If you talk to people in China about Denmark, one of the first ideas on their minds will definitely be the Little Mermaid, the popular fairy tale that influenced generations of Chinese people…
The fairy tale by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen tells the story of a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity to be a human being and pursue the love of a prince.
“Some of the most memorable moments in my childhood were when my parents read the Little Mermaid to me before I went to bed when I was very little. That’s why I chose to go to Denmark for my master degree,” said Li Huijie, a 27-year old in Shanghai who now works at a PR company and studied in Denmark for two years.
Li added that she made her dream come true by studying at the University of Copenhagen where she eventually saw the statue of the Little Mermaid, the character she had loved for years.
The statue – a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction – has been in the city’s Langelini Pier for nearly 100 years.
During Expo 2010, the statue was taken from Denmark to the Danish Pavilion in Shanghai, which enabled Chinese people to see the fairy tale character in real life.
It was the first time the statue left her hometown.
The Danish Pavilion at the expo featured the statue at the center of an artificial pond and was visited by more than 5.55 million tourists.
“Every day, visitors queued for hours outside the Danish Pavilion just to see and take photos with the Little Mermaid,” said Jing Ipland, the former deputy director of the Danish Pavilion who married the former deputy consul-general of the Danish Consulate General in Shanghai.
Ipland added that the organizers from Denmark knew that Andersen’s fairy tales are very popular in China – especially the Little Mermaid – so they tried to offer Chinese tourists the opportunity to see the statue.
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Source: The Jakarta Post