A viral video from last weekend shows yet another incident of tourists misbehaving around European cultural heritage sites — this time, in Denmark. A woman was filmed canoodling with the bronze Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, a famous seaside tourist attraction in the capital city, as she was booed by both tourists and locals alike.
The unidentified woman had already climbed onto the large stone the sculpture sits on and draped her arms around its shoulders by the time witnesses began recording. An off-camera voice bellowed a long “booooo” as the woman pretended to kiss the Little Mermaid on the lips and then began to rub noses with it.
A 19-year-old student named Dylan Trinkler who witnessed the incident told the British tabloid The Mirror that surrounding bystanders were commenting, “this is Danish heritage” and “that’s artwork.”
“They started asking her why she was doing it, saying that it was disrespectful, but she just laughed it off,” he continued, specifying that there were around 100 people onsite watching the incident unfold. “When she came down, she went to the woman she was there with and started high-fiving and kissing her. It was bizarre.” Trinkler has not yet responded to Hyperallergic‘s request for comment.
The bronze sculpture was made by the Danish-Icelandic sculptor Edvard Eriksen in 1913 as a commission for Carl Jacobsen, an avid collector and son of the Carlsberg brewery founder. Jacobsen was apparently fascinated by a ballet based on the fairytale “The Little Mermaid” written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1837.
Since its installment, the sculpture has been defaced multiple times by vandals and protestors of different motivations. The sculpture has been decapitated twice — first in 1964 which necessitated the replacement of the head as it was never recovered, and again in 1998, though the (new) head was returned anonymously. It has also been the site of protest for both sides of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In 2022, the stone base had been spray-painted with “Z = (swastika),” likening Russian military forces who donned the letter Z to the Nazi party. Six months ago, the base was painted with the Russian flag, likely in support of Russia.
Hyperallergic has contacted local authorities in Copenhagen for more information about the recent incident and will update this story if more details become available.