Image via Cellar
Poking its red head up through the shifting sands of Denmark’s weathered coast is the most useless lighthouse in the world. The Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse sits 60 meters above sea level on top of Lønstrup Klint on the edge of the North Sea, and is just about visible to those on land by day, never mind passing ships in the night.
The tip of the lighthouse is just visible above the dunes
Image from Oslo Geological Congress
Built towards the end of the 19th century over a period of 11 years, the lighthouse was first put into use on December 27, 1900. No one considered it would be almost completely engulfed by surrounding sands less than 70 years later. The lighthouse had its own gasworks for illumination and operation of the foghorn, and three employees worked hard around the clock to keep it in operation.
Image taken from an old picture of the lighthouse via Flickr
Then, unpredictably, as if the land was willing the ships ever closer to the shore, the sands gathered and started to envelope the lighthouse and its outbuildings, until they were no longer accessible. From certain points on the sea the lighthouse was totally invisible, so the decision was taken to decommission it from use, and on August 1, 1968 the doors of the lighthouse closed for good.
Image of lighthouse 15 years ago taken from a tourism brochure
Since then, because of the ever-changing scenery, the lighthouse has become a popular visitor attraction on the Jutland coast. The sands advance and retreat so quickly that within a matter of months the lighthouse can be covered to half way up the chimney and then at other times the small coffee shop and old museum, that were in use up until 2002, poke their heads through the dunes, as if gasping for breath, before being covered once more. Photographers, especially, find the Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse a treat to visit as they’re offered different views of the natural phenomenon every time.
Image by Anders Hollenbo
When the lighthouse was opened to the public, visitors were allowed to climb to the top of the 23 meter tower to admire the views. Now, the same views can be enjoyed from the top of the sand dunes that sit level with the old viewing gallery.
Image via Lighthouse-Duo
To mark the 100th anniversary of the tower, the locals organized a procession from nearby Mårup Church, 1500 meters away. Portable lighting meant Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse was once again in action, but only until New Year’s Eve. Even then, tons of sand was constantly being cleared from the lighthouse to allow access to the lighting equipment.
It’s predicted that the lighthouse will fall into the sea in 15 to 20 years time, until then, it patiently sits and waits.
Image by Alex J White
For those keen on tracking the shifting sands, the lighthouse can be found on Google Earth at: latitude 57 deg 26.96 min N and longitude 9 deg 46.51 min E. Unfortunately, we couldn't access GE at the time of publishing but will share the image here, soon.