Hellebæk might not look like much on a map, but the city and its surrounding woods still has much to offer. Amongst others 400 years of industrial history, perfect picnic spots, woodland lakes and a couple of hundred heads of cattle in Kohaven (The cow garden).
Hellebæk can very likely take the title as Denmark’s oldest industrial town. After the erection of Kronborg in 1585, Frederik 2. set in motion a great canal- and dam building project in the area. The king’s successor, Christian 4., constructed a so-called hammer-mill some years later, along with a cannon foundry. Thus industry had come to Hellebæk.
As opposed to the cannon foundry, which was moved into Gjethuset by Lundehaven (the current Marienlyst Castle) in 1604, the production by the hammer-mill continued as a major gun factory. In the 1700s the factory was expanded, and workers’ homes for foreign gunsmiths was constructed in Bøssemagergade (Gunsmith street). The gun production continued until 1870.
Today old industrial history has become an important part of the modern setting during a visit to Hellebæk. The gunsmiths’ old yellow abodes can still be found down Bøssemagergade – now in newly restored versions, and with Hellebæk Klædefabrik (Hellebæk clothing factory) furnished as a house for entrepreneurs.
The hammer-mill still explains the history of the location in its small museum, and now functions as a natural gathering point in Hellebæk. It is here by the hammer-mill, and the idyllic little pond, that Hammermøllens Teatergruppe (The Hammer-Mill theatre troupe) every second year stages its plays. And it is here that both locals and visitors eat their packed lunches, or buy some in the café, during a visit to the surrounding woods and their lakes, ponds and wildlife.
In Bøssemagergade nr. 1 Hellebæk Kro (Hellebæk Inn) could be found, which received its license in 1769. On the opposite corner was the general store. The well-preserved houses in nr. 3-13 were raised in the 1740s and originally consisted of both residence and workshops, while the street’s nr. 25-43 consist of beautifully renovated workers’ homes from 1873. The proof house in Bøssermagergade nr. 19 is the oldest of its kind in the world. Here the guns were tested after they were done being polished. In the slope by Hellebækken a bayonet whetting mill could once be found – today the house in nr. 23 is private property. In the street’s nr. 24-58 lies the well-preserved artisen residences, intended for foreign gunsmiths, together with Skæftergården (The stock production yard). Some way up the hill in nr. 60 one can find the old administrators residence from 1811.
Ane’s house can be found in Hellebæk woods on the northern shore of Bøgeholm Sø (Bøgeholm lake). The humble, but at the time quite ordinary farmhand housing is named after Ane Sophie Rasmusdatter (later Olsen). In the summer of 1847 actress Johanne Luise Heiberg visited the small house. She was touched by the meeting with the poor Ane and procured, amongst other things, salve for her. The precise age of the house is not known, but it was built before 1768, where count Heinrich Carl Schimmelmann took over Hellebækgaard. A group of citizens in the year 200 established ”Selskabet til Anes Hus Bevarelse” (The foundation to preserve Ane’s house) to save the empty house from disrepair.