Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Food and Drink and Dangers outside...

Now it  is soon Christmas again!

We are so used to our Christmas traditions that we don't wonder much about from where they come. Before Christianity was held a midwinterfeast, and it is not exactly known how it was celebrated, but the Icelandic chronicle writer Snorre Sturlasson (1178-1241) tells a Saga about Hakon the Good of Norway, where king Hakon had decided that the midwinterfeast - called Jól - had to be celebrated at the same time as the Christian feast on 24-25 December. The Jól was originally placed at the midwinternight, which at Snorre's time was in the middle of January. The name  Jól is of pre-Christian origin and means feasts.

Hakon the Good, P.N. Arbo  1800s
The ancient midwinterfeast was a celebration, where the wish about peace and fertility for the next year was dominant. King Hakon was very interested in Christianity, which was not a popular hobby in Norway at that time, and on his visit to one of his landlords,where the king had to bless the beer, he cheated by making the sign of the cross.This was rather unwelcome.

There is only one pre-Christian source about the ancient Jul. The singer says in a ballad that he wants "to drink Jul" while sailing on the sea. "To drink Jul" was one of the important elements of Christmas, and  this tradition goes back to pre-Christian times, but it is not certain if the beerdrinking and the intoxication might have had a cultic significance.

Julafton, Carl Larsson, Sweden
Together with Christianity the Jul gradually became a feast of the birth of Jesus, but since he is called the "Light of the World" it is actually correlating well with the basic idea of Christmas and the old celebration of the New Year and the coming light. The birth of Jesus was in the 300s defined as 25 December. Winter solstice was placed on this day in the Roman Empire- this created a situation where Jesus could compete with other deities who also had their main holy days around winter solstice - like in the Mithras religion. In the North the Jul was put together with the Christian feast for the birth of Christ, but the church did not succeed in naming the feast Kristmesse (Christmas). In Denmark it is still called JUL.

Food and Drink for Christmas

Ham and bacon were important. The pig had to die!

When the Christmas food had to be prepared for the table the pig had to be slaughtered. During the Christmas period people had -  if they could afford it - enough fat food and strong beer. In the 1700-1800s it was especially the meat from pork which was served on the Christmas table, and it was prepared into fresh boiled ham, sausage, blood sausage and salt food. The pigs had ideally been out in the forest all autumn, eating themselves fat in beech seeds and acorns. After autumn came November, named slagtermåned (slaughter month). And the fat pigs were being slaughtered.

Slaughtering the pig was an event above the usual. The farm people had to prevent someone from looking at the pig with evil eyes - and after the pig had been scalded and opened, the guts had to be brought into the house as soon as possible, and doors and windows of the scullery were closed, for if they were open, they might risc that the pig's intestines broke or all other kinds of misfortune happened. In order to prevent "unauthorized" persons to get into the scullery during the work, a cross was cut in the pig's heart, lungs and liver, before it was put into a water-filled vessel.  In a village at Zealand an ancient custom was still kept alive in the 1800s: the upper cervical vertebra was given to the dog. If a human eat the meat of this piece, it meant that he or she would be decapitated the next year. 

Wheat Bread was a special form of giant Christmas cakes and they were often decorated with  refined patterns. But the small Christmas cakes similar to what we know today were also a part of the Christmas delights. 
Giant Christmas bread cake 1637

In a farm the Christmas baking was another important task, especially the baking of sigtebrød (rye bread), a delicacy which people rarely had on daily terms. The large ovens were filled with  big delicious bread. Some breads were round or oval and were called cakes, some of these cakes were immensely giant and might have a weight of 12 kilos. Regardless of shape or weight they were equipped with some decorations. Around 1850s the patterns were drawn with a quill pen, a comb or other pointed things, circles were made by pressing a drinking glass into the dough, creative people stamped potato prints with figures cut in raw potatoes - or they made wooden stamps, where the figures were hearts, pentagrammes, stars and alike.

christmas cake molds 1600s.

