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The little mermaid is Copenhagen’s most popular tourist attraction. Located in the Nordhavn district, close to the Østerport train station and very close to Langelinie (the small cruise ship harbour).

The statue was commissioned by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg J.C Jacobsen, in 1909. He had been mesmerised by the ballerina that played the Little Mermaid in a ballet about Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen.

The ballerina, Ellen Price, agreed to model for the statue’s face but the body belongs to sculptor Edvard Eriksen’s wife as the ballerina did not agree to model in the nude.

The statue is made entirely out of bronze and is permanently placed on a large rock, it was unveiled on the 23rd of August 1913 and since then it has only been moved once to be featured in the world expo 2010, but it was replaced for the duration by a large video installation that showed a video feed of the little mermaid for 24 hours a day.

The statue has been used by various organizations and people to attract attention to all kinds of different causes.

In 1964 her head was sown off and stolen by politically-oriented artists from the situationist movement and was never recovered. On the 10th of September she was blown off her rock by a bomb, only to be found several days later on the bottom of the harbor. In 2004 she was draped in a burqa as protest against Turkey’s application to join the EU union. On May 30 2017 she was painted completely red and in front of the statue was written the message ̈Denmark defend the whales of the Faroe Islands ̈ as protest against the whaling scandal in the Faroe Islands.

It is possible to visit this attraction while on the following tours:

Royal tour of Copenhagen

no entrance fee

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