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Denmark's Little Mermaid is off to Shanghai



To travel is to live

Millions of visitors from around the world will meet a very special lady at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Denmark's most famous tourist attraction, the original statue of the Little Mermaid based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, will journey more than 5,000 miles to take up residence in a pool of water at the centre of the Danish pavilion during the six month exhibition.


When the World Expo themed "Better City, Better Life" opens in Shanghai on May 1, 2010, the Danish Pavilion will be a unique presentation of how sustainability and harmonious urban life goes hand in hand in Copenhagen.


The Danish pavilion, designed by the award-winning architectural team BIG in Copenhagen, features two interloping bicycle lanes rising like a velodrome 60 feet into the air, a nature playground, a picnic area and a pool like a Copenhagen harbour bath that visitors can actually swim in! Inside the pavilion, the exhibition "Welfairytales" uses elements of fairy tales to tell the story of Danish welfare and sustainable living. 1,500 of Copenhagen's famous city bikes are located at the roof, offering guests a chance to visit the pavilion and borrow a free bike for their own exploits.


Authenticity is a powerful signal

From the onset, lead architect of BIG, Bjarke Ingels, wanted to create an authentic experience:


"When we visited the World Exhibition in Zaragoza, we were stunned by the artificial content. State propaganda in paper maché. The Danish Expo pavilion 2010 is the real deal, and not just endless talking. You can ride the city bike, take a swim in the clean water just like in our harbour bath, and see the authentic Little Mermaid", he explains.


"The purpose of moving The Little Mermaid is to show that open-mindedness doesn't necessarily cause you to lose origin or culture. Typically, national symbols are static – a fortress or a tower, which is unshakable. The perception of a nation with a national symbol so dynamic that it can be moved to China for six months is a great way of showing that Denmark is open-minded and liberal towards the rest of the world", Bjarke Ingels says.


"It is also convenient that she is much easier to move than the Eiffel Tower", he adds with a smile.


A genuine piece of Denmark

From a tourism perspective, the marketing value of sending the Danish national treasure halfway around the world for six months is unparalleled.

According to Denmark's national tourism organisation, VisitDenmark, the Little Mermaid is a unique cultural ambassador:


"I do believe it is the first time ever that a country has dared to send its most famous tourist attraction out into the world to invite guests to come visit. To millions of people all over the world – especially in China – Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of the Little Mermaid is their strongest cultural link to Denmark. That is why it is essential that we are actually willing and brave enough to share a genuine piece of Denmark with China. Our mermaid is embarking on an interesting journey, who knows where it will take her…" says managing director of VisitDenmark Dorte Kiilerich.


Already in November, the rumour of the Little Mermaid's expected journey travelled ahead to China and created numerous headlines and excitement about the Danish pavilion's special guest. Thus, VisitDenmark is confident that the official announcement now of the Little Mermaid's visit to China and her subsequent six month stay at the World Expo in Shanghai next year is sure to generate a lot of attention. And that is quite true.



Please watch the virtual presentation of Welfairytale on YouTube at and refer to more details in the attached fact sheet or the information below.



For download of high-resolution images and models of the Denmark Pavilion Please visit BIG online at, user name "XPO", password "PRESS".



For free broadcast quality footage of the Little Mermaid and sound bites from


Please visit and search for the Little Mermaid under

the heading "Denmark". Downloading requires signing up at the site, which is

quick, easy and free.




Fact Sheet


About VisitDenmark, Denmark and sustainability

• VisitDenmark is Denmark's national tourism organisation. It works to

promote Denmark as a travel destination for business and leisure travellers

and also as leading partner in developing tourism in Denmark at a local,

regional and national level.


• VisitDenmark's website is active in more than

20 different markets around the world and exits in more than 15 different

languages. Last year, more than 5.8 million people visited the site to learn

more about Denmark. That is more than the country's current population.


• At it is possible for free to combine more

than 20 pieces of footage about Denmark's culture, climate, history,

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