Det Nordatlantiske Fyr i Hanstholm (Hanstholm Lighthouse): Throwing light on nature and art
Text: Signe Hansen | Photos: Hanstholm Lighthouse
Completely renovated and reopened in 2017, Det Nordatlantiske Fyr i Hanstholm (Hanstholm Lighthouse) now presents not just stunning views and history, but also tailored art exhibitions, culture events, and artist residences (also available for paying guests).
At the time of its completion in 1843, the light beam of Hanstholm Lighthouse was, with a 65-metre reach, the most powerful in the world. Still active today, the lighthouse is, thanks to its characteristic outline and wonderful views of Thy National Park and the North Sea, also a popular destination for the area’s many visitors. And now, the old tower has even more to offer.
Through a thorough renovation of interiors and exteriors as well as dedicated fundraising efforts and the help of a host of local volunteers, the lighthouse has been reopened as a culturally and historically remarkable art gallery and event space. “First of all, the view from up here is just breathtaking – you have the distinct Danish dune landscape on one side, the ocean on the other, and a light that’s always changing,” lighthouse manager Marie Louise Klitgaard Nielsen says. “Having modern, contemporary art in that same space creates an incredibly interesting energy. It’s very different from viewing an art show in a regular art centre, and the audience is different, too. Many of them come mainly for the lighthouse and not the art, and that makes for some very raw and honest encounters.”
Aiming to open up the historic buildings to everyone, the lighthouse also hosts a string of evening events, including everything from talks and concerts to foresting and dinner nights. The events take place in the lighthouse’s adjoining buildings, such as the old machine hall and the former lighthouse keepers’ home. Furthermore, parts of the historic buildings have been transformed into five flats for residence artists and travellers looking for a different getaway immersed in peace, beauty and a distinct historic atmosphere.
Art, nature and history
From the beginning of 2019, Hanstholm Lighthouse has been able to present a professional art programme, named Hanstholm Art Space. During 2019 and ‘20, the art programme will present ten exhibitions with more than 30 different artists from the North-Atlantic region, including Greenland, Canada, Scotland and the Scandinavian countries.
“The art exhibitions present a broad scope of genres and artists from all over the region. The uniting theme is that the artists come from areas that are located on the border of society, such as the remote islands of northern Scotland, where there is a strong maritime connection and a sparse population,” explains Nielsen. “The main requirement is that they create an exhibition that plays into the settings of the lighthouse and the historic buildings. For instance, the old emergency room, where the current artists have chosen to exhibit, is a listed building, which means that nothing can be altered – you can’t even put a nail into the walls. They have chosen to create new walls, which have become part of the exhibition and enabled them to hang their works.”
The duo currently exhibiting is the Sami art duo, MAADTOE, whose works will be exhibiting until 15 November. After that, the Hanstholm Art Space will be paused until April 2020. In the meantime, guests will be able to enjoy an exhibition of nature photography.
While preparing or creating works for their exhibition, artists are invited to stay and work in one of the lighthouse’s adjoining flats, two of which are reserved for artists and researchers in residence. “A lot of the exhibiting artists create something specifically for us; they come to live and work here, and in doing so, it’s almost impossible not to create something that’s different – sometimes works that won’t be seen again anywhere else,” says Nielsen. “We would also love to welcome other artists, especially those whose works seek inspiration from the area.”
— Hanstholm Lighthouse is located at the northern border of Thy National Park, approximately 90 minutes by car from Aalborg Airport.
— Hanstholm Lighthouse is open every day.
— Hanstholm Art Space is open every day from 11am to 4pm in peak season (Danish national and school holidays) and Friday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm at all other times (but paused from 15 November 2019 to 5 April 2020.)
— Admission: 30DKK (approx. £3.50 – includes both lighthouse and art gallery) Children go free.
— The admission fee goes towards funding the maintenance of the lighthouse and the cultural activities.
The non-reserved flats are available at special prices to all artists, but can also be rented on Airbnb by regu-lar travellers looking for a different experience.
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