'Havis Amanda' is also known as just 'Manta'. Both names are nicknames really - the sculpture was named Merenneito (Mermaid) by the sculptor, Carl Wilhelm 'Ville' Vallgren, who created the bronze mermaid statue while living in Paris in 1906, with young parisian Marcelle Delquini as the model for the statue. The mermaid statue was installed in Helsinki in 1908 and unveiled on September 20th, 1908, as the central part of a granite fountain with four sea lions and the mermaid rising out of the sea on a pedestal of seaweed with four fish at her feet.
The statue symbolizes the rebirth of Helsinki. Presumably this meant its rebirth from Russian oppression - a rebirth that started with the assassination of the Russian Governor-General of Finland.
While it originally drew much criticism, the Havis Amanda mermaid statue has over the years become immensely popular, and is today widely considered an icon of the city, and its most beautiful and important piece of art.
The Havis Amanda mermaid statue is clearly depicting her in her human form - with legs instead of a mermaid tail. Other mermaid statues that share this trait are the Pania of the Reef mermaid statue in New Zealand, and the Undine mermaid statue in Austria.
It was announced in 2023 that the sculpture and the fountain will be fully renovated ande repaired starting in May 2023. This will include installing new methods of including her in student and sports celebrations without anyone having to climb the statue.
Helsinki is one of the nation capitals with a mermaid as its icon.