Vestervig is a small village in the north east of Denmark in the area called Thy. The village looks really tiny today – but the village was formerly one of the most important settlements in this part of Denmark. Back about a thousand years ago the village was one of the main settlements from where the Viking traders would go to England across the North Sea.
About a century and a half after the last time the Danish king ruled England the village got a huge church. This is actually the biggest village church in Scandinavia. The reason the village church is this huge is the importance of the village in the old days. The church used to be a cathedral with its own bishop using at the main church of the area.
Next to the church you can actually find evidence of a settlement at this area long before the Viking age. There are the remains of a few small houses which were built around year 200. There was a small village in this area from around year 150 till 400 when the village burned down and the people moved away. They probably didn’t move too far since there was another settlement not far away which were populated all up until the time the church were built.
The area around Thy had very limited timber 2000 years ago – so the houses were actually not built of wood – instead they were built of grass turf. I don’t know what the houses in Denmark looked like – but we went to Iceland last year and visited a small old turf house in Glaumbær. And I guess the building style there might have had some similarities with these old houses – except the fact the house in Glaumbær was bigger than the houses in this little village.
In the later centuries the city went downhill and is now an insignificant little village. The reason the village went downhill was the fact that it was cut off from the North Sea. The city is located at Limfjorden and from time to time there is a direct access to the North Sea from Limfjorden. Back in the heyday of Vestervig they could sail straight from the town to the north sea – but the narrow access to the north sea were after a while covered by sand and Vestervig were cut off from the easy access to the western part of Europe. The city went downhill from this. Today the passage to the North Sea is once again open – but the opening came too late for Vestervig which has never returned to its glory days.
From the church we can actually see an old windmill which you might be able to visit – but we couldn’t be bother to go there since everything is closed for the moment.