It is the sum of it all that attracts tourists and other sun loving people during the summer. Hornbæk is clean beaches, bathing and boating built on the foundation of the fishing that has sustained the village in the past. A fact that is still apparent on any visit to the old fishing village.
It is crowded during the summer in Hornbæk. The sun is posing from a cloudless sky, and everyone wants to be here for the show. On the parking space by Vestre Stejlebakke it is hard to see where the booths are marked off. Cars are everywhere. People questing for sun get in and out of their cars with bathing towels on their shoulders. Inflatable water toys hang limply on dad’s arm, mother admonishes the use of sunscreen, while the kids have only ice cream on their minds.
Hornbæk is alive every summer. Visitors come from near and far, and especially from Copenhagen. It has been that way since a group of prominent artists discovered the city in the 1870s. Their portrayals of Hornbæk and it’s surrounding nature made tourists swarm to the town, which quickly developed into a fashionable place, ideal for nature and holiday seeking visitors from Copenhagen.
They settled in at the stately Hornbæk Beach Hotel or the newly renovated Hornbæk Inn, and a new tourist favourite was born. So when the many tourists eventually made the artists flee north towards Skagen, it was not that much of a problem for the town.
Hornbæk has attracted many famous artists throughout the years, such as: Vilhelm Kyhn, P.S.Krøyer, Zartmann, Julius Exner, Frederik Vermehren, Holger Drachmann, Carl Bloch, L.A. Ring, Peter Ilsted, Carl Locher, Halfdan Rasmussen, Verner Panton, Stig Lommer and Svend Asmussen?
Especially the author and painter Holger Drachmann has helped promote Hornbæk with his portrayals of the town. Drachmann died in Hornbæk in 1908, and in 2008 a stone was raised at the harbour in his memory. On the stone you can, for example, find this verse by Drachmann (loosely translated):
I have been on many journeys
Been to many lands and more
But the best that I have learned
Was to yearn for my own shore
All signs of the town’s past as a fishing village has not washed away. Behind the well-visited beach playground, children can fish for crabs and other small marine animals on the shoreline. In the shanty town, the fishing nets indicate that there are still those who sail out from Hornbæk to fish.