About 13 km south of Copenhagen on the island Amager lies the charming town Gammel Dragør with lovely and very expensive little houses and about 1.000 inhabitants.
The first base of Dragør was a fishing town in the 1100s, and the reason why it started its existence here at this place was the successfull herring-fishing. In 1370 the Hanseatics achieved trade priviliges and right to salt herrings in Dragør, but when the herring-fishing declined in the 1500s, the fishermen started to pilot ships through Øresund. About the same time the area was formally handed over to the immigrated Dutch people, who had settled in Store Magleby. In the 1700s and 1800s the shipping was of great importance to Dragør, which during a period was Denmark's second largest shipping town with 92 registered ships.The town was always an important ferry station to Skåne (Sweden).
Fra 1907 till 1957 Dragør a railway line to Copenhagen. In the first half ot the 1900s the town was a popular resort for people from Copenhagen. From ab. 1950 many new citizens moved to Dragør, and it is today an attractive residential area for newcomers from Copenhagen. The ferry between Dragør and Limhamn was established in April 1960. In october 1999, eight months before the Øresundsbroen came into use the ferry traffic stopped.Dragør has got many well-kept historical buildings, and the old part of the town is idyllic with paved streets and yellow-washed houses with red tiled roofs. Most of the buildings are from the 1700s and 1800s. The harbour is a well-kept cultural environment and is now used by sailing boats, small fishing boats and as a base for pilot boats. Dragør was in 2001 spoken highly of as a tourist town in an article in New York Times. Although the journalist was in Dragør on a rainy day in March he was captured by its charm.
From the 1500s the permanent buildings grew and Dragør became a fishing- and shipping town. From around 1600 came the real town building with 20 permanent houses. At this point the Dutch inhabitants also started planning a harbour. Besides farming the Dutch peasants also run fishing and shipping in a lesser scale. In the 1700s salvage of grounded ships was an important occupation for the citizens. the maritime war against england 1807-1814 meant a closing of the good times. From ab. 1880 the era of the sailing ships was over and so was Dragør's era as a shipping town.
A nesting box on a chimney
Where is my mum?
There was a Dragør-inn since 1721, but the present building was built ab. 1805. In a street named Blegerstræde (Bleach Street) lived families, who earned their living by bleaching fabrics. The distinguished firms in Copenhagen had fabrics bleached for tablecloths and bed-linen by the people of Bleach Street. The department store "Magasin" in Copenhagen sent in the beginning of the 1900s 6.000 rolls fabrics à 40 m to Dragør in order to have it bleached in the sun. A high house in number 12 in Blegerstræde is a typical bleach house. It is built high in order to make room for the high barrel, where the linen was boiled before the bleach. After this it was driven down to the beach to be rinsed and at last spread upon the meadows to let the sun bleach it.
Of course the weathercock has to be a ship.
The Øresund Bridge, seen from Dragør
Dragør Museum is in a warehouse from the 1600s, which for some time also functioned as the townhall. The exhibitions are marked by the shipping history with model-ships and curiosities brought home by the Dragør-skippers. The museum holds fine Dutch folk-costumes and Dutch tiles. In the harbour lies a museum-ship Elisabeth K 571, which together with other fishing boats from Dragør brought 600 jews across the Øresund to Sweden in WWII.
This old water-pump is called "Karrebæksposten" and is the last of nine water-pumps, which delivered water to the citizens of Dragør until 1907.
At the top of the pilot-house, which was built in 1802, is an open view-tower. The piloting was established in 1684 and thereby Denmark's first piloting.
photo Dragør September 2008: grethe bachmann