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A short introduction to maritime Denmark








Maritime Denmark - - -

In Denmark, - land and sea is very close connected, and combined they form a unique unity that cannot be broken.
It really looks as if one of the two elements cannot do well without the other, and combined they form a perfect harmony.
It is a complex of islands and water, where the islands grow tongues and reefs far into the sea, while the sea penetrates the land with narrow fjords and wide bays,
It seems that land and water try to embrace each other.
For me the water with its many islands is the absolute best part of the country.

And, - to put it mildly -,  the water is also quite good for the countrys trade balance, since ships under Danish ownership now carries about 10% of the total world trade - - - -
Not bad for a small nation with only about 5,5 million people, - or less that 1 % of world population - - -
 
 


Water and islands
Typical Denmark, - clean, blue sea, - traditional sailing ship and wonderful islands.
Here a view from Avernakø towards Lyø, - and a traditional sailing ship between the two  islands.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)








How many islands there are in the country is more or less impossible to say, because nature changes all the time.
New islands come and others disappear.
And how do you define an island?
If you see a yellow sandpatch of a few square meters emerging from the sea at low tide, - would that be an island?
A survey from 2003 indicates that as many as 122 new islands has emerged from the sea since 1990.
But officially there are 406 islands out of which 140 have a name.
Other sources say that there are more than 1400 islands - - -
 
 


Here a shot from the old port of Copenhagen.
The two sailing ships I have identified as "Anna Møller" and "Halmø", - but I might be wrong.
The old ships suit the historical warehouses very well, - it's like being a hundred years back in time.
Photographed May 26.2006.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)
 
 

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Island Barsø
Typical Denmark, - here a view towards beautiful island Barsø.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)








Denmark is one of the smallest countries in the world,- it covers only about 44.000 square kilometers-, but it is also the oldest Kingdom in the world.
Therefore,- when it comes to historical- and cultural things -, you have struck gold here if you ever get the opportunity - and time - to look around and "find" things.

However,- I will not go too deep into the general history, culture and scenery,- but will mainly concentrate on a small part of the maritime side of it, because I feel that this extremely important area is heavily neglected.

Apparently the authorities have a very small interest for things maritime, but fortunately enough this neglect is partly made up for by eager sailing ship enthusiasts who do a tremendous job restoring and maintaining the many fine, old, historical ships that are still around.
But I have been told, that about 50 schooners from the well known yard, - Ring Andersen in Svendborg -, are now sailing in American waters!
50 sailing ships from only ONE yard gone!!! What a pity!
They should of course be sailing here between the Danish islands where they belong.
Well, - some actually do, but under foreign flags.
But apparently anyone can just buy a beautiful, old sailing ship, and take maritime heritage out of the country - - - -

Anyway,- there are still lots of beautiful old sailing ships left, and they are taken very good care of by private people.
See point 5)  Traditional Sailing Ships  in the following main menu page - "The Ships" -
Even a unique and very rare  historical and cultural thing like the old Navy frigate "Jylland",- was NOT protected and saved by the Government - - - -
There was no interest and therefore no money - - -
Instead it was preserved by help from lots of private people like myself, and not at least with money from  Denmark's great ship owner,- Mr. Maersk McKinney Møller -, who speeded up the preservation work with a very generous gift, and made a complete restoration possible!
See point 4)   Navy Frigate "Jylland" , - 1860    in the following main menu page, - "The Ships"-

The very long coast line of about than 7314 kilometers, - and the many islands -,  compared to the land based border of only about 70 kilometers, does of course influence the culture in a distinct maritime way, - and makes it to something very unique.
 
 


Fænø Sund
- a paradise for the boat people -
- view over the sound between island Fyn and island Fænø in the background -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)
 
 


Fishing boat and fishing net.
Another view over Fænø Sund towards island Fænø.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)
 
 


View towards small island Thurø
- those small coastal villages often looks like taken directly out from a fairy tale book -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)
 
 


Fishing boats
- view from island Troense towards island Thurø, - island Langeland in the background -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)



But now a winter picture, - just to show that its not summer all the time.
And to show that winter in Denmark is VERY beautiful too!
 
 


Winter view from island Fyn towards island Fænø and island Fanø Kalv further back.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)
 
 


Autumn time, - and a fisherman tending his boat.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Photographed in November in Fænø Sund, - right outside my door.
(Just to show that ALL seasons



And now a couple of pictures to show, that the Danish coast is not only scenic islands, friendly fjords and pleasant passages between lush islands with their small cozy coastal villages - - -
The west coast is exactly opposite, - wild, hostile and sparsely populated -, but fantastic, - both when the winter storms are coming howling in from the north-west, and when the weather is dead calm and the ocean is flat like a floor, - like on the following pictures - -
 
 


The north-west coast with mist rolling in from the sea.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)


Here the 800 year old Mårup church with it's huge anchor from an English navy frigate "Cresent", that hit the coast below the church way back in 1808 - - -
The old church is long abandoned and is expected to fall into the the ocean within this year, - 2008.
Maybe the next north-westerly winter storm will do the job?

Latest on Maarup Church:
The huge anchor has now been removed and brought to safety, and the church roof and the upper part of the walls were taken down and is now stored at a safe place - - - -
And during this autumn, - year 2008 -, another section of the "wall" in front of the church fell into the ocean below. Therefore, - the sight you see on above picture is no more - - - -
 
 


The abandoned light house at Rubjerg Knude
- another example of a man made structure that has surrendered to Mother Nature on the rugged west coast -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

When the light house was built it stood about 2 kilometers from the coast, but now it is right on the edge, and almost covered by a huge sand dune, - almost a hundred meters high.
Enjoy the picture, - because it must be expected that the ocean will also soon claim this light house - - -
 
 

Here is one more picture from Maritime Denmark, - taken outside the country.
 
 


Danish 3-mast schooner "Den Store Bjørn" meets an unidentified cargo ship
- photographed in the English Channel, Apr. 15th.1990 -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)



And a final pictures of maritime traffic in more calm conditions in Lillebælt between island Fyn and Jylland.
 
 


Tug boat "Bestla" and three mast schooner "Den Store Bjørn"
- here "Den Store Bjørn" at home in calm weather -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)
 

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Page reorganized:  July 01.2008
Page updated:  Dec.10.2008, - Dec.11.2008