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Christiansø: A living history book

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Christiansø is an old fortress in the middle of the Baltic Sea. The archipelago Ertholmene is in several ways a very special place in the far east of the map of Denmark.
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Christiansø: A living history book is written by Sarah Steinitz og Tine Tolstrup

Eastern, peaceful and historic on Christiansø

Ertholmene is Denmark very easternmost archipelago and is in several ways a very special place on the map of Denmark.

In addition to being geographically isolated in the middle of the Baltic Sea to the north Bornholm, then the 90 people who live on Christiansø and the little brother island Frederiksø live on a fortress from the 1600th century. Far away from the law and order of municipalities.

Here is no mayor, but an administrator employed by the Ministry of Defense, who decides big and small and acts as the island's social office, job center, police authority, and what else can be imagined by authorities.

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A perfectly protected island

There are no cars here. No nursing home. Everything is protected, and you must be security cleared to be allowed to move to. Christiansø and Frederiksø are owned by the Ministry of Defense, and you can only be allowed to move to the islands if you can find a job as a schoolteacher, carpenter, painter, doctor or other essential job. When you stop working, you have to move from the island again.

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Denmark Christiansø ferry travels

A short visit from the guests

Every day during the summer comes the ferry from Bornholm with tourists to the small rocky island, but 3 hours later they are all gone again, because most people settle for a day trip. However, it can be recommended to stay one night and experience the island's own life almost without tourists. However, you can easily see the island in one day.

In about 30 minutes walk you can reach around both islands. And you do not have to take many steps before you wander straight into the bustle of history, which oozes out of the cobbled streets, the yellow barracks houses, the many cannons and the huge stone wall that winds all the way around the island.

This historic fortress is still home to 90 people who are not very militaristic. They live in the middle of the history book, and the island's many stories live on in them.

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Bureau Graphics 2023
Bornholm, denmark, christiansø, sunset, gazebo, ertholmene

Ten things you may not have known about Christiansø

We're heading east
You may need to sail north from Bornholm to get to Christiansø, but Christiansø is the easternmost point in Denmark. On the island is the only post office in the archipelago Ertholmene, which is also the easternmost point of the island. You do not come to Denmark much further east.

You can spend the night on Christiansø
If you want to explore Christiansø further, it is possible to spend the night on the island. Christiansø Gæstgiveri has six rooms. In addition, Christiansø Gæstgiveri also offers its own restaurant / inn, kiosk and grocery store. If you want to sleep in nature, take the tent under your arm and head out to the island's nature tent site. During the summer period, the square is expanded to include the northern part of the King's Garden.

Southern European climate in Denmark
Ertholmen's climate is more sunny and dry in summer than the rest of Denmark. The climate on the island is affected by the surrounding sea and the granite that the island consists of. Therefore, the summer months feel warmer than the rest of Denmark, and it is warm well into the autumn period as well.

Plants and trees spring up later on Christiansø than in the rest of Denmark
The low sea temperatures in the spring mean that a number of plants and trees only spring out 2-3 weeks later.
It should be mentioned, however, that it is not allowed to pick flowers or remove plants and stones from Christiansø.

No pets on Christiansø
On Christiansø and Frederiksø it is not allowed to take your dogs and cats with you. This is due to the island's project to collect drinking water and due to the consideration for the breeding birds.

Christiansø has the country's smallest school
Life on the island consists of a well-functioning community. It includes a school with students from 0.-7. grade. In addition to the school, Christiansø also offers other necessary functions for the permanent residents.

The island is owned by the Danish state
The residents of Christiansø do not have the opportunity to vote in the municipal elections, as they do not belong to a municipality. However, they can still vote in parliamentary elections, referendums and EU elections.

Visit the world's first naval base
Christian the Fifth founded in 1684 the world's first naval base; however, the fortress was closed down again in 1855. You can still experience the base and visit Store Tårn on Christiansø and Lille Tårn on Frederiksø. The Great Tower is considered to be the pearl of the fortress. So that they do not just end up as ruins, Store Tårn and Lille Tårn have become the center of cultural and art experiences for Christiansø's tourists and residents.

Everything is protected on Christiansø
Ertholmene consists of Christiansø, Frederiksø, Græsholm, Lilleø as well as several small islands and cliffs. Here everything is totally protected; both fortress walls, buildings and all wildlife and nature. The archipelago with the approximately 40.000 visitors a year is preserved so that everything stands as it did in the old days.

Go on a seal safari off Christiansø
On the small rocky island of Tat, you will find a large seal colony. It is therefore obvious to take a boat trip around the nearby islands in Ertholmene, where you can experience havets wildlife. If you are lucky, you can find rare amphibians and birds around the islands' waterholes, and a wonderful universe of sound is formed with their chirping and squawking.

The ferry trip to Christiansø
Hop on the ferry Ertholm in Gudhjem. In high season, the ferry on Christiansøfarten has up to three departures every day of the week. If you want to travel during the winter season, you can sail with Postbåden Peter. This boat sails once a day every weekday. The voyage lasts about an hour.

Now you are hopefully more than ready to plan your next trip to Christiansø. Bring your family or friends under your arm and be taught about classic Danish history and culture.

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Really good trip to Christiansø!

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About the author

Tine Tolstrup

Tine has a degree in geography from the University of Copenhagen with a focus on environmental management and has a solid knowledge of the Danish natural and cultural landscape, urban development and settlement patterns.
From March to September 2018, she and Sarah Steinitz will explore the island kingdom and travel around to 37 islands in Denmark. It's going to be an adventure. An adventure they call The Odyssey. They are part of a generation that flies around the world after the book "1000 places you must see before you die", but still have never been to Avernakø or driven over Storstrømsbroen. They will seek out the adventures that await around the corner - on Fejø, Fanø, Fur and the 34 other islands that they travel around on their Ødyssé.



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