Monthly Archives: February 2013

Explore your Environment with the Danish Nature Conservation Society

The Danish Nature Conservation Society, Danmarks Naturfredningsforening, is the biggest environmental organisation in Denmark. Since it started in 1911 it has broadened its focus from mainly on nature conservation access, to other issues related to resources and consumption.

The local division, DN Sonderborg, has around 1700 members. You can become one of these members here. However, what caught my eye even more than membership as a first step is the various events they organise through the year. The programme for the whole year for the Sonderborg section can be found here. For easier access we have also listed the ones to June below.

Date Description
16-02-2013 Winter walk in Rumohrgård Dyrehave
17-03-2013 Spring flower tour in Arnkil Skov
21-04-2013 Trash collection in Sønderborg
21-04-2013 Trash Collection in Nordborg
04-05-2013 Nature care at Trillen
07-05-2013 Frog symphony in Sønderskoven
26-05-2013 Year’s hay harvest by Nygård in Nørreskoven
16-06-2013 Wild flower day at Dybbøl Banke
16-06-2013 Wild flower day at Cathrinesminde
30-06-2013 Nature care at Nygård

Last year we never quite made it to any of the events. However, this year I am sure we will be there. The frog symphony, in particular, sounds quirky enough to really make me want to join! Will we see you there?

Parking in Sonderborg

Back in Malta parking was always an issue. Malta has the fifth-highest number of vehicles per capita in the world as of 2009, with 607 motor vehicles per 1,000 people. Combine this with a top-ten highest population density in the world and, as you may imagine, parking is a bit of a nightmare. No wonder we spend a good chunk of our driving lessons learning how to parallel park our car.

When we bought our car last October, one of my main concerns, as a dutiful Maltese national, was “where do we park the car?”. Luckily for us, there is parking right behind our apartment block for residents and, so far, we have not had any problem finding a space. However, in the centre, things are not always that easy. However Sonderborg has a handy map of parking spaces around the city centre, indicating whether a spot is for long-term parking (langtidsparkering) or short-term parking (korttidsparkering).


To be honest though, so far we have not had any problems finding parking. However, do be careful as some parking areas are private with diligent parking attendants, so make sure you stay within the designated time limit if one applies.

Flights from Copenhagen to Sonderborg – More flights added


From February 18th of this year DAT, the operator of flights from Sonderborg, is bumping up the number of routes that fly between Copenhagen and Sonderborg.

Flight Schedule

As of this month the weekly timetable looks like this:

Departing Sonderborg Arrival Copenhagen
06:20 (Monday-Friday) 07:05
09:15 (Monday-Thursday) 10:00
15:45 (Monday-Friday) 16:30
18:20 (Monday-Friday + Sunday) 19:05
Departing Copenhagen Arrival Sonderborg
08:05 (Monday-Friday) 08:50
14:30 (Monday-Thursday) 15:15
17:15 (Monday-Friday) 18:00
19:45 (Sunday Only) 20:30
22:50 (Monday-Friday) 23:35

Prices for tickets

Prices start at 499DKK per way if you book early making it feasible compared to the 419DKK you pay for the 4-5 hour train ride.

Book flight

You can book your flight from Sonderborg to Copenhagen on DAT’s site here.

Hedeby – a Viking town

Hedeby, also known as Haithabu and variants thereof, was once Northern Europe’s largest Viking settlement, growing largely due to its strategic position at the end of the Schlei fjord. Due to the distance this fjord goes inland into mainland Germany, this point was the narrowest part of the Jutland peninsula. Going round Skagen, at the far north of the Jutland peninsula was a dangerous proposition for seafarers in the past. Therefore they preferred to cross from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea at this point using the rivers connecting the two.


Having control of Hedeby meant that you had control of the North Sea-Baltic Sea traffic, and helped in the development of Hedeby as a major trading town. It was first mentioned in 804 AD and grew significantly in economic power in this period to 1000 AD together with the increasing power held by the Vikings. It was, however, burnt down in 1050 during conflicts between the Danish and Norwegian kings. This was the start of the end for Hedeby.

