The sculpture was commissioned in 1909 by the Carlsberg brewer Carl Jacobsen, impressed by the ballet "The little Mermaid" based on a fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. The sculptor Edward Eriksen sculptured the mermaid in bronze, using his wife Eline as a model for the body. The head was modelled after a primaballerina Ellen Price.
The Little Mermaid is really little - the city's attraction #1 is only 1.25 metres/4 feet high.
The fairy tale is a tragic story of a mermaid, the youngest daughter of a sea king, who wants her soul to have an eternal life, like humans have. Mermaids live only 300 years, and then they turn into sea foam. The Copenhagen's Little Mermaid has been sitting on her rock since 1913, so she still has some more years to go.