Like the Belgian capital of Brussels, with it’s iconic Mannekin Piss statue, Copenhagen is perhaps most associated with its Little Mermaid sculpture. The demure bronze girl, which sits atop a boulder along the city’s Langelinie promenade, was created by Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen as a tribute to Hans Christian Andersen. The Danish author wrote a number of popular children’s fairy tales, including The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, and The Little Mermaid.
The story of the Little Mermaid revolves around a mermaid who is willing to give up her idyllic life in the sea in order to take a human form. Though the sculpture has been a major tourist attraction in Copenhagen from the moment it was installed in 1913, since the mid-1960’s it has also been the victim of vandalism aimed at protesting political issues. Most recently, it was drenched in red paint to protest the harvesting of whales in the Faroe Islands. Fortunately, when I visited it was in perfect shape, though surrounded by the crowds of tourists who always flock to see it.