Sunday, March 14, 2010

Skagen, Vendsyssel, North Jutland

The top of Denmark, Grenen, where two seas meet, Skagerak coming from the North Sea and Kattegat from the Baltic Sea.

Brøndum's Hotel

Skagen is one of the sunniest places in Denmark, a favorite place for a summer holiday, the town is pretty with the yellow houses, red roofs and cosy gardens with white-painted fences. It is a lovely mix of a fishing and tourist-town, and it is marked by the group of painters, who lived here around 1900. Skagen was "discovered" in the 1870s by poets and painters like Holger Drachmann, Michael Ancher and P.S.Krøyer, who appreciated the good light and climate. The town has developed into one of the most popular holiday places in Denmark, especially for rich people in the late 1800s and in the beginning of the 1900s, but the life of a fishing-town has continued as always, and Skagen is still an important fishing harbour. A great attraction for the tourists is the life in the harbour with the picturesque old fishing -houses. Skagen Festival: Music/Jazz/Folksong in summer. Many exciting boutiques and gift-shops in the city street.

Skagen town has narrow streets and pretty houses. Skagen Museum has an excuisite collection of the Skagen painters and close to the museum is the famous Brøndums hotel and the romantic and red-painted Michael & Anna Ancher's house with memorial rooms and Ancher-paintings and drawings. Holger Drachmann's house is in the other part of Skagen town with memorial rooms. Close to his house is a small open air museum with old fishing houses, a windmill and a memorial hall . Another pretty building is the town hall and on the same road Krøyer's House, which is a halftimbered building , a fine example of the old building customs in Skagen. (private owner)

Fishing shops and restaurants.

The northernmost restaurant in Denmark, named "De 2 Have" (The two Seas)

Skagen is the northernmost city in Denmark - and when to go 5 km northeast is Grenen, Denmark's northernmost point. Along the road, which runs on the east side to Grenen you can see a reconstruction of an old vippefyr from 1561 and Skagen Fyr ("Lange Maren"), which is the highest lighthouse in Denmark. It takes 210 steps to get up in the top and look across the beautiful landscape towards Skagens Odde (Grenen), where two seas meet, Skagerak from the west and Kattegat from the east. Grenen grows with about 8 m each year, caused by the addition of material from the stream, but the point itself changes form all the time. The tour out to Grenen is a lovely ride with the blue and red tractor-train "Sandormen".

The German bunker from WWII is still there

The most wonderful blue sea, do you recognize Krøyer's blue sea?

P.S.Krøyer: Sommeraften ved Skagens Strand. Krøyer and his wife Marie
Peter Severin Krøyer, born 23 July 1851 in Stavanger , died 20 November 1909 in Skagen, was a Danish painter and one of the Danish Skagen-painters He was born in Norway but grew up by his aunt in Copenhagen. He early showed his talent as a drawer, and in the year 1864-70 he studied at Det kongelige Danske Kunstakademi and achieved in 1873 a gold medal and a scholarship. He went to Germany and France, where he worked and studied for several years. In 1878 he went to Spain and Italy where he visited Firenze, Siena and Rome. He met Michael and Anna Ancher in Paris. They lived in Skagen and this caused Krøyer to go to Skagen for the first time in 1882. He went there each summer and the concept of the Skagen-painters was created with P.S. Krøyer as the centre. As one of few Danish painters he had a selfportrait taken in at the Uffizi-museum in Firenze.
In 1889 he was married to the love of his life, the beautiful Marie, in Germany. In 1894 the married couple took over a house in Skagen plantage, named Krøyer's house. Some of his most exciting paintings were painted here, like various motives of summer evenings at the beach of Skagen. He also painted a flood of portraits, which made him a wealthy artist. Marie Krøyer left her husband and daughter in the beginning of the 1900s , and Krøyer was hospitalized several times as mentally disordered. Anyway he finished a magnificent painting "Skt.Hansblus på Skagens strand" in 1906. (Midsommernight fire). His illness grew worse and he died in 1909 at Skagen and was buried in Skagen cemetery.

The two seas which surround the land creates golden and blue shades in the dunes. The special light and a magnificent nature on all sides. The surroundings can be tough or gentle, but they are always fantastic and impressive. A high sky, lots of light, water and fresh air.

Gammel Skagen, holiday houses in the dunes

Jeckel's Hotel

Skagen is actually two towns , the little Gammel Skagen (Old Skagen) to the west by the Skagerak-coast and Skagen itself to the east by Kattegat - and from Skagen north along the coast to the northernmost point of Denmark, named Grenen, and from Grenen down south to Gammel Skagen on the western side is an about 50 km fine bathing beach. Gammel Skagen is also characteristic with the yellow houses and red roofs, but most of the old bathing hotels have been changed into time-share apartments, like the famous Jeckels Hotel .

South of Skagen is the listed migrating dune, Råbjerg Mile, a desert landscape - eternal changing and large enough to lose one's way in there, "Jutland's Sahara". During ab. 300 years it has been moving about 5 km - and deep under the giant duvet of sand are forests and villages buried; they will emerge gradually when the sand masses have moved enough eastwards. This happens with a speed of 20-30 meter a year.

Skagen, Flagbakken, bird-watchers in May 2008

A beautiful red kite.

Skagen is also a paradise for ornitologists/bird-watchers. there is a great bird-migrating in , especially in the month of May. Here are some birdwatcher upon the hill "Flagbakken" , south of Skagen. Various birds of prey arrived all day, hovering in the wind-current above the hill.

And at last we saw a small viper down the hill. I thought it was so cute, but was told that it bites just as bad as a grown-up viper. Can you see it? The little triangular head is raised at the left! (evt. click to enlarge)

photo Skagen 2003/2005/2008: grethe bachmann

1 comment:

Kittie Howard said...

Another fabulous blog! I had wondered what Skagen and the area around it looked like. One of Daniel Silva's mysteries concludes in this area, near the beach. Your photos really made me feel like I was in Skagen. I love the houses, the colors and how everything is so neat, like a fairytale. (Yes, I saw the viper, ohhhh!) Thanks, Grethe, you make Denmark's history seem like yesterday, so real I could touch it!