can’t marry another prince. Although the Disney version is happy, the true story ends in tragedy when the little mermaid loses her prince and becomes cold sea foam. You will see a melancholic expression on the statue’s face.

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The statue shows her looking out at the water and remembering her past as a mermaid.

The Little Mermaid in Copenaghen – Facts and Real Story

Why is there a Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen?

Carl Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg beer, attended Hans Beck’s and Fini Henrique’s ballet “The Little Mermaid” in 1909. It was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale. He was so impressed, he asked Edvard Eriksen (a Danish sculptor) to make a statue for the Little Mermaid.

It was unveiled to the public by Edward Eriksen in August 1913, four years after its construction. It was part of an urban project to decorate parks and public places with historic and classic figures. This date, August 23, 1913, has been celebrated as the birthday of the mermaid.

The Little Mermaid is Denmark’s most popular tourist attraction. It is also the most photographed sculpture in the world. The statue is a landmark in Copenhagen and must be seen when you enter the Danish capital.

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Little Mermaid Facts

  • The Little Mermaid of Copenhagen is a replica; the original was kept by the heirs of the sculptor in an unknown location. Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid is a copy. It’s still a valid copy.
  • There are many similarities between the Little Mermaid and Pania of The Reef statues on Napier’s beach, New Zealand. Pania of The Reef is a Maori mythological character.
  • She was painted bras and panties on her in 1961. Her hair was dyed red.
  • Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish poet and author adapted the Little Mermaid’s character from a fairy tale.
  • The tiny mermaid measures only 1.25m high

Did you know?

Here’s the trifle. Two women were used as models to create the statue of Little Mermaid. The head was designed after Ellen Price, the prima ballerina. The body, however, was designed after Eline Eriksen, the wife of the sculptor. Price was not comfortable modeling naked.

Anecdote on the Little Mermaid

A replica of the Little Mermaid could be found in the claimed community in west Michigan during this time. Edvard Eriksen’s estate stood behind the original Little Mermaid statue but dropped the claim. The statue replica in Greenville, America is only 30 inches tall. The original in Langelinie, Copenhagen, measures five feet.

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So if you decide to visit Copenhagen in Denmark, Little Mermaid is recommended to be visited along with the other popular destinations, especially as a part of luxury travel.


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