The case of Copenhagen’s missing mermaid

Imagine you went to Paris and the Eiffel Tower wasn’t there. Or you went to see Big Ben in London but it had been loaned to Cape Town for six months.

Okay, so Copenhagen’s little mermaid statue isn’t quite as high-profile as those two examples, but you would be disappointed too, if a city’s most famous landmark was in Shanghai the weekend you were in town.

Drinking at Nyhavn in CopenhagenArguably the most high-profile attraction in the Danish capital, the little mermaid statue was erected in 1913 in honour of Hans Christian Anderson, the author of such children’s literary classics as The Ugly Duckling and, of course, The Little Mermaid.

Alas, it was not in town the same weekend I was back in March 2010. After a long and frosty search through Langeline, the harbour district in Copenhagen where the enigmatic statue usually sits, I found only the rock it sits on.

That’s the thing about mythical creatures. They’re unreliable at the best of times.

The rock the little mermaid normally sits on.The missing mermaid aside, I was equally disappointed to find out that the city’s second biggest attraction – the Tivoli Gardens amusement park – was closed until the day after I flew back to London.

Silly me. I had travelled to Copenhagen for a weekend without so much as checking to see if any of the city’s attractions were open or even going to be in the city the same weekend that I was.

Opening in 1943, Tivoli is the second oldest theme park in the world (don’t ask me which is the oldest). It attracts more than 4.5million visitors per year but not from September until March, when it is closed.

Copenhagen's city skyline is fairly unremarkable.The moral of the story is this, my friends: before purchasing incredibly cheap, off-peak flights to Scandinavia for the weekend, it might be worth considering why the flights were so cheap to begin with.

Nevertheless, I did have an enjoyable time in Denmark’s most populous city. It’s a fine-looking town, with unique and interesting architecture seemingly at every turn and one of the quaintest entertainment districts you’ll find in a major European city.

A place of great cultural and historical significance to Copenhagen, the Nyhavn entertainment district runs along a picturesque waterfront complete with old wooden boats and an abundance of great pubs, bars and restaurants.

This being Scandinavia, however, a night out in Copenhagen is far from cheap. The average backpacker could be homeless and destitute before they ordered a second drink.


About Simon Petersen 506 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.

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