FFE Magazine

Denmark’s Little Mermaid celebrates 100th year

by FFE EU News staff

The Little Mermaid is going to have a happy ending. This time, it’ll be celebrated by countless other Danes and tourists in Langelinie, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Little Mermaid’s tale is a story about love. Thanks to Disney, the tale has gained a following the world over. But way before that there was Hans Christian Andersen’s sad story of undying love. Danes are familiar with these, but the original has been the inspiration of countless artists, with renditions in operas, ballets and even anime made in its name.

The statue was unveiled as a gift to the City of Copenhagen on August 23, 1913. The mind behind it is Carl Jacobsen of the Carlsberg brewery, who saw the Little Mermaid ballet in 1909 at the Royal Danish Theatre. Inspired by the tale and ballerina Ellen Price, he commissioned sculptor Edvard Eriksen to create the statue, which now became an icon and a top tourist destination in Copenhagen.

Over the years, the Little Mermaid has been a regular sight in the Langelinie waterfront. A notable exception was when she travelled across the world to represent Copenhagen in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo for six months. She has also had her fair share of vandalism: her head and arm have been severed, and she was knocked off her base in 2003 by explosives. Despite all these, she has remained lovely and graceful — an enduring expression of Danish culture.

As the more known summer fete St Albans is being celebrated, Copenhagen likewise holds a number of activities to commemorate The Little Mermaid statue’s 100th anniversary. Festivities begin 14:30 at The Blue Planet aquarium, with staff reading out mermaid-themed stories. Trolle and Tormod also join DJ Skummetmælk in a big mermaid concert for children. Carlsberg brewery celebrates with horses and carriages, and Lord Mayor Frank Jensen presence is expected. The festivities end with 100 mermaids jumping into the ocean to form the number 100 to honour the Little Mermaid. Evening activities caters more to adults with scenes from the Russian musical The Little Mermaid and an interpretative dance by the talented dancer-choreographer Selene Munoz.

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