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The Little Mermaid

The sculpture of Denmark’s favorite fairy tale character has been an icon for the city for over a century.

Once upon a time, a small statue was built that would capture the heart of the residents of Copenhagen. Perched upon a rock in the main harbor, The Little Mermaid is there to welcome all guests to the Danish capital. This sculpture has become an icon for the city and is one of the most popular photo opportunities with visitors. It is not uncommon to find a small crowd surrounding it on a sunny day.

The small bronze sculpture depicts a character from a famous Danish fairy tale, a sad story of unanswered love. A young mermaid convinces a witch to take her voice in exchange for legs so she can live on the shore with the prince she loves. When he decides to marry a princess instead, she refuses to kill him to break her spell so that she can return to the sea. The Little Mermaid was written by the famous author, Hans Christian Anderson, who lived in Copenhagen in the 1800s. Read the original short story before you visit Denmark for full appreciation.

To reach the statue, stroll down the picturesque Langelinie promenade, which stretches along the harbor and Langelinie Park. The promenade is one of the most relaxing walks in the city. Listen to the cawing seagulls and watch the ocean cruise ships as they pull in to dock. Bring lunch and make use of the picnic facilities in Langelinie Park to spend a few hours by the water.

Visitors are urged not to climb on the statue, as its exterior has suffered much damage over the past century. Several times the statue has been decapitated. In 2003 it was blown off the rock with explosives, quite a feat given it weighs over 380 pounds (175 kilograms).

The Little Mermaid is located near Copenhagen’s city center, and is easily reached on foot or by bike. The Østerport metro station is a short walk away. Those arriving by car will find parking at the harbor terminal for a fee.

Guide to Exploring Little Mermaid