Løgstør: Creating experiences in the city of mussels
By Nicolai Lisberg | Photos: Limfjordsmuseet
Løgstør is a prime example of a volunteer success story. Here, local volunteers took responsibility for the future of the city by completely transforming it and giving it a new identity as the city of mussels.
Where some see obstacles, others see opportunities. That is exactly what happened, and is still very much happening, in the town of Løgstør in the northern part of Denmark. Back in 2008, the town faced a challenge. Everything was getting more centralised and online shopping really took off, so it was difficult to keep both inhabitants and shops around. The urban ecosystem was threatened.
Neither the centralisation nor the internet seemed to be slowing down – so instead of trying to fight it, the local residents got together and started focusing on their historical heritage and the local aspect. How could they make the area more attractive to themselves as well as tourists? How could they make Løgstør better?
“The sense of volunteerism and pioneering spirit in terms of taking responsibility for the town is incomparable, and it’s the people living here who are to be acknowledged for the turnaround the place has experienced over the last two decades,” says Anders Bloksgaard, museum director at the Limfjord Museum, which has cooperated on many of the new initiatives in the city.
One of the first things was to capitalise on the Limfjord and all it has to offer, in particular its blue gold: the mussels. The first Saturday in April each year is dedicated to a Mussel Harvest Party, where one tonne of mussels comes in by boat in the old harbour. They are then transported by a horse-drawn carriage and prepared by the city’s chefs, so that visitors can taste the delicious delicacy for free.
“During the summer, we also have a Mussel Festival, which connects gastronomy to art and music. It lasts for three days, and during those days the harbour is full of people and hosts several different concerts,” says Bloksgaard.
This year, the Mussel Festival will take place on 8-10 July.
A promising future
You could say that the blue gold has given Løgstør a whole new identity, which is why Løgstør is today known all over Denmark as the city of mussels. But it’s about much more than mussels; Løgstør has become a vibrant place full of cultural events.
“The Mussel Harvest Party and the Mussel Festival became a catalyst for more events, such as our annual Jazz Festival, our concerts in the harbour during the summer, a Maritime Festival and much more. Løgstør used to be a town focused on industrial matters, but now it’s known for its many experiences and events,” says Bloksgaard.
The transformation has not only resulted in a better area for its inhabitants and tourists, which was originally the ambition. It has also had the effect that more people now want to move there. Some of the people who have taken part in the festivals are even buying houses in the area – a great success, but that does not mean that Løgstør is now resting on its laurels.
“The only reason we have succeeded is because so many people have helped out in making the town better. The locals have pulled together and helped out with everything, but we have also had investors who, in some cases, have invested their own money to keep the development going. It’s great to see what the town has become today, but we all still remember the situation 15 years ago, so we will continue to keep improving it,” says Bloksgaard, who predicts an exciting future for Løgstør: “The activity created throughout almost two decades has meant that more boats are now passing through the harbour, which is why the municipality has decided to expand the harbour. They too have seen the potential in the town and how the water surrounding it creates something rather unique.”
He adds: “We are also working on reopening the King Frederik VII’s Canal, so one day we will be able to have boats sailing by like we did 150 years ago. We keep our feet on the ground, but I can’t help thinking that the future of Løgstør looks very promising.”
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