World Celebrates The Centenary Of Iconic Little Mermaid Statue

Category: Media & Culture / Aug 23, 2013 4:04PM EDT

The iconic "Little Mermaid" statue in Copenhagen celebrates its 100th birthday on Friday (August 23).

The 165 centimeter tall bronze sculpture was commissioned in 1909 by the founder of the Carlsberg brewery, Carl Jacobsen, after seeing a ballet performance of "The Little Mermaid" based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale.

Andersen's fairy tale tells the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the sea when she falls in love with a human prince, a decision for which she ends up having to pay a very high price.

Jacobsen asked sculptor Edvard Eriksen to create a sculpture of the mermaid, modeled on his wife Eline. Eriksen chose to sculpt the mermaid at the moment when her fish tail is being transformed into legs.

The sculpture pictures the mermaid as she sits and looks out over the water, after never marrying the prince, reminiscing over her lost childhood as a mermaid.

To celebrate, various "little mermaids" appeared in numerous iconic cities around the world, with bodies painted to look like the statue.

Back in Copenhagen, the home of the mermaid statue, one hundred mermaids jumped into the harbour to spell out the number 100 in the famous sculpture's honor.

The "mermaid swim" is among several events taking place in the Danish capital to mark the statue's birthday, which will end with a firework display.

Video Credit: Reuters