Anholt (Denmark)
Anholt (ˈanhɔˀld) is a Danish
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 island in the Kattegat
The Kattegat , or Kattegatt is a sea area bounded by the Jutland peninsula and the Straits islands of Denmark on the west and south, and the provinces of Västergötland, Scania, Halland and Bohuslän in Sweden on the east. The Baltic Sea drains into the Kattegat through the Øresund and the Danish...

, midway between Jutland
Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

 and Sweden, with 171 permanent residents as of 1 January 2010. It is seven miles (11 km) long and about four miles (6 km) wide at its widest and covers an area of 21,75 km². Anholt is part of Norddjurs municipality
Norddjurs municipality
Norddjurs is a municipality in Region Midtjylland in Denmark. It covers an area of 661 km² and a total population of 38,581 ....

 in Region Midtjylland
Region Midtjylland
Central Denmark Region or Central Jutland Region is an administrative region of Denmark established on January 1, 2007 as part of the 2007 Danish Municipal Reform, which replaced the traditional counties with five larger regions. At the same time, smaller municipalities were merged into larger...

. Before the 2007 municipal reform in Denmark it was in Grenå municipality
Grenå municipality
Until January 1, 2007, Grenaa municipality or Grenå municipality was a municipality in Aarhus County on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula in central Denmark. The municipality covered an area of 196 km², and had a total population of 18,641 . Its last mayor was Gert Schou, a member of the...

The town

The town is the only inhabited portion of Anholt, apart from the port, and is the venue for all social and cultural activities. Almost all the houses are very old, with much use of timber, some of it from flotsam
Flotsam and jetsam
In maritime law, flotsam, jetsam, lagan and derelict describe specific kinds of wreck.The words have specific nautical meanings, with legal consequences in the law of admiralty and marine salvage....

. The owners of many of the houses have expanded them over time to suit the needs of new generations.

The present church was built in 1819, after the previous one was destroyed during the British occupation of the island. There is evidence in the foundations of an even older church.

The school north of the meeting house was built in 1917 and enlarged in 1956. The school teaches students from kindergarten to Year 9. The former school building, which was built in 1843, has since 1983 housed Anholt's tourism office.


Some 60,000 people visit Anholt each year. During the summer months the restaurants and the summer shops are open, but the chief attraction is nature in the form of clean water, calm, beauty, and fresh air. From the two highest points on the island, Sønderbjerg (48 m) or Nordbjerg (39 m), on a clear day one can see Jutland or Sweden.

Anholt has no luxury hotels or resorts but there is an Inn, which is a Bed & Breakfast. Visitors can also rent a traditional Danish summerhouse, of which there are about 30. Lastly, there is a campground.

One can reach Anholt via a daily ferry
A ferry is a form of transportation, usually a boat, but sometimes a ship, used to carry primarily passengers, and sometimes vehicles and cargo as well, across a body of water. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services...

 from Grenå
Grenaa or Grenå is a town in central Denmark with a population of 14,308 . The town centre is about 2 km west of the east coast of the Djursland peninsula in Jutland's Region Midtjylland...

 that takes about three hours to make the transit. The harbour, Anholt Havn, contains a marina.

Anholt has an airport (ICAO-code:EKAT) with a 650 meter-long grass runway. There are daily air flights to Anholt during the summer and weekly flights in the winter. The flights depart from Roskilde
Roskilde is the main city in Roskilde Municipality, Denmark on the island of Zealand. It is an ancient city, dating from the Viking Age and is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network....

 airport via Copenhagen Air Taxi
Copenhagen Air Taxi
Copenhagen Air Taxi is an aviation company based in Roskilde, Denmark. It provide a range of services, including operating regularly scheduled flights from Copenhagen Airport, Roskilde to the Danish islands of Anholt and Læsø; managing the airfield on Anholt, and is also a major air taxi operator...

. The flights also go on to Læsø
Læsø is the largest island in the North Sea bay of Kattegat, and is located off the northeast coast of the Jutland Peninsula, the Danish mainland. Læsø is also the name of the municipality on that island...

 Island, and return to Roskilde from there, via Anholt. One can also fly from Varberg
Varberg is a locality and the seat of Varberg Municipality, Halland County, Sweden with 26,041 inhabitants in 2005.Varberg and all of Halland are well known for their 'typical west coast' sandy beaches. In Varberg the coast changes from wide sandy beaches to rocky terrain that continues north into...

, Sweden, via charter from Varbergs flygklubb.

