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At Langelinie Pier, you will find one of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attractions: the sculpture of The Little Mermaid. It sits on a rock in the harbor and was inspired by a performance of a ballet based on the fairy tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen.
See the fact file below for more information on the Little Mermaid or alternatively, you can download our 19-page The Little Mermaid worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The mermaid statue was created in bronze by Edvard Eriksen, and was unveiled in August of 1913.
- Eriksen was commissioned in January 1909 by Carl Jacobsen of Carlsberg Breweries to create the statue. Carl was fascinated by a ballet at the Copenhagen Royal Theatre based on the fairy tale about the mermaid and asked the star of the ballet, Ellen Price, to model for the statue. 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.
- The Little Mermaid is a statue depicting a mermaid becoming human. The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is 1.25 metres (4.1 ft) tall and weighs 175 kilograms (385 lb).
- Based on the fairy tale of the same name by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, the small and unimposing statue is a Copenhagen icon and has been a major tourist attraction since its unveiling in 1913.
- In recent decades, it has become a popular target for defacement by vandals and political activists. Mermaid is among the iconic statues that symbolize cities.
- This statue has been damaged and defaced many times since the mid-1960s for various reasons, but has been restored each time.
- On April 24, 1964, the statue’s head was sawn off and stolen by politically oriented artists of the Situationist movement, amongst them Jørgen Nash. The head was never recovered and a new head was produced and placed on the statue.
- On July 22, 1984, the right arm was sawn off and returned two days later by two young men.
- In 1990, an attempt to sever the statue’s head left an 18 centimeter (7 inch) deep cut in the neck.
- On January 6, 1998, the statue was decapitated; again by culprits that were never found, but the head was returned anonymously to a nearby television station, and reattached on February 4.
- On the night of September 10, 2003, the statue was knocked off its base with explosives and later found in the harbour’s waters. Holes had been blasted in the mermaid’s wrist and knee. In 2004, the statue was draped in a burqa in a protest against Turkey’s application to join the European Union.
- In May 2007, it was again found draped in Muslim dress and a headscarf.
- Aside from the statue on display, which is a replica of the original, more than thirteen undamaged copies of the statue are located around the world.
- Some statues similar to The Little Mermaid are in Sicily. The first was placed in 1962 on the seafront in Giardini Naxos, and measures about four meters high and is over a fountain.
- A statue of ‘The Little Mermaid’ looks out over Larvotto beach in Monaco. She was created in 2000, with layers and layers of metal by Kristian Dahlgaard.
- A copy of the statue forms the Danish contribution to the International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City. The half-size replica was stolen on February 26, 2010, but was recovered on April 7, abandoned in the park.
- The statue is under copyright until 2029, which is 70 years after the 1959 death of the creator; therefore several copies of the statue have provoked legal actions.
- As of 2012, replicas of the statue can be purchased on the internet, authorized for sale by the Eriksen family.
- A replica was installed in Greenville, Michigan in 1994 to celebrate the town’s Danish heritage, at a cost of $10,000. In 2009, the town was sued by the Artists Rights Society claiming the work violated Eriksen’s copyright, and asked for a $3,800 licensing fee.
- At about 76 cm (30 in) in height, the replica in Greenville is half the size of the original, and has a different face and larger breasts as well as other distinguishing factors. The copyright claim was later reported to have been dropped.
The Little Mermaid Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about The Little Mermaid across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use The Little Mermaid worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the sculpture of The Little Mermaid at Langelinie Pier which is one of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attractions. It sits on a rock in the harbor and was inspired by a performance of a ballet based on the fairy tale The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark Facts
- Whale or Shark
- Iconic Statues
- Oh My Mermaid
- It’s All About Me
- I Have A Story
- Little Mermaid Timeline
- Around the World
- The Parts
- 100 Years
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.