The small (It's only 4 ft. tall) yet immensly famous bronze statue inspired by it's namesake story, the Little Mermaid was a 1913 gift to the city of Copenhagen, Denmark by Carlsberg beer brewer, Carl Jacobsen. A great ballet fan, he originally came upon the idea with Edvard Eriksen to give the Royal Danish Ballet a fountain. However, after watching a performance of The Little Mermaid at Denmark's Royal Theater, he was so enthralled by solo dancer Ellen Price that he asked Eriksen to make a sculpture of a little mermaid with her as the model. However, it is also said that Edvard Eriksen's wife actually posed for the sculpture as she did for most of his works, or that she did so because Price did not want to pose naked.

On August 23, 1913, the Little Mermaid was put on her perch at Langelinie. Eriksen had intended the sculpture to be placed on land, but Jacobsen requested that it be put at it's current location so as Jacobsen said, "she could always be wet, just like a real mermaid."

As one of the landmark attractions of Copenhagen, the Little Mermaid has endured considerable amounts of vandalism. Some examples:

  • September 1, 1961: the hair of the mermaid was painted red and she was dressed in bra.
  • April 28, 1963: drenched with red paint.
  • April 24, 1964: the mermaid was decapitated. The Danish artist Jørgen Nash confessed in his 1997 book that he had commited the crime, however, no one really knows for sure.
  • July 15, 1976: drenched with paint.
  • July 22, 1984: right arm removed; returned after 2 days. The two young men who returned it had cut off the arm while they were drunk.
  • August 5, 1990: a failed attempt to decapitate her; 18 cm cut along the neck.
  • January 6, 1998: the Mermaid's head was decapitated.
  • September 10, 2003: the Mermaid knocked down from stone perch with explosives.
  • December 15, 2004: the Mermaid donned a burka with a sash that read in Danish, “Turkey in the EU?”
  • March 8, 2014: the Mermaid was gifted with a dildo in its hand, green paint was dumped on it and the words March 8 were also painted onto it.