Over time, the location of the site was lost, until the 1900s when excavation work started in the area. Since the area was never built on and was preserved in waterlogged soils, a significant amount of material survived to the present day. This material is today found in Hedeby Viking Museum, which sits close to the original location of Hedeby, on which there are now a number of reconstructed Viking houses.


We recently visited the museum on a cold winter day. The main museum inside is open, the reconstructed houses outside are not open until spring. You can walk over to the site of the houses and walk along the semicircular mount surrounding the site of the town and made our way back.

The museum is worth a visit in its our right. I have visited quite a number of museums and would say this is one of the better made exhibitions. I liked that, although most of the text was in German, we were given a booklet with the relevant text in English (or Danish). Things were very well signposted with easy-to-follow numbers, meaning that I could spend my time actually looking and reading rather than finding my way around.

Besides excellent explanations there are also some gems of exhibits. I particularly liked the visual exhibit in the first room showing the development of Hedeby from its founding to its downfall. For this exhibit you can select between speak and text in English, Danish and German, for the explanatory text. I thought this was very nicely made, and allowed me to take a break from reading from the booklet.

Multimedia display showing the history of Hedeby

Another exhibit that deserves special mention is the rune stone. I appreciated the fact that as the text on the stone was being recited, the relevant areas on the stone were highlighted, so you could follow the text on the stone. I always thought that rune stones are read in some complex way, so it was fascinating to realise that the way they are read is not much different to how I would lay text out if I was inscribing words on a stone.

On the day we visited there were also two men dressed in costume in the last room holding a big ship. If you visit and they are there, do go have a chat. They were extremely friendly and happy to explain that they have been building a replica Viking boat. They were sewing the sail on the day we visited. After that, all that is left is to build the mast, yardarm and mast-fish and they are ready to go. The plan is that the boat will be ready for sailing this summer.

Ship builders at the museum

It seemed to me that there is a lively community around the Hedeby site, actively striving to improve the experience of the visitors. Schleswig and the museum is just an hours drive from Sonderborg making it within easy reach and well-worth the trip!

Expect to spend two hours for the inside of the museum (if you read the displays). And another hour or two to explore the site and houses outside on foot.

Map of Jutland peninsula with Hedeby by Caravaca

Swimming Pool Etiquette

Winter is cold and wet in Denmark, making the prospect of doing any sort of exercise outside, such as walking or running, very easy to resist. Sitting at home is not good for anyone’s health, so we have decided on swimming as an alternative form of exercise during these cold winter months.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would say swimming pools are not my natural habitat. I grew up swimming in the sea, and probably graced the depths of a swimming pool not more than 5-10 times in my life, none of which I distinctly remember. I also grew up in quite a conservative Catholic country.So imagine my surprise when I turned up at the pool first time!

  1. You need to shower with your clothes off. No idea WHY wearing a swimming suit while bathing is bad, but it is. Very bad. Or so I have been told.
  2. Shoes stay next to the door. Take them off as soon as you get in and don’t wear them until just before you leave.
  3. Wash yourself properly before entering the pool. With the given soap. Yeps, there’s even pictures of how you should wash in case you are confused.

So far, these are the rules I have gleaned from looking at others. All signs are in Danish, so it is a bit of a challenge to figure them out, especially since I don’t wear glasses when in water so cannot see anything much around me! Oh, and did I mention that Michael didn’t think of enlightening me beforehand? He left me to walk into a room full of Danes glaring at me with no information. Thanks huh!

Other than that I am enjoying swimming ‘for exercise’. I have always seen swimming as a leisurely activity to do with friends in summer, so it is a bit of a change. Couple this with me never having learnt how to swim besides being plonked in the sea as a kid and floating, and everyone around me being super swimmers with all the right technique, and I can say it has been an interesting experience.

Have I missed any rules or norms? Have you found any rules surprising yourself?