Summer life in Hornbæk

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.

When Hornbæk received its first harbour bridge in the 1820s, and a real harbour in 1880, it became the focal point of the town, which it is to this day. Today the pleasure boats lie side by side along the two piers, with fine sand beaches on each side and the silhouette of the Swedish cliffs at Kullen as backdrop.

Københavnernes ankomst
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 Badehotel (Hornbæk beach hotel): One of the most notable buildings in Hornbæk is Rigshospitalets Klinik for Rygmarvsskader (The National Hospital Clinic for Spinal Injury), located by the harbour. The great, white funkis building was erected in 1935 under the name Hornbæk Badehotel, and until the onset of the second world war the building stood as a testament to the fact that tourism truly had moved to Hornbæk. During the second world war the hotel was closed, and the building occupied by the Germans, who used it as an observation post to scout Øresund and the southern Kattegat. After the war the building stood empty until the fall of 1952. At this point it was necessary to find a place for retraining of the many polio victims who had survived the great polio epidemic, and Samfundet og Hjemmet for Vanføre (Society and home for the crippled) bought the hotel and quickly furnished a rehabilitation hospital for the polio victims. In 1980 the National Hospital took over the clinic.

6 comments “Sommerliv i Hornbæk

  1. 20. september 2019 Sørren Schandorf skriver:

    I filmen “Hornbæk ifølge Holger” Kan man høre fortællinger om Hornbæk fra fiskerleje til mondænt badested, i billeder og malerier fra før og nu, med Holger Drachmann (1846-1908) som fiktiv fortæller.

  2. 15. august 2012 Hanne Gregersen skriver:

    skriver om Kurbadet i Hornbæk:
    En bygning, der summer af liv og med en smuk placering tæt ved hav og havn. Mange svært tilskadekomne mennesker har atter fået livsgnisten igen – oftest efter flere måneders hård træningsindsats.

  3. 15. august 2012 Lotte Lund skriver:

    Hornbæk Havnefest er en tradition, der skaber glæde og gode minder hos unge og gamle og samler penge ind til byens foreningsliv.

  4. 15. august 2012 Amalie Regel, 3140 skriver:

    Strandene ved Hornbæk er de reneste i hele Nordsjælland. Stemningen er altid god, og man føler sig altid tryg, da livredderne passer på én.

  5. 15. august 2012 Palle Westergaard, 3100 skriver:

    Skurbyen giver Hornbæk havn (og byen) et socialt samlingspunkt – sommer og vinter – med flere udadvendte arrangementer som julemarked, sildens dag med mere

    • 7. september 2012 Jørgen Pedersen skriver:

      Kommer der en sildens dag på Hornbæk havn.
      ligesom tidlige år (oktober)
      Det var meget vellykket, og kommer med glæde

      4 venner i Hillerød

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Drachmann and Hornbæk

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

The Shanty Town

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.