THE DANISH NAVIGATION AND HYDROGRAPHY AUTHORITY
THE DANISH NAVIGATION AND HYDROGRAPHY AUTHORITY (FARVANDSVÆSENET) was a large department under the Ministry of Defense until 2011. It was reorganized in 1973 when the Lights and Buoys Service, the Lifeboat Institution and the Pilotage Service all were merged into one institution, the Farvandvæsenet.
Its tasks included the buoying of Danish waters, pilotage, lifeboat service, and the obtaining of data necessary for the production of sea-charts. These tasks are not new but have existed for several hundred years. In 1560 King Frederik II decreed that lights should be established at Skagen (the Skaw), Anholt and Kullen (on the Swedish coast). They were lighted in 1561. The National Pilotage Service was established in the 16th century when King Christian V appointed six pilots to the pilot-station in Dragør. The National Lifeboat Institution made a tiny start in the middle of the 19th century. The hydrographic surveying and production of sea-charts has been carried out since the middle of the 17th century. One of the oldest known charts of Danish waters is a chart of the southern part of the Sound made by Bagge Wandel who was appointed principal of the navigation school at the naval base in Copenhagen by Christian IV in 1647.
It was not, however, until recent times that sea charts became available for ordinary navigation as they formerly were considered military secrets. Due to the progress in development, the traditional sea charts will soon become museum-pieces, as they in a few years will be replaced by electronic charts. The Radio Navigation Service is the latest area of responsibility to be placed under the DANISH NAVIGATION AND HYDROGRAPHY AUTHORITY .
Just inside the hall you see an exhibition illustrating the development of the National Lifeboat Service. This service came about gradually when coastal rescue stations were set up along the Danish coasts. They all had a rocket apparatus with which they could shoot a life-line to a wrecked ship in order to establish a breeches buoy, whereby they could rescue the shipwrecked. The rocket station in the museum was formerly placed at Hvide Sande at the North Sea coast. The larger rescue stations were also supplied with lifeboats which had to be rowed; these were later replaced by motor lifeboats, one of which, MR 23 was used by the rescue station at Slettestrand in North Jutland. Today it is exhibited on our outdoor grounds.
Today several stations have been closed while the remaining stations have been modernized and supplied with fast and seaworthy lifeboats, several of which have been built in Aalborg. Models of old and new lifeboats can be seen in the exhibition.
The lifeboat stations are primarily manned by volunteers most of whom are fishermen.
A great part of the exhibition describes the Lights- and Buoy Service. At the center of the hall is a large chart of the Kattegat. This is a standard chart no. 100 enlarged to 3.6 x 4.2 m. It shows the channels and fixed lights in the very busy waters through which most of the traffic to and from the Baltic Sea have to pass. These waters are difficult to navigate wherefore most large ships use Danish pilots. All the 72 lights on the chart flash with their light characters.
Along the walls you will see the tasks of the DANISH NAVIGATION AND HYDROGRAPHY AUTHORITY described in a number of instructive plates and pictures. There are also several items used by the services, as well as a model of Lightship no. XVIII. The light mast from this ship can be seen in the museum grounds and its bell is on show in one of the showcases.
The DANISH NAVIGATION AND HYDROGRAPHY AUTHORITY often comes into contact with the public. They are involved whenever new bridges are built; their permission is needed for large sailing races, construction of water-skiing lanes, and for diving at wrecks. The DANISH NAVIGATION AND HYDROGRAPHY AUTHORITY exercises the same authority in the waters round Greenland and the Faeroe Islands.
Our ”Royal Corner” is at the end of the hall. Here are the naval uniforms of the late prince Knud, Heir Presumptive and uncle to Queen Margrethe. The collection comprises all the uniforms prescribed for a Danish admiral. Included are also the various special accoutrements used by the Prince during his service as commanding officer at Coastal Fortresses. The ship's bell, which formerly hung at his summer residence KLITGÅRDEN at the Skaw, was a present from Kystartilleriforeningen (the Coastal Artillery Association) at his silver wedding in 1958. The names of the fortresses he commanded are engraved on the bell.
In a large showcase you see a model of an Old Danish ship of the line. It was found in very poor condition at the naval base in Copenhagen. It is the model of a Danish frigate from the 17th century. It was probably made in the 18th century. A complete overhaul, carried out by our late model-builder was necessary, including a new hull as the original was worm-eaten. The bow part and the carved stern together with the complete rigging were transferred to the new hull. The pictures next to the model show the process.
Next to this model is a TITANIC exhibition.
The ship-models have been made by the wellknown shipmodel-builder Knud Roenfeldt from Aalborg, Denmark. The models are not made from "do-it-yourself-kits" or semimanufactured material, but solely constructed from drawings like they would be in a shipyard.
You will also see a collection of maritime articles and maritime paintings. They were all left to the museum by will of one of our friends.