There were special aromatic scents of all spices in the house during Christmas, both around the slaughter time and the baking time. When the breadbaking was finished, the next baking was the real cakes. The traditional peppernuts were made without leavening - and those small spicy cakes were as hard as stone. Spices were purchased as whole spices and grounded in a mortar, and the scent and aroma of allspice, cinnamon, pepper, clove, cardamom were the spirit of Christmas. Klejner, applecakes and various waffles also belonged to the Christmas assortment.

christmas beer 1896

Christmas beer had to be sweet. Good and strong and sweet beer was made in the home brewery.
eating and drinking 1600s
In the oldest source about the Nordic Christmas feast was a song from the end of the 800s. Here was no talk about celebrating Jul, but about "drinking jul". In the medieval folk songs the expression "to drink jul" was still used - and in the peasant society juletønden, the Christmas barrel, was the name of the sweet, strong and good beer made on the occassion of  the upcoming Christmas feast. The beer had to be strong and sweet, both honey and extra malt were added. The brewing work was hard, it gave thirst and the wife who did the brewing, might have taken the opportunity "to gaze a little too deep" in the newly brewed beer. A farmer's wife from Zealand had been gazing so deeply in the strong beer that her husband invited the lord of the manor to see the drunken housewife!  She was jumping around singing a song with an uncertain voice. "Is your wife always that happy ?" asked the landlord. The farmer said with a smile. "Well, we did brew some beer yesterday."

Brewery 1600s

The official breweries took gradually over and sent various types of beer on the market around Christmas time. Today, when Tuborg's Christmas beer is sent out the day is called J-day, and the beer is expected with excitement at the pubs.

The society's eating and drinking in Christmas time in the previous centuries might have had several reasons. People undoubtedly both eat and drank plenty when they had the possibility to do so, and Christmas time meant good and delicious food and strong and sweet beer, which contributed to the cosiness in the dark season. Some people meant that the Christmas-eating and drinking might be a means to secure a fertile year. Christmas was an event before the coming year, and by eating and drinking well during this special time people might influence the new year to contain some of the same abundance and ample supply like the previous year.

The Dangers outside

Today we connect Christmas with cosiness and security,  but for people in the old days - especially out in the country - Christmas had another and more gloomy dimension. It was the darkest time of the year and in the dark many dangers and nasty creatures might lurk. Many legends tell about people meeting ghosts and supernatural creatures at Christmas time.

The church service of the deceased:  A wellknown legend is about the church service of the deceased on Christmas night and takes place at a farm near Vokslev church in Himmerland. The farmhand were out early to fodder the horses on Christmas morning. The farm had no clock, and he went into the house to wake up the farmer and his wife. He told them they had slept over, he had heard some singing in the church - and the farmer's wife jumped out of bed. She must not be late for the church service. She dressed and hurried off to  church and into her church stool, but then she discovered that sitting next to her was someone who had died years ago. All the church goers were deceased people. Her neighbour whispered to her that she had to hurry out of the church and hold on to her cape, if she felt that someone was grasping it. She did as she was told - and when she came to the church door her cape was torn away from her. When the village people came to the church in the morning they saw her cape lie outside the church door, torn into little pieces

White Lady, wikipedia

Christmas ghosts. Other legends describe real Christmas ghosts at Kongensgård in Thy. A young girl was haunting each Christmas and New Years Eve, even in the stable where she had once hung herself.  At Spentrup churchyard near Randers a child murderer was haunting between Christmas and New Year, and in Besser vicarage at the island Samsø a child was heard crying on Christmas Eve.

At Høegholm manor a daughter of the landlord was evoked down in the forest, and when she was lowered to her neck she asked permission to come close to the manor by a hanefjed (tiny step) each Christmas Eve. She was allowed to do so and when she will reach the castle on Christmas Eve once upon a time, the castle will sink into the ground . At a farm at Balleskov field near Skanderborg was always a racket at Christmas and New Year, and at a farm in Keldernæs at Lolland "the ghosting" started already in November, increasing during Christmas and diminishing in January.

The Wild Hunt, P.N.Arbo 1872

Hans Lindenow, who died in 1659, drove through Skibbrogade in Kalundborg with his head under his arm. Many had seen this! They were said to be sober!In the town Nordborg at the island Samsø the Helhesten (a ghost horse) came and drank from the water trough. In some districts people might risc to meet "the Wild Hunt",  a society of hunting men and howling dogs, led by "the Night Hunter",  the "Wojensjæger" (the Odinshunter). He meant death and misfortune, if he did not get a ward off sacrifice. He wanted mostly meat for his dogs. The Night Hunter might be what some names suggest, namely nobody else than Odin himself, the Nordic Asatru's wise, but gloomy leader.
Helhesten/ The ghost horse

Death Omens: Christmas was also  - because of its special magic -  very well suited for taking omens, like about weddings, weather, harvest, death and alike. He, who during Christmas dinner sneaked outside and looked through the window, would discover who was a coward and who had to die in the year to come, for this person was sitting by the table without a head or without a shadow. But it was not without a risc to watch this. He might see something shocking and end up being crazy from agitation. This happened to a young guy at Zealand.

