Monthly Archives: May 2013

Go kayaking on Alssund

Sonderborg is surrounded by a lot of water and it is one of the best places in Denmark to kayak as it is almost always possible to find calm waters to sail in.


Before moving to Sonderborg I had researched what watersports there are in the area and had fallen for the idea of joining Sønderborg Kajak Klub the local kayak club.

In order to be a member you have to complete a “beginners course” which is done in the spring. There are limited places available for the beginners course so it is a good idea to sign up before April 1st.

The first test before you get in a kayak is a swimming test. You have to be able to swim 600 meters. After that the course starts on the water. The course is either done over 8 evenings or throughout a weekend + one evening. In the course of the programme you have to kayak at least 50 km and be able to perform different tasks in the kayak.


Parts of the requirements are that you fall in the water a couple of times. And as our course was the first of the year we got our first dip in 7 degrees water in May. BRRRRR – that sure makes your heart beat!

Once you have completed the course and the tests you are allowed to take the clubs kayaks out on your own.

We did the course last spring and this year we have recently started to go out on our own. And it is a great experience to get out on the water.


Sønderborg Kajak Klub

The club was started in 1938 and today it has about 250 members and 40 boats which means there is always a boat available when you want to go out.

The club house is right on the water close to the new bridge. This means that you just carry your boat out of the boathouse and into the water – very convenient.

Membership is 850 DKK per year, however the first year it is 1000 DKK including the beginners course.

Run around Sonderborg with Vidar Motion

Do you enjoying exercising? Running? Breaking into a sweat? No? Neither do I!

I haven’t done much exercise since I moved to Denmark (or while I lived in the UK, for that matter). The last time I was semi-seriously doing something was when I played softball while living in Malta. However, I knew I had to do something to get my ass out of the sofa. So when an acquaintance mentioned the ‘Vidar Motion club’ I decided to drag myself down to Sonderborg’s track to check what it is all about.

Vidar Motion is a running club for exercisers who want to enjoy themselves while doing something to maintain well-being. The club meets on Tuesdays at 6pm at Sonderborg’s track on Ringridervej. The meeting starts with a short warming up session led by one of the trainers. This can vary from extremely light to extremely demanding, depending on who is leading on the day.

Following the warm up session, the group divides itself into teams, and the individual groups set off on runs around Sonderborg, depending on their target. The different teams’ target can be to run 4-4.5km with breaks after 20 weeks up to running a full marathon. You can also move between teams throughout the course of the training programme, depending on how you are feeling on the day. You can find the day’s training programme online prior to the run, so you know exactly how much you will run. For someone who likes to feel in control, this is great.

So we went once, and got my first ever Cooper test (6 minute Cooper tests are done twice in a 20 week programme). Then went the second time and joined group A. I found that didn’t challenge me as much as I would like, so I moved to group B for the next time, which is the group I have stuck to – the right balance of feeling pushed, without dragging everyone down with me (I hope!).

As you can probably figure out I have actually kept on going! Now, I am not the most sporty person ever, so was has kept me going? First of all, I appreciate that I can just go, run, and go back home. I don’t feel the pressure to socialise after the meeting as I have done with other clubs here. Also, the fact that it takes less than 1 hour a week is a great bonus.

Joining the club costs only 150 DKK, and you can do as we did. Go down, check it out, and if you enjoy it, join up as a full member.  Its a great way to see new areas in Sonderborg and a great way to get some exercise at your own fitness level.

Read more on Vidar Motion.

Day trip to Odense

Odense, situated on Fyn (or, as I like to call it, the middle island), is Denmark third largest city. However I had never been there before (unless you count passing through it on the train, or a visit for work where I did no sight seeing). So with great weather promised for Saturday, we asked for suggestions on how to spend the day. Putting all that together this is our suggestion for your first visit to Odense.

Pretty Odense

Hans Christian Andersen Museum

Hans Christian Andersen is Odense’s most famous son. Having grown in poverty there he grew up to write fairytales that are known in most (if not all) countries around the world: Little Mermaid, Ugly Duckling, Princess & the Pea. So how better to start your day than a visit to this museum (which is located on the site where it is thought he was born). My favourite part of the museum, besides learning more about this man (who was much more than a fairytale writer) was the Cabinet of Curiosities in the basement, where items that were owned by Hans Christian Andersen, such as his hat, are found. 1.5-2 hrs.

Street Market

Every Wednesday and Saturday up to 1pm a farmers market sets up on Black Friar’s square, close to the museum. You can find plants, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as pastries, cheeses and fresh fish. Wander around the stalls enjoying the bustle of the place and, grab a taste of whatever catches your eye. 15-30 minutes.

Walk along the River

Odense river is a 7.5 metre deep canal, dug from 1796 to 1806 to give access to the town’s harbour from Odense fjord. From the street market walk south to reach the river, from where you walk west. You will pass through the ‘HC Andersen Garden’ and reaching the park around Munkemose, from where you walk north to the main walking street. A delightful walk, especially on a warm and sunny spring/summer day. 30-45 minutes.


By now you have probably earned your lunch. There are numerous places just off the main street in pretty little passages for you to try out. On the day we were visiting there was a Caribbean-style steel drum group playing in one of these passages. A good break after all the walking in preparation for the second part of the day.

Brandts Gallery

Brandts gallery is actually 3 museums in one: Brandts gallery, Photoart museum, and Media Museum. You can decide to either do one of them or all three. We opted for the three in one option, which I think was a good idea. Due to the variety of materials on exhibition (from art installations to photographic exhibitions) there is probably something for everyone, and I didn’t get tired by the end of it as I sometimes do in a single media/subject museum. The exhibits are continuously changing, so do check what will be on when you are visiting. 1.5-2 hrs.

Looking out the window at Brants in Odense

By the end of all this we were an exhausted but happy couple of tourists. I fell in love with the city, the quaint little houses and streets combined with the hustle and bustle of a bigger city. I was particularly envious of the farmer’s market! We will definitely be back, as there is still so much to see in this town. Next on our list are Odense Zoo and the Railway Museum. Have you been?

Heating up Sonderborg (District Heating)

Like most colder countries, a well-functioning heating system is an essential feature in any house. How this heat arrives in the house varies, from standalone systems in houses, to district energy systems. In district energy systems, water is heated at a central location, from where it is then distributed to the houses in the area. Denmark has one of the highest coverage by such systems in the world (after Iceland).

In Sonderborg heating is supplied by Sonderborg Fjernvarme (Sonderborg district heating). To heat most of the water they burn trash. But a new system CO2 neutral system has recently been added to help out in the four coldest months of the year when the heat demand is high.

The new system consist of a geothermal system were they dig down around 1-2km until hot water is found in the earth. This 48° C water is then sent to a distribution centre, where it’s sent through heat pumps and hot water is distributed to the houses in the area.

geotermisk energi i danmarkIn order to transfer the heat from the water pumped from the underground to the water sent out in the district by burning wood chips. The wood is supplied by forest services. An explanation of the system in Danish can be found here.

The great thing about Sonderborg Fjernvarme is that it is actually possible to visit and learn about how heat is generated. We visited earlier this week with a group from a local professional society. However, they also have open days (with the last one being in April). So if this is the kind of thing that interests you, do keep an eye out for notices.