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 meets sea”. The museum is currently working with three themes:

  • Energy from the sea. A focus on the hunt for and extraction of energy from the sea. 16th century whaling, 19th century Esbjerg-based fishing industry, and the 60s hunt for subsea hydrocarbons all share a common theme concerning man’s relationship to and management of the natural resources of the sea.

  • 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.

  • Rediscovering the forgotten maritime nation. In Denmark there is never far to the nearest shore, and this close connection to the sea has always shaped our society. We investigate the maritime cultural roots of Denmark hoping that we can help enlighten how man’s relation to the sea has defined—and to this day still does define—us.

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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