September 28th 2016

Esbjerg 013 - Man Meets the Sea

Esbjerg 013 – Man Meets the Sea

Esbjerg 013 – Man Meets the Sea

Somehow, to me, it’s cliché to have Svend Wiig Hansen’s monumental sculpture represent Esbjerg. Especially since I’ve set out trying to show the not-so-usual side of the city.

However, “Man Meets the Sea” IS very representative of modern Esbjerg, as it’s one of the things “outsiders” refer to when talking of the city.

Having lived for 20 years away from Esbjerg in Copenhagen, even I myself have fallen prey to that notion.

I’ve tried to shoot the sculpture in a way that is different from the typical tourist and postcard snapshot and I hope to instill a bit of interest from this different perspective.

According to visitesbjerg.dk: the scultpure was raised in 1994 on occasion of  Esbjerg celebrating its 100th anniversary as an independant municipality. The official unveiling took place on October 28th 1995.

The sculpture portrays the meeting between pure, unspoilt mankind and nature. Man, innocent as from his mother’s womb. Man before rising up and beginning to act. That, according to Wiig Hansen, was where things started to go wrong – when man got”dirt” on his hands.

Wiig Hansen has portrayed this encounter by creating a universal sculpture that has the mood of a temple, of an acropolis – a sculpture with a sacred aura to it. This sacred aura is attained by the rigid appearance of the human figures, something which reminds the onlooker of the Memnon columns or Ramses II gazing out over the Nile Valley at Abu Simbel. It is also impossible for the onlooker not to be reminded of the mysterious stone figures on the Easter Islands.

The legs are like the columns of a Greek temple. The lower legs have been made so long precisely so as to achieve this columnlike effect. The upper legs are short in proportion. The identical heads, which with their inscrutable and unfathomable expressions gaze out towards Skallingen and the entrance to the harbour, also contribute greatly to the glimpse you get of the supernatural – a hint of the divine.

The sculpture is not tied down to any one age. Its expressiveness, laden with atmosphere and emotion, makes it eternally valid.

That the number of figures sitting on the shore is precisely four is because Wiig Hansen found the number harmonious – more in accordance with the basic sculptural concept of “pure” mankind than, for example, three or five. Because of its size (it is nine metres tall) and charisma, the sculpture has become a landmark for Esbjerg. In clear weather the bodies, sitting there like unfurled sails, can be seen 10 kilometres away.

The sculpture is located on the sea shore 4 km north of central Esbjerg.

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September 27th 2016

Esbjerg 012 - Ho Bay Sunset

Esbjerg 012 – Ho Bay Sunset

Esbjerg 012 – Ho Bay Sunset

Ho Bay is the 50 squarekilometer body of water that neighbours Esbjerg.

It makes up the northern part of The Wadden Sea National Park, a World Heritage Site.

The Wadden Sea and the salt marsh are among the most valuable wetland areas in the world and of crucial importance for breeding birds, fish, ocean mammals and plant life. Four times every twenty-four hours, a billion cubic meters of water is moved through the Wadden Sea, where powerful forces are in play when the tide creates mudflats and sandflats by mowing mud and sand in dramatic fashion.

By the way: Ho doesn’t mean that! You dirty thinkin’ little… ;-) Ho stems from the old danish word for “trough”: Hoo.

It is first named around 1325 and the area around the bay were among the densest populated in Western Jutland, as the bay gave shield from the fierce winds, for both freighters and fishing boats alike.

On a personal note: You just about get the most beautiful sunsets in Denmark, right here at Ho Bay.

Oh… And I know this is a recycling of an earlier posted image. This time in a different edit, though!

 

September 26th 2016

Esbjerg 011 - Nørreskoven

Esbjerg 011 – Nørreskoven

Esbjerg 011 – Nørreskoven

In Nørreskoven, you’ll find the largest of Esbjerg’s two Animal Parks.

The forest was founded at the beginning of the 20th century, on the then desolate and windswept areas in the northern part of Esbjerg.

Initially the area was privately funded in cooperation between “Hedeselskabet” and enterprising citizens of Esbjerg, but it turned out the project wasn’t economically feasible, thus the Municipality of Esbjerg took over the area in 1907.

Nørreskoven turned into a favourite retreat for the people of Esbjerg and in 1985 29 acres of the southern part of Nørreskoven, was fenced off and hereby creating the Animal Park.

The Animal Park is home to several species of deer, that walk the park freely, some even roam outside the fences.

The animal population is controlled by skilled professionals. This is done to ensure that the deer population has the right size in terms of land, and to guarantee a healthy and vigorous bunch.

September 25th 2016

Esbjerg 010 - Memorial Wall

Esbjerg 010 – Memorial Wall

Esbjerg 010 – Memorial Wall

At Fovrfeldt Cemetary, you find this Memorial Wall, commemorating the Esbjerg citizens, who fell victim to the Second World War (1939 – 1945).

The bronze relief shows Death, in the guise of an adult man, putting his arm protectively and comforting around the young man, gently leading him across the threshold between life and death.

September 21st 2016

Esbjerg 009 - War Grave Memorial

Esbjerg 009 – War Grave Memorial

Esbjerg 009 – War Grave Memorial

At the Fovrfeld Cemetary, 280 Allied airmen, 1150 German soldiers and 151 German refugees are buried. They are all casualties of World War Two.

The large number of white headstones (for the Allied casualties) and grey crosses (for the German casualties) make this the largest War Grave Memorial in Scandinavia.

The War Grave Memorial is found at Gravlundvej, 6710 Esbjerg V.

 

September 20th 2016

Esbjerg 008 - Crucifix

Esbjerg 008 – Crucifix

Esbjerg 008 – Crucifix

Outside the Trinity Church, at Grådybet 23, 6700 Esbjerg, sits this Crucifix.

When hurricane “Adam” hit Esbjerg on December 3rd 1999 Esbjerg, it tore off the original roof of the Trinity Church.

Deciding it would be a shame to discard of the remains of the old roof, artist Erik Heide was commisioned to create the Crucifix.

September 18th 2016

Esbjerg 007 - Christian IX

Esbjerg 007 – Christian IX

Esbjerg 007 – Christian IX

The equestrian statue of King Christian IX, located at the Market Place (Torvet) of Esbjerg, was a gift from the citizens of Esbjerg, presented to the city in the year 1899.

The bronze statue was scultped by Ludvig Brandstrup (1861-1935) and carries an inscription:

”Til Aere for Byens Grundlaegger rejste Borgere i Esbjerg dette Mindesmaerke”

”In honour of the founder of the town citizens of Esbjerg erected this monument”

Also the Royal Danish Arms is presented in bronze on the plinth of the statue, with the added inscription:

”Med Gud for ære og ret”

”With God for honour and justice

Whilst being presented to the city in the year 1899, the statue wasn’t actually finished until 1900, as the plinth of the statue stood empty for that period, as a result of a strike.

There’s a similar statue, also sculpted by Ludvig Brandstrup, of Christian IX in the city of Slagelse.

Christian IX was the King of Denmark from 1863 through 1906 and having lost the port of Altona to the Germans during the second Schleswig war in 1864, the King signed a bill from parliament in 1868 for the establishment of a harbour in Esbjerg, thus being recognised as the founder of the city of Esbjerg.