Skagen is located in Vendsyssel and is Denmark's northernmost
city. The city has 7,845 inhabitants (2020) and is located in
Frederikshavn Municipality under the North Jutland Region. It is
also the city center in Skagen Parish. In this northernmost area of
Jutland you can e.g. see The Sanded Church and visit the Branch that
separates the Skagerrak from the Kattegat.
Skagen is a distinct tourist town, which is first and foremost known for its distinctive nature and for its Skagen painters. The latter was a group of Danish painters, P. S. Krøyer, Anna Ancher and Michael Ancher - who found the area's natural light so special and exciting that they settled on the northern tip of Jutland and created a number of masterpieces in painting. These can today be seen at Skagens Museum.
Skagen is also known for its fishing port and for the Skagen Festival which was started in 1971.
The color of the houses is special - skagen yellow - and characteristic are the white edges of the roof tiles.
The origin of Skagen - or Scaven, in older times written Skafuen, Skauffen; the name comes from "Skage", ie a headland or a strip of land that runs into the sea, cf. Vendsyssel's old name "Vendilskage", is mentioned in a document issued by freehold farmers in Vendsyssel from 1355, printed in Suhms Danmarks Historie XIII p. 828, in which it is reported, "that an ancient king on the hunt visited a farmer by the name of Thorkel Skarpæ, who then lived in Oorn (ɔ: Byen Vogn), and at his prayer the same Thorkel handed over the whole of Skagen adjoining land for grazing for his savages. The shepherd of the wild horses by the name of Throndr first thought of fishing at Skagen and built the first house on Skagen's field on behalf of the same Thorkel, and since then many more had built there on behalf of prescribed Thorkel. The truth is that from that stream east of Hosyo and Reten and straight to the outermost Skaugheret has from ancient times been Kongens Strandbred, called Kunghsforstrand, and is recognized to be so yet, just as the Forstranden has never been built by anyone n, before Jutland a few years ago was destroyed and oppressed by the Lord's War ". Which king is alluded to is unknown; Suhm guesses at Erik Klipping, but it must surely be a much earlier king.
The Middle Ages
In 1299, Erik Menved offered, in order to satisfy Esger Juul, to divest part of the crown estate, including 1/6 of Skagen. His first market town privileges were given to the city by Erik of Pomerania on 22 January 1413, and they were later confirmed in 1442, 1451, 1545, 1560, 1598 and 1648. In 1507 King Hans issued a city court for Skagen, in 1519 Christian II the free birch and the birch right. Like other market towns, Skagen had mayors and councilors as well as town bailiffs, in 1580 it also got a town clerk, and even according to the ordinance of 28 January 1682, Skagen was one of the towns that kept 1 mayor and 2 councilors, while the authorities in other North Jutland market towns, such as Hjørring, Thisted and Nykøbing, were reduced to one town bailiff.
Skagen's church was the town's old parish church, consecrated to St. Laurentius, and after an unlikely legend built by Scots and Dutch, who used to fish under the coast. It was a considerable church, "the longest in Vendsyssel", built in Gothic style of brick, with vaulted nave and chancel into one, tower to the west, porch to the south and sacristy to the north. Sankt Laurentii Kirke was in 1459 "with adjoining Chapels" transferred to Aalborg Helligaands Hospital, in exchange for this "should provide Church and Chapels with such a Priest and Chaplain as they can preside", and until 1677 the Call belonged to Aalborg Hospital. At the church there was formerly a Sankt Laurentii Fountain, which was considered sacred.
In addition, as mentioned, there were a couple of chapels, namely one in Højen, of half-timbering and thatched roof, and one, which was originally supposed to have stood in Østerby but in the 17th century was moved to Vesterby; it was of half-timbering, 17 bays long and with a free-standing bell tower.
In 1517, Hans Tysk in Skagen received royal permission to build a house and a chapel north of Skagen and accommodate sick people. This chapel, dedicated to St. James, which Frederik I deeded to Bishop Stygge Krumpen in 1523, has hardly been identical with any of the other two chapels, but nothing else is known about it.