Anholt Offshore Wind Farm

DONG Energy
DONG Energy
-History:The Danish state company Dansk Naturgas A/S was founded in 1972 to manage resources in the Danish sector of the North Sea. After some years, the company was renamed to Dansk Olie og Naturgas A/S . At the beginning of 2000s, DONG started to extend itself into the electricity market by...

 is building the Anholt Offshore Wind Farm
Anholt Offshore Wind Farm
Anholt Offshore Wind Farm is an approved Danish offshore wind power wind farm in the Kattegat, between Djursland and Anholt island. With a nameplate capacity of 400 megawatts , when built, it will be the largest offshore wind farm in Denmark...

 in the Kattegat, between Djursland and Anholt island. It will have a nameplate capacity of 400 megawatts (MW), which will make it Denmark's largest wind park. When it is completed in 2013, it will provide energy to the island to replace much of the current diesel-powered electricity on the island.


Anholt has been settled since the New Stone Age and one may still find flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

 flakes on the “desert”. There have been some Old Stone Age finds as well. The island has never been the object of systematic archaeological investigation so no Bronze Age remnants have been found. Some Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 finds have been made.

The 1231 land register of King Valdemar II of Denmark
Valdemar II of Denmark
Valdemar II , called Valdemar the Victorious or Valdemar the Conqueror , was the King of Denmark from 1202 until his death in 1241. The nickname Sejr is a later invention and was not used during the King's own lifetime...

 shows that the king owned a house or a hunting lodge on the Sønderbjerg, the island's highest point. Anholt was thus property of the crown. In 1441 the island was under the administration of Kalø Lehn, headed by Otto Nielsen Rosenkrands.

Anholt belonged to the parish of Morup in the Danish
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 province of Halland
' is one of the traditional provinces of Sweden , on the western coast of Sweden. It borders Västergötland, Småland, Scania and the sea of Kattegat.-Administration:...

 up until the middle of the 16th century when a church was built on the island. The island remained Danish when Denmark ceded Halland to Sweden in 1645. There is a story that explains the omission by asserting that a negotiator had left a glass of beer placed over the island on the map during the peace negotiations. A more plausible explanation is that Swedish forces had not conquered the fairly remote island and that Sweden didn't care.

In 1668 Anholt was sold to the tax farmer
Tax farming
Farming is a technique of financial management, namely the process of commuting , by its assignment by legal contract to a third party, a future uncertain revenue stream into fixed and certain periodic rents, in consideration for which commutation a discount in value received is suffered...

 Peder Jensen Grove. Six years later his widow married Hans Rostgaard of Krogerup and the island then came to belong to the Rostgaard family. Most recently, the lawyer Jens Christian von der Maase, of Copenhagen, has owned the greater and protected part of the island.


Dangerous reefs and shoals surround Anholt. Consequently, in 1560 King Frederick II of Denmark
Frederick II of Denmark
Frederick II was King of Denmark and Norway and duke of Schleswig from 1559 until his death.-King of Denmark:Frederick II was the son of King Christian III of Denmark and Norway and Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg. Frederick II stands as the typical renaissance ruler of Denmark. Unlike his father, he...

 ordered the erection of bascule lights
A vippefyr or bascule light or tipping lantern was a type of small navigational aid popular in Denmark in the 18th 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 that allowed it to be manipulated as required...

 at Skagen
Skagen is a projection of land and a town, with a population of 8,515 , in Region Nordjylland on the northernmost tip of Vendsyssel-Thy, a part of the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark...

, Anholt and Kullen Lighthouse
Kullen Lighthouse
The Kullen Lighthouse is an operational lighthouse in Scania, located by the mouth of Öresund, at the point of Kullaberg peninsula, in Höganäs, on the south-west coast of Sweden...

 to mark the main route through Danish waters from the North Sea to the Baltic. In 1785 a 35 meter tower was erected with an open fire. In 1805 a lantern replaced the fire and in 1838 a mirror was added. Around the mid-19th century there was also a floating light stationed several miles out from the lighthouse, near the end of the several miles long reef. This floating light operated from May to December.

Today's tower dates to 1881, at which time an oil lamp replaced the fire. At one time there was also a beacon fire in the middle of the East Coast of the island but that has disappeared. The present Anholt Fyr (lighthouse) belongs to the national Farvandsvæsenet (Danish Maritime Safety Administration) and has the status of a protected historical landmark.

Despite the bascule light, on 10 November 1716 the 60-gun third rate HMS Auguste
HMS Auguste (1705)
HMS Auguste was the French 54-gun Auguste built in Brest in 1704 that the British captured in 1705. In her brief French service she captured two major British men of war. She was wrecked in 1716.-French service:...

, Captain Robert Johnson, ran ashore on the island of Anholt during heavy weather and was wrecked. Most of the people on her were saved.

An ecological consequence of the introduction of the bascule light was the denuding of Anholt for firewood and the resulting creation of Anholt's "desert" (see below). By the time of the switch after 1600 to imported pit coal considerable damage had been done.

