THE PORT OF AALBORG
The exhibition in the second hall shows The Port of Aalborg and its development. At the entrance to the hall is a photomontage of the passenger ship service between Aalborg and Copenhagen, which ran for many years. From 1928 until the service closed down in 1970 there was a daily connection to the capital. In 1970 the steamship company – DFDS – was forced to give up due to the competition from the faster air traffic. A model of JENS BANG, for many years the flagship of the line; can be seen in the exhibition. Next to it you see a working radar unit, through which you can watch the neighboring part of the Limfjord.
The walls of the hall are hung with pictures, illustrating the development of the Port of Aalborg from the late middle Ages until the present time. The port was granted a Royal Charter in 1476, so it celebrated its 500th Anniversary in 1976. But even before that Aalborg was an important trade Centre, as it was ferry station for north and south bound traffic in addition to the fact, that all travelling to Norway and Iceland started in Aalborg.
From the beginning of the 16th century Aalborg became an important commercial town with a brisk export. Herrings, grain and cattle were exported to many trade centers in Europe. The port also developed an extensive traffic to and from Norway. The original harbor at the mouths of the two streams, Vesterå and Østerå, gradually spread itself onto both sides of the fiord. Until the 1950´s the traffic was concentrated in the area from the Limfjord Bridge, built in 1933, to Aalborg Shipyard and Rørdal Cement Works. During later years the harbor’s expansion has been to the east, so that most of the heavy traffic today is concentrated on Østhavnen (The East Harbor) and Grønlandshavnen (The Greenland Harbor), whereas the old waterfront gradually is changing into an attractive area of residence and recreation.
Just inside the hall you will see a shipbroker's office, as it would have looked during the interwar period. The office is equipped with office machines and furniture from the period, such as the tall writing desk, telexes and old telephones. The walls are decorated with paintings and pictures relating to ships and the Port of Aalborg. On the desk are a cash book and a journal of ships' calls. The journal shows several years of traffic on the Port of Aalborg.
Next to the shipbroker's office is an impressive collection of small ship models made of paper and sewing thread. The models are very accurate and are comprised of ships from the Danish merchant fleet as well as warships from various nations.
A photomontage and some primitive working tools, used by Dockers, illustrate how much hard labor, loading and unloading ships, involved, before modern equipment was introduced.
Hals Barre, the sand bank at the eastern entrance to the Limfjord, has always affected the development of the harbor and the shipbuilding industries, as it limits the size of ships able to enter the fiord. The channel across the sand bank of Hals Barre was first deepened as early as in the 1870s and since then huge quantities of sand have been removed at regular intervals. One of the exhibition cases illustrates the amount of sand removed from Hals Barre between 1971 and 1981 comparing it to the size of the Aalborg Tower. The dredged sand used to be dumped into the northern Kattegat, so that it shortly afterwards would reappear at Hals Barre. Today we know better. Nowadays most of the sand is used in the building industry. Of course the difficult channel through the sand bank and into the fiord had to be buoyed. This is illustrated on the chart hanging on the wall. You can also see models of some of the fixed lights that mark the channel.
The cannon ball was found during a dredging of Hals Barre. The ball originates from one of the two batteries placed at the entrance to the Limfjord during the war against Great Britain 1807-14. The war began with the siege and bombardment of Copenhagen which resulted in the surrender of the Danish fleet to Great Britain. After that Denmark had to fight its naval war with small oared gunboats, a few small sloops and a number of privateers, fitted out at the expense of private citizens and given a Royal license. These privateers tried to conquer ships from the British convoys bound for the Baltic. This privateering was run on a large scale by merchants and ship owners from Aalborg. The British convoys were protected by warships usually superior in power to the Danish gunboats and privateers. So in order to protect the privateers and the gunboats against the British men-of-war, several coastal batteries, like the ones at Hals and Egense at the entrance to the Limfjord, were established along the Danish coastlines.