The Mermaids of Copenhagen and Warsaw
I must admit something kind of embarrassing: When I decided to go to Copenhagen, the main motivation was to see the Little Mermaid statue. And I thought the city looked really pretty in the movie The Prince and Me. These are not “good enough” reasons to take an international trip, I know, but it worked out in the end so let’s give me a pass, shall we? I grew up LOVING the animated Little Mermaid film and in fact, I was almost named Ariel. I was destined to come to Copenhagen.
This statue is one of the most photographed places in the world and it was pretty busy when I was there, even during the off season.
The famous Little Mermaid statue (left) and the smaller “Black Diamond” Mermaid statue that sits outside the Royal Library (right) – both in Copenhagen.
What I didn’t know was that there was also a famous mermaid statue in Warsaw, Poland that sits directly in the center of the Old Town (see the first photo). On my walking tour of the Old Town in Warsaw I learned a little bit more about this statue.
The story goes that these two mermaids – the one in Copenhagen and the one in Warsaw – were sisters who were swimming together in the baltic, got separated, and ended up in different cities. How neat is that?! The legend continues that the mermaid stopped in Warsaw when she was tired and was captured by a rich merchant. When the fishermen nearby heard her cries, they rescued her and forevermore she would be armed with a sword and shield to protect the city of Warsaw. The mermaid is even part of Warsaw’s Coat of Arms and you will see the mermaid symbol all over Warsaw. (Side note: the mermaid that sits in the town square is not the original statue. That statue was restored and placed in the Museum of Warsaw.)
Two little replicas of these famous statues sit on my bookshelf now. Maybe they also provide a bit of personal protection? Who knows!
Yours truly in front of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid (left) and Warsaw’s famous mermaid (right).