Best time to visit Denmark

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse in Denmark

The sand of time is especially merciless to this lighthouse

Best time: April–October

Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse

The Rubjerg Knude lighthouse had been a guidepost for sailors between 1900 when it was constructed and 1968 when it became obvious that its days were counted. The history of this building that may seem ordinary is in fact very interesting.

It was built at a safe distance from the seashore at first but back then not the sea was the problem. It was the wind that made the lighthouse unfunctional. Year after year it moved Europe's largest migrating sand dune and buried the lighthouse. It became impossible for the seafarers to hear its foghorn. It was decided to close the lighthouse.

Later, in 1980 it was reopened as the Sand Drift Museum that existed for 20 years but was completely abandoned in 2002. The struggle ended, Mother Nature has won. The sand and the wind were no longer the only problems for the lighthouse. The buffer zone between the building and the sea that due to coastal erosion decreased from 200 to 30 metres. So one day the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse will be swallowed by the North Sea.

Even though its time is limited and no one knows how much of it has left (experts say, 15 years), the lighthouse got the chance of a final fling. With the help of Jaja Architects and Bessards’ Studio, it was turned into a giant kaleidoscope. A prismatic structure that replaced the lighthouse's lantern is turned by the wind, creating a beautiful natural light show.

The winter days are too windy and short, so we recommend April–October as a general time to visit the Lighthouse.

Practical info

When was the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse constructed?

Constructed in 1900, Rubjerg Knude lighthouse served sailors as a guidepost for many years. After its closure in 1968, it was discovered that the lighthouse was in danger. Coastal erosion posed a threat, and the sand dune continued to migrate, causing the building to become temporarily inaccessible. Show more

Why did the lighthouse become unfunctional?

Strong winds and a migrating Sand Dune buried the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse year after year. This made it difficult for the foghorn to be heard by seafarers, and officials decided to close it down for safety reasons. The lighthouse lost its functionality years ago and was later turned into Sand Drift Museum. Show more

Where is the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse located?

In the northern part of Jutland, Denmark, sits the Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse. This lighthouse was built at a safe distance from the seashore. However, year after year, the sand dune kept migrating until it was right beside the building, posing a great risk to the lighthouse's stability and accessibility. Show more

What happened to the lighthouse during its closure?

Following its closure, Rubjerg Knude lighthouse was repurposed and opened up as the Sand Drift Museum. The museum was active from 1980 to 2000, after which the lighthouse was abandoned completely. Today, it is a tourist attraction with a giant kaleidoscope replacing the lantern. Show more

What is the lighthouse's status now?

A collaboration between the Jaja Architects and Bessards’ Studio resulted in the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse's transformation to a giant kaleidoscope. The architecture company replaced the lantern with a prismatic structure. The lighthouse's new look produces a stunning light show that is best enjoyed between April to October. The lighthouse faces an uncertain future, though, as coastal erosion continues to decrease its buffer zone. Experts warn that it could disappear into the North Sea within the next decade and a half. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin