Skagen Coat of Arms

We sailed overnight from Copenhagen to Skagen which is the most Northern town in Denmark.

We were able to leave the ship to explore the town between 08:00 and 16:30 as the ship sailed at 17:00. Skagen is a small town of approximately 8000 people and, sadly, it is now relying heavily on the visits by cruise ships as its main source of revenue. This is because its previous largest industry, fishing, is gradually dying out.

Trevor and I chose to walk around the town on our own instead of going on a scheduled excursion. We really do enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of places. The first thing we noticed was a sculpture of the town’s coat of arms next to the Visitor Centre which is right on the pier. It has 3 distinct sections: at the top is a quote In God we trust; at the bottom a fish indicating the importance of fishing to the town but the one in the middle is quite heart-breaking. It is a replica of the grid on which St Lawrence, after whom the first church in Skagen was named, was roasted after refusing to pay taxes to the state but gave the money to the poor instead. Later we returned to the boat we talked of this and were surprised to find that almost everyone to whom we spoke had not seen it.

 Skagen Coat of Arms

Skagen’s Coat-of-Arms

As the 2 of us walked slowly into town the first building we came to was the Mission to Seafarers and its Chapel. We went inside to find that everything served by the Café on site was free. What a service to the seafarers who are far from home. We met the Chaplain who, on learning that I was from St Martin’s in Durban North which has a few members of its congregation also members of the Mission to Seafarers in Durban, we exchanged greetings from one to the other.

 Mission to Seamen House

Mission to Seafarers House

Skagen Mission to Seamen Chapel

Chapel of the Mision to Seafarers

As we continued into town we noticed that virtually all of the buildings in Skagen are the same colour yellow, which we now know is commonly known as Skagen yellow. It took a bit of getting used to as our homes in Durban are a large variety of colours. The Skagen homes are not as uniform in design as those we saw in Copenhagen or would see the next day in Stavanger.

Typical Skagen Yellow homesSkagen Yellow Houses

We had been walking for about an hour under heavy skies but were still taken by surprise when there was a sudden burst of rain. It proved quite difficult to find a place to shelter and so we got rather damp even though Trevor was wearing fully waterproof jacket. Mine was only waterproof to light precipitation we learnt as the day continued. The rain abated after 15mins so we continued our walk.

There were a number of shops which related directly to tourists but were in no way tacky. The owners and the shops struck us as quite refined. Also on the main street opposite the shops is the town’s Cultural Centre which includes a library, a cinema and concert hall. It is also Skagen yellow and has some lovely gardens around it. In front is an anchor which symbolises the heart of the town and its people.

Cultural Centre

The Cultural Centre

Anchor outside Cultural Centre

The anchor in front ot the Cultural Centre

Behind the shops was the main church and, once again, it is yellow! It was closed so we could not see it from the inside but it certainly stood out as a central point in the town. From every bit of searching that I have done I can find no other name for it except, The Church at Skagen built in 1841 to replace St Lawrence Church which had sanded up. It still stands but cannot be used.

Front view of church

The Church

To return to the ship we walked down a suburban street and came upon the old windmill and the museum. Outside the museum was a very interesting old-fashioned bus which is apparently used to ferry ‘older people’ to the museum and the shops. Next to it was a sign welcoming the passengers from our ship, the Serenade of the Seas. It would seem as if even the museum has to rely on the cruise ships for business. On a small hill beside the museum was an old, retired Dutch windmill. It is actually part of the museum but can be visited separately which we did.

The Museum

The Museum 

Retirees bus

Retirees bus with the Welcome Sign (the one with the flags)

We had to leave out the museum itself due to time constraints and fortunately we did as no sooner did we leave the windmill when there was a second downpour. Getting back to the ship was a matter of rushing between small bits of cover with the last couple of hundred metres granting us no shelter. I have always packed a small fold up umbrella when we have travelled but completely forgot to do so this time and paid the price.

Old Windmill

The Windmill