From the earliest times, fishing has been Skagen's main industry, and it traded, especially with salted fish, in the ports of Danish waters, especially Varberg, and in German ports such as Lübeck and Rostock. Just as later, it was the ink trade that was run. Arable farming and cattle breeding have probably also had some significance in the past, because the fields mentioned in the above-mentioned document of 1355 were still found in recent times but are later almost completely destroyed by sand flight. Sand flight and dune formation may have taken place in the country long ago, but it is only from the 16th century that the sand flight appears as a real land plague after the destruction of the forests, which had hitherto set the boundaries, and the consequent promotion of dune plants, when the fuel from the forests had run out. It is also in the 16th century that people on Skagen hear about the conquest of the lands by the sand after the forests right up to Råbjerg had been cut down, and in 1593 it is said that the sand had penetrated over the cultivated fields and had settled around the farms. In addition, large storm surges, such as in 1592 and 1593. In the latter year, 14 farms and houses disappeared.
Also in recent times the flight of sand continued its
destruction, until it reached its climax in 1775, when the sand on
Great Day of Prayer "with a violent and terrible storm of N. E.
penetrated on and past the Church, which had hitherto been free,
destroyed that part of the town's field soil, which lay there around
and in the vicinity ", whereby the priest lost both fields and
meadows. The damage continued, albeit on a smaller scale, until in
recent times the sand has been partially dampened by planting dune
roofs and mare straw. The sea has also done much damage in the 19th
century, especially at Højen, where it still takes away from the
land; thus storm surges occurred on February 14 and November 27,
1825, and again on February 14, 1868.
In the mid-16th century and 300 years onwards, the area was hit by various catastrophic events. The climate became colder and the area was hit by severe storms and flash floods. The fishing failed and the sand escape increased.
When the temperature drops, the ice builds up in the Norwegian and Swedish mountain areas, which caused the water level to drop and the beach width to increase, exposing more sand that the wind could blow around the landscape. The vegetation largely disappeared by deforestation for the fuel, the lighthouses, houses, boats and warfare and the delicate vegetation was further destroyed by livestock which were allowed to walk in the dunes and eat the sparse growth and trample the root net to pieces. The agricultural land became sandy and the city became poorer and poorer.
Skagen has had a Latin school, established in the middle of the 16th century at the instigation of Bishop Oluf Chrysostomus, and which was closed in 1740.
In 1556 it is mentioned that a quantity of beer was introduced to Skagen, and in 1557 it is said that it was especially butter that the people of Skag picked up in Varberg, and they watched closely over their market town rights, so that in the middle of the 16th century a fishing village was established ". Tornby "or" Thorneleje "near Skagen (probably in Skagsogn or Råbjerg), which they by complaining to the king got closed, just as they also in 1580 sought to have the then newly built town Aalbæk closed.
A not insignificant source of income for Skagen in earlier times was the strandings, just as they brought it a lot of wreck timber for building use. Even in the second half of the 19th century, the mountain salary in Skagen's jurisdiction was assumed to be on average 9,000 rigsdaler per year, but the recent many excellent measures to prevent strandings have meant that these have since become one of the rarities.
Skagen's Lighthouse, together with Anholt's Lighthouse and
Kullens Lighthouse, were arranged in Frederik II's time at the
request of the foreign skippers, who passed the Danish waters, and
who in turn undertook to pay "Fyrgelt" together with the Øresund
toll or the Belt toll. The king's letter on this was issued on July
8, 1560, and the following year the order was repeated, adding that
the "lighthouse lamps" should be as wide as a barrel and hung 20
cubits high in a timber structure to be built like a "parrot"
(presumably an oblique spears attached to the mast by a strap and to
which the parrot's sail was placed). Skagen's "Fyrlampe" was first
lit with firewood, which, as the forests in Vendsyssel did not
contain sufficient or required for difficult transport, was fetched
at sea from the Limfjord region and Norway. However, they quickly
switched to using cod liver oil, which illuminated the waters from
the top of a tower. The tower was washed away in 1584 during a
storm, but was rebuilt and passed in 1606, when lighting was
introduced with 6 (from 1610 8) large tallow candles, of an open
foot of timber, on top of which was a room with beds for the
"Flares" "(the lighthouses), and on top of this again a room with
windows to all sides, in which the lights burned. The lighthouse was
now called a "Lantern." 1626-27, the upper part of the tower was
converted to coal firing, but shortly after it was apparently burnt
down, because next year the first Danish rocking furnace for coal
burning was erected on Skagen by the then citizen of Elsinore, later
customs officer on Skagen and firing manager in Denmark Jens
Pedersen (Grove ). The tilting lighthouses were called "Firings",
and Skagen's tilting lighthouse consisted, according to Olavius'
account, until in 1745 it was again replaced by a tower lighthouse,
"of a very tall and thick tree that looked like a mill stump and was
surrounded by struts; on top of the stump stood a large An iron
fork, which was to be turned around on the stump, so that the
fire-pan could always hang on the wind-side.The tilting rod, as
heavy as a mast tree, went down into the fork, and at one end of the
tilting rod the pan hung; which was to rage up and down with a
tallie, went about 6 bushels of coal in the corridor ". The tilting
lighthouse stood on Fyrbakken, but when this had been undermined by
the sea, the tower in question was built somewhat further north in
1745, which at first was only 54 feet high and a forehead
lighthouse; later it was turned into a lamplight.
