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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Copenhagen - The Little Mermaid Statue

Date of visit: 15th October 2015

I’m thanking Anne for convincing and insisting that we walked another further miles to see the Little Mermaid statue as she said, if we shared a photo of us and this mermaid, everyone would have known that we are indeed in Copenhagen. I dedicated this entry to her and to our years of friendship being loyal to each other. The time was not even 3 pm by the time we found the statue, hence, we strolling really slowly to enjoy some of other interesting memorial/monument built near the Little Mermaid area apart from St Alban's Church and Gefion Fountain. All photos that I shared in this entry were snapped within the area, so very beautiful indeed.



The Little Mermaid is a bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen, depicting a mermaid character that was made famous from the fairy tale work of Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen. The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade area. It is measured 1.25 metres height and weighs about 175 kilograms. The statue was sculptured based on the books character, small and unimposing statue which becoming a Copenhagen icon. It has been a major tourist attraction since 1913. In recent decades it has become a popular target for defacement by vandals and political activists too.



The Mermaid in Copenhagen is among iconic statues that symbolize cities; similarly to the Manneken Pis in Brussels, the Statue of Liberty in New York and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. In several cases, cities have commissioned statues for such a purpose, such as with Singapore's Merlion.

Bust and statue of Princess Marie of Orleans
The Langelinie Promenade 

The statue was commissioned in 1909 by Carl Jacobsen, son of the founder of Carlsberg, who had been fascinated by a ballet about the fairytale in Copenhagen's Royal Theatre and had asked the ballerina, Ellen Price, to model for the statue. The sculptor Edvard Eriksen created the bronze statue, which was unveiled on 23rd August 1913. The statue's head was modelled after Price, but as the ballerina did not agree to model in the nude, the sculptor's wife, Eline Eriksen, was used for the body. Apparently, Carl Jacobsen has contributed a lot to Copenhagen tourism, i.e. in creating an art museum in The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek as well in a short while owning the Hotel D’Angleterre in Kongens Nytorv.



The Copenhagen City Council arranged to move the statue to Shanghai at the Danish Pavilion for the duration of the Expo 2010 (May to October), the first time it had been moved officially from its perch since it was installed almost a century earlier. While the statue was away in Shanghai an authorised copy was displayed on a rock in the lake in Copenhagen's nearby Tivoli Gardens. Copenhagen officials have considered moving the statue several meters out into the harbour to discourage vandalism and to prevent tourists from climbing onto it, but as of May 2014 the statue remains on dry land at the water side.

 

To refresh my memory repeatedly watching the animated movie with my children when they were still at young aged, the characters from Hans Christian Andersen fiction are about:-
  • The Princess Marina, aged sixteen years old. Princess of the undersea kingdom and the youngest of six daughters. She is a blonde, sweet and beautiful mermaid and is known for having the most beautiful voice in the kingdom. She is curious about the world and likes collecting items that come from the surface.
  • Fritz is a blue Atlantic dolphin calf, and Marina's best friend. His curiosity is great, but not nearly as great as Marina's. In fact, Fritz loves Marina. However, Marina never knows his feelings. He misses Marina terribly and worries about her constantly after she leaves the sea.
  • Prince Fjord is the man that Marina felt deeply in love with. He is brave and well-trained in the military arts. The Prince dislikes the idea of an arranged marriage. He has always wanted to marry the girl who rescued him. Sadly that he does not remember that Marina is the one who rescued him, until but too late in the end of the film.
  • The Sea Witch, unlike other versions of the story, the sea witch is not evil. She is shrewd, but has no interest in harming anyone. She did however sink two ships. She is a gigantic devil ray. Her special favorite is lifeblood. She is willing to accept Marina's voice as payment for the enchantment to turn Marina into a human.
  • Princess Cecilia is the black raven-haired princess of the Kingdom of Suomi. She tended to the Prince after Marina rescued him and had to leave him on the beach. He had no memory of being rescued by Marina, and Cecilia is the first person he saw when he woke up.


The Little Mermaid is indeed a very sad story, heart breaking to too many, hence, most of the time, being a selfish and hopeless human being, we usually changed how the story supposed to end. That Marina’s sacrifice was worthy and Prince Fjord loves her with all his life. As my children and I grew older and matured, I have to accept the fact that I would not want to read nor watch this story anymore. Let’s the assumption of the Little Mermaid Marina and his Prince Fjord “living happily ever after” remains forever. It's a fiction anyway, we had every right to change it.


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