Among the travel wonders of the Danish capital, Copenhagen, rich in castles, canals and Viking history, it is difficult to understand how the tiny statue of the Little Mermaid, immortalised in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, continues to maintain top billing.

Much like Brussel’s famous Manneken Pis, the statue is surprisingly small at little over a metre. Its small stature does not prevent the constant snapping of cameras as visitors make their brief pilgrimage to view the Little Mermaid, many surprised and even disappointed by how small it is. Perched awkwardly on a small rock in Copenhagen Harbour, the statue has apparently had a rough life, twice decapitated and vandalised with paint on several other occasions.

Every August 23, the mermaid celebrates her official birthday (the statue was built in 1913) with a small army of locals (equivalent to the birthday number) jumping in the water releasing red and white balloons and forming a human number of her birthday in the water. So 2009 will see 96 keen folks form the number ‘96” in the chilly water.

Like most iconic sights, if you are in Copenhagen, the stroll to the travel wonder of the Little Mermaid is worth it – just don’t set your expectations too high.

Photo Source: 91st Birthday



11 Responses to The little Little Mermaid (Copenhagen, Denmark)

  • Cuckoo says:

    Something similar is in Lake Geneve also.

  • Lola says:

    This is so beautifull…

  • My mom has had a small figure of the Mermaid since I was very little, and I’ve always been fascinated by it…but now I’m surprised to find that the real one isn’t much bigger!

  • Mark H says:

    @cuckoo: Is that right. They’re multiplying.

    @lola: I’m glad you like it. I persoanlly was a little disappointed.

    @melanie: Hans Christian Andersen and his tales did a lot for mermaids worldwide.

  • Heather Dugan ("Footsteps") says:

    I loved that “tragic” fairy tale as a girl. Disney gave it a happy ending, but I think I prefer the original sadly sweet version. I’m one who would have to take a picture, if only for the memory it stirs.

  • Mark H says:

    @heather: Everything has to finish happily with Disney!!

  • Serban says:

    One of the interesting things about the Little Mermaid (the statue that is) was that its head was sown off at some point during the 20th century and was stolen and never found again. A new head was built, but you can actually see the line on the neck where it has been cut off. I read that the Danes plan to take the statue to the Shanghai World Exhibition this year. How about that?

  • Mark H says:

    @serban: I am surprised that Denmark's most valuable sculpture is allowed to travel overseas. This world expo is going to be huge.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi there,

    If you as a tourist want to learn more about Copenhagen, and see some very nice images from there. Then see this tourist website


  • Babs says:

    We like our little mermaid!! My grand-parents used to live not far away and I loved to walk over there, get an ice cream and enjoy the sea! The head has been gone twice I think, as an arm (for a ransom!!!) And yes she has been shipped to Shanghai. Good thing she didn't sing to the sailors…
    I prefer her to the Mannenken Pis! by the way greetings from Amman :)

  • Mark H says:

    @bjork: Thank you for your suggestion

    @babs: You should be proud of such a famous symbol of your home city. I am surprised that it is allowed to travel though the Expo is a huge event.

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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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