Another method was to walk to the churchyard on Christmas midnight and sit upon the church gate with a green turf or some grave mould upon his head. This would make him able to see the shadows of those who had to die in the coming year. This was a most dangerous thing to do. A guy who tried this had his head twisted around. Another guy saw all the shadows, but also someone with a rope around his neck . This was the guy himself who hung himself before the year had gone.  

The grave sow

But there was no security indoors either. If the farm people had forgotten to give a couple of extra sheaves to the gloso (a special staring sow) at the end of the harvest, they would risc that the sinister sow came into the house making lots of ravage on Christmas Eve. The gloso or the grave sow was a giant pig with a knifesharp back with bristly brushes and with staring eyes, announcing death and disaster.

invisible creatures. 1600s
Many ancient stories indicate that some of those supernatural guests were wellknown and expected. In Helsinge parish and in the Århus district the tradition was that the house wife put an extra setting upon the table. At Bornholm and at Zealand the food had to stay on the table on Christmas night and the candles had to burn all night. In some places the residents slept in a bunch of hay on the floor on Christmas night, while the covered beds were empty, ready for the special guests.

Christmas goat

rumble pot

Human Scary Creatures:  Some of the sinister guests were real. Documents from the 1700s tell about the Christmas goat, a dressed-up guy, who was jumping around and goring all people, trying to scare them. A story from the beginning of the 1500s tells about young people running around in "devil's clothes", scaring people and making trouble. The human Christmas ghosts made noise with rumble pots and threw pieces of pots and ash bags on the house doors.  In the end of the 1600s it was forbidden to walk around with the rumble pots  in Copenhagen. But the human scary creatures took the sting out from the terrible supernatural creatures of the Christmas nights by giving them a concrete and harmless form - and there was no risc inviting the human ghosts into the house for a Christmas snaps.

photo from wikipedia and Nordisk folkeliv i det 16 århundrede



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

JORN and POLLOCK, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen

Asger Oluf Jorn (3 March 1914 – 1 May 1973) was a Danish painter, sculptor, ceramic artist, and author. He was a founding member of the avant-garde movement COBRA and the Situationist International.. He was born in Vejrum, in the northwest corner of Jutland, Denmark, and baptized Asger Oluf Jørgensen.
The largest collection of Asger Jorn's works—including his major work Stalingrad - can be seen in the Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, Denmark.
Asger Jorn: Letter to my son, 1957
In 1929, aged 15, he was diagnosed with
tuberculosis although he made a recovery from it after spending 3 months on the west coast of Jutland. In 1936 he traveled (on a BSA motorbike he had scraped together enough money to buy) to Paris to become a student of Kandinsky. However when he discovered that Kandinsky was in straitened circumstances, barely able to sell his own paintings, Jorn decided to join Fernand Leger's Academie Contemporaine, it was during this period that he turned away from figurative painting and turned to abstract art. In 1937 he joined le Corbusier in working on the Palais des Temps Noveau at the 1937 Paris Exhibition. From 1937 to 1942, he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. Jorn  was the first person to translate Franz Kafka into Danish. During the course of his artistic career he produced over 2500 paintings, prints, drawings, ceramics, sculptures, artist's books, collages, décollages, and collaborative tapestries. He died in Aarhus, Denmark on 1 May 1973. He is buried in Grötlingbo, on the island of Gotland in Sweden.

Pollock, nr. 5 1948

Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956), known as Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was well known for his unique style of drip painting. During his lifetime, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety, a major artist of his generation. Regarded as reclusive, he had a volatile personality, and struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. In 1945, he married the artist Lee Krasner, who became an important influence on his career and on his legacy.
Pollock died at the age of 44 in an alcohol-related, single-car accident; he was driving. In December 1956, several months after his death, Pollock was given a memorial retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)  in New York City. A larger, more comprehensive exhibition of his work was held there in 1967. In 1998 and 1999, his work was honored with large-scale retrospective exhibitions at MoMA and at The Tate in London. In 2000, Pollock was the subject of the film Pollock, directed by and starring Ed Harris, which won an Academy Award. 

