Bovbjerg Lighthouse

Right on the edge of Bovbjerg Klint lies the characteristic red lighthouse, Bovbjerg Lighthouse. When it is dark, the lighthouse sends its light out over the sea. It flashes white twice every 15 seconds, but this has not always been the case. When it was first lit in 1877, it was with a living flame.

The lighthouse is part of the harsh history on Jutland's west coast. In the 19th century, most goods were transported by shipping, and the North Sea off Jutland was a highway of ships sailing with goods from all over the world. But it was a dangerous route. The conditions are insidious, the storms often ravage, and a myriad of strandings during the period made the west coast a particularly dreaded route and gave the area the nickname "The Iron Coast".

To improve safety at sea, lighthouses were built along the coast, so they could lead the sailors safely along the coast in the dark.

To keep the flame alive

When the lighthouse was built, the buildings around Bovbjerg Lighthouse were home to three families who worked there to look after the lighthouse, with the lighthouse keeper as the one in charge. The fire in the lighthouse could not die out. To this day, many stories are told about the old lighthouse keepers. For example are there plenty of stories about lighthouse keeper E. Rasmussen, who had once sailed around the world, and therefore seemed somewhat exotic in the small community on the west coast. He even had a parrot that he had brought home from his travels!

Today, there is no longer a fire to keep alive. The lighthouse is lit by an electric light that is controlled automatically, and the last lighthouse keeper left the lighthouse in 2003.

Three women save the lighthouse

The authority that owned the lighthouse in 2003 wanted to save money on the maintenance of the buildings, so they put the lighthouse up for sale. But the locals who had lived under the flashing light of the lighthouse all their lives, did not want it to go to just anyone. What now? Who would buy it? Maybe someone who would close the place to the public? That could not happen!

The lighthouse, which over the years has saved many sailors from strandings, now seemed to need a rescue itself. For three years, three local women from the area did a huge job of collecting signatures, gathering support their ideas and talking to politicians. And at last, it all worked out. In 2006, Lemvig Municipality bought the lighthouse, which they sold on to the fund that the locals had set up, for one Danish krone (DKK) - with the clause that it should be kept open and run as a cultural place with public access. And so it has been ever since.

The volunteers' ideas is the basis of the lighthouse

Just as the rescue initiative was taken on as a voluntary project by the three women, the tower is now run by a large number of volunteers. Many support the lighthouse, and the ideas from the many volunteers have developed Bovbjerg Lighthouse into a living culture house with 50 - 60,000 visitors a year. They have a café full of homemade baking goods, a shop with local products and local food, and they have changing art exhibitions every month. You can read the many good stories, including from the tower's time with lighthouse keepers and about the time during the war. The lighthouse is the setting for many exciting events each year; everything from concerts, communal dining and an autumn market to theater performances. The volunteers' ideas and urge to work are inexhaustible.

Of course you can also enjoy the view from the tower, where you can let your gaze slide over the North Sea, the three visible medieval churches on land and Bovbjerg Klint with traces from the ice age.

Today there is no Lighthouse keeper at Bovbjerg, but "Lighthouse Aunt" Lene Christiansen is in charge together with a small handful of permanent employees and keeps track of the volunteers' great work to ensure that Bovbjerg Lighthouse is kept open and active - to the benefit of the many guests.

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