The Little Mermaid turns 100

The world-famous fairy tale statue, The Little Mermaid – known from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale – is celebrating her 100th birthday. Denmark is getting ready to celebrate one of the world’s most beloved statues with a special birthday party 23rd of August at the harbour in Copenhagen, where 100 live mermaids will attend.

She has lost her head twice – most recently in 1998, and in 2010 The Little Mermaid was sent all the way from Scandinavia to the World’s Fair in Shanghai to be part of the Danish pavilion. Based on a fairy tale, Copenhagen’s famous symbol has lived quite an adventurous life of her own.

The statue was originally unveiled in 1913, and was inspired by the famous Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale by the same name. The same fairy tale also inspired the Walt Disney animated movie. Andersen, who lived from 1805 to 1875, also spent most of his life in Copenhagen, close by the spot where the mermaid statue sits today.

The Little Mermaid sits by the quay – a stone’s throw from picturesque Nyhavn and the Danish royal palace, home to the oldest monarchy in the world, where the statue overlooks the busiest cruise port in Northern Europe.

Real-life mermaids in the harbour

100 real-life ‘mermaids’ will jump in the water and swim around the statue to form the number 100
The famous bronze statue will be the centre of attention on August 23rd, as Copenhagen will be hosting a whole day of festivities at the harbour to celebrate the statue’s 100th birthday. As it is an extra special occasion, the birthday celebrations will carry on from early afternoon throughout the evening.

Among many things the birthday party will feature birthday songs performed by Tivoli Gardens’ boys guard – dressed in traditional uniform: red coats and huge bearskin hats. Also the local brewery of Carlsberg will attend the party, arriving in original horse-drawn brewer’s wagons.

True to tradition, 100 real-life ‘mermaids’ will jump in the water and swim around the statue to form the number 100. Swimming in the harbour of Copenhagen is perfectly safe – in fact the water is so clean that the city council has established several public pools around the harbour. It’s all a part of the city’s ambitious plan to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025. 

A brief history of the Little Mermaid. 

Rich history – modern city

Though a 100 years may seem a long time, The Little Mermaid’s home city – Copenhagen – dates back to the Viking Age. Nowadays Copenhagen mixes well-preserved history with world-class restaurants, such as noma, as well as modern life quality.

This year Copenhagen was once again pronounced the world’s most liveable city by the international lifestyle magazine Monocle.

Being known for life quality for humans, Copenhagen on the 23rd of August also becomes the world’s best place to live – for mermaids.

More information and full programme for the celebration:  www.visitcopenhagen.com/thelittlemermaid

If you're in Delhi, catch the Little Mermaid at Select Citywalk Mall and shoot a picture. To join a competition for the best picture, upload it on Twitter/ Instagram with the hashtag #littlemermaid100

Photo credit: Ramus Flindt Pedersen

Join the Great East Coast Road Drive

  • Going cuckoo at Galibore

    Going cuckoo at Galibore

    Celebrating a fledgeling foray into birdwatching More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Mon 16 Feb, 2015 6:32 PM IST
  • Five essential travel experiences in Kutch

    Five essential travel experiences in Kutch

    Kutch nahin dekha to kuch nahin dekha is not just a marketing tag line. India's largest district has so much to offer that one visit is barely an appetiser More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Mon 9 Feb, 2015 2:22 PM IST
  • Heroes, villains and tourists – a Kannur reverie

    Heroes, villains and tourists – a Kannur reverie

    Driving around forts, lighthouses and churches takes you to an era when battles were fought at sea and enemies were thrown in dungeons. A day-trip to Kannur is a throwback to history, and much more More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Wed 14 Jan, 2015 4:49 PM IST
  • Five reasons to visit Kannur

    Five reasons to visit Kannur

    Forget the backwaters and God's-Own-Country clichés. From a 500-year-old Portuguese-Dutch fort to India's largest drive-on beach, Kannur has it all. And now's a great time to go there More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Wed 14 Jan, 2015 1:51 PM IST
  • The timeless magic of Badami

    The timeless magic of Badami

    The rock-cut temples of Badami in northern Karnataka are a priceless heritage dating back to the 6th-8th centuries More »

    Lakshmi Sharath - Tue 6 Jan, 2015 2:45 PM IST
1 / 60

Follow exclusive coverage of Jay's bike ride to Kashmir

Write for Traveler