The Little Mermaid -
A tiny lady that the whole world knows
The Little Mermaid is probably the most famous "Dane" of all and beyond any doubt she is the most photographed one. Little .. but beautiful. Since 1913 she has been sitting here at Langelinje overlooking the Copenhagen harbour. She‘s not very talkative but really cute..
It has often fascinated me that everyone I ever met in the world all have one thing in common. They all know The Little Mermaid.
.. isn't she something?
Indeed she has her own very unique radiation. You can sense that she's from a time when the world was slower than today. Where all things had a different speed.
The Mermaid Stroll
A very good way to come to The Little Mermaid is to take a stroll along the quays of the harbour.
Starting from "Sct. Annæ Plads" and you walk next to the Amalie Garden with its magnificent water fountain right in front of Amalienborg - The Queen‘s Royal Palace.
You have the entire Copenhagen harbour area to your right.
A great place to spend some time.
When you continue further down the water front on your left you come to the big fountain "Gefion", the largest monument in Copenhagen, with its water fuming animals in many levels. It is quite a place.
Moving on a little further outward towards the Langelinje Pier and .. there she is..
"The Ugly Duckling" came by to visit.. just as I was photographing her.
Almost all the canal boat tours pass by her, so if you had enough of walking grab a boat tour. If you do you can get some nice pictures from the water side as well.
Getting a good picture together with The Little Mermaid is of course fun and also easy enough. Let me however give you a few tips.
She sits on a rock looking out over the water. There are enough other stones next to her that you can stand upon but be sure to wear good stable shoes on that day. High heels are not recommended.
The Mermaid advice
When you wanna photograph her – more than with most popular Copenhagen sights, I recommend to go early in the day... and I mean early - depending upon the season of course. She is a very popular lady and during the day time it can be difficult to get a moment "alone with her" for photograph posing, without also having five or six other tourists in the picture.
Although she is probably the most famous tourist sight in Denmark - you will realize that she is called The Little Mermaid for a reason. And I mean.. how big can you expect a mermaid to be?
Most people today know this maiden of the sea from Disney‘s animated version of the fairy tale. Many of the stories - Disney's included.. have not much to do with the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen. But that's okay. So many of Disney's adaptations are wonderful although they often interpret the original rather freely.
I love the animated versions too..
.. however - I think it adds to the experience to know where this legendary tale originates from. If you would like to read Hans Christian Andersen's original story about The Little Mermaid -
you'll find it here.
When you see sculptor Edward Eriksen's Little Mermaid it is clear that Hans Christian Andersen's tale has had a deep impact on him. There is a certain longing towards something when you look at her.. similar, I think - to Andersen‘s own feelings of longing for .. a true love perhaps. So often during his lifetime Andersen writes about such a longing, albeit it with subtle expression .. feelings that probably many people can relate to and are touched by, when seeing Eriksen's statue of The Little Mermaid.
Today the tiny statue at Langelinje Pier is a major tourist attraction. It was commissioned 1909 by Carl Jakobsen the founder of Carlsberg and the beautiful museum Glyptoteket. After seeing a performance of a ballet of the same name at The Royal Danish Ballet on Kongens Nytorv based on the famous tale by Hans Christian Andersen, Carl Jakobsen became so fascinated by the little lady of the sea that he decided to donate a statue of her to the city.
So the sculptor Edward Eriksen was hired and he created the water fairy statue we know today. She was unveiled August 23rd 1913. Eriksen used his own wife Eline Eriksen as a model for the statue... well most of her at any rate.. but she must have been a pretty woman. That much is for sure.
The Little Mermaid has suffered a rather grim fate over the course of the last century. Being vandalized several times as an object for political statements by various avantgarde artist and activists. Especially the sixties were tough years for her. Also in more recent years she was the target for graffiti statements of all kinds.
But she still sits on her rock, gazing over the waters.. maybe hoping that after all one day he.. her prince, will come back to her.
.. so when you meet her - be good to her.
There are so many more places to see in Copenhagen.
Please check out
My top-10 "must-see" sights.
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