It is probably the smallest landmark in the world – the bronze figure on the Langelinie waterfront in Copenhagen known as “Lille Havfrue”, or the “Little Mermaid”, which goes back to the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
Just after the turn of the century, the Danish composer Fini Henriques had the idea of creating a ballet score based on the fairy tale and having the then world-famous ballerina Ellen Prince de Plane dance the leading role. Carl Jacobson, the owner of the Carlsberg Brewery and one of Denmark’s biggest patrons of the arts, was also present at the premiere. He was so enthusiastic about the ballet that he commissioned the sculptor Edvard Eriksen to model a little mermaid.
The latter immediately began work on this commission, but it almost came to a falling out between the artist and his patron. Jacobson wanted a figure with a fish tail, while Eriksen insisted that he wanted to show the mermaid after her transformation into a human being and therefore gave the figure legs.It was finally agreed to give the Little Mermaid legs but small fins instead of feet.This satisfied both sides and the statue could be completed.
Finally, on 23 August 1913, a copy of the 175 kg figure was erected in its present location. The original, however, is kept by Eriksen’s descendants in an unknown place.