Denmark’s Little Mermaid vandalized with Hong Kong message

‘Free Hong Kong’ has been spray painted onto the base of Copenhagen’s iconic Little Mermaid statue.

Denmark’s Little Mermaid vandalized with Hong Kong message
The Little Mermaid on the morning of January 13th. Photo: Thomas Sjørup/Ritzau Scanpix

The message, ostensibly a reference to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, was painted onto the popular tourist attraction on Sunday night or early on Monday.

Police have cordoned off the area around the statue, one of the city’s busiest tourist spots, early on Monday as they look for clues, media including Politiken report.

“We’re doing our best to find clues. We are using dogs to see whether we can find any articles that have been used to commit this vandalism,” Copenhagen Police duty officer Jesper Frandsen told Ekstra Bladet.

The Little Mermaid is located on the Langelinie promenade on the northern side of Copenhagen Harbour.

The statue, made by sculptor Edvard Eriksen in 1913, depicts the character from Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.

It has been the target of vandalism on repeated occasions over the years. In May 2017, animal rights activists outraged over whaling sprayed red paint on the statue and painted the words “Danmark [sic.], defend the whales of the Faroe Islands” on the pavement in front of it. The following month, it was given a splash of blue and white in what appeared an unrelated protest.

The mermaid's head was stolen in 1964 and 1998 and her arm was cut off in 1984.

In 2003, it was stolen from its plinth at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen before being recovered and restored.

It has also been dressed in a burka as well as Swedish and Norwegian football jerseys.

READ ALSO: Facebook reverses Little Mermaid censorship


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Can Americans travel to Denmark for tourism this summer?

Denmark has long been a top travel destination for Americans, and US tourists who are vaccinated can from this weekend return to see the Little Mermaid.

Can Americans travel to Denmark for tourism this summer?
Tourists on a Copenhagen sightseeing bus. Photo: Morten Jerichau/VisitCopenhagen

In 2019, US tourists spent 835,800 nights in Denmark’s hotels, and 755,000 in Copenhagen, more than those of any other country.

“Before Covid, the US was actually the biggest international market for Copenhagen,” Katinka Friis, Visit Denmark’s press officer in the US, told The Local. “So of course tourism in our biggest cities has been hit pretty hard.” 

In a press release issued on Friday, Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that residents of OECD countries who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the European Medicines Agency, will be treated the same as vaccinated people from EU and Schengen countries. 

This means that US citizens vaccinated with jabs from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson no longer need a so-called “worthy purpose” to travel to Denmark, do not need to show a negative coronavirus test before boarding their aircraft, or get tested and go into self-isolation on arrival.

The vaccine is treated as valid by Denmark from 14 days after the final dose has been given. 

When will Denmark open up for non-vaccinated tourists from the US? 

A Ministry of Justice text published last month suggests that on June 26th, Denmark will adopt the EU’s common rules on entry for persons from outside the bloc, meaning non-EU countries such as the US should qualify if infection levels are low enough to qualify as “orange” or “yellow”. 

“The most recent thing that we’ve seen in the documents is that the 26th of June should mark the next step of reopening, so that’s the date we’re hoping for,” Friis said. “We’re also waiting for the EU to give their seal of approval to a list of countries outside the EU.” 

She said that the importance of the US as a tourism market, and the high rate of vaccination in the country, meant it was likely that the US will be on the list. 

What restrictions will be in place for tourists from the US when Denmark opens up? 

According to Friis, tourists from the US will be treated in a similar way to those from the six non-EU countries already allowed to travel to Denmark.

“The market has already opened up to some countries outside the EU, and I think it will be a similar situation for those coming from the US. If you’re vaccinated, it will be pretty straightforward.”

If the US is treated the same as other counties, then if the country is rated “orange”, tourists will need a negative test result, proof of completed vaccination, or proof of a previous coronavirus infection within the last six months to board the plane. 

Those travelling on a negative test result will also need to pass a test on arrival in Copenhagen, and then to self-isolate for at least four days until they test negative for coronavirus, or ten days without a test.

Those who are vaccinated or immune after a previous infection will not need to take a test on arrival or self-isolate. 

If the US is rated “yellow”, however, tourists who are not vaccinated or judged immune will only need to take a test on arrival in Denmark and will not need to self-isolate. 

Will Denmark open up too late for US tourists? 

According to Friis, there is significant pent-up demand from US tourists wanting to come to Denmark, meaning the first tourists are likely to arrive shortly after the market opens. 

“Every single day I get those emails — when can I travel to Denmark? Can I come now?” Friis said. “And we’re really happy about that because it means people are excited about the reopening, and we have so many new museums and hotels opening in Denmark around this time, so it’s a good starting point for rebooting American tourist travel”