Source: wikipedia

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen has taken a closer look at the work of two outstanding artists with an exhibition Revolutionary Roads. (with 135 works, paintings drawing and prints) From November 15 2013 - February 23 2014. .

Jorn and Pollock never met, but they both  revolutionized painting during and immediately after World War II. They were the same age, one a northern European born in Vejrum, Jutland, the other an American from Cody, Wyoming, in the USA. This exhibition focuses on the period 1943-1963. For both artists there was a ‘before’ this period, and for Jorn also an ‘after’. It was in this period that the two artists’ work was defined and they achieved the greatest international attention.
Some of Jorn’s and Pollock’s works are almost indistinguishable in style. Jorn and Pollock offer us different versions of the routes that the revolution in painting could take, and often what looks identical is really fundamentally different. With his drip technique Pollock changed the rules of the game for painting itself for many people. He staged the artist as the modern hero; he was in the painting, but outside society. Jorn went a different way. For Jorn it was about commitment to the real world, about getting history and the contemporary world into art and a residue of the figurative in his works, a recognizability to which we can relate as viewers.

Jorn is a central figure in Louisiana’s collection and has been presented retrospectively several times, but it is half a century since Pollock’s paintings were last presented at the museum (in 1963). This exhibition shows 135 works, paintings, drawings and prints lent by some of the world’s leading museums and private collections.

The meeting between the works of the two artists has been organized in five thematic sequences, each with its own expression – routes that constantly cross paths: Myths and Mythmakers, Figuration and Abstraction, Abstract Expressionism and What Looks Like It, The Accidental and The Controlled and Jorn & Pollock. Revolutionary Roads. 

Source: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Grass Snake/ Snog

Natrix natrix

grass snake, photo: stig bachmann nielsen,

The grass snake ( also called the ringed snake or water snake) is a Eurasian non-venomous snake - and the name natrix is probably derived from the Latin nare or natare "to swim". It is widely distributed in mainland Europe, ranging from mid Scandinavia to southern Italy. It is also found in Middle East and northwestern Africa. British grass snakes belong to the subspecies N. n. helvetica. This species is one of only three snakes to occur in Great Britain, and is distributed throughout lowland areas of England and Wales, it is almost absent from Scotland and is not found in Ireland, which has no native snakes.

The grass snake (Natrix natrix) is one of few snakes in Denmark. The Danish name is: Snog. It is usually black with a lighter underside, the two yellow neck spots are its most important characteristics, but the yellow spots might be absent in some rare cases. The grass snake is recognized from the viper by that its head is evenly into the body and that it has a circular pupil. In Denmark are found grass snakes of ab. 132 cm lenght. The female is averagely longer than the male. (average 100 cm)  The newly hatched young ones look like the adults, but some young snakes might have a zigzag stripe down the front part of the back, and thereby be mistaken for vipers. The grass snake can bite, but it is not poisonous and is usualy not aggresive towards humans.

Not being venomous, the snake's only defence is to produce a garlic-smelling fluid from the anal glands, or to feign death by becoming completely limp.The snake may also perform an aggressive display in defence, hissing and striking without actually opening the mouth. It rarely bites in defence. It may also secrete blood from the mouth and nose whilst playing dead. Its enemies are various predator species, including corvids, storks, owls and perhaps other birds of prey, and foxes.

The grass snake is protected in Denmark and many of its habitats are protected according to law. It lives in most of the country, but is rare north of Limfjorden and is not seen on some of the Isles. During the latest 100 years the grass snake has declined considerably in Denmark. In Europe the grass snake is protected by the Bern-convention. 

grass snake hunting, Sweden, photo; wikipedia.

The young grass snake eats earthworms, snails without house, insects, fish fry and tadpoles. The adult snake hunts especially frogs and toads and it swims elegantly out into the water for frogs, but is also seen hunting along the edge of a lake. When the snake is close to the prey it uses its sense of smell to catch it. The adult grass snake feeds almost exclusively on amphibians, although they occassionally eat lesser mammals and fish. A grass snake in captivity can eat earthworms, but it never feeds on carrion. Contrarily to the python the grass snake consumes the prey while it is alive and is not influenced by the poison from amphibians.

