She is pretty small and set against an industrial background, you can understand why some find visiting the Little Mermaid a rather disappointing experience. But as Copenhagen celebrates the statue’s centenary today, I find myself drawn more and more to what’s become Denmark’s most famous landmark.
Perhaps it’s because ‘Den Lille Havfrue’ (see, I am trying with my Danish) has lived quite a life. She’s lost her head at least twice, had her right arm sawn-off, been knocked off her perch by explosives and been vandalised on several occasions. A few years ago there was even talk of moving her altogether. That did actually happen – but only for an exhibition in China in 2010. Thankfully she’s back where she belongs.
And although Hans Christian Andersen’s original story was a fairy tale, I don’t remember it having a particularly happy ending. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised then that the statue of the Little Mermaid has suffered so much. But standing on shore looking out at the rock on which she sits, I doubt many would ever know her painful past.
If you want to know more detail, take a look at this graphic history via VisitDenmark.com
Click to enlarge