British occupation

Early in the Gunboat War
Gunboat War
The Gunboat War was the naval conflict between Denmark–Norway and the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. The war's name is derived from the Danish tactic of employing small gunboats against the conventional Royal Navy...

 the Danes closed the lighthouse on Anholt. On 5 December 1808 the bomb vessel HMS Proselyte
HMS Proselyte (1804)
The Royal Navy purchased the Newcastle collier Ramillies in June 1804 and commissioned her as HMS Proselyte in September 1804, having converted her to a 28-gun sixth rate in July and August. She carried 24 9-pounders and 4 6-pounders. She was wrecked, but with no loss of life, in...

 was wrecked on Anholt Reef while caught in the ice; all her crew was saved. She had stationed herself off the island on 9 November 1808 to carry a light for the safety of passing convoys.

Following the loss of Proselyte, on 18 May 1809 the 74-gun third rate HMS Standard
HMS Standard (1782)
HMS Standard was a 64-gun Royal Navy third-rate ship of the line, launched on 8 October 1782 at Deptford. She was the last of the 15 Intrepid class vessels, which were built to a design by John Williams.-Early career:...

, under Captain Askew Paffard Hollis, and the 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Owen Glendower
HMS Owen Glendower (1808)
HMS Owen Glendower was a Royal Navy 36-gun fifth-rate Apollo class frigate launched in 1808 and disposed of in 1884...

 captured the island. A party of seamen and marines under the command of Captain William Selby of Owen Glendower, with the assistance of Captain Edward Nicolls
Edward Nicolls
General Sir Edward Nicolls, KCB was an Irish officer of the Royal Marines. Known as "Fighting Nicolls", he had a distinguished career, was involved in numerous actions, and often received serious wounds. For his service, he received medals and honours, reaching the rank of General...

 of the Standards marines, landed. The Danish garrison of 170 men put up a sharp but ineffectual resistance that killed one British marine and wounded two; the garrison then surrendered. The British took immediate possession of the island. The principal objective of the mission was to restore the lighthouse on the island to its pre-war state to facilitate the movement of British men of war and merchantmen navigating the dangerous seas there.

The Danes attempted to retake the island. However, the Battle of Anholt
Battle of Anholt
The Battle of Anholt occurred during the Gunboat War, a war between the United Kingdom and Denmark-Norway. It was an attempt by the Danes to recapture Anholt, a small Danish island off the coast of Jutland, which the British had captured in 1809...

 (27 March 1811) resulted in many Danish casualties and proved a decisive British victory. There is a monument commemorating the battle in Anholt village.

While captain of HMS Elephant
HMS Elephant (1786)
HMS Elephant was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. She was built by George Parsons in Bursledon, Hampshire, and launched on 24 August 1786....

, Francis Austen
Francis Austen
Sir Francis William Austen, GCB was a British officer who spent most of his long life on active duty in the Royal Navy, rising to the position of Admiral of the Fleet.-Background:...

 visited Anholt in 1812 and wrote about it to his sister, the famed novelist Jane Austen
Jane Austen
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.Austen lived...

. He described the lighthouse in some detail and also gave some impressions of the island:
"The garrison at present consists of about three men of a veteran battalion, and a few marine artillery, which form by many degrees the most considerable portion of the population, for, exclusive of the military and their appendages of wives and children, there are but sixteen families on the island, who all reside at the only village on it, near the high ground to the westward, and whose principal occupation is fishing, in which they are generally very successful during the summer.

"Antecedent to the war between England and Denmark and the consequent occupation of the island by the English, the Anholters paid a small rent to the proprietor of the soil, who is a Danish nobleman residing at Copenhagen; but at present they are considered and fed as prisoners of war by the English. They are an exceedingly poor people, and seem to enjoy but a small proportion of worldly comfort."

On 12 February, the 16-gun brig
A brig is a sailing vessel with two square-rigged masts. During the Age of Sail, brigs were seen as fast and manoeuvrable and were used as both naval warships and merchant vessels. They were especially popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries...

 HMS Fly was wrecked on Anholt. The British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 held Anholt until the Treaty of Kiel
Treaty of Kiel
The Treaty of Kiel or Peace of Kiel was concluded between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Sweden on one side and the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway on the other side on 14 January 1814 in Kiel...

 ended the war on 15 January 1814.

In the 1940s a British visitor heard children reciting a verse which they did not understand the meaning of:
Jeck og Jill Vent op de hill, Og Jill kom tombling after.

The ditty, it turned out, had been brought to the island by British soldiers during the Napoleonic wars.


After some years of political debate, in 1899 construction commenced on a fishing harbour for the island. The construction was finished and the port entered service in 1902. The harbour functioned as a safe haven in storms for the vessels fishing the Kattegat, as well as a home port for Anholt's own fishermen. Today there is a marina at the harbour and the ferry docks here too. In 2003 Anholt celebrated the 100th anniversary of the opening, but one year late.