The grass snake is especially found along rivers, lakes and bogs, but also in heaths, in forest clearings, in field borders and stone dikes. It demands a varied terrain, and its preferred habitat is lakes and bogs where the sun shines - and which is surrounded by forest. If you see many frogs somewhere, you'll probably also find grass snakes. The chance to see them is especially in the afternoon where they are most active, since the water is warmest at that time.The grass snake has declined in Denmark since its prey, frogs and toads have declined in numbers and spread. Their habitats have disappeared or they are destroyed. The landscapes are more uniform and the snake needs stone dikes, field borders and alike in order to find a suitable place for laying eggs. The manure by the farms where the grass snake can lay its egss have become rare.

grass snake swimming, photo: wikipedia

Grass snakes, as with most reptiles, are at the mercy of the thermal environment and need to overwinter in areas which are not subject to freezing. Thus, they typically spend the winter underground where the temperature is relatively stable. The males appear in the end of March after hibernating in winter, and they start to sunbathe near the winter-quarter. They are ready to mate at the end of April after they have been moulting which occurs at least once during the active season. As the outer skin wears and the snake grows, the skin loosens from the body, including from the eyes, which may turn a milky white colour at this time. This presumably affects the eyesight of the snakes and they do not move or hunt during this time. The outer skin is eventually sloughed in one piece (inside-out) and normal movement activity is resumed.

bog lake Rebild Forest 2012, gb
At this point the females appear and the mating happens in the beginning of May. The females lay their eggs in mid-summer. The eggs have to be placed where it is moist and warm in a landscape like in Denmark, where the grass snake uses manures, compost piles, and piles with garden waste. Laying eggs might happen in a compost pile at least 15 cm inside the pile. The litter of the grass snake is averagely 13 eggs.The eggs are hatched in the middle of or the end of September, and  the young ones can take food at once.

If the weather is cold, the grass snake hibernates without having eaten. The young ones live very hidden and grow 10-15 cm each year. The males are mature after the third winter, the females after the fourth winter. Some grass snakes can reach an age of 23 years. In August-September the animals return to their winter quarter. If it is hot enough the snakes might mate once again. They hibernate in late September or in the beginning of October. When overwintering they demand a place which is not too moist, like a southfacing hill in the edge of a bog area, but they might also overwinter among stones in ruins, in stoneworks at old bridges, in abandoned fox graves or hollows under trees.

fairy tale  folklore
In Danish folklore the snakes are both large and very varied. The stories about the house snake is a lesser group and those stories mostly belong to Jutland.

The country people were very familiar with its presence and they rarely hurt the grass snake, which almost belonged to the livestock like the stork did. The snake was considered as a protector of the house and a good spirit. The grass snakes liked to go into the houses and they were allowed to do so in many places, since they repaid this freedom by cleaning the house from mice and insects. And people accepted that the snake drank the cream and the milk from the milk jug and lived in and under the beds.

The beds were in "the old days" mostly alcoves with curtains or wooden doors. In the bottom of the bed were placed heather bundles as close as possible and above this was spread the bedstraw. Such a bed bottom was a popular place for the grass snake. It loved the heat, and the goodnatured animal became easily domesticated with people, who did not hurt them. The snake often resided in houses and stables.
There are many stories about children sharing their porridge and milk with a grass snake, and the parents thought it meant great luck for a child to eat together with a snake. An old man told about his childhood in the late 1890s: "When our parents were out working in the field,  and while we children were sitting eating, the grass snakes came and began to lap up the milk, but we thought it was exciting. "

alcove bed, wikipedia
In a village Hesselholt, Mammen parish were so many grass snakes that they walked across the floors when there was silence in the house. In many villages and parishes are told about grass snakes living in the bottom of the beds. In Kragelund, Mid-Jutland someone told that there was a big number of snakes in the manure and in the heather bundles of the beds, and the snakes milked the cows! This was a constant rumour everywhere. An old woman told about Vissing kloster. Here were so many grass snakes that they walked into the houses and resided in the alcove beds. There are lots of stories about the grass snakes living in the bedstraw and lapping the milk from the porridge.

