Trials and adventures of Little Mermaid and H.C. Andersen

The Danes celebrate the Little Mermaid’s birthday on  August 23. In 1837 H.C. Andersen wrote a fairy tale about a daughter of the sea king, who was in love with a prince. Later, Carl Jacobsen (the founder of a world-famous beer brewery and a generous patron), saw the ballet based on the motifs of this fairy tale and had the idea to present Copenhagen a statue of the courageous heroine. He ordered it to sculptor Edward Eriksen, and in 1913, the Little Mermaid, with the height of 1 m 25 cm, was placed on a granite stone on the sea coast.

Since then the quay of Langelinie in Copenhagen has been the favourite place for walking, taking pictures and … vandalism. Hooligans often visit the sacred stone. During dark winter evenings the smartest of them, being fascinated, get onto the Mermaid’s head. 1 September 1961 a "wag" coloured Mermaid’s hair red, two years later she was coloured again but this time from head to tail.

The little Mermaid

In April 1964 the sculpture was beheaded. In summer 1976 the Little Mermaid was coloured in red one more time. In 1984 she had her right arm sawed and then in August 1990 she was beheaded again; in 1998 the Little Mermaid was beheaded for the third time and thrown into the sea...

The little MermaidThe little Mermaid        

The little mermaid

11 September 2003, on the day of the commemoration of the terroristic attack in the USA, the statue was blasted and again fell into the water. The Danes deserve the highest respect because they immediately restore their favourite heroine and each time install her onto her rock. It is well known that Eriksen forbade replicas of the Little Mermaid anywhere.


Fortunately, in the sculptor’s workshop there was the head and the right hand (!) of the brave girl. That’s why the Little Mermaid still brings joy to the citizens and visitors of the city! She is visited to make wishes for luck. Sailors, despite all the signs, consider her to be their guardian angel and say goodbye to her going to sea. It is said that they even put on a fur coat during winter frosts. Today the sculpture is farther from the shore and several large stones were taken out of the water to make it more difficult to get to the statue.

An incident occurred to the monument to H.C. Andersen in the centre of Odense in April 2012 – he was beheaded. Vandals sawed the head of the 3-meter statue the night before its tour around Denmark. The criminal (or criminals) escaped together with the head of the famous native of Odense. There is a version that it was done by the «copper hunters».

Just two weeks before that misfortune, the sculpture had returned to the square of Flakhaven for the 107-year birthday of Andersen. Before that the copper statue had been in the Odense harbour. The investigation has not been completed yet. Video surveillance cameras on the square may assist in the investigation. However, Jens Galshiot – the author of the statue is ready to terminate the criminal proceedings if the robbers return Andersen’s head. «I promise immunity to that (or those) who sawed and took away the head of the statue. Call me or leave it somewhere in a visible place. If they give it back, I will not take legal action», he said in the interview to

Andersen Sculpture Headless

So it occurred. Most recently head sculpture was found in the bushes in the city center. The criminals have not been found.

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