Absence of Little Mermaid lamented by tourists and locals alike


COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Tourists trekking to Copenhagen hoping to see an iconic statue of The Little Mermaid were left considerably under-whelmed on Saturday after being confronted by a still image on a giant video screen.

The installation allows tourists to view live footage of the sculpture from her temporary new home, the Danish pavilion at Shanghai’s Expo 2010, but the first visitors were not at all happy at what they saw.

“The screen is funny. The place looks like a memorial for The Little Mermaid, like she had died,” said Floor Vos of the Netherlands.

“It’s a lousy picture. It’s a technical fiasco,” added American Anna Maja.

Others were taken aback as they were not even aware of the new arrangement.

“I’m really surprised that she is not here and to only find a screen,” said Jurgen Meyer from Germany.

The 175-kilogram (385-pound) statue by Edvard Eriksen was inspired by a character created by Hans Christian Andersen in an 1837 fairytale.

She has been one of Denmark’s main tourist attractions since 1913.

The Little Mermaid is considered a national treasure in Denmark and the decision to send her to Shanghai for the six-month World Expo was contentious.

In China, however, the move has made the Danish pavilion one of the Expo’s most talked-about attractions in a country where schoolchildren avidly read Andersen’s stories.