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The history of the beach holiday

Photo: Nordvestkysten

In North Jutland, you will find the iconic and historical beach hotels all along the coast. The walls of these beach hotels ooze of history and tranquillity and are the perfect setting for a relaxing holiday by the coast in North Jutland.



The beach holiday type has changed a lot over the years, but time by the beach is still the same. Today the skin shivers when you touch the water in the same way as it did 100 years ago. The waves crashing, the white sand, the dunes ever-changing nature is the same as when the city dwellers travelled the long journey from the city to the remote beach hotels.

The beaches in the olden days

For centuries the coastal population earned their keep primarily from agriculture, trade, fishing and hunting. Fishing and agriculture were perfectly matched seasonal activities - at those times of the year when there was little to do in the fields, the men went fishing.

The waters of the Jammerbugt claimed the lives of many. Along the coast, where the current is often strong and the west wind blows ships towards the coast, shipwrecks were common. Even the name "Jammerbugten" (the bay of misery) refers to the many who died here.


Enjoy the view of the dunes and waves as you enjoy the delicious food in calm surroundings.

Båd billede i sort-hvid

Photo:Mette Johnsen

Rescue Stations

From about 1852 and onward, primitive lifeboat stations were established all the way up the coast. The stations were painted in red and white and had swallow-tailed flags; they were manned by locals with knowledge of prevailing sea conditions. A team was set up that was responsible for salvaging the cargo from wrecked vessels and this was often well-paid work. In a "good" year, it could be more profitable than fishing. The local population is reputed to have taken every available opportunity to recover shipwrecked cargo before those responsible for salvage could get to it. By law, the salvaged cargo was to be auctioned and the profits went to the public purse.

Photo:Anne-Sophie Rosenvinge

The first beach towns

In the latter part of the 19th century, doctors were of the opinion that fresh sea air had a positive effect on health. Epidemics were common in towns and hygiene was poor; both factors which contributed to a high mortality rate.

The received opinion was that urban air was bad for the health and for this reason the wealthy part of the urban population began to spend their summers in the country – following the artists into Northern Jutland. However, it was not just Danes who held their holidays by the coast, there was also an influx of foreigners. Travelling to the beaches was accepted in certain circles.

At first, it was the fresh sea air that attracted visitors but in the second half of the 19th century, sea bathing became more and more accepted. In the beginning, it was only the summer visitors who bathed, whilst the local population looked on in bewilderment. They had learned to respect the sea from an early age and were used to enjoying no more than fresh air whilst dinner was being eaten, though they did allow their children to dip their feet in the shallows.

Skagen Painters

In the first half of the 19th century, strangers started to arrive in these coastal areas. The first travellers to this remote corner of Denmark, which both geographically and psychologically was a long way from Copenhagen, were artists such as writers and painters, and their accounts of what they found brought others following in their footsteps. The most famous of these are the painters who visited Skagen, and who captured in their pictures, the life of the local population, but various artists have found a berth along the entire coast.

Photo:Toppen af Danmark

The White Beach Huts on the West Coast

Suntans were not fashionable and you could rent specially manufactured curved chairs at the beach where you could shelter from the sun whilst chatting. Beach huts were also instituted where bathers could change their clothes before and after their dips. Initially, the beach huts had wheels and were drawn out to sea, but as more and more guests arrived the fashion changed to one for stationary changing facilities onshore. Beach huts were an established part of beach culture, and beach hotels had their own huts for their guests. In some places, a small fee was levied for use of the huts and swimwear could also be rented. An elderly woman or a couple would usually be given the job of rinsing bathing gear and hanging it to dry, ready for the next visitor.


Seaside towns and beaches on the west coast 

Life along the North Jutland west coast is equal to a life in peace and quiet. As though you were all alone in the whole wide world. Here, the skies are high and your closest neighbour is often a good distance away. On the other hand, if you prefer partying, colourful surroundings and lots of people around you, this is also a possibility – the west coast has it all!

Seaside towns and beaches on the east coast

The east coast is bursting with seaside towns with lively harbours and many child-friendly beaches. The hinterland comprises large moorlands, hilly landscapes and plantations. Here, you find peace and quiet, you will be a long way from the nearest neighbour – but, at the same time, there is also cheerfulness and gaiety, lots of people and exciting culture and nightlife.

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