Danes send their Mermaid on a mission
COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s famed “Little Mermaid’’ statue left her perch in the Copenhagen harbor yesterday and started a journey to the World Expo in Shanghai — the first trip abroad in her 96-year history.
The 5-foot landmark, which honors the memory of Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, was lifted by a crane and lowered onto a truck at a ceremony in the Danish capital.
The exact itinerary is being kept secret for security reasons, but the statue is to be placed as the centerpiece of the Danish pavilion about a week before the World Expo opens May 1.
The temporary move is controversial in Denmark, where some considered it disrespectful to ship a cultural treasure halfway across the globe as a public relations tool. Critics suggested the government should have sent a copy to China — an idea dismissed by Christopher Bo Bramsen, Danish commissioner general for Expo 2010.
“Why send a copy when you can send the real thing?’’ he said in an interview.