The Little Mermaid

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Denmark is home to amazing works of art, old and modern architecture, museums, and castles. But one of the coolest old sculptures and one of the biggest tourist attractions is the little mermaid. It sits on a rock at Langelinie in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairly tale, the Little Mermaid,where she gives up everything to be united with a young, handsome prince on land. Andersen is a famous Danish author who’s fairy tales have gained a lot of popularity worldwide. The sculpture was commissioned by Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen who fell in love with the character after watching a ballet performance based on the fairy tale at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen in 1909. He was so captivated by both the fairy tale and the ballet that he decided to commission a sculptor to create a figure of the mermaid. When ballerina Ellen price, who played the lead role in the ballet performance in 1909 refused to model nude for sculptor Edvard Eriksen, his wife, Eline Eriksen, ended up getting the part to model for it. The sculpture is made out of Bronze and is 1.25 meters (4.1 ft) tall and weighs 175 Kg (385 lbs.). I think the sculpture is very beautiful and it ties many parts of Denmark together, the famous Danish author, the famous beer brewer, and of course the fairytale. I passed by the sculpture while i was on a river boat tour a few years back and was amazed at how small the figure looked in real life, especially because it is constantly bombarded by locals and tourist. The sculpture has been victim of vandalism many times before and she’s even has her head and arm stolen multiple times. There are several copies of the sculpture around the world including 6 in the United States and one in China, Romania, and Brazil.The original sculpture was Unveiled on August 23 1913 and was a gift from Jacobsen to the city of Copenhagen.

Nadia Zogbi


Have you ever seen or come across any danish art or architecture?
Do you think you would stop by and see the sculpture if you were visiting Copenhagen?
Why do you think the sculpture gets vandalized as much as it does?
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5 thoughts on “The Little Mermaid

  1. Yes i would definitely stop and take a selfie with the little mermaid because i used to love watching little mermaid when i was young. This is a really cool sculpture because its not big like many of the sculptures we have come across. I am just wondering, how is it attached to the rock?
    I think it gets vandalized more often because its just sitting on a rock, not properly secured by a rope or a fence, so people just go by, scratch on it, write on it, break off a limb and take it home. If i were the artist who sculpted Ariel, i would have definitely added the red hair.

  2. I have never came across or seen Danish works of art. If I found myself in Copenhagen I would surely check it out. I think it gets vandalized so much because it is in a very vulnerable place. The area around it seems to be a bit desolate and if someone wanted to vandalize it, they probably wouldn’t get caught.

  3. I have never had the chance to come across any Danish art in my time, but it seems like it is very common. And from this piece I can see that Denmark would be home to many beautiful pieces. If I ever had the chance to go to Denmark I could see myself making my way to any works of art that may be around them, the city is probably just as beautiful as the art. I’m not to sure if there is an exact reason as to why the statue gets vandalized, it happens all around the world to many works of art so this is just another person trying to diminish its beauty.

  4. I’m really not familiar with any danish art. I may have seen it but didn’t realize its origin. If I make it to Copenhagen I will definitely seek out this statue. It’s a fun piece of art. I get the feeling that the mermaid has leapt out of the water for a rest on the rock. I too am interested how she is attached to the rock. It must be very secure because I would think someone would take the whole statue, instead of just the head or a limb, if it weren’t. I think it may be a victim of vandalism because of its location and that its been there a ling time. Things are bound to happen. People are crazy.

  5. Wow, I’m surprised at how small this sculpture is. I think it’s very beautiful, and I don’t understand why someone would want to vandalize it or steal her limbs. I guess there are people out there that have no respect for art, and other peoples’ hard work. I’ve never come across any Danish art, but would love to see this one.

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