Photo Friday: Fairytale Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark; August 2006


The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen Harbour is one of Denmark’s most famous landmarks. As a result she usually attracts a crowd of adoring onlookers, not unlike the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris. There’s none of this business of admiring her from afar either – one by one or two by two the tourists will clamber over the wet rocks to pose beside her for a photograph. Clearly no one is worried that she’ll drown them with her siren song. Especially in summer, you could be waiting quite some time before you get to take a photograph without anyone in it.

Apparently, the statue draws one million visitors per year. The crowds might take the gloss off it, but I still think it’s an essential part of the tourist experience in Copenhagen. I certainly couldn’t resist, despite warnings that the experience might be somewhat underwhelming. I’m glad I went and I also made time to explore the palace and parklands nearby at the same time.

Storybook characters make great subjects for statues – London’s Kensington Gardens has Peter Pan and Copenhagen has the Little Mermaid. It’s such a great idea to put her in the harbour too – the perfect location!

If you are travelling to Copenhagen in 2010, be warned: between May and October, the Little Mermaid won’t be there. Instead she’s going on a trip to China – the Danish government is lending her for next year’s World Exhibition in Shanghai. It’ll be the first time since 1913 she’s left her rocky perch in Copenhagen and the move is quite controversial among the Danes.

You could of course go to see her creator instead – there’s a statue of Hans Christian Andersen next to City Hall. It’s also a very cool statue, with the top hat and book, and the best thing about it is – no crowds.


This post is part of Photo Friday, a weekly blogging event hosted by Debbie at Delicious Baby. Please head over to her site to see all this week’s submissions.

Tours of Copenhagen with Urban Adventures

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  1. I like the way you’ve actually captured all of the tourists in the picture! I wonder if high tide deters them at all.

  2. If HCA was wearing a bikini, I bet he’d attract crowds, too :-)

  3. Or if there was a Disney movie based on his story ;)

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. I confess: I was one of the one million visitors! When I was growing up The Little Mermaid (the HCA version) was my favorite fairy tale, so of course I had to make a pilgrimage when I was in Copenhagen.

  5. The shot of the Mermaid with all of the tourists is fun. I think we sometimes try so hard to crop the tourists out as we take our photos that we sometimes forget that a shot with an attraction swarmed by tourists is part of the story as well. I try to remember to take at least one “environmental” shot that includes the swarm of people around something…not that I always use it, but sometimes it does more to explain the trip, like you did here.

    I love wandering around city and town halls…you sometimes find something cool like your HCA statue

  6. I have to admit that I am a sucker for tourist traps almost as much as I am a sucker for hitting the off the beaten path. I would love to see this!

  7. Thanks for the virtual field trip!

  8. I love the far off representation of what it’s really like there. I’ve only ever seen shots of the statue in isolation, as if there wasn’t this throng of tourists all around. Thanks for bringing it to life!


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