The Sandormen ('sand worm') is a tractor service that transports Skagen visitors to the tip of Grenen. It originated in the 1940s, when large tractors were used for moving rocks and sand. Onlookers kept asking for rides. One inventive local thought, “Why not turn it into a business?”
The first vehicles were extremely primitive, with the tractor pulling a wagon containing benches borrowed from a local mission house. The design has evolved since the 1940s, and today these trucks look more like trolleys. No surprise, since a ride on the Sandormen is now one of the area’s most popular attractions.
Taking a ride on the Sandormen through the shifting landscape reveals the true beauty of this unique place: a bird’s paradise and a haven for wildlife, all bathed in the remarkable Skagen Light. Plus, Grenen Beach is one of the few places in the world where you can stand with each foot in a different sea.
Christian Hjermitslev, one of the Sandormen drivers, has the unique distinction of having taken an assortment of VIPs—including Thailand’s Crown Princess Sirindhorn and the Denmark national football team—across the sands of Grenen. We asked him to provide some first-hand insight into what makes the Sandormen experience unique:
Skagen: How do people find you?
Christian Hjermitslev: Large numbers of tourists visit Skagen. Some of them are already familiar with us, others find us by chance. We expect that as Grenen grows and the tip becomes longer, we’ll see more and more passengers.
Skagen: What do you enjoy most about driving out to Grenen?
Christian Hjermitslev: The same nature that attracts our passengers, actually: the sand dunes, the beach and the two seas. I’ve always loved to be outdoors and no two days are the same. There are lots of different experiences to be had when you’re out in nature. Not to mention the huge migration of birds in both the spring and autumn.
Skagen: Can you describe Grenen and the two seas phenomenon?
Christian Hjermitslev: The convergence of the two seas at Grenen is something that has to be seen – it can’t be described. I especially love the autumn, with its large waves, dark clouds and colorful seas and skies. The more dramatic the weather, the better.
Skagen: How has Sandormen become a part of Skagen life?
Christian Hjermitslev: Sandormen is not only an institution in Skagen, but in all of Denmark. Most Danes enjoyed taking a ride in it when they were kids and are now returning with their children and grandchildren.