The mayor of Seoul was so taken with his recent trip to Copenhagen that he wants to bring the city’s most iconic figure back with him to South Korea. Well sort of, anyway.
According to Danmarks Radio, Park Won-soon has asked his Copenhagen counterpart, Frank Jensen, to help him get a miniature copy of the Little Mermaid to sit along the Han River in the South Korean capital.
DR reports that Copenhagen officials will look into the costs and consult with the family of sculpture artist Edvard Eriksen to see if Won-soon’s dream can become a reality.
If it can be done, Seoul would in turn offer Copenhagen either a replica of the Bosingak pavilion or a copy of a statue of Sejong the Great in exchange.
While DR reports that Copenhagen will look into the suggestion, a report from the Chosun Ilbo newspaper presents it as if it is a done deal.
The Seoul mayor was in Denmark earlier this week to discuss tourism cooperation with both Copenhagen and Odense. In addition to his wish to have a Korean Little Mermaid, Won-soon is also planning a Hans Christian Andersen theme park in Seoul.
Lise Lyck, the head of Copenhagen Business School’s Center for Tourism and Management, said making the deal with Seoul could boost tourism in Denmark.
“We know from paintings that even when you have seen a reproduction of a Van Gogh, you still want to see the original. The same thing applies here,” she told DR.
The original Little Mermaid sculpture was created by artist Edvard Eriksen and unveiled in August 1913. The sculpture is protected by copyright laws until January 1st, 2030, 70 years after Eriksen’s death, so any replicas need the approval of his estate. The family even owns the rights to photos of the statue and have been known to demand payment from Danish media outlets for using photos in which the sculpture is the main attraction, thus explaining our less-than-ideal photo choice above.