This expedition started and finished in Copenhagen with fellow IBRG members travelling from the UK, Denmark and Lithuania. This fast moving trip started and finished visiting historical borders, firstly the 1864 to 1920 border between Denmark and Germany at Hejlsminde and Christiansfeld on the first day and the old border between the Viking and German spheres of influence at Dannevirke on the last day – the furthest point into Germany we travelled on this trip. The trip primarily focus on Points of Interest on the current border, this included both the eastern and western extremities, lots of border crossings, markers and other curiosities we found along the way. As with all the IBRG trips there was lots of discussions, food and drink! This page is an introduction to the trip with individual reports being accessible by clicking on either the photos or the links (in red) either within the text via the menu of the right hand side of the page.
Participants: Ann Kennard (UK), Jan Krogh (Norway), Jesper Nielsen (Denmark), Hans Peter Nissen (Denmark), Linda Nissen (Denmark), Steen Schelde (Denmark), Steen Breiner (Denmark), Uffe Gardel (Denmark), Peter Tagesen (Denmark) and Barry Arnold (UK)
After meeting in Copenhagen the group set off, towards Storebælt for lunch and a quick view of the old ferry which was used before the Great Belt Bridge was opened.
There were 3 border POI’s on this day and whilst our Danish hosts know the history well, those of us from further afield found the historical border fascinating. Initially we stopped at the “border bridge” at Hejlsminde and then at the border monument at Christiansfeld. This was followed by a tour of the local border museum which was adjacent to our hotel for the evening.
Day 2 was a busy one! The were visits to many border points of interest including small rural border crossings as well as major motorway crossings. We visited the easternmost point at Skomagerhus (details here) where the first of many discussions occurred about where exactly the border was located.
With so many highlights it is difficult to mention a few in this summary, a garage in Denmark (details here) which is only accessible from Germany was one of the oddities, whereas the Danish farmhouse at Vilmkærgård (details here) which is only accessible from Germany was fascinating especially when the owner explained the challenges when the borders were closed due to the pandemic and no authorities quite knew what to do!
We visited many small border crossings and popped into Germany via a motorway crossing point where COVID checks were in place. Over a very German lunch and beer we observed the Danes in their car, loading up on household goods and alcohol which is much cheaper across the border. Small border crossings with small signs and markers such as Sofiedal, Bøgelhus, Pebersmark contrasted with the motorways crossing at Kruså.
Another oddity was the Church at Ubjerg. At the time of the referendum which led to the current border being established in 1920, Ubjerg was cited as the most “German” town in Denmark with a large percentage voting to belong to Germany. The border was however drawn further south to include all areas within Zone 1 of the plebiscite.
At many points both small and large we came into contact with Danish police and border officials, an unusual occurrence in the post Schengen world. All encounters were friendly and mainly we were greeting with polite bewilderment “Why are you visiting borders?” being the most often question asked.
We had time to visit the Southernmost point of Denmark near Padborg, unfortunately because of our route we found ourselves in Germany on the wrong side of the anti wild boar fence, so could not get closer than 2 meters from the point itself.
The final highlight of the day was the border crossing between Rudbøl on the Danish side and Rosenkranz on the German side which has probably the most unusual border layout. Because the border runs for a length of about 130 meters in the middle of the narrow street and also through the middle of Lake Ruttebüll. Although we thought our adventures were over for the day we did not realise we were joining an evening of local entertainment with food, beer and dancing later. An event which was very local and as strange to those of our group from Copenhagen.
After a late night, there was still time for visits to 3 more border POI’s. The first was the small, and some describe as the newest unofficial border crossing between Denmark and Germany at Bettenæs . Onwards then to the westernmost point on Jutland, which happens also to the most northern point of the German mainland. The border here is very interesting with several markers either side of the road that leads to the coastal protection and the Wadden Sea.
At the westernmost point it was possible to see the German Island of Sylt with its rail link to the mainland, we were not able to visit the actual northernmost point of Germany on this trip which is located there. The whole area is a protected nature reserve and some places were inaccessible. There were several border markers and especially significant was BM # 280 the last one on the DK/DE border. The group had seen a lot since us visiting BM #1 2 days before.
There was time for one further visit prior to returning to Copenhagen. This time we travelled south from the 1920 border to the oldest border on this trip, the Viking remains at Danevirke, a system of Danish fortifications in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. A UNESCO World Heritage site is a series of defensive earthworks built to defend the Viking empire from the south (more details here).
After this there was one border to cross back into Denmark where a ferry and the motorway network of inter island bridges took us back to Copenhagen. A fantastic and fast paced 3 day trip.
Many thanks to my fellow DEDK21 participants for making this trip so enjoyable.
Dates of Visit: 24 – 26 September 2021
2 thoughts on “DEDK 21”
Great report, with a lot of interesting details👍
Pls correct: under “participants” Jesper Nielsen is missing – and Linda’s surname is NISSEN..
Best regards from the Old Man in DK
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Thank you Peter, now amended, feedback is always appreciated.