The smallest harbour on the Oresund coast

With its only around 100 berths, Espergærde Havn is probably the smallest harbour along the Danish Oresund coast. Originally, the harbour was a small fishing hamlet, but today it is a cosy and idyllic marina.

Back in the 19th century, the fishermen of Espergærde were up in arms because harbours had been established in the neighbouring fishing hamlets of Humlebæk, Sletten and Snekkersten. The fishermen of Espergærde thought it was time that they got a harbour as well. So, they had their jetty expanded into a landing stage in 1880.

However, the fishermen were not content with this. They wanted a “real” harbour – but that cost money that they did not have. They resorted to collecting money from summer residents, public authorities and local forest balls. They also imposed enforced, unpaid work days in order to be able to build the harbour. They succeeded, and in 1883 they could start writing “harbour” on official documents after the building of the first pier.  

The harbour turned out to be too small for the traffic in the area, and so it was expanded with a northern pier, finished in 1904. However, it soon became clear that the fishermen’s problems were not solved by getting a bigger harbour.

Like most of Denmark, the coast at Espergærde was hit hard by sand drift causing sanding up in the harbour. As early as 1909, the inhabitants tried to raise money for extending the southern pier, but they did not succeed until 1918. However, the extension was not the answer to the sanding problem, and it still constituted a great many expenses for the fishermen, who had to pay for harbour repairs and sand pumping every year until local municipality Tikøb Kommune, later Helsingør Kommune, decided to help them.

In spite of the limited size of the harbour, it was attempted to establish a ferry route between the Swedish island of Hven and Espergærde in the 60s and 70s, but the idea never became reality. In particular, a demand from Swedish authorities that the ferry company pay for a customs house on the island put an end to the dreams.

There is no longer any fishing industry in Espergærde Havn: In 1952, only 10 commercial fishermen remained, and during the 80s they disappeared altogether. Now, only leisure-time fishermen and yachtsmen berth in the harbour, which is now an idyllic marina with a cosy atmosphere.

Source and photo: Espergærde Havn (website in Danish)

Coordinates:  Latitude: 55.992431
longitude: 12.562069

Andre Søkortsfortællinger

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