Man meets the sea

Cultural history

The Fisheries and Maritime Museum’s main cultural history themes are fisheries, shipping, offshore and coastal culture. The overarching theme for the museum’s work is “Man and the sea”.
The museum’s full-time researchers are currently working on two main topics.

  • The Wadden Sea culture and history over five centuries. The focus is on the human use of the land in the Danish part of the Wadden Sea, with a specific view to sailing and shipping, contact with Holland and Germany, and the distinguishing cultural features of the Wadden Sea archipelago.

  • The development of Danish fishing from a coastal part-time occupation to deep-sea fishing from steel-hulled trawlers. With a focus on the development of fishing into a full-time industry since the turn of the twentieth century, the development of technologies and markets is investigated to plot their significance for Danish fisheries, as well as the impact that fishing regulation has had on the viability of the fishing industry.

Besides these full-time researchers’ projects, a number of smaller research projects are being carried out within the museum’s areas of responsibility.

Cultural history timeline

The museum’s cultural history areas of responsibility cover a broad area, from marine traffic off the west coast of Jutland through the Danish fishing industry to the offshore exploitation of natural resources in the North Sea.

Chronologically, this covers a period from the 1500s to today, with a wide range of maritime themes, which is reflected in the multiplicity of our stories.

Below is a time line which shows a brief overview of the museum’s areas of responsibility. You can see, for instance, some details about the shipping magnate A.P. Møller’s work to ensure a monopoly for the right to drill for oil and gas, Martin Spangsberg’s expeditions with Vitus Bering, and the 1960s – the golden age of the fishing industry in Esbjerg.


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