When you drive along the south western part of Denmark right at the coast you come to a series of small towns. When you drive here you might notice a similarity in the name – all the cities seem to be called something including Ballum. There is Ballum in all kinds of shapes and forms with Vesterende for western Ballum, Østerende for eastern Ballum and other combinations of Ballum including something else.
The towns are built on some of the highest land in the area – not that this really tells you very much in most other places around the world this location would be considered very low. But the land it just high enough to protect the villages from the frequent floods during the winter storm which used to be very common in this area of Denmark. So it was a natural location for a village to protect itself against the stormy water.
The high location mean the houses has survived the storms over the centuries – and there has been a lot of later development in this area so the old houses has been left behind and is still forming the basis for many peoples home today. This make the small towns pretty to look at and it is worth having a look at one or more of the Ballums if you go along the south western coast of Denmark.
From Vesterende Ballum a man called Anders Nielsen lived in the marsk landscape and he later changed his name to Mærsk after the landscape of the area. another man lived in the area he was called Peter Møller and he fell in love with a girl from the Mærsk family – these two became the grand parents of A. P. Møller who had the son Mærsk McKinney Møller. A. P. Møller founded a shipping company with his father and the son took over as CEO and this company developed into Maersk Line the biggest container shipping company in the world.
Obviously the family is fairly wealthy and they donated the bulk of their shares of the shipping company to a trust which should help fund project which will promote Danish history and nationality especially in the area around the Danish German border. The family never forgot where they came from so in 2008 the trust donated 20 million DKK or around 3 million euro to help renovate some of the old houses in the villages of Østerende Ballum and Vesterende Ballum with the church of this area. This has helped preserve several of the houses which are nice to look at. But this isn’t an open air museum – people still live in the houses so you can only see them from outside. Even though you are not able to see the inside of the houses it is still worth the visit.