Under the dictatorship
During the sandstorm in 1775, the sand lay completely in front of the church door of St. Laurentii Church, and in the following years, access could only be kept free by regular use of the spade. Finally, by the efforts of the parish priest Laulund and town bailiff Petersen and by rescript of June 5, 1795, due to sand escape and decay, it was laid down, sold, and demolished on the massive tower near, which was left to the lighthouse, which maintained it as a beacon; it has stair gables and cross vault with star ribs. In the inner wall, a spiral staircase leads up over the vaults. Materials from the church have been detected in several of Skagen's buildings. The chapels in Vesterby and Højen are mentioned in 1787 by Olavius as "so dilapidated and dilapidated that people during the service could hardly be in there without loss of health, and are nothing more certain than that they will soon fall down". The chapel in Vesterby was, however, somewhat improved, used by the parishioners until 1841, when a new church had been built, approximately in the place of the chapel. The chapel in Højen was demolished in 1839, but the cemetery remained in use.
A modern rescue service with its stations with sink-free boats and rocket launchers was started around the middle of the 19th century, especially at the instigation of Claudi, and the rescue service was organized by law of August 26, 1852; Around the turn of the century, there were a total of about 60 stations that were subordinate to the manager of the North Jutland rescue service.
In 1781 there were only 650 inhabitants left in Skagen
The early industrialization
The population of Skagen increased in the late 1800s and early 1900s: 1,400 in 1850, 1,451 in 1855, 1,532 in 1860, 1,615 in 1870, 1,954 in 1880, 2,323 in 1890, 2,438 in 1901, 2,936 in 1906 and 3,137 in 1911.
By industry, the population in 1890 was divided into the
following groups, comprising both breadwinners and dependents: 147
lived by intangible business, 289 by industry, 110 by trade, 44 by
shipping, 1,296 by fishing, 130 by agriculture, 7 by horticulture,
227 by various day care activities, 43 of their funds, 29 enjoyed
alms, and 1 was in prison. According to a 1906 census, the
population was 2,936, of which 142 subsisted on intangible
activities, 153 on agriculture, forestry and dairy farming, 1,221 on
fishing, 815 on crafts and industry, 275 on trade and more, 188 on
transport, 79 were retired, 51 lived by public support and 12 by
other or unspecified business. Crafts were on the same level as in
the countryside, there could not be much trade, as the town almost
completely lacked hinterland. On the other hand, Skagen was the
country's second largest fishing town (after Esbjerg). It was mainly
plaice and haddock and cod that were fished. A large part was
exported as salted fish, but a quantity of fresh fish was also sold,
including to Swedish boats, especially from Gothenburg. According to
the Fisheries Report, 171,500 dozen plaice and 182,200 pounds of
haddock and cod were fished in 1897, and the entire catch had a
value of around DKK 277,000. The annual income from fishing was set
at an average of DKK 490,000. The price of fish increased greatly,
especially after the Skagen line opened. . In 1899, the number of
fishermen in Skagen is stated to be 420, in Højen to 56; in Skagen
there were 156 fishing boats, of which 16 large and 140 dinghies; in
Højen there were 23, of which 8 large and 15 dinghies. The city had
no port, the boats were towed ashore. However, there had been
several calls for the construction of a port, among other things
when it was under consideration to provide an emergency and refuge
port in the northern Kattegat.
The fishing industry made a great progress with the construction of the harbor in 1907, the boats got bigger and bigger and gradually got engines for both games and propulsion.
Skagen's isolated location, the beauty of nature and the characteristic population attracted artists, especially painters who at this time broke with the Art Academy's attitude and sought the outdoor painting for which they found motifs in Skagen. A colony of artists was formed which in turn attracted curious tourists, which made Skagen one of the most fashionable tourist destinations in Denmark.