Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Visiting Skagen




Skagen takes its name from the region, which projects into the waters between the North Sea and the straits of Denmark. Skagen is considered the boundary between the Skagerrak (named after Skagen) and the Kattegat. At its very tip is a sandy, shifting headland known as Grenen. Here it's possible to experience the sight of waves clashing together from each side of the tip.
This is where I grew up.






The area is extremely picturesque, and distinguished by its low, yellow houses with red tile roofs nestled into the beach areas. The impressive and wild landscape was largely formed by a severe process of desertification that hit the area in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Problems with moving dunes and desertification were brought under control in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries by large-scale plantations of grasses, bushes and fir trees. Two significant migratory dunes remain in the area, including the enormous Råbjerg Mile.
The area is closely associated with the Skagen Painters, a community of artists (artist colony), who flocked to this picturesque, and then unspoiled, area in the late 1800s to escape the city and to record artistically a way of life they realized was soon to disappear. The Skagen Painters, were not just painters, but also writers, and other influential people as well. While only a few were fulltime residents of the area, they were often joined by friends, especially during the summer months. Among these notable visitors and residents of the time were writers Holger Drachmann, Georg Brandes, and Henrik Pontoppidan, artists Peder Severin Krøyer, Marie Triepcke Krøyer Alfvén, Christian Krohg, Michael Ancher and Anna Ancher, and composer Hugo Alfvén. They were often gathered at the area's Brøndum's Hotel, which is still in operation today.I went there one afternoon to relax and drink some tea:

Holger Drachmann's house is also a museum today:

This is "Vippefyret". A vippefyr or bascule light was a type of small navigational aid popular in Denmark in the eighteenth century and before. It consisted of a basket in which wood or coal was set; this was then burned. The basket was affixed to a lever which allowed it to be manipulated as required.
The vippefyr system was generally viewed as ineffective, as it produced little light and was usually unreliable. It is still there today. And every year on June 23rd people go there to celebrate "Skt Hans " which is midsummer eve.

This is the beach behind my house growing up, it was pretty much my back yard. I spent so much time here:

All visitors always talk about the "special light" in Skagen. But as beautiful that light is during the day, the night time is the prettiest. During the summer months, all the tourists go to the beach for the sunset, and once the sun is setting they all applaud. It's become a tradition.
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12 Comments:

Blogger equitus said...

VERY NICE travel blog, Victoria. Great photos. (I only now noticed the link to it from Gliss's myspace page.) Also, was good meeting you and David at BotH and I look forward to your return to SF. Til lykke! Joseph

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