The Little Mermaid (statue)
The statue of The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid
"The Little Mermaid" is a popular fairy tale by the Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince...

  sits on a rock in the harbour of the capital of Denmark. Based on a tale
The Little Mermaid
"The Little Mermaid" is a popular fairy tale by the Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince...

 by Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."...

, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 icon and a major tourist attraction.

The statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen
Carl Jacobsen
Carl Christian Hillman Jacobsen was a Danish brewer, art collector and philanthropist, the son of J. C. Jacobsen, who founded the brewery Carlsberg and named it after him.-Career:...

, son of the founder of Carlsberg, who had been fascinated by a ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

 about the fairytale in Copenhagen's Royal Theatre and asked the primaballerina
"Primaballerina" is a 1969 song performed by Swedish singer Siw Malmkvist and written by Hans Blum. It was the German entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1969...

, Ellen Price
Ellen Price
Ellen Price was a Danish ballerina and actress, a model for the statue The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen....

, to model for the statue. The sculptor Edvard Eriksen
Edvard Eriksen
Edvard Eriksen was a Danish-Icelandic sculptor. He is best known as the creator of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, which he completed in 1913.-External links:...

 created the bronze statue, which was unveiled on 23 August 1913. The statue's head was modelled after Price, but as the ballerina did not agree to model in the nude, the sculptor's wife Eline Eriksen
Eline Eriksen
Eline Eriksen was the wife of Edvard Eriksen and the model for the body of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark. The face of that statue was modelled after primaballerina Ellen Price. Before this Eriksen had stood model for several of her husband's statues, such as The First Grief and...

 was used for the body.
The relatively small size of the statue typically surprises tourists visiting Langelinie
Langelinie is a pier, promenade and park in central Copenhagen, Denmark, and home of the statue of The Little Mermaid. The area has for centuries been a popular destination for excursions and strolls in Copenhagen...

 for the first time. The Little Mermaid statue is only 1.25 metres high and weighs around 175 kg.

There are similarities between the Little Mermaid statue and the Pania of the Reef
thumb|Statue of PaniaPania, often styled "Pania of the Reef", is a figure of Māori mythology, and a symbol of the New Zealand city of Napier. A statue of Pania on Napier's Marine Parade is a major local tourist attraction.-The legend of Pania of the Reef:...

 statue on the beachfront at Napier
Napier, New Zealand
Napier is a New Zealand city with a seaport, located in Hawke's Bay on the eastern coast of the North Island. The population of Napier is about About 18 kilometres south of Napier is the inland city of Hastings. These two neighboring cities are often called "The Twin Cities" or "The Bay Cities"...

 in New Zealand, and some similarities in the Little Mermaid and Pania tales. The statue of a woman diver (titled "Girl in a Wetsuit" by Elek Imredy) in Vancouver, Canada was placed there when, unable to obtain permission to reproduce the Copenhagen statue, Vancouver authorities selected a modern version.

The Copenhagen City Council decided to move the statue to Shanghai at the Danish Pavilion for the duration of the Expo 2010
Expo 2010
Expo 2010, officially Expo 2010 Shanghai China was held on both banks of the Huangpu River in the city of Shanghai, China, from May 1 to October 31, 2010. It was a major World Expo in the tradition of international fairs and expositions, the first since 1992...

 (from May to October), the first time it had been moved from its perch since it was installed almost a century earlier.

Vandalism of the statue

This statue has been damaged and defaced many times since the mid-1960s for various reasons, but has each time been restored. In 2007, Copenhagen officials announced that the statue may be moved farther out in the harbour, as to avoid further vandalism and to prevent tourists from climbing onto it.
  • April 24, 1964 – the statue's head was sawn off and stolen by politically oriented artists of the Situationist movement, amongst them Jørgen Nash
    Jørgen Nash
    Jørgen Nash was a Danish artist, writer and central proponent of situationism. He was born in Vejrum, Jutland, Denmark, baptized Jørgen Axel Jørgensen, the brother of Asger Jorn. He later changed his family name from Jørgensen to Nash. He was married three times and has six children...

    . The head was never recovered and a new head was produced and placed on the statue.
  • July 22, 1984 – her right arm was sawn off. The arm was returned two days later by two young vandals.
  • 1990 – another attempt was made to cut her head off, which resulted in an 18 cm deep cut in the neck.
  • January 6, 1998 – she was decapitated again, the culprits were never found, but the head was returned anonymously to a nearby TV station, and on 4 February the head was back on.
  • Red paint has been thrown on her several times, including one episode in 1961 where her hair was painted red and a bra
    A brassiere is an undergarment that covers, supports, and elevates the breasts. Since the late 19th century, it has replaced the corset as the most widely accepted method for supporting breasts....

     was painted on her.
  • September 11, 2003 – the statue was blasted off its rock, possibly with dynamite.
  • In 2004, it was draped in a burqa
    A burqa is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic religion to cover their bodies in public places. The burqa is usually understood to be the woman's loose body-covering , plus the head-covering , plus the face-veil .-Etymology:A speculative and unattested etymology...

     as a statement against Turkey joining the European Union.
  • March 8, 2006 – a dildo
    A dildo is a sex toy, often explicitly phallic in appearance, intended for bodily penetration during masturbation or sex with partners.- Description and uses :...

     was attached to the statue's hand, green paint was dumped over it, and the words March 8 were written on it. It is suspected that this vandalism has something to do with International Women's Day
    International Women's Day
    International Women's Day , originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and...