The first rescue facility on the island was established in 1878 at the Lighthouse. It was abandoned in 1926. The second rescue facility was built in 1919, but it was abandoned in 1938. Today there is a rescue vessel stationed at a mole in the harbour. Over the last 200 years over 200 vessels have foundered near Anholt.

World War I

Denmark was neutral during the war and neither side disturbed the Kattegat until late in the war when the British laid a minefield. During the operation the British sank 10 trawlers off Anholt.

World War II

There were several World War II sinkings off Anholt.
  • On 1 May 1940, the British submarine Narwhal
    HMS Narwhal (N45)
    HMS Narwhal was one of the six ship class of Grampus-class mine-laying submarine of the Royal Navy. She was built by Vickers Armstrong, Barrow and launched 29 August 1935. She served in the Second World War in home waters...

    , (Lt.Cdr. R.J. Burch, RN) torpedoed and sank the German troop transport Buenos Aires (6097 GRT) and torpedoed and damaged the German troop transport Bahia Castillo (8580 GRT) in the Kattegat about 20 nautical miles (37 km) north of Anholt, Denmark in position 57º05'N, 11º35'E. The Bahia Castillo reached port but was declared a total loss.
  • On 11 April 1940, the British submarine Sealion
    HMS Sealion (72S)
    HMS Sealion was a Royal Navy S-class submarine which was launched 16 March 1934 and fought in the Second World War.She had an eventful career after the outbreak of war. Under the command of LCdr Ben Bryant, she attacked U-21 off the Dogger Bank in November 1939, but failed to sink her...

     torpedoed and sank the German steamer August Leonhardt (2593grt) thirteen miles (19 km) south of Anholt Island at 56º30'N, 11º30'E. Sealion fired two torpedoes, one of which found its mark.
  • On 20 May 1940, the troop transport SS Batavier III, owned by Wm.H. van Müller & Co., hit a mine and sank northwest of Anholt.
  • On 21 April 1945, British bombers sank the Ostmark (ex-Cote d'Argent, launched 1932 and 3,047 GRT).
  • On 5 May 1945, a Royal Air Force
    Royal Air Force
    The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

     bomber sank the German submarine U-534. The submarine was on the surface with three other submarines when the attack occurred. The Germans shot down one of the British bombers, whose crew all were lost. All of the crew of U-534 escaped the submarine, but three died of exposure or lung damage in surfacing; lifeboats from a lightship in the vicinity rescued the 49 survivors. On 25 August 1993, the U-534 was pulled 220 feet (67 m) to the surface of the Kattegat Sea, 13 miles (20 km) northeast of Anholt Island. After being housed at a museum that later closed, the submarine was moved to the Woodside Ferry Terminal
    Woodside, Merseyside
    Woodside is a small riverside locality in Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England, situated almost opposite Liverpool Pier Head across the River Mersey.-History:...

     in Liverpool
    Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

     for an exhibition on U-Boats that opened in February 2009.
  • On 19 April 1945, rockets from eight British and Norwegian Mosquito aircraft
    De Havilland Mosquito
    The de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito was a British multi-role combat aircraft that served during the Second World War and the postwar era. It was known affectionately as the "Mossie" to its crews and was also nicknamed "The Wooden Wonder"...

     sank the German submarine U-251 south of Anholt (coords: 56.37N, 11.51E). Thirty-nine of her crew sailors died; four survived.

There is a small graveyard on Anholt that holds the remains of five allied airmen. Three are from an Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...

 of 438 Squadron that crashed into the Baltic around 29–30 August 1944. On 15 December a JU-88 night fighter shot down an Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...

 of 106 Squadron, which had a crew of eight. Only three bodies washed ashore, one of them on Anholt; the others were never recovered.


The western part of Anholt is a moraine
A moraine is any glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris which can occur in currently glaciated and formerly glaciated regions, such as those areas acted upon by a past glacial maximum. This debris may have been plucked off a valley floor as a glacier advanced or it may have...

 landscape. The small village is situated in the middle of the landscape whereas the harbour (built 1902) is at the north western tip of the island. The eastern part of the island is known as Ørkenen (the desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

). The desert, the largest in Northern Europe, is the result of deforestation. Strictly speaking, the "desert" is not a real desert but a lichen heath, with some 300 to 400 types of lichen.

Great efforts are being taken to preserve the unique scenery and prevent the devastating effects of erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

. In 1995/6 the Danish Heath Society cleared large areas in the south part of Ørkenen of mountain pine.

On Totten, the Eastern tip of the island, there is one of the biggest colonies of seal
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

s in Denmark. This part of the island is closed to visitors.

External links

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