The Maritime era on Fanø
The tiny sandy island on the west coast was once a maritime "superpower" - even with the same population size as we have today.
Fanø started to develop into an island approximately 8000 years ago. Before then, the stretch from Blåvandshuk to Sild was probably one coast line. The lower heathlands were flooded by the sea, forming the large sand barriers which in turn developed the protective island group.
Because of this protection, the Wadden Sea transformed into the landscape we know today. Tides, storm surges and wind has since caused Fanø to grow towards the West. It is not precisely known when people first settled on Fanø although the first records are from 1231. From then until 1741 Fanø was the property of the Danish king. Today the island measures about 60km2 and is today the second smallest municipality in Denmark.
Many small islands and rural districts are struggling with fewer workplaces and a decrease in population. This is not the case on Fanø. Our population is increasing and we are closing in on having 3500 inhabitants. New homes are continuously being built in the new residential areas west and north of Nordby. A significant reason for the increasing population is the proximity to Esbjerg. With only a twelve-minute ferry ride, it is easy to live on Fanø and work in Esbjerg. More than 600 people commute to.
From Esbjerg, the ferry service sails to Fanø’s main town, Nordby – a lovely 12 minute crossing. Enough time to wind down and relax for a bit. Nordby is a small town with a wonderful atmosphere and lots of beautiful old houses, not to mention the lovely landscape that surrounds it.
The traditional women's dresses from Fanø is one of the most characteristic aspects of the island. For more than 200 years, also well into the 20th century, these dresses were worn on an everyday basis. The last woman from Fanø who wore the Fanø Dress daily passed away in 1972.