Hans Christian Andersen wrote "The Little Mermaid" fairy tale in 1837, and in 1909 the founder of Carlsberg Breweries, who was fascinated by the story, had the statue built.
The Little Mermaid statue has sat on her boulder since August 23, 1913, but has had a very turbulent life, with at least eight vandalism attacks. She has been dowsed in paint numerous times, had her right arm amputated, been decapitated three times, and even pushed from her rock in 2003. Fortunately, the sculptor made a mold, so the Little Mermaid's "parts" have been reattached from the original mold.
Disney's "Little Mermaid" Ariel has introduced a whole new generation to the story.