24 March 2010

Pimping Copenhagen

Every year thousands of tourists come to Copenhagen, and a large part of them stop by to see the most famous statue in Denmark, The Little Mermaid. Ever since 1913 she has been greeting her visitors on Langelinie, on a large rock in the water, keeping alive the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. I rarely go to visit, but I know she is there, and whenever some attention seeking idiot vandalises her, it hurts. She is not just a statue, she is a symbol.

New York has The Statue Of Liberty, London has Big Ben, Paris has the Eiffel Tower, and we have The Little Mermaid. This comparatively tiny statue holds the same magic, and that is in itself miraculous. It goes without saying she should not be moved, wouldn't you agree? Nobody has the right to mess with that. But they have. Tomorrow she will be uprooted for the first time in her life (not counting repairs), and transported to China, for a spot on The World's Fair. For 6 months. In the tourist season.

Not only is this move reducing The Little Mermaid to a piece of merchandise, it is undermining the entire magic behind the story. The fairy tale and the emotion of The Little Mermaid is communicated on a fragile frequency, and I wonder if the magic will be intact when she returns. Will anyone be able to see her in the same way?

And what bugs me is that the move is all about business, and nothing more. My least favourite politician in City Hall, responsible for some of the biggest blunders in recent time, is not surprisingly supporting the move. Justifying it with the promotion value, and the large amount of business to be milked from this event. And so what if all we have to do is prostitute our poetry?

Come back soon!

The Little Mermaid in transit.
Old token for the tram, pre 1971.


  1. oh how brutal. did people protest? of course she has to stay in Copenhagen, in the water on her rock. i'm sad.

  2. Thank you for the sympathy. The Danes are not big on protests, but I wish we would wake up, as a people, and put our foot down. Not only on this issue, but also on healthcare and education, children and elders, receiving some nasty budget cuts. My foot is down!

  3. Det er sgu noget underligt noget...

  4. I read about that and immediately considered it a bad idea. It ist really strange to export a town's landmark.
    That's because it's possible due to the size of the landmark.
    Hope she will be back safe.

  5. Hi Ulrike,

    That's exactly it. How wrong it is to underestimate something merely because of its size, she is so much bigger than that. I hope she will be back safe too.


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