Copenhagen’s Iconic Landmark Explored: The Little Mermaid Unveiled

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Historical Importance Of The Little Mermaid

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Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, draws in visitors from all corners of the world since it is one of the most alluring cities adorned with art and culture showcased through heritage sites, properties, and sculptures. One such sculpture, over a century old, is the petite mermaid figurine that perches longingly on a stone with a granite base on the shores of Langelinie, in the ancient district of Nyhavn by the harbor. Captivating over 5 million tourists, this iconic statue holds the distinction of being the most photographed attraction in Copenhagen.

Best Time to Visit The Little Mermaid

However, a renowned brewer named Carl Jacobson from Carlsberg was truly captivated after attending a ballet based on a fairy tale known as The Little Mermaid. This led him to commission a statue of the same to a skilled sculptor named Edvard Erikson. He later bestowed this masterpiece upon the city of Copenhagen. From that point on, this statue of the little mermaid has adorned a rock by the waterfront of the Langelinie Quay in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The original fairy tale was penned by a Danish author named Hans Christian Anderson, and Carls Jacobson was not only entranced by the ballerina, but also captivated by the Little Mermaid Story. When he presented the statue as a tribute to the city of Copenhagen, it quickly became an icon representing the city. Apparently, adorning public spaces with historical sculptures was fashionable during those times. The unveiling of this bronze statue took place on August 23, 1913, and in 2013 it celebrated 100 years, having made history by attracting countless visitors from around the world.

Optimal Time to Visit The Little Mermaid

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Facts of The Little Mermaid

The climate in and around the statue is generally chilly, so summer is the ideal period to explore this location. Additionally, it tends to get crowded as the day progresses, so an early morning visit is recommended to avoid being caught in the midst of the crowd while attempting to take a selfie. As the name suggests, the statue of the Little Mermaid is genuinely diminutive, which can lead to disappointment among many tourists who are unaware of its origin and background.

The Little Mermaid Statue Trivia

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The Little Mermaid Trivia

Appearance: The petite mermaid is a work of art, crafted by the renowned sculptor Edvard Erikson who created it with bronze and placed it on a granite base, perched atop a rock. It stands at a height of 4 feet and weighs 175 kilograms, gazing pensively into the abyss with a tinge of melancholy enveloping it. The statue is diminutive in size with two tails, which deviates from the traditional mermaid tale where the mermaid had only one tail.

Story of creation: Ellen Price was the ballerina who had inspired Carl to commission the sculpture of the little mermaid, so while she posed for the face, Edvard Erikson, the sculptor, used his wife Eline as the model for the rest of the body.

The Tale: According to legend, there was a mermaid who yearned for immortality for her soul, but she falls in love with a prince and sacrifices everything for him. It is believed that she swims from the depths to the surface of the ocean twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening to reunite with her prince. Another rumor circulating is that the existing statue in Copenhagen is a replica, while the original one is concealed by the Eriksen Heirs in a secret location.

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The Little Mermaid Trivia

The Langelinie Marina

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This beautifully crafted sculpture has replicas exhibited worldwide, with a total of 14 exquisite pieces. Countries such as Brazil, Romania, Spain, and the US proudly possess copies of this figure, but the little mermaid statue in Disney is the most renowned. Nevertheless, in Disney, it was constructed using fabric glass and was placed in the Walt Disney Studios Scenic Shop. It garnered significant attention upon the release of the movie bearing the same title.

As the statue gained popularity, it also attracted numerous protesters, and several unsuccessful attempts were made to completely destroy this masterpiece of art. While it was decapitated three times by miscreants, one of its arms was also torn off. The head was reattached, as was the arm, but the neck still bears the mark of sabotage.

The vandalism of the little mermaid statue in Copenhagen reached its peak when rebels tried to blow up the entire figure using gunpowder; paint was also repeatedly splattered on it. However, this resolute mermaid endured it all and today, fully restored, it basks in the admiration of countless visitors.

Places Near The Little Mermaid

Visitors flock to the harbor to capture pictures with this enchanting sculpture and immerse themselves in its captivating allure. But they also enjoy visiting the following nearby attractions:

Canal Cruise From Nyhavn Or Ved Stranden

1. The Langelinie Marina

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You have the option to become one of the numerous million tourists who head directly to the promenade recognized as Langelinie Marina which is adjacent to the harbor that houses the statue. The park itself is extremely refreshing and picturesque. So apart from taking selfies with the little mermaid statue, exploring this promenade is also a highly appealing choice. It is also a excellent junction to admire the magnificent views of the large cruises that visit the city every day.

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View of Kastellet

2. Canal Cruise From Nyhavn Or Ved Stranden

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An uncommon way of sightseeing close to the statue would be taking a boat tour for a duration of an hour from the main harbor to the other connecting canals. A glimpse of ancient castles and other heritage sites are being offered as one boards the boat from Nyhavn or Ved Stranden. Segway tours or bike tours are also popular these days, but the simplest way to reach this venue is either strolling down the cobbled stretch of Nyhavn or by taking a bus ride on Bus no.26.

The Gefion Fountain

3. Kastellet

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Near the waterfront at Langelinie, stands one of the most remarkable fortresses known as Kastellet. The most distinct feature about this heritage site is that it has a star-shaped design. This place is well-known in Northern Europe for being effectively maintained. It also attracts a considerable number of tourists, as it transforms into a popular picnic spot not only for the locals but also for foreigners. If you are interested in the history of Copenhagen, then including this place for a leisurely walk in your itinerary is a necessity.

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Modified Mermaid

4. The Gefion Fountain

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Another fascinating tourist spot in the vicinity of the Little Mermaid is the renowned Gefion Fountain. It is an impressive piece of artwork and a visual delight for enthusiasts of architecture as it is not just a mere fountain but one with the statue of Norse Goddess Gefjun atop it, who is believed to have separated Sweden and the island of Zealand. Just a few hundred steps away from the harbor, it is an exceptional location for hosting small events.

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How To Reach The Little Mermaid

5. Genetically Altered Mermaid

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While strolling along the Langelinie Alle, you can actually see another rendition of the mermaid which is also acknowledged as the modern ‘sister’ a little further ahead. This ‘Genetically Altered Mermaid’ is the creation of a Danish artist named Bjørn Nørgraard and is an essential part of a larger group of sculptures. Unlike the original figurine, this one is more finely carved and has a Picasso-like appearance.

While the list of places to see is endless in and around the Langelinie Harbour, certain landmarks like The Royal Danish Playhouse, Amalienborg Palace – the royal residence, etc. are along the way. One can also enjoy breathtaking views of the city’s contemporary Opera House, situated on the opposite side of the canal.

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How To Get to the Little Mermaid?

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The famous statue of the Little Mermaid at the waterfront in Copenhagen is approximately 1.9 miles (3 km) northeast of central Copenhagen, and it is relatively simple to reach this location on foot. There are numerous routes and various ways of reaching this beautiful site. The most intriguing option is to partake in one of the hop-on-hop-off tours that allow you to disembark right next to the statue. There are also many walking tours or canal tours that can be done by boats as well.

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Being an iconic figure in Copenhagen, this statue of the Small Mermaid captivates millions of individuals around the globe. Despite enduring numerous damages, it has maintained the resilient spirit, leaving a profound impact on tourists who choose to explore this location. They are not only enthralled by the physical presence of this silhouette but also by the endearing atmosphere it embodies. If you are planning a trip to Europe, including a visit to this Little Mermaid will undoubtedly enhance your itinerary.


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