“The Little Mermaid,” a bronze sculpture designed by sculptor Edvard Eriksen and located near Copenhagen’s Langelinie waterside promenade, was replicated and unveiled as a miniaturized monument in Seoul last week.
The inaugural ceremony took place at Yeouido Hangang Park on Oct. 24 and was attended by Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen and Danish Ambassador to Korea Thomas Lehmann, among other dignitaries and officials.
Borrowing the words of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75), who wrote the classic fairy tale “The Little Mermaid,” Rasmussen said in a speech, “The whole world is a series of miracles. But we are so used to them that we regard them as ordinary events. Andersen reminded us not to go blind to all the good things happening around us every day.”
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (right) and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon pose in front of a replica statue of Copenhagen’s “The Little Mermaid” at an unveiling ceremony at Yeouido Hangang Park in Seoul on Oct. 24. (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (right) and Danish Ambassador to Korea Thomas Lehmann (Joel Lee / The Korea Herald)
“The Little Mermaid” is “a story of love, friendship and pursuit of happiness, and our will to do all that we can in our capacity,” the prime minister noted, adding that the two countries’ friendship “is also about pursuing happiness and doing the good things together.”
Highlighting that he has been “deeply impressed” by Korea’s rapid economic growth, known as the “Miracle on the Han River,” he pointed out that Korea became a leading nation in the world after rising from the ruins of the Korean War (1950-53).
“Korean has become a dynamic, hyper-modern and future-oriented society in a matter of a few decades,” he said. “You have created a cultural wave that has reached the Danish shores. Danes today are able to enjoy Korean literature, food, music and visual art, and use Korean technologies in their everyday lives.”
Dignitaries and officials at the unveiling ceremony of the "Little Mermaid's sister" at Yeouido Hangang Park in Seoul on Oct. 24
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (center) is given an honorary Seoul citizenship by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon. (Joel Lee / The Korea Herald)
At the same time, Rasmussen said, Korean citizens enjoy many things Denmark has to offer: lifestyle products, food, design, fashion and energy-saving technologies that are increasingly in vogue here.
Rasmussen, who was on a state visit to Korea from Oct. 23-26, was bestowed an honorary citizenship of Seoul at the venue.
Mayor Park said in a speech that the statue was a product of two years of collaboration between the city governments of Seoul and Copenhagen, with the two municipalities signing a memorandum of understanding for sustainable urban development and exchanges in the arts, culture and tourism in August 2014. On Oct. 10, a sculpture of the gate of Gwanghwamun in Seoul was installed at Copenhagen City Hall.
By Joel Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)