Old harbor of Sønderho

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The town of Sønderho was originally founded as a little trading post from where they shipped fish caught around the island of Fanø to the market in Ribe. The harbor wasn’t an ideal harbor but it could be used for the trading.

Børsen – the bench where the old traders met.

In the beginning of the 19th century the business of the town started to pick up and a lot of men went into a business of shipping. The town started making a lot of money on the trade with faraway places.

The new access way to the harbor

Things were good for the village and when the boat owners were home in the harbor they would go to sit at a little bench down at the harbor called Børsen which translate into the exchange. The men were waiting for a ship to arrive with the international news which was arriving from Hamburg the biggest city in this part of Europe of the day and a large harbor and trading town. When the ship arrived the boat owners would read the German business news and then head back home enlightened about what was going on in the world. This old bench has actually been preserved down at the harbor.

Børsen – where the ship owners would wait for news.

Unfortunately the business didn’t last long for the small town. In 1870 a new modern harbor were built in Esbjerg and the harbor of Sønderho had been silting up for a while and it really wasn’t fit for the bigger modern boats which were starting to appear. The shipping relocated and Sønderho became a small town again. The harbor ended up completely silted up and nobody could access the harbor anymore.

Harbor of Sønderho

Today a new project has been started to dig back a little trench into the harbor so it will once again be possible to sail to and from this old proud shipping town. There weren’t any ships in the harbor when we went – but it seems like it will be possible for boats from Ribe to sail here for a day or two and enjoy the protected harbor of Sønderho.

I guess you shouldn’t go on a very windy day – considering there is a high-water marker in the harbor and a couple of the high water marks are higher than my head. The lowest one of these were set in 1981 while the highest were set in 1839 and were probably around 3 meters or ten feet above the normal sea level.

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