The Little Mermaid statue in Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, is one of the world’s iconic statues. Most visitors would not go to New York and miss out of a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Equally, everyone who stops by in Copenhagen finds themselves visiting the resident mermaid.
The statue was ordered by Carl Jacobsen in 1909 and was created by Edvard Eriksen, made from bronze. She is based on the mermaid from a story by one of Denmark’s most famous residents, Hans Christian Andersen. Den lille havfrue, or The Little Mermaid, tells the tale of a mermaid who is so desperate to possess a human soul, that she is willing to relinquish all of her mermaid qualities and leave the sea behind.
The statue is famously perched on a rock and is located next to Copenhagen’s Langelinie Promenade. It will take around 15 minutes by train from the centre of Copenhagen or 25 minutes by bus.
Walking along the promenade from the bus stop, the first thing you will notice is a horde of tourists and a couple of souvenir stands. In my experience, this usually means you’ve stumbled across some kind of tourist hot spot!
It was June 2016 when I visited Copenhagen. Making my way along the promenade, I could tell I was close to the statue by the presence of a large group of Japanese tourists disembarking their coach, primed and ready with their cameras and gadgets.
I approached the group and I could see that people were climbing down onto the rocks, carefully placing their feet to avoid falling into the water, all the while determined to get a great shot of the statue.
I peered over the side of the promenade, when I caught my first glimpse of the mermaid. A glimpse it was. I could now see why people were perilously skipping across the rocks and summersaulting over each other to get their photo: the statue is surprisingly small.
A friend of mine who had been to Copenhagen before told me that she was surprised by the small stature of the mermaid. Seeing the bronze statue now, I was inclined to agree.
I eventually arrived at the statue, and with the rocks being full of tourists hopping from rock to rock, I stood on the promenade and tried to get a picture from there. Attempting a selfie with the mermaid, it just looked like I was idly taking a selfie and was photobombed by a small, metallic lady perched on a rock.
This would not do, I had to join the Japanese tour group down on the rocks.
The mermaid is like all other major tourist attractions. There are so many people, it can take a concoction of patience and skill to get your photo. There is one rock right beside the statue which seemed to be the most popular for getting a snap with the mermaid. A disorderly queue appeared to have been formed, with people stood on various rocks around the statue, waiting for the person on the ‘photo’ rock to vacate so they could hop with acute speed and precision.
After waiting for a while, like the courteous Brit that I am, eventually it was my turn to jump to the rock and snap my picture with the mermaid. At this distance, she no longer looked like a photobomber.
After reading this, or listening to people who have been to Copenhagen, do not be put off visiting the statue. She was not a disappointment at all, it was just a little surprising to see that she wasn’t the size I had imagined. After all, she is the icon of Copenhagen and no trip to the Danish capital is complete without a visit to its mermaid.
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P.S. All photos were either taken of me or by me and are owned by myself.