     (which is on March 8).
  • March 3, 2007 – the statue was again covered with pink paint.
  • May 2007 – the statue was covered with paint by vandals.
  • May 20, 2007 – it was found draped in a Muslim dress and head scarf.


The statue displayed in Copenhagen harbour has always been a copy; the sculptor's heirs keep the original at an undisclosed location.
Undamaged copies of the statue are located in Solvang, California
Solvang, California
Solvang is a city in Santa Barbara County, California, United States. It is one of the communities that make up the Santa Ynez Valley. The population was 5,245 at the 2010 census, down from 5,332 at the 2000 census...

; Kimballton, Iowa
Kimballton, Iowa
Kimballton is a city in Audubon County, Iowa, United States. The population was 342 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Kimballton is located at .According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all of it land....

; Piatra Neamţ
Piatra Neamt
Piatra Neamț , , ; is the capital city of Neamţ County, in the historical region of Moldavia, eastern Romania. Because of its privileged location in the Eastern Carpathian mountains, it is considered one of the most picturesque cities in Romania...

, Romania and in Weihai
Weihai is a city in eastern Shandong Province, People's Republic of China. It is the easternmost prefecture-level city of the province and a major seaport. Between 1898 and 1930, the town was a British colony known as Weihaiwei or the Weihai Garrison , and sometimes as Port Edward...

, China outside the old Danish consulate.

The grave of Danish-American entertainer Victor Borge
Victor Borge
Victor Borge ,born Børge Rosenbaum, was a Danish comedian, conductor and pianist, affectionately known as The Clown Prince of Denmark,The Unmelancholy Dane,and The Great Dane.-Early life and career:...

, includes a copy as well.

There is a copy located in the Family Mausoleum Development of the Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas that was made by a Danish cemetery gardener. Some obvious differences from the original can be observed: the wrist and hand on her lap are not resting at the same angle, the copy is not as muscular/defined, and the knees are separated.

There is a copy of the statue, in front the Brazilian Navy
Brazilian Navy
The Brazilian Navy is a branch of the Brazilian Armed Forces responsible for conducting naval operations. It is the largest navy in Latin America...

 building, at Esplanada dos Ministérios, Brasília
Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The name is commonly spelled Brasilia in English. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,557,000 as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the...

, Brazil.

A copy of the statue forms the Danish contribution to the International Peace Gardens
International Peace Gardens
The International Peace Gardens is a botanical garden located in Jordan Park in Salt Lake City, Utah.Part of Utah history, the garden was conceived in 1939 and dedicated in 1952, the International Peace Gardens has welcomed tens of thousands of travelers from every corner of the globe, including...

 in Salt Lake City. The half-size replica was stolen on 26 February 2010, but was recovered on 7 April, evidently abandoned in the park after the thief became nervous about being caught with it.

Copyright issues

The statue is still under copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

, and several copies of the statue have provoked legal threats.

A replica was installed in Greenville, Michigan
Greenville, Michigan
Greenville is a city in Montcalm County of the U.S. state of Michigan. Portions of the county are associated with the Western region while others are more closely associated with the Central Michigan region. The population was 8,481 at the 2010 census...

 in 1994 to celebrate the town's Danish heritage. The statue cost $10,000. In 2009 the town was sued by the Artists Rights Society
Artists Rights Society
Artists Rights Society is a copyright, licensing, and monitoring organization for visual artists in the United States. Founded in 1987, ARS represents the intellectual property rights interests of over 50,000 visual artists and estates of visual artists from around the world .- Member Artists &...

 claiming the work violated Eriksen's copyright, and asking for a $3,800 licensing fee. At only 30 inches (76.2 cm) in height, the replica in Greenville is half the size of the original, and has a different face and larger breasts as well as other distinguishing factors.

Vancouver, Canada has a statue based on the mermaid titled 'Girl in a Wetsuit'. They were forced to change their plans to have a direct copy after they failed to gain permission to do so.

Iconic statues

The Mermaid falls into a category of iconic statues that cities have come to regard as mascots, or as embodiments of the spirit of a place, among these are the Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis
, is a famous Brussels landmark. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. It was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and put in place in 1618 or 1619...

in Brussels. In several cases, cities have commissioned statues for the purpose.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.