Thought I would finally go and see The Little Mermaid. The statue, which turned 100 earlier this year, sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbour in Langelinie and is a rather small and unimposing icon, but a major tourist attraction.
The Little Mermaid is a very well known fairy tale by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid willing to give up her life
in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince.
The tale was first published in 1837 and has since been adapted to the cinema and theatre.
In May 2010, it was moved from its Copenhagen harbour emplacement for the first time ever, for transport to Expo 2010 in Shanghai where it
remained until October 20, 2010. In the Disney version of The Little Mermaid when Ariel is sitting on top of the rock looking longingly at Prince Eric, she is in exactly the same position that the statue is in.
Aside from the statue on display, which is a replica of the original, thirteen undamaged copies of the statue are located in locations around the
world, listed by Mermaids of Earth.
The statue is under copyright until 70 years after the death of the creator (2029) therefore several copies of the statue have provoked legal actions. As of 2012, replicas of the statue can be purchased on the internet, authorized for use by the Eriksen family.
The statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, after he had been fascinated by a ballet about the fairytale. The sculptor Edward Eriksen created the statue, which was unveiled on 23 August 1913. The statue's head was modelled after the ballerina Ellen Price but she refused to model in the nude, so the sculptor's wife, Eline Eriksen, was the model for the body.
The statue has been severely vandalised several times. In fact it has been damaged and defaced many times since the mid-1960's. Of course, it has been restored each time. A few years ago, officials announced that the statue could be moved further in the sea to prevent vandalism and tourists climbing onto it.