Proud sailing traditions

Standardside Generel information Borgere

The residents along the west coast of Thy did not just use the sea for fishing - they also traded enthusiastically with the towns along the south coast of Norway. From around the year 1600 up to the early 1800's, the small craft trading meant a great rise in economic activity in the area. The so-called sand barges, which were flat-bottomed ships that could get very close to the beach, sailed goods to Kristiansand, and sometimes all the way to Stavanger and Bergen. The barges were 12-14 metres long, four metres wide and one and a half metres deep and the crew counted three to four men. They had with them items such as corn, meat, butter, linen and home-knitted sweaters made from the wool of sheep from the dune heaths. Particularly the agricultural products were vital to the Norwegians. The barges returned home with their holds loaded with wood, iron, stoves, stones and at times even Norwegian ponies. All of these were goods in short supply in Thy. However, the voyage was risky, and the men took on the job with their life and cargo at stake. At that time, Klitmøller was the centre for barge trading, with a very wealthy community, surpassing the country town Thisted from an economic and business point of view. For instance, it is told that some of the residents in Klitmøller wore beautiful dresses of silk and pieces of lace or even wore wigs according to the high fashion of the time. This was some sight in Thy back then. The vivacious and lucrative trading at Klitmøller was thus a thorn in the eye for the merchants in Thisted who were trying to have the activity stopped until King Frederik III gave the trading his blessing. Since Thisted port was established in the mid-1800s, and it became possible to sail into Limfjorden through an opening in Agger Tange, the ports on the unpredictable west coast could not compete with the calm port conditions in Thisted, and the barge trading slowly faded.

Other interesting places to visit:

  • The beach in Nørre Vorupør where the fishing boats are still pulled ashore after a catch
  • Stenbjerg Landingsplads (landing place)
  • Klitmøller church with a keel hanging from a sand barge in the chapel
  • Vester Vandet church where a three-masted sand barge is depicted on the large grandfather clock