Copenhagen’s Surprisingly Little Mermaid Statue

Perched on a rock about 10 feet from the shore in Copenhagen, the century-old bronze statue of The Little Mermaid has become a national treasure.
The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen
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I guess it shouldn’t be so surprising that it’s small. It’s right there in the name, after all: The Little Mermaid. As with the Mannekin Pis in Brussels, there’s something a bit jarring for an iconic attraction with such an outsized reputation to be so petite.

It’s a roughly life-sized statue of a mermaid. Well, life-sized for a 4-foot-tall mermaid, that is. She’s slouching and looking forlorn.

It looks newer than you’d expect. That’s because the one you see there now is a replica. The original was unveiled in 1913, but over the following century was subjected to all sorts of indignities and even violence, often becoming the focus of vandals or political protests.

The sculptor, Edvard Eriksen, didn’t chance on the idea of a small mermaid randomly, of course. It’s inspired by the fairytale of the same name by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.

In 2015 the statue made news, with the help of Facebook. When a Danish politician posted a photo of the century-old statue of the topless mermaid on her Facebook page, Facebook initially banned the image for “too much bare skin or sexual undertones.” In a small victory for common sense, Facebook later relented and allowed the image.

Photos of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen

Tourist Boat Going Past The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen

Crowd of Tourists at The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen

What to Know Before You Go

The Little Mermaid is perched on a rock at the entrance to the harbor in Copenhagen next to the fortifications known as the Kastellet. Just walk along the waterfront and you’ll come across it.

There are no tickets or entry times. It’s publicly accessible all day and night. It’s basically a statue in a public park. The only difference, in this case, is that’s it’s about 10 feet offshore.

This being the selfie generation, in warm weather you’ll probably see people taking off their shoes and wading onto the rocks to take a selfie or pose with the mermaid. Be forewarned though that those rocks are slick with seaweed and the water can be very cold if you fall in.

Where to Next?

Guidebooks for Denmark

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Denmark. Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

Lonely Planet Denmark 8 (Country Guide)
  • Elliott, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
DK Eyewitness Denmark (Travel Guide)
  • DK Eyewitness (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Rick Steves Snapshot Copenhagen & the Best of Denmark
  • Steves, Rick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
DK Eyewitness Top 10 Copenhagen (Pocket Travel Guide)
  • DK Eyewitness (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Travel Insurance For Your Trip to Denmark

I never travel without travel insurance, and I've run into several situations where I've had to make claims. I consider it essential.

But shopping for travel insurance can be a pain and confusing. Thankfully, there are some travel insurance comparison sites that show you a wide range of plans, make it easy to compare coverage, and can save you money at the same time. And the coverage can be much better tailored to your specific needs than the checkbox offering at travel booking sites or through your credit card.

These are some good places to shop for travel insurance for your next trip to Denmark :

Hopefully, you won't need it, but if something goes wrong, you'll sure be glad you have it!

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