Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Little Mermaid : Does she need a new place

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
in Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark’s most recognizable and reputable symbol is the Little Mermaid

It has a very long story.Denmark’s reputed author Hans Christian Andersen first published the beloved fairy tale of The Little Mermaid in 1837.It is the story of the Little Mermaid who saves the life of a shipwrecked prince and sets off on a perilous quest to win his love. The price she pays is dear. To become human she must give up her lovely voice as well as her mermaid's tail, and if the prince should wed another, she will turn into foam on the waves and disappear forever.

Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen attended Hans’s ballet “The Little Mermaid” in 1909.He was very thrilled by the ballet performance, and wanted to erect a statue to honour the little mermaid.The sculptor Edvark Eriksen was chosen to make the sculpture.His wife Eline Eriksen modeled for him to make the Little Mermaid.

The statue is made out of bronze, which weighs 175 kilograms, and 165 centimeters tall. Carl Jacobsen handed over the statue to the City of Copenhagen on August 23rd 1913.Birthday celebrations take place annually by the side of the statue.She is sitting on an angle, looking towards the Copenhagen water front.

She has suffered several acts of vandalism in the past.She was covered with paint in the past.She has been beheaded three times in 1964, 1990 and 1998.Her right arm was cut off in 1984. Further, she was blown off by explosives in 2003.

The site has been used as a political platform in several occasions.The Danish media’s recent reports show that the Copenhagen City Council is considering to move the Little Mermaid statue further few meters into the sea to protect her from the acts o vandalism.

Approximately one million tourists visit her annually, and take photographs with her.The Little Mermaid is one of the most photographed statues in the world, according to the reports.Hans Christian Andersen wrote a fairy tale about the Little Mermaid, the book is available in various other languages.Disney produced a movie.

Although she has suffered numerous acts of vandalism, she is a tough lady, she survived, and she continues to survive.


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