The Little Mermaid Statue-Copenhagen,Denmark

The Little Mermaid Statue-Copenhagen,Denmark

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen has been on top of my bucket-list for a while now and checking it out recently during my trip to Europe was both exciting and a bit underwhelming.

Exciting because I got to see one of the most famous statues in the world,but underwhelming because it was so small! It is 1.25 meters  tall and weighs 175 kilograms.

Being the most visited place in Denmark with tourist numbers hitting a million plus,you’d expect a larger than life structure (I know it is called the ‘little’ mermaid…but still that doesn’t mean it has to be that small! Just like the Big Apple has the Statue of Liberty,Christ the Redeemer in Rio,  Sphinx of Giza one would expect this one to be a bit bigger.

Can you imagine this statue gets about a million visitors in one year? And to think that the host country has a population of around six million only. Quite popular.


The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid. The story of the Little Mermaid was written in 1836 by Hans Christian Anderson and later turned into the Little Mermaid Statue to commemorate the success of the author in 1913.


The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Little Mermaid Statue.

The home of The Little Mermaid;Langelinie

Langelinie, home of The Little Mermaid

Langelinie, home of The Little Mermaid.

Vandalism episodes and ‘near death’ experiences of The Little Mermaid

The life of iconic Danish statue has not been a bed of roses. It has been vandalized and defaced severally but every attempt has had a successful restoration.

Notable events include:

1955: Mermaid is overturned

The Little Mermaid was overturned on her resting rocks because of heavy ice packs in the harbor leading to the dismantling of the statue in April of that year. This event presented an opportunity to have the sculpture treated to get its original patina back this it was at this point that the stone setting on which the statue sits on was changed.

1961-1963: Painted Red

Between 1961-1963 the statue had her hair painted red, with a set of red bra and panties then later on it was painted red from chest to tail fin.

Another incident of the statue covered in red (above)in the 2017. (Jens Dresling/ Ritzau Foto via AP)

1964: Head gone!

On the night of 25th  April 1964 the statue’s head was cut off with a hacksaw. The vandals were not found. The vandalized sculpture and stone was taken to the Royal bronze casts; Lauritz Rasmussen workshop so that he could cast a new head for her. The original little mermaid, was cast in one piece and the process of attaching a new part complicated the restoration process. Bronze casters in Rådmandsgade in Copenhagen had to cast a new bronze head after the original plaster model. It took approx. 6-7 weeks before The Little Mermaid returned to Langelinie Copenhagen harbor.


More than three decades later, an artist Jorgen Nash said he was behind the decapitation.


The Little Mermaid was covered with a rainbow of colours.


Its right arm was sawn off and returned two days later by two young men.

1990: Head almost gone again

An attempt to cut off the statue’s head left an 18 centimeters deep cut into its the neck.

1998:Head gone again

On January 6, 1998, the statue was decapitated again and the culprits were never found, however the head was returned anonymously to a nearby television station, and reattached on February 4.

2003:Knocked off her base.

On the night of September 10, 2003, the statue was knocked off its base with explosives and later found in the harbors waters. Holes had been blasted in the mermaid’s wrist and knee.

2010:Starts a new life in China before she is killed and buried (lol)

The Little Mermaid was temporarily moved from Langelinie in Copenhagen for the World Exhibition EXPO 2010 in Shanghai China.

Moving The Little Mermaid

Looking pretty at the Expo.

The Little Mermaid in China

2010: Little Mermaid goes back to Denmark after eight months in China.

There you have it! The interesting life of The Little Mermaid statue. After learning about all these events I got to partly understand why she is very popular despite her size.

They say when we seek to understand,we appreciate better.

NB: All the photos in the post without my watermark were sourced from the internet for illustration.


I travel, I write about travel. I take travel photos. Talk to me about destination reviews,cultural trips, and responsible tourism.


  1. I was in Denmark and never saw this! Shame on me. The way you that describe how small the statue is reminds me of basically everyone’s reaction to how small the Mona Lisa is haha probably very weird to have these realizations in person

    • Bonita

      26 July

      Very true, I think history has painted these stuff so big that it becomes underwhelming to see them all together.

  2. That’s too bad about all of the vandalism. I will never understand why people do that. Well, that aside, I really enjoyed your photos and background information on the Little Mermaid!

    • Bonita

      26 July

      Thank you Tess…maybe we should go on a fact finding mission to find out what goes on their mind.

  3. Dorothy

    26 July

    I had no idea the Little Mermaid statue had such a history of being vandalized. It looks beautiful and so do your photos! This is definitely on my bucket list.

    • Bonita

      26 July

      I am glad that now you know…thank you so much…

  4. Alice Ford

    26 July

    Why on earth would anyone deface this statue? It seems just so absurd and pointless. I never would have known it had such a rough history. Thanks for the in depth history.

    • Bonita

      26 July

      I think every vandalism attempt only makes it more famous. But you are right I don’t understand the motivation either!

  5. Leigh

    26 July

    I’ve been really interested in Copenhagen lately. Such a cool story behind the little mermaid statue, but I still can’t believe a million people visit this statue!

    • Bonita

      26 July

      I was equally shocked. It was interesting to know the story behind it as well.

  6. Amy Dodd

    26 July

    Oh wow. I did not realize there was so much history with this statue. Or that fact that people just keep taking it’s head.. I wonder why people keep stealing parts of it.. especially the head. Still a beautiful statue nonetheless!

    • Bonita

      1 August

      It is beautiful…

  7. I didn’t walk out to see the little mermaid when in Copenhagen and am now slightly regretting it!
    Why on earth have people tried to cut her head off so many times haha? Madness
    Enjoyed reading this post thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Bonita

      1 August

      Maybe to drive a point home.

  8. Zoe

    26 July

    Great to see the photos during the damages. I visited back in 2015 during winter and it was absolutely freezing to walk on the coast there!! We didn’t think it was worth it in the cold but i suppose I’m still glad to have walked there and seen it.

    • Bonita

      1 August

      I was drizzling when I went there too. But I am happy I saw her.

  9. Wow, thanks for giving some history on this statue. I never knew about all the vandalism either. What a shame. The picture of you next to the statue is so cute! I didn’t realize the statue is so small!

  10. Valentina

    27 July

    I saw it a few years ago and I remember thinking that it was much tinier than I expected!
    I must admit that I didn’t know there was such a history behind it, poor mermaid… a real survivor!

    • Bonita

      1 August

      You are so right.The things she has gone through…so sad.

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