Since the 1200s, people have been living and fishing in Skagen. In 1859, A.J. Smidt, Denmark’s first fishing consultant, declared that “the people of Skagen are a lively, active [sort]” and that “Skagen is our prime fishing town.”
Through history the harbour has remained the very heart of the town. Each day a fleet of boats returns with a fresh catch. Restaurateurs and locals mingle as they pick their favourites from the haul.
Jens Rasmussen has a lifetime of fishing experience in Skagen. He talked to us about the thrills and challenges, how much has changed and what has remained the same.
Have you always lived in Skagen?
“Yes, I was born on Krøyersvej, which is less than 500 meters from here.”
How has fishing changed here over time?
“It’s changed a tremendous amount—there are many rules and quotas. We had a lot more freedom in the past. For fifteen years I had my own small boat. I used to meet people from all over the country, who came and bought my fish at the harbour quay in Jollehavnen. Those were my favourite times.”
What fish is most important to your livelihood?
What challenges have you faced?
“I was the chairman of the Danish Fishermen’s Association for ten years, which was no easy job. I had to fight with the authorities about quotas, etcetera.”
What’s the best part about being on the open seas?
“The best part is the freedom. And being up so early, you get to enjoy the sunrise as you stand and steer through the waves.”
What makes Skagen special for you?
“Everything about Skagen is special. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”