Fanø is a Danish island in the North Sea off the coast of southwestern Denmark, and is the very northernmost of the Danish Wadden Sea Islands. Fanø municipality is the municipality (Danish, kommune) that covers the island and its seat is the town of Nordby.
Fanø is separated from the mainland by the Wadden Sea over a span of approximately five kilometres. The island is 16 km long and 5 km wide, and it is located off the coast from the city of Esbjerg to which it is connected by ferry. The ferry ride takes 12 minutes. The high ferry ticket prices that are often subject to price increases are considered by the locals to be a great threat to the local tourism industry. This could be one of many reasons why a 17 percent decrease in tourists staying on the island was registered in 2013. This hit the island especially hard since tourism contributes to 37.5% of the islands' economy, which is more than in any other municipality in Denmark. This is part of a general decline in Danish tourism thought to be caused by high prices combined with a low level of service, poor food and poor attractions.
A variety of environments are to be found on Fanø. Not surprisingly, a very common one is sand. The island's whole western shore is one long beach. The island's northwestern corner is a vast sandbank called "Søren Jessens Sand". Søren Jessen was an entrepreneur and captain from Hjerting, today the westernmost suburb of Esbjerg and the bank is named af him because his ship, the "Anne Catriane", stranded here in 1712.
Fanø relies heavily on tourism and is visited by some 30,000 people each summer. The main attraction is the fine white sand beach, which is also a popular playground for all kinds of wind and water sports, such as kite flying, surfing and buggies. Fanø also hosts Denmark's first golf course, Fanø Golf Links, established in 1901.
Long before paved roads, the beach - being long, straight and quite firm - hosted a yearly motorcycle and car racing event from 1919 and until 1923, where a tragic accident killed a local boy and put a stop to further events. Today is possible to drive your own car on the beach all the way from Sønderho to Fanø Vesterhavsbad. A public bus service is also operated on the beach.
Also unique is the Wadden Sea with seals and migrating birds, as well as the two sailor towns Nordby and Sønderho with their maritime history, once among the most wealthy and influential in Denmark, and their vernacular architecture consisting of thatched-roof houses all oriented west-east, again because of the westerly winds.
A number of animals that are otherwise common in Denmark, such as vipers, squirrels, moles, rats and badgers are nonexistent on the island, whereas foxes, hedgehogs, roebucks, hares and especially rabbits exist in abundance.
The main town and the site of its municipal council is the town of Nordby. Other towns include Sønderho, Fanø Vesterhavsbad and Rindby.
Fanø municipality was not merged with other municipalities by January 1, 2007, despite of the nationwide Kommunalreformen ("The Municipal Reform" of 2007).
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Fanø.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fanø.|
- (C. Michael Hogan. 2011)
- Locals on Fanø want cheaper ferry tickets (in Danish)
- Protest meeting against new ferry prices (in Danish)
- Tilknytningen til fastlandet er igen på spil på Fanø (in Danish)
- Tourism in the municipalities (in Danish)
- Danish tourism in serious decline
- Danish National Health Profile 2010 (in Danish)
- Municipal statistics: NetBorger Kommunefakta, delivered from KMD aka Kommunedata (Municipal Data)
- Municipal mergers and neighbors: Eniro new municipalities map
- C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Wadden Sea. eds. P.Saundry & C.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC