Sæby is a port city in eastern Vendsyssel with 8,871 inhabitants (2020), located in Frederikshavn Municipality under the North Jutland Region. The town is located at the mouth of Sæby Å in the Kattegat, approx. 12 kilometers south of Frederikshavn and 50 km northeast of Aalborg. It was granted township rights in the year 1524.

Today, Sæby is an upland village for a large part of southeastern Vendsyssel and is an important tourist town that attracts holidaymakers due to its beaches and the old market town environment. In the summer, the city is visited by many yachtsmen, who at the entrance to the harbor can experience the city's modern landmark Fruen fra Havet, a 6.25 m high galleon figure by the artist Marit Benthe Norheim, erected in 2001. The city's oldest landmark is Sæby church, Skt. Mariæ Church which is originally a Carmelite monastery with vaults with extensive frescoes. The oldest parts of the church building date from the first half of the 12th century, while the other parts incl. the tower dates from the 14th and 16th centuries. Near the church is Sæby's old market and market square, Klostertorvet (originally Gammeltorv), with the old town hall from 1810.

In general, Sæby's city center is characterized by beautiful old houses and streets. The oldest main street is Algade, which stretches from Klostertorvet to Søndergade. In No. 3 is the Clasens Hotel, which is a half-timbered building built in 1750, which in the 19th century got its neoclassical facade in yellow and white. The hotel has been visited by well-known authors such as Herman Bang and Gustav Wied in the latter part of the 19th century, until in 1920 it was closed down as a hotel and converted into the Home of the Ancients. In no. 7 is Den gamle Dommergaard, built as a grocery farm in 1848. The author of the modern breakthrough Adda Ravnkilde (b. 1862 - d. 1883) lived with her parents in the judge's farm from 1881-83, where a memorial plaque has been set up for her. . The city's second oldest town hall (and now also former police station) dates from 1848 and is built in late classicist style. The town hall is located in no. 14 and today houses Sæby Tourist Office. In extension of Algade is Strandgade, which passes Sæby Church down towards Havnevej. The building in No. 2 is the Old Hospital built in 1675 with a forecourt from 1565. The place served as a poor farm.

Sæby is today located by the E45 motorway and has a number of larger companies affiliated, including Maskinfabrikken Skiold, Danish Crown and Sæby Fiske-Industri. The town is an attractive place for anglers who can fish in Sæby Å and from Sdr. pier. Today, the former fishing port has been transformed into a cozy Marina with recreational fishing boats and sailing ships side by side, fish restaurants and shops. Distances to other cities:

Brønderslev: 38 km
Hjørring: 39 km
Neck: 43 km
Skagen: 53 km
Aalborg: 50 km


The Middle Ages
Sæby, which in older documents is soon called "Sæbye" and "Seebye", soon "Maristed" after the present monastery, was in the Middle Ages first a village and a fishing village, which was under Børglum Bispesæde. In the later Middle Ages it seems to have gained greater importance, perhaps perhaps by the protection of the bishops, and had rank as a market town; at least 1465 an Oluf Jenssøn is mentioned as mayor of Sæby. Its oldest market town privileges are dated 10 August 1524, when Frederik I granted it similar rights as Viborg; they were later confirmed, including April 24, 1562, 1597 and 1648. In 1525, Bishop Stygge Krumpen granted a district court, partly using the Viborg district court. As late as 1528, Frederik I affirmed all the privileges and freedoms that were given to Børglum bishopric on "Maristedt, which was formerly called Seby."

However, the city never gained much importance, and it was probably at its peak when it got a monastery in the second half of the 15th century. Mariested Kloster or Vor Frue Kloster housed monks of the Carmelite Order and is commonly stated to have been founded in 1469; but undoubtedly it is somewhat older (possibly from before 1462). The monastery has been considered several times with gifts: in 1484 it got a meadow by Bredkjær, in 1493 two farms in Hugdrup and Sæby, in exchange for the prior to hold two weekly masses, for Sankt Peders Alter, and the same year a farm in Skiftved and a salt kettle at Understed Strand towards the holding of a fair in Sankt Anne Kapel, but otherwise little is known about its history. In 1536 the priori issued a letter in which he erected a monastery, monastery dwellings, brick barn and oven for the needs of the town, because the monks "could not get what they could help themselves with for clothes or food." However, the monastery seems to have survived for part of the following year. Of the monastery, which has probably formed a four-winged building complex, now stands only the church, the south wing; the other wings had already disappeared by the time of Resen; in 1683, mayor Christen Rhuus had a large part of the monastery's foundation stone broken up and used for Sæby harbor. There must have been vaulted passages, which from the monastery led into the church; when digging in the cemetery one has come across one.

The Renaissance
The bit of importance that the city had in recent times was probably mainly due to its rich fishing, and its biggest concern was then as now as its port, which has been exposed to sanding and destruction by storm. In 1559 and 1562 the king confessed to the town timber for the repair of the harbor (the last year it is said that it had suffered great damage). On January 9, 1570, the first port statute was issued.

Sæby has had a Latin school, which was established around the year 1550 at the instigation of Bishop Oluf Chrysostomus and was abolished in 1739; the school building, which was built in 1645 by mayor Hans Nielsen, was located by the cemetery.

Under monarchy
The city was in great poverty after the Swedish War of 1660, and many residents had left it. In 1672 the city had 670 inhabitants, in 1769 the city had 483 inhabitants.

In 1769 it is said of the town in Danske Atlas V p. 243 that there is a good opportunity for shipping, "when only the harbor, which is clogged with sand and the bulwark almost deserted, was again put in good condition". In a storm of 1792, the inlet was completely filled with sand. If the sea has given the city its most important sustenance, it has also often been an angry enemy: older finds of piles, wells, etc. out on the beach testify that the sea has washed away the eastern parts of the city, and the church, which is now close by coast, has presumably previously been located approximately in the middle of the city. The river's floods have also wreaked havoc.

The early industrialization
During the 19th century, there was again progress to be traced. Industrialization came to the city, and in 1879 an improvement of the harbor began. In 1899, Sæby Station opened when the Sæbybanen line from Nørresundby via Sæby to Frederikshavn was established. At this time, the city was a very popular holiday and bathing spot, not least for a number of Danish cultural personalities.

Sæby had around 1900 annually 3 markets: 1 in March with horses and cattle and 1 in September and 1 in October with cattle and sheep. Market day was every Saturday.


Of factories and industrial plants, the town had around the middle of the 19th century: 1 iron foundry, 1 garment factory and 1 lime distillery. Of factories and industries, the town had in 1872: 1 iron foundry, 1 tannery, 1 manure factory and 1 lime distillery. Of factories and industrial plants, the town had around the turn of the century: 1 iron foundry and machine factory (36 workers), 1 wool spinning and dyeing, 2 sawmills (one of which was run by hydropower, was a joint stock company, established in 1899), 1 tannery, 1 lime distillery and 1 carpentry.

"Sæby Avis" (or "Dronninglund Herreds Avis") and "Sæby Folkeblad" were published in Frederikshavn.

Sæby's population was increasing in the late 1800s and early 1900s: 895 in 1850, 966 in 1855, 1,167 in 1860, 1,344 in 1870, 1,506 in 1880, 1,804 in 1890, 2,122 in 1901, 1,943 in 1906 and 2,092 in 1911.

By industry, the population was divided in 1890 into the following groups, comprising both dependents and dependents: 176 lived by intangible activity, 501 by industry, 286 by trade, 412 by fishing, 116 by agriculture, 7 by horticulture, 248 by various day care activities, 46 by their means , 6 enjoyed alms, and 6 were in prison. According to a 1906 census, the population was 1,943, of which 175 subsisted on intangible activities, 116 on agriculture, forestry and dairy farming, 255 on fishing, 777 on crafts and industry, 365 on trade and more, 106 on transportation, 77 were retired people, 49 lived by public support and 23 by other or unspecified business. Fishing played a very important role; it was especially plaice and other flounder species as well as cod and haddock that were fished; in the financial year 1897-98 more than 20,900 dozen plaice and about 343,400 pounds of cod and haddock were caught, and the yield was worth DKK 37,855; in addition to a number of cutters, there were 12 open fishing boats. The largest part of the catch was exported abroad via Frederikshavn.