"The Ships"



- a maritime community ? -

"Gammel Havn" - "Old Harbour"
- full of masts and ships, - schooner "Nordboen" to the right -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

The Middelfart Logo from before Jan.01.2007,
showing strong indications of connections to the sea.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

In the heading for this chapter, I have added a question mark suggesting that the small coastal city of Middelfart might not really have great maritime traditions - - - -
In fact it has some traditions, - like all coastal cities in Denmark.
In the old days of sail, ships from Middelfart did travel the big oceans, and the flag has been shown as far away as the China coast, and in addition to that, there is also a history of whale hunting connected to this small city.
See the old city logo with the middle age ship and the whale , which I have displayed above - - - -
And to this day, - Middelfart still have its community of deep sea sailors, fishermen, ship owners as well as an old shipyard.

But when you compare Middelfart with other cities mentioned in this web site, - Aabenraa and Marstal -, you realize, that Middelfart is lagging far behind, - in fact it does not even come close to those two cities when it comes to maritime heritage.
However, - today Middelfart actually has one of the best preserved maritime environments in the country, - the historical waterfront, - centered around "Gammel Havn", - "Old Harbour" -, with the old shipyard, where ships have been built for more that 150 years.

In spite of this, - if I really wanted to go closer to the greatest maritime centers in Denmark, - it would make a lot more sense to drop Middelfart and instead go east to the capital Copenhagen, which has always been, - and still is -,  an extremely important and huge maritime center.
Or I could go west, - to the island of Fanø -, which in the glorious past was home to an unusual large fleet of big sailing ships, that showed the flag all over the World.
Also I could mention the island Rømø, - the island just south of Fanø -, which in the old days specialized in whale hunting.
And more - - - -

So you could ask yourself, why does this "old salt" waste time on a not so maritime city like Middelfart, when there are lots of other cities and islands within the Kingdom which have a much more interesting maritime past compared to Middelfart?
I guess,- that you would most likely conclude, that since Middelfart is where I have chosen to drop the anchor, - it is only natural that I now want to promote that particular city.

Not so!
If I wanted to do that, I would have done it for long time ago, - and in a different way - - -

The reason for doing it, is simply a series of events that took place in 2006.
The first event happened in May, when an old wooden ship was towed into "Gammel Havn", - the old port -, in Middelfart.
It was the hull of the "Nordstjernen", - a cutter from 1872 -, which is believed to be the oldest, still existing ship built in Middelfart.
By itself this is not really a unique event, since Denmark still has a very big fleet of traditional, old sailing ships, - fully restored or waiting to be restored -, so in that sense it was not a big sensation when "Nordstjernen" finally came home to where she was born for 134 years ago.
One thing, - though -, made her unique - - -
As mentioned above, - she is a cutter -, and have a special hull design with a flat stern, - a rare type of which only one more exists in Denmark, - the "Jensine" from 1852.

The next event came in June, when the local shipping company, - "Uni-Tankers" -, had decided to make a naming ceremony for their newest ship, - the "Fionia Swan".
Usually we never see the ships from "Uni-Tankers" in Middelfart since Middelfart is not a tanker port, but here came a good chance to see the newest ship registered in Middelfart, - and to see a real ship naming ceremony.
At the same time the biggest ship registered in Middelfart, - the "Great Swan" -,was in the neighborhood and anchored just outside the city.

Therefore, - a unique situation occurred.
At the same time and place you could now see the oldest-, the newest- and the biggest ship from Middelfart!
By coincidence, the oldest ship, - the "Nordstjernen" from 1872 -, was moored only a few steps away from the newest ship, - the "Fionia Swan" -, from 2006.
What a contrast!
It was really interesting to see 134 years of ship development on display side by side!
The media did of course notice that the "Fionia Swan" would be named on June 30.2006, - but nobody noticed the unusual situation and contrast of having both the oldest-, the newest- and the biggest ship in port at the same time.

Guess that only an old sailor and ship lover would notice such things, and in order to correct that, I found it proper to record that unusual and truly unique event with my cameras, - and this is the result - - - -

Please enjoy - - -  :-)

But first, - let us see what I have found of maritime related things in Middelfart - - -

- the maritime side -

The old part of Middelfart
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

Above picture does not look very maritime, but it is taken just above the waterfront which you will find a few steps away to the to the right in the picture.
But when you read the street signs, you do get some indications - - - -
The street coming into the picture from the left is "Knorregade", - "Knorre Street".
The name does not make any sense in today's language, but if you just change the "o" with an "a", you will get the name "Knarre Street".
Then the weird name suddenly makes a lot of sense if you know what a "knar" is.
A "knar" is simply a sort of viking ship used for carrying cargo.
In other words, - "Knorregade" was simply the street that leads down to the port area where the "knars" were once moored - - -
"Knorregade" stops at the crossing you see on the picture, but actually it continues to the right, - passing the beautiful red, half-timbered houses -, and ends right at the waterfront, but now under the name "Brogade" - - -
"Brogade" means "Bridge Street", - a common street name in Danish port cities -, and it indicates that this is the street that leads you to the bridge where the ships were moored.
In some other cities the name "Brogade", - "Bridge Street" -, has actually become "Skibbrogade", - or "Ship Bridge Street" -, and in those cases you are of course not in doubt about what sort of bridge the name refers to - - - -

