The Bluest Light in Scandinavia


Skagen, a harbor village at the top of the Jutland Peninsula, was discovered by a group of painters in the middle of the 19th century who were drawn here by the unique play of light in this area of Scandinavia.

As one Skagen painter said, “Where two seas meet, the light can’t help but be the bluest in cration.”

The Danes consider this something if a Riviera, while Americans liken it to Cape Cod. At the Jutland peninsula’s – and mainland Europe’s – northernmost tip pointing into the North Sea, the small weather-hardened fishing communities who for centuries inhabited these heathered moors and sea-swept coastline have been joined by a thriving artist’s colony – and the tourists who followed.

All were lured by Skagen’s simple life – the characterful town and unspoiled dunes.

The small but excellent Skagen Museum illustrates works of the local, late-19th-century impressionist movement that was inspired by the land- and seascapes, and the shifting colors and quality of the light here.

An all-year destination
In Skagen there’s always something exciting going on – whatever the time of year. Late summer, for instance, or magical Blue September as it is also called, there are exciting and crazy events with a blue theme.

Spring is a time for temptation. Spend a couple of days to enjoy the town, scenery and art before the bulk of the tourists arrive. Let the spring sun kiss your cheeks.

The atmosphere on a summer day is absolutely unique. The town and the harbor buszz with life and you can enjoy your meals outdoors.

When the great invasion of summer guests is over, you can experience the town in a completely new way. It’s your chance to meet the real Skagen.

A winter holiday allows you to immerse yourself in the Skagen painters or the town’s history. Wrap up and go for a walk on the beach to experience the enormous forces of nature at first hand. Ore head for the dune plantation to shelter from the wind.

Writers have been equally moved: Isak Dinesen wrote much of Out of Africa while a guest at the wonderful charming, gabled Brøndums Hotel. Creaking floors and antique-furnished sitting rooms kame this feel like a private home, one distinguished by a number of old paintings given in exchange for lodging.

The 150-year-old inn’s intimate dining room produces exceptionally fresh and delicious meals, with a predictable accent on seafood.

Every morning at dawn, the local townfolk have the pick of the best at the wharf’s barnlike fish-auction house before the day’s catch is spoken for and shipped off to markets all over northern Europe.

It was simply by chance that architect Ulrik Plesner was sent to Skagen in 1891 to supervise the erection of a lighthouse in Old Skagen. On arriving in the town, he checked in at Brøndums hotel and quickly got to know the Skagen painters. For the next 40 years Plesner left his mark on Skagen’s architecture, in addition to which several well-known architects followed in his wake.

Plesner was a part of Skagen’s famous and infamous artistic community, which in the late 1800’s introduced an unprecedented decadent and liberated life style in town, and to this very day, Plesner hotel, which he designed in 1907, carries on his spirit.

We stayed at Brøndum hotel and Plesner hotel. Experience the bluest light in Scandinavia!

Reviews will follow soon.

Text and photos: Tor Kjolberg, except featured image on top by Lasse Tur.

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