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.
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.
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.
Looking pretty at the Expo.
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.