A visit to the former military area Gniben

Gniben Travel Blog

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It is a military area

Gniben is a very exiting nature area; it is an area where it was impossible for private persons to enter until a little more than 3 years ago. The area was under jurisdiction of the military; specifically the navy. It was the Naval Practice Shooting area and public had no access to it.   

The far point of Sjællands Odde Gniben which from the sky looks like a finger pointing towards Jylland is today luckily open for nature lovers. The area is situated only 5 quarters drive from Copenhagen.

Today you can also camp over night at the primitive campsite next to Sejerø Bay and it is now possible to fish from the beach.

One of the old kanons
It is a great place for fly fishing; there is a lot of trout. In the season of the needlefish you can almost catch them here with your bare hands. Gniben is also full of deer, foxes and loads of birds pass the area a couple of times a year.     

Today there is also a walking path all the way along the steep cliffs and sometimes it is possible to see seals from the cliff.  The area has been untouched for generations and has been forbidden to you use pesticides in the area since 1993. To make sure that the whole area didn’t grow completely wild and impossible to visit the military brought in 30 Norwegian sheep to keep the vegetation down.

The name Gniben goes back to 1691 and it comes from an old word gnipa that means a hill that points out. The area is a rest of a moraine island.  A moraine is any glacially formed accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris; soil and rock, which can occur in currently glaciated and formerly glaciated regions, such as those areas acted upon by a past ice age.

Looking towards Samsø

 

A short historic view of Gniben, Sjællands Odde 

Since a distant past and until around 1850 has there been a fixed ship pilot situated at the far end of Sjællands Odde. The pilot had to guide the boats around the reef or through Snekkeløbet or Bådløbet, which both cuts through Sjællands Reef and very often they had to work in awful conditions.

The first lighthouse was established in 1896 and just a bit more than 10 years later in 1907-1908 the fishing harbour at Sjællands Odde got established. The current light house was built in 1971.  

The military history of Gniben started during WWI in 1914-18 where Denmark decided to man a watch tower with a staff of 8 military and 7 civilian.

One of the hi-speed boats to Jutland
In 1916 a rescue tower was establish on the reef; the tower could host 10-12 standing persons and the tower is still standing on the reef.

A curiosum is that a non-alcohol restaurant was established; the only thing that was served was coffee and bread. If you needed a drink you had to go outside.

During WWII when Denmark was occupied by Germany the Germans used the farm as a military quarter.  The German troops occupied Gniben shortly after the occupation the 9th April 1943 and already the 29th August 1943 the Germans established a gun station consisting of 4 150 mm PK L/43 M/96/97 cannons. 

At the end of the war the Danish government used the area as a refugee camp for the German soldier and after that the area was handed over to the Danish Marine and the coast defence.

The first artillery school was established in 1951 and the goal was to educate navy personnel from the navy ships and the coast defence in shooting guns and cannons towards aeroplanes.

Looking towards the north coast of Sjælland
The area still hosts this education and sometimes the access to the area is prohibited when training is going on.

The 7th August 1937 the Danish girl Jenny Krammersgaard swan the 93 kilometres to Jutland in 29 hours a record that was broken by a Swedish girl Sally Bauer in 1949, who did it in only 17½ hours; the price money was at that time 5.000 Dkr or 650 euro.

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It is a military area
It is a military area
One of the old kanons
One of the old kanons
Looking towards Samsø
Looking towards Samsø
One of the hi-speed boats to Jutla…
One of the hi-speed boats to Jutl…
Looking towards the north coast of…
Looking towards the north coast o…
Ice on Kattegat
Ice on Kattegat
Leaving the miltary zone
Leaving the miltary zone
One of the watchtowers
One of the watchtowers
Gniben General Tips & Advice review
Gniben open for public
Gniben is a very exiting nature area; it is an area where it was impossible for private persons to enter until a little more than 3 years ago. The are… read entire review
Gniben
photo by: Chokk