Monday, October 13, 2014

Sæby, a most charming Smalltown in Vendsyssel


Peder Mønsted. forest.painting
The town Sæby in the northeastern part of Jutland lies about 12 km south of Frederikshavn and 50 km northeast of Aalborg.  It lies at the river-mouth in an idyllic nature looking like a painting from the Danish Golden Age the late 1800s. Artists and authors were gathering in the small town  by the sea of Kattegat. The town was originally a fishing village,.but it got its municipal rights in 1524

Sæby is today a hinterland town for a big part of the southeastern Vendsyssel and an important tourist city , attracting holiday-guests because of its bathing beaches and the old small-town milieu.  In the summer period many yachtsmen come , and the first they see by entering the harbour is the modern landmark of the town Fruen fra Havet (The Lady from the Sea) raised there in 2001. The other and oldest  landmark of Sæby is the church , Sct. Marie church, which was once

a karmelit-kloster. The earliest sections of the church are from the 1100s, while the other sections are from the 1400s and 1500s. Close to the church is the old market square with the old town hall from 1750.

Sæby originally emerged  at the mouth of Sæby river by the sea of Kattegat. Here was a natural possibility for a harbor. Most of the old town lies south of the river. West of the town lies the pretty Sæbygård forest in a very hilly terrain. The river runs through the forest surrounded by steep  slopes, grown with beeches.

The Vikings were the first citizens in the small village by the mouth of the river. Traces of wooden bulwark from the Viking period were found at the outernest river mouth. .

In the Middle Ages the town consisted of two divided town-societies. By the sea was a fishing village, and a little church was built here in 1450. Inside, in the countryside,  was a farmer's village, connected to the fishing village by a field-road. The two societies were gradually  closer connected
when houses were built along the field-road.


 The old main street Algade lies like a silent provinciel idyl. Each house has a history. The house which is now museum had its present look in the 1700s. Clasens Hotel was built about 1750. Today Clasens hotel is a part of the city-museum. Sæby Watermill is also one of the attractions. The watermill was built in 1710,while the living house is from 1850.


  Sæby church is from the 1400s. When the kloster was founded in Sæby, the monks extended the church in order to make it function as both parish church  and kloster church. The church in Sæby was once a part of the southern wing of Maristed kloster



Both the town Sæby and the closeby manor Sæbygård belonged to the rich bishopric Børglum in the 1460s. Bishop Jens Friis established a Karmelit-kloster at the church in the fishing village. The kloster was consecrated to Sct. Marie and was called Maristed. It kept this name until after the reformation. Another Børglum-bishop Stygge Krumpen provided the municipal rights for Sæby in 1524.

The harbour was the life-nerve of the town, but at the same time it gave lots of problems for the fishers, the merchants and the city management, because it was filled with silt each spring, brought from the inside land - and in the autumn storms sand and seaweed filled the front of the river mouth. In 1879 the conditions grew better when the river outlet was led north

From the end of the 1800s Sæbys pretty situation and cosy small-town environment were discovered by Scandinavian artists and authors. Painters like P.C.Skovgaard, Peter Mønsted and Chr. Zacho were inspired by the romantic milieu. Several authors also took residence in the town. Gustav Wied settled in a pension called Rolykke outside town - and here he got married 1st of  May 1896. Henrik Ibsen  lived at the Hotel Harmonien at the square, while Holger Drachmann and Herman Bang resided at Clasens Hotel. In Herman Bang's novel "Sommerglæder" some citizens were very offensive portrayed. They felt insulted and complained to the Danish author society which  rejected the complaint.

The mayor-daughter Adda Ravnkilde was a very young author who broke the norms by writing about the problems of female authors in a male-dominated society. She wrote three novels before she in 1883 committted suicide at the age of 21. Her tragic fate is said to have inspired Henrik Ibsen to his play "The Lady from the Sea".

The artists met with the locals and other holiday guests for evening feasts in Clasens garden, which lies close to the river. The cosy atmosphere was delivered by the married couple from the hotel by hanging coloured lanterns up and let the local symphonic orchestra play music.



Along the river is a park with a winding path from the harbour to the watermill. Between the main street and the river is a beautiful little park which was earlier the garden of the famous Clasens Hotel. In a corner of the park is the instrument, Thomas Andersens "Earth bass". in the lane.

A garden Nellemans Have is an old apple orchard from 1925. The garden holds more than 200 various crab apple trees.

At Voergård manor about 20 km southwest of Sæby is one of the finest collections of art and antiques, due to the farmer's son Ejnar Clausen, who when young married a stinking rich French count-widow and in 1955 brought her large family-collection to Voergård. There is public access to the main building and the park.

By the coast is the small idyllic fishing village Voerså with harbour in the river mouth. The inn got  a royal privilege in 1730, and the old village-school has a little fishing museum.

The manor Sæbygård, which belonged to the bishopric of Børglum, is now a manor- museum.
It lies in the outskirt of Sæbygård forest.

photo Sæby: grethe bachmann, August 2014:

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Butterfly wants to join a Flute-concert in Odense

Butterfly and Flutist

A butterfly lands on the face of a Japanese flutist, Yukie Ota, while she’s playing Pierrre Sancan’s ‘Sonatine’ at the 2014 Carl Nielsen International Flute Competition in Odense, Denmark.
Grace under pressure? Wait for it... she didn't miss a note!

It is really a special moment. Just watch it!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Fungi-World in Autumn

1) In a Forest at Løvenholm manor, Djursland.

After some rain there were many mushrooms in the September-forest. The forest at Løvenholm manor on Djursland is usually a good place to find a good variation of mushrooms.

The first collection of my mushroom-photos is from Løvenholm, the second from a heath at Vrads Sande and the third from a forest close to Silkeborg. 


The autumn is high season of fungi in the woods, both the edible and the poisonous. There are many guided tours with experts who'll guide people to find the good edible mushrooms and to avoid the dangerous ones.

Many groups are out in the forest with baskets, gathering mushrooms for their dinner and many love to go fungi-hunting in the autum, where numbers of toadstools after a heavy rain suddenly tell people that now has autumn arrived.

The fungi are so deviant from plants and animals that the overall collective term flora and fauna  had to be expanded by a third unit which only includes the fungi.  Until the middle of the 1900s the fungi were considered to be plants, but however the scientists acknowledged that the fungi were so deviating from other organisms that they should have their own group. There are supposedly about 1.5 million fungi worldwide. In Denmark are over 6000 species.

 Many years' research has shown that fungi in fact er more closely related to animals than to plants. The research has also proved that fungi have an important  role in the decomposition of organic substances in the soil.

2) At a heath at Vrads Sande, Mid Jutland

Vrads Sande, in  Mid Jutland.

Edible fungi have been known by humans for thousands of years, fx in China. In the old Rome people also knew about both edible and poisonous mushrooms, and they believed they were outgrowths from the moist soil. Not until 1710 the Italian Pier Antonio Micheli discovered that fungi reproduces by fungal spores - and he described several species. But it was the Dutchman Christian Hendrik Persoon (1761-1836) and the Swede Elias Fries (1794- 1878), who are considered the founders of mycology.

Fungi are able to create very complicated organic connections  Several fungi create substances, which when eaten can attack the human organs, fx kidneys and liver, this often causes death.The most common cause of fungi-poisoning in Denmark is the substance Alfa- amanitin which among others are found in the Amanita virosa (Danish Hvid Fluesvamp), European Destroying Angel. Immature specimens of A. virosa resemble several edible species commonly consumed by humans, increasing the risc of accidental poisoning.

Amanita phalloides (Danish: Grøn Fluesvamp),  commonly known as the Death Cap, which resembles several edible species , commonly consumed by humans, increasing the risk of accidental poisoning 

Other poisonous substances are Orellanin and Gyromityrin, and finally the substance Muscarin, which acts as a neurotoxin on the heart.

 3) In a Forest close to Silkeborg
The forest

Some fungi have a hallucinating effect without being directly poisonous. Psilocybin-fungi grows all  over the world and were known long before our time. Already in 500-1000 BC humans have been drawing mushrooms upon stones in religious connections. In many countries the mushrooms were an important part of religious ceremonies and rituals. The fungi had a divine status in such cases - and in Mexico people believed in a god called Piltzintecuhtli,who was the god of all hallucinogenes, especially of the sacred mushroom.

The use of psilocybin-fungi has been done ever since, although it is illegal in many countries today. It has been illegal in Denmark since 2001 because of the risc of bad trips and poisoning. 

As it is difficult to accurately identify a safe mushroom without proper training and knowledge, it is often advised to assume that a wild mushroom is poisonous and not to consume it.


Fairy Rings
 Danish: Heksering:  A fairy ring, also known as fairy circle, elf circle, elf ring or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms. Fairy rings are the subject of much folklore and myth worldwide—particularly in Western Europe While they are often seen as hazardous or dangerous places, they can sometimes be linked with good fortune.

One of the largest rings ever found is near Belfort in France. Formed by Infundibulicybe geotropa, it is thought to be about 600 metres (2,000 ft) in diameter and over 700 years old. On the South Downs in southern England, Calocyve gambosa has formed huge fairy rings that also appear to be several hundred years old.

I have not added any names of the mushrooms in my photos. I do not gather mushrooms, I only take photos and  I buy my good edible mushrooms in the supermarket, but I think it is an exciting period in the autumn forest when all the pretty and mysterious mushrooms pop up with their fine colours in the green moss.

photo Djursland and Mid Jutland, September 2014: grethe bachmann