Greenville's Little Mermaid perched on the Flat River in Michigan.

Greenville's Little Mermaid perched on the Flat River in Michigan.

News in English

Danes want royalties for Michigan mermaid

A town in Michigan has its own “Little Mermaid”, undoubtedly inspired by the famous statue in Copenhagen. The sculptor’s heirs now want the Americans to pay up.

News in English

Some residents of Greenville, Michigan, probably knew about “The Little Mermaid” from Denmark when they erected their own statue of “The Little Mermaid”. She sits on a piece of rock in the same position as the original figure on the Copenhagen waterfront.

What they probably didn’t know, however, is that the heirs to the Danish sculptor Edvard Eriksen mercilessly sue people across the world if they copy the sculptor’s mermaid.

Demand payment
The heirs have sent a letter to the local government in Greenville through the American Artists Rights Society asking whether permission has been given to erect the lookalike, and demanding royalties if the statue is to remain in place.

The Daily News, which is the daily newspaper in Greenville, quotes Kathy Jo VanderLaan, one of the residents who helped bring the statue to Greenville. VanderLaan says she is quite sure that no permission was obtained, but that the idea was never to copy the Copenhagen statue but only to have another artist interpret The Little Mermaid.

The statue is fastened to a piece of rock on the local Flat River and is part of a park that features several figures from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale universe. And like the original in Copenhagen, Greenville’s Little Mermaid has been stolen and vandalised several times.

Greenville’s Little Mermaid was given to the city in 1994 as a gift from the Danish Festival Board.

Greenville is not the only town with its own Little Mermaid. Kimbleton in Iowa also has one.
ALSO SEE: Kimballton, Iowa tourist page named 'The Home of the Little Mermaid' (external link)

ALSO SEE: Legality of mermaid sculpture in question (external link)

Edited by UP/Julian Isherwood

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