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Denmark's 'mermaid' ready for Expo visit

THE Little Mermaid, the statue of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale character and one of Denmark's top tourist attractions, will be boxed up and sent to China to charm visitors at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo.

"There will be a vast amount of people traveling to Shanghai, and if there is one person who is big in China, it is Hans Christian Andersen," Denmark Deputy Prime Minister Lene Espersen told Reuters.

Espersen said that some 70 million people are expected to attend the World Fair in Shanghai next year, and at least 3 million of them are expected to visit the Danish Pavilion.

When the plan to send the statue to Shanghai emerged last year, it created a heated debate in Denmark. Some politicians said six months were too long for one of Copenhagen's landmarks to be away from the Scandinavian country.

But a city spokesman said on Thursday that there was now a majority on the Copenhagen City Council in favor of the trip. A final vote will take place on February 19.

Espersen said the Danish pavilion, called Welfairytales, will portray Denmark as an environmentally friendly country by combining the old with the new -- fairytales and welfare.

The sculpture, which sits on a granite block in Copenhagen's port, was created in 1913 by Edvard Eriksen.

The Hans Christian Andersen fairytale that bears her name was first published in 1837 and has since been turned into a Walt Disney cartoon.

It tells the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up everything for the love of a prince.


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