Old Middelfart with a look along "Brogade" - "Bridge Street"
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

In this picture you see the entire "Brogade", - "Bridge Street" -, coming from the city and ending at the street you partly see in the bottom of the picture.
This street is named "Havnegade" or "Harbour Street", - and this is exactly what it is because it runs parallel to the port area which is from where I took the picture.
"Gammel Havn", - or "Old Harbour"- , is just here where "Brogade" ends - - -

A view along "Brogade" with it's old, picturesque city houses.
The white house to the left is the former harbour office
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

The picture of the middle age ship which could be seen on the city logo from before Jan.01.2007, can be found many other places in the old part of the city - - -

(Note:  The reason why you cannot anymore see the historical city logo with the middle age ship and the whale as shown in the beginning of this page is, that before Jan.01.2007 Denmark was split up in 16 administrative regions which again was divided into 270 communes, - each with its own distinct logo that symbolized something typical for that particular city or area.
Taken the very small size of the country into consideration, this was a mess and a hopeless and expensive  bureaucracy, but finally it was decided to clean up in this waste of resources, and after Jan.01.2007, the administration came down to only 5 regions split up in 98 communes.
In this process the former small communes now came together in fewer, but bigger units, and therefore a lot of the old city logos had to go, because the new bigger communes were different from the original ones.
Therefore the new logos had to reflect the new situation, - and consequently Middelfart had to give up it's wonderful logo with the middle age ship with the whale underneath , - unfortunately.)

Middle age ship and whale.
Maritime picture on cover for the city's sewer- and drain system.
Covers with this image can be found in the old section of the city.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

The middle age ship pictured here on a wall.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

Here another wall decoration showing the same middle age ship in full colours.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

And here is one carved in wood.
This is a section from a gate, which is obviously not too old, but very likely copied from an older, original gate.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

The picture of this ship seems to be everywhere, - but where does the inspiration come from????
The "mother" and inspiration to all those ships pictures might come from the old church in Middelfart.
Above the church entrance you can see the following stone carving built into the old brick wall.
This stone carving differs from most of the other pictures, because if you look closely, you can see that the ship on the church clearly have gun ports.
In other words, - it's a war ship.
Only the wood carving on the gate, - as shown above -, has gun ports, while all other pictures I have displayed on this page show merchant ships - - -

Here the "mother" of all the Middelfart ship pictures
- a warship carving on the church dated 1667 -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

Now finally some pictures from "Gammel Havn", - "Old Harbour" -, with it's unique maritime atmosphere - - - -

View of "Gammel Havn" - "Old Harbour"
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

The picture shows a wonderful autumn look out of "Gammel Havn, with the historical ship yard, - "Lillebælt-Værftet" -, in the background.
On the slipway you can see a traditional sailing ship under repair - - -
To the left you can see the hull of the cutter "Nordstjernen" from 1872, - the oldest still existing ship built in Middelfart -, covered by a green tarpaulin, - waiting to be restored to its original appearance - - -

The eastern part of "Gammel Havn" - "Old Harbour" -, "Brogade" seen to the left.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

The central part of "Gammel Havn"
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

And here the western part of "Gammel Havn", - "Old harbour"
The historical ship yard where ships have been built for more than 150 years is seen to the right.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

Here a look along the coast beyond "Gammel Havn"
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

To the left a small part of the dark red painted old ship yard can be seen, - then comes the two so called boat houses,- painted brown -, and in the middle of the picture you can see the red painted Navy Club, - quite modest compared to the palace like Navy club in  Marstal , - but it's there, and that is the important thing - - -
The last green painted building you see behind the Navy Club is the club house of the local divers - - -
All very maritime things concentrated on a short stretch of coast line beyond "Gammel Havn.
What you cannot see on this picture is the area behind the boat houses, where fishermen usually dry their nets, and also there is a number of picturesque wooden sheds where fishing gear is stored - - -

"Marsvinet II"
- the boat of the local diver club -
- well equipped with underwater search equipment and a crane beam aft -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

Another view of the central part of "Gammel havn", - "Old Harbour".
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

"Gammel Havn"
- here seen from the sea, with 3-mast schooner "Fulton" alongside the outer pier -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

A couple of old deep water sailors at "Gammel Havn"
- me to the left, and Jan, - old Far-East-sailor-turned-fisherman-, discussing memories from Hong Kong -
(Photography by Cesare Battista, Canada)

Fishing boat, - and lots of ducks -,  the local inhabitants of Gammel Havn.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)


Click here for page two about   "Maritime Middelfart"

Click here for going back to:    "Middelfart Menu"

Back to  "The Ships"

Page initiated:  Dec.29.2007
Page Updated:  Dec.30.2007, Jan.02.2008,  Jan.05.2008, Nov.02.2010