Danes mark centenary of Little Mermaid statue

"Mermaids" dived into the water to mark the statue's 100th birthday

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Celebrations have taken place in Denmark's capital Copenhagen to mark the 100th anniversary of the famous fairy tale statue - the Little Mermaid.

The bronze statue - a tribute to Danish storywriter Hans Christian Andersen - is perched on a rock in the harbour and attracts millions of visitors.

During the festivities, boy guards sang birthday songs at a children's concert and a parade was held.

One-hundred women swam around the statue in the harbour.

They later formed a big "100" in the water.

Body-painted "mermaids" also posed in front of other world-famous landmarks, from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Sydney Opera House.

The Little Mermaid draws more than a million visitors a year and has been repeatedly vandalised.

It has been beheaded twice, lost an arm and been daubed with paint at least seven times. In 2010, it was exhibited at the Shanghai World Expo.

The Little Mermaid is based on a fairytale character created in 1837 by Andersen. In the story, a sea king's daughter falls in love with a prince, but has to wait 300 years to turn from mermaid into human.

The statue was created by sculptor Edward Eriksen and presented to the city of Copenhagen in 1913.

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