The Grass Snake King.
The stories about the king of the grass snake are similar to the stories about the Viper King, which can be read in the article about the viper here on Thyra-blog.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chocolate is healthy -.Seven good News!

Here are seven good news about chocolate, so don't feel it as a burden upon your conscience if you love chocolate. 
A piece of chocolate each day is okay!

1) Chocolate minimizes the risc of a stroke. 
If you eat 60 g chocolate a week, you've got less risc of dying from a stroke.This is due to the flavonoids, an antioxidant, which is richly presented in chocolat. It lowers the blood pressure and the levels of the bad cholesterol.

2)  - keeps you slim
People who eat moderate chocolate each week are slimmer than people eating chocolate sometimes. A research shows this. In USA they compared two similar groups of people. The difference was there, but it was not obvious what made the difference.

3) - gives you a sharper eyesight
A piece of chocolate can make you a better driver in bad weather. The flavonoids are probably the reason, since they increase the blood flow to the retina which makes you see better. This is particularly true when it is difficult to distinguish contrasts in rain and fog.

4 ) - makes you a math genius!
If you need to control your loan in the bank or help your school-child with the math? A little chocolate can make you more clever. An English research concluded that students who eat chocolate were better doing the math. The reason? The flavonoids increase the blood flow to the brain.

5) - makes you remember it all.
Chocolate can overcome the age-related memory. In other words: it makes you wiser. In order to find out if this could be measured, a scientist examined for fun the link between chocolate-ingesting and the Nobel-prizes. In Schwitzerland people are the top chocolate eaters -  and Schwitzerland is in top as to the Nobel prizes!!

6) - can promote love
 Does chocolate work as a natural viagra? Both yes and now. It is known that the substance fenetylamin, which is present in lesser numbers in chocolate, releases endorphines and increases the effect of dopamine, which on the other hand affects the sexual desire. But it is not certain if the number of the substance in chocolate is enough to affect the sexual feelings.

7. - helps the PMS-mood.
 Chocolate increases the serotonin-hormone in the brain. Therefore it functions as increasing the mood for a woman with pms or menses, where the serotonin-levels are low.

By Anki Sydegaard/ translation Marianne Arnvig/sundhedsøndag, nr. 46, 11.11.13, 
Sources: Medicinehunter. com,, SVD.SE, BBC NEWS, 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

BHL - Information for everyone

Biodiversity Heritage Library

 - a great web-site with free access to endless information.

Inspiring discovery through free access to biodiversity knowledge.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library works collaboratively to make biodiversity literature openly
available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.

BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life

Maybe you know it already for it was launched in 2005, but it has developed through time. It is really a good website. Books and material from all over the world and from various periods in time. Fantastic information. 

Have a good time !
Grethe B. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Møns Klint and the Geocenter Møn

July 2013
On our way to Møns Klint we saw two cranes flying north. We have been searching for the cranes in North Jutland in the nature reserve in Thy last year, but saw no one. But here they were, high up in the air. Some very special birds.

Entrance to shop and café
citygate, Stege
in the coffeehouse

We came through the main town of the Møn-island, named Stege. The town has maintained its city gate from the Middle Ages.

 We had coffeee in a Coffeehouse established in the old pharmacy. The entrance was a gift shop with exotic things from Asia. The café, called Kaffehuset Møn, is furnished after Viennese model with the traditional darkbrown bentwood Viennese chairs and other Viennese furniture and Art Nouveau lamps. The waitresses were dressed in starched pure-white shirts and long skirts and long aprons. They even had an oldfashioned hairstyle. Nice and friendly service.

We discovered that this place was actually a micro roastery where they imported and roasted their coffee from all over the world. There was a very elegant coffee menu  with all those various coffees. "What coffee would  you prefer?" they asked.  The coffee was fantastic. The pastry was like being back in Vienna.

