Just outside Lønstrup, on the impressive Sand dune Rubjerg Knude, stands the Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse - right on the edge of the North Sea. Here, the forces of nature are released and difficult to tame. The North Sea eats off the cliff and the lighthouse moves closer to the edge.
By the North See, in the western part of Vendsyssel, from Lønstrup to Løkken, the cliff of Lønstrup extends approx. 12 km.The cliff is a unique insight in the process of which the ice, during the last ice age, through its advance, pushes the soil layers into slices, thus forming hills in front of the ice. Analyzes of the cliff at Rubjerg Knude have shown that the knot contains 80 of such some slices that have been pushed up from the north to the south of the ice.
As the cliff of Lønstrup appears today, it consists of a high northern part and a lower southern part. The highest point is found at the aprox.100 meters high Rubjerg Knude. Here the soil layers, in the lower part of the cliff, are staggered and inclined steeply. However, the upper part of the Rubjerg Knude consists of an approx. 40 meters thick layer of fly sand. The lower south reaches a height of 15 meters and consists of flat ground layers.
Both north and south of Rubjerg Knude, the upper part of the cliff consists of raised sea deposits from the North Sea. Due to the subsequent land elevations, the sea deposits are today 20-25 meters above sea level. The erosion on the coast means that Lønstrup Klint is constantly changing. Every year the sea takes an average of approx. 1.25 meters of the cliff.
In 1900, the lighthouse was finished at Rubjerg Knude, and on December 27 the candle was lit for the first time. The lighthouse was placed at Lønstrup Klint's highest point, about 60 meters above sea level, and 200 meters from the slope. The lighthouse was 23 meters high and the light in Rubjerg Knude Fyr could be seen up to 42 km. distance. The light helped the ships to navigate, especially in the dark. If it was foggy one day, the position of Rubjerg Knude Fyr was marked by sound, namely by using a fog horn.
From the beginning, the lighthouse was equipped with its own gas plant, but in 1906 the gas was replaced by petroleum. In 1948, an agreement was signed with the DC power company, Liver Mill, for the supply of electricity to the Lighthouse.
When in 1900, the lighthouse came into use, it was manned from the start by three men and their families. The employee was a lighthouse keeper, a lighthouse assistant and a lighthouse keeper. At night, the guard room in the lighthouse had to be constantly manned, which is why the three men took turns working. The tasks were many: keep an eye on the gas supply, and the clockwork of the lens should be pulled up every three hours. If there were to be fog on a guard, they had to start in the engine house and start, and watch out for the engine, also the clock signal of the fog signal, and finally look for ships that might have gotten into trouble at sea.
To the homes that surrounded the lighthouse, there were also gardens. These were located on the slope to the east. The gardens were surrounded by eaves. Much of the work on the gardens consisted in removing sand from the crops.
The lighthouse was built 200 meters inland. At this point, the lighthouse lay relatively undisturbed without major dunes around. But as time went on, the sea grew closer and the wind blew large amounts of sand from the cliff. The sand lay around the lighthouse. Initially, the attempt was made to limit the sand by various planting on the cliff, however unsuccessfully. Eventually, the sand lay so high that it was sometimes impossible to see the lighthouse light from the sea. In 1968, the fight was abandoned and the lighthouse was switched on for the last time.
Today, the sand has walked past the lighthouse, but the lighthouse is still under threat as the edge of the cliff moves closer. In November 2018, however, Rubjerg Knude Fyr joined the Finance Act 2019. Here, 5 million danish kroner was set aside to move the lighthouse 60-80 meters inland. It is expected that such a move will mean that the lighthouse is secured for the next 20-40 years.
In 2016 the fond of Realdania and the Danish Nature Agency completed a project to create new experiences in the lighthouse. Here, a new staircase was set up that made it possible to get into the lighthouse and experience the unique dune landscape from above. In the same bearing, in the lighthouse, a special light prism was set up - a kaleidoscope, which casts a dancing sea of light inside the tower, unlike before, when the lighthouse threw its light out over the sea. The lighthouse is open 24 hours a day, all days of the week, and there is free entrance.
The lighthouse is moving. Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse, which is a very popular tourist attraction and marked landmark for the area, is now so threatened by the coastal return that if the lighthouse is to be preserved, a solution must be found within a short period.
A local builder is responsible for the workplace and will be responsible for all the preparatory work, after which the lighthouse is put on "roller skates" and moved via a rail system at about eight meters per hour.
