Friday, January 11, 2008

Comparison of Copenhagen and Bogor's "Little Mermaid"

I was fortunate to have chanced upon the Little Mermaid’s statue in the heart of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen (which they locally spell Kobenhavn). In a low key area, by the city harbor, with not much fanfare, sits Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale character. (Andersen’s statue - with a long hat and coat tails - also stands near the city square).

The statue, which is about 3 feet tall (including the granite boulder it perches on) doesn’t even have signage’s, and is very near the rows of palaces where the “changing of the guards” occur. I remembered taking my usual walks until I reached the boardwalk. Most of the nearby harbor walk was not notable.

Bogor's Little Mermaid.

Copenhagen is an ideal place for “walkers” - this is where the word “pedestrian” originated. I also chanced upon a majestic statue of David nearby. To date, Denmark, the southernmost Scandinavian country, is still not part of the newly expanded Schengen territory, but is easily accessible from Central Europe by train. From Hamburg (which is the northernmost central European city), the train is derailed from its land rails and loaded to a ferry boat that will traverse the icy North Seas. In about an hour, the ferry reaches the shores of Denmark. The Eurail train is re-railed to its land tracks, and travel to Copenhagen resumes.

Copenhagen's Little Mermaid. It was hard to get a good photograph of the statue's face, although it was obviously closer than the one in Bogor, Indonesia.

I am not sure if Bogor’s “Little Mermaid” has any important historical connection with Copenhagen’s little one. Probably the garden designers from London’s Kew Gardens got their idea from their Danish neighbor? Probably not.

I needed a good light to get a decent view of the statue's face. Aww!

Trivia on the statue:

The statue (which was 4 years in the making) was created by the sculptor Edward Eriksen and was presented to the city in 1913 by the famous brewer of Carlsberg beer, Carl Jacobsen. Although many think that the statue is a symbol of the old seaport, the inspiration was Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”.

This is a postcard photo I bought from some newstand in Copenhagen.

In 1909, brewer Carl Jacobsen saw solo dancer Ellen Price dance in Fini Henriques' ballet interpretation of Andersen’s "The Little Mermaid" at the Royal Theatre. He was so taken with her that he asked her if she would pose naked for the statue. She agreed in principle, but was not very interested in posing without any clothes on, when she found out just how public the statue would be.

Instead, the
sculptor’s wife stepped in and modeled for the body. On April 23, 1964, the vandals decapitated the Little Mermaid and her original head was never found. A new head was made from the original cast. Most visitors to Copenhagen have their pictures taken next to the Little Mermaid. The statue's birthday is celebrated in various ways every year on August 23.

Nice views along the harbor where the Little Mermaid statue sits nearby.

Majestic statue of David. When my 5-year-old niece saw this, she said, "It is a boy, tito! Ewww!" Almost fell off my chair and laughed so hard!

Check out: Davao City's Little Mermaid here -

This is the Eye in the Sky!


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

To learn more about Copenhagen, you can try one of two websites: The official tourist site at or – The last one has some very good images from around Copenhagen.


eye in the sky said...

Thanks for the link, Peter. Am sure it will be of great use to future visitors. I enjoyed my rather short Copenhagen visit. I will probably feature a blogpost of that visit in the future. Thanks.