Møns Klint

Freuchens Pynt, seen from new boardwalk.
Freuchens Pynt
New Boardwalk, 2013

 Møns Klint

After this lovely and surprising experience we went on towards Møns Klint. A new boardwalk was built here and had just been opened by queen Margrethe. The boardwalk lead the public to a cliff called Freuchens Pynt which had not been accessible before. It was a quite new design which gave access for wheelchair users. Some have critisized it for damaging the nature, but IMO it is silly, for we have also built steps down to the beach and stairs up to the high section of the cliff several years ago. Where's the difference? The nature is there for us to see and explore. We have learned invaluable things about the "Birth of Denmark" through the examination of this amazing place around Møns Klint, and we can get all the information we wish for in the communication center Geocenter Møn, which opened on Store Klint in Klinteskoven in May 2007.

Geocenter Møns Klint

The plankton in the warm tropic ocean.
Ice cave.

The exhibition is constructed as a timetravel of 70 million years, where you are brought from the bottom of the chalky ocean and forward to the unique nature at Møns Klint today -  this happens via hightechnological exhibition-techniques, free interpretations of artists and rare fossiles. The exhibition is made up as a prehistoric and a contemporary section, a workshop, a climbing cave, a little cinema under the glacier and a 3D-cinema. The workshop is a working place, where children and adults can have exciting activities together with the nature supervisor. It is the most modern science-center in northern Europe.


A new special exhibition about the dinosaurs.
This new exhibition is based on the finds from a Danish expedition to Jameson Land in Greenland July 2012 and the finds from eight earlier expeditions to the same area made by Harvard University twenty years ago. When the Danes went on the expedition in 2012 it was the result of a good cooperation between Geocenter Møns Klint, Københavns Universitet, Geomuseum Faxe and Harvard University. Some extremely exciting fossiles were found, among other things a phytosaur, a crocodile-like beast, which had not been found in Greenland before. In the new special exhibition at Geocenter both the bones from the Harvard-expedition and the Danish expedition in 2012 have their world's premiere. And the dinosaurs are brought to life in the newest technology.

children's corner


Beside the Geocenter is by the Danish Naturstyrelse (management) built a fine campsite with 4 shelters, tables and benches, fireplaces, toilet sheds etc. There is room for 30 people and it is free of charge to stay there. Downside the restaurant is also a children's playground with wooden models of some of the large fossiles. 

map of Møns Klint from 1900./wikipedia

Møns Klint in 2007/ stig b.nielsen,

Møns Klint is a beautiful landmark along the eastern coast of the Danish island of Møn in the Baltic Sea.The cliffs and adjacent park are now protected as a nature reserve. The dramatic steep cliff is an experience, but also the forest and the open areas offer an exciting nature, the place is especially known for the many fine orchids. Møns Klint is the highest cliff in Denmark and is at the same time a unique biotope - or rather a collection of biotopes.

The look of the klint is still changing caused by degradation. It is usually possible to walk along the cliff in all its extension, although occassional slippage creates natural hindrance. It is at your own risk to walk there. Several signposted circuits provide opportunities for walkers, riders and cyclists to discover the surroundings.

Møns Klint consists of the high chalk deposits from the end of the Cretaceous period about 75 million years ago. The chalk (in Danish called "skrivekridt" because of its usability) consists of the shells from plankton from the wam tropic oceans of the Cretaceous period. Glacials have pushed these chalk-layers up from the sea during the Ice Ages, creating the high cliffs at Møn, but also Stevns Klint at the eastern part of Zealand. In the chalk-layer are incredible lots of remains from prehistoric lesser marine animals. On the beach it is possible to find the fossiled back shield of octopus and spikes from sea urchins. It is easy to find fossiles of mussles, oysters and other shellfish


model of a slippage
There have been many large cliffslides through the years. In 1994 was a large slide at "Dronningestolen"  and a French tourist was killed. Erosion caused one of the highest points on the cliffs, the "Sommerspiret", to fall into the sea in 1998, and in January 2007, there was an even larger landslide around the Store Taler, in the northern part of the cliffs, creating a 300-m long peninsula of chalk and fallen trees stretching out into the sea below

the Peregrine Falcon

In recent years, the Peregrine Falcon, the fastest of all birds as it swoops down to its prey at 350 km/h, has been breeding on Møns Klint.

( Report 2013: 6 pairs, of which 5 pairs with chicks).  And the extremely rare Large Blue butterfly (Maculinea arion) can also be found in the area.

Large Blue butterfly, foto: g.bachmann 2013

photo 2007/2013: grethe bachmann
photo 2007: stig bachmann nielsen,
2013: wikipedia