The move itself is done by BMS and it will take about a day to move the heavy lighthouse 60-80 meters away from the shoreline so that the public can again enjoy the dramatic location at the top of the knot.
However, the existing foundation must first be strengthened and a number of very strong iron beams are cast. With the reinforced foundation, the lighthouse can now be advanced to the new position with the help of “roller skates”, jack and hydraulics. The move takes place along a trench excavated on a flat foundation throughout the length of the bake. The excavation, which will have a width of 14 meters, is secured with spuns or similar. Since Rubjerg Knude is largely made up of loose air sand, it is expected that the excavation will add to the work period, so some maintenance of the work area is expected.
If the preparatory work will establish a temporary turnaround and parking space at the work area (30x30 meters), as well as access to the top of the Rubjerg Knude off Rubjergvej. The installation road must have a width of 4 meters, where the existing gravel road can be used on the first part of the section, while the last part will be created by laying road plates.
South of Rubjerg Knude lies a large area of forest, where you can find shelter for the area's dominant west wind. In 1927, the then Hjørring counsil bought approx. 130 barrels of land in the dune area south of Rubjerg Knude. The idea was to start planting the large area as part of an employment project. In a relatively short period, half a million trees were planted. In 1930 large parts of the plantation burned, which is why large areas of the plantation have been continuously replanted.
This means that the plantation today appears very varied. In the western part of the plantation the trees become more and more windy, and before reaching Lønstrup Klint the plantation goes into sea buckthorn crate.
In the middle of the plantation you will also find a primitive accommodation. Here it is possible to set up a tent, make use of the simple shelters, and cook over bonfires at the campfire site.
Due to the calcareous sands of the soil, the plantation is home to many rare fungi and plants. In the plantation there are, e.g. six species of orchids. This is also where you find the country's largest stock of the Dutch hollow lip. Further you will also find the red hole lip here, found only at Rubjerg Knude Klitplantage and on Møns Klint.
The area also forms the setting for a rich wildlife and bird life. Here you can see deer, foxes, hares, pheasants and flocks of migratory birds. East of Rubjerg Knude lies Denmark's largest sea buckthorn crate. The orange berries lure, in the fall, shaggers and other hops to the area. Sea towers are able to grow in nutrient-poor places because the bush can bind the free nitrogen of the air in its tubers.
In 2002, the Ministry of the Environment purchased the plantation in order to secure it as an important recreational area for posterity.
Natura 2000 Area
The area at Rubjerg Knude and Lønstrup Klint has been designated as the European Natura 2000 area. This means that Denmark has undertaken to make the necessary efforts to ensure, or restore, favorable conservation status for a number of habitats and species that are rare, endangered or characteristic at European level. Specifically in relation to Rubjerg Knude and Lønstrup Klint, the area is chosen as a habitat area, especially because of the presence of habitats such as: Sea buckthorn dune, coastal dune and gray / green dune.
The Coast Guard is responsible for the conservation and maintenance of the area around Rubjerg Knude. Here, among other things, sheep are used to grazing in a natural way.
In summer, a tractor ride is offered in the area.
Traveling on the sea along the west coast of Jutland was often dangerous and many ships lost their voyage. Therefore, from the 1850s onwards, lighthouses and rescue stations were erected along the west coast of Jutland. An example of this is the rescue station at Lønstrup. Founded in 1852, it was one of the first in the country. At the same time as the construction of lighthouses, and rescue stations, beach bailiffs were also appointed. The principal task of the coastguards was to supervise the beach, to salvage valuable stranding goods and finally to participate in the salvage work when a ship was stranded. The job as a coastgards is still there, and the old farm at Rubjerg today functions as a museum that tells about Rubjerg Knude's special cultural and natural history.
At Strandfogedgården you can participate in the museum visit yourself. Here you can learn much more about the sand escape, the work of the beach bailiff and Rubjerg Knude Fyr, and finally you can even experiment with sand escape and coastal degradation.
The highest point at Rubjerg Knude is approx. 90 meters above sea level. These 90 meters include approx. 50 meters of regular cliff and approx. 40 meters of sand dune made of fly sand. The dune formation has been particularly strong for the past 50 years. This is clearly seen at Rubjerg Knude Fyr, where the dune has at times been as high as the lighthouse.
Sand and sand escape
The lighthouse complex is sorted under the Ministry of the Environment and in the years 1980 to 2002 it formed the framework for the Vendsyssel Historical Museum's exhibitions on "Sand and sand escape" and on the history of the lighthouse. The exhibition has now been moved to Strandfogedgården a few km south at Rubjerg old Cemetery.