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Beaches, boats and bicycles.
I must be in Denmark.
For most of us, this is uncharted territory,
but we're about to discover the stories we share
with this spectacular coast.
There are over 400 islands and the odd wind farm to explore.
In the dunes of Denmark life really is a beach.
This stunning wind-swept coast is apparently home
to the happiest people on earth,
and now we're here to meet them, our North Sea neighbours.
Alice explores what gave the Vikings the edge over us, and everyone else.
I am at the helm of a Viking longship, this is just amazing.
Nick discovers what the great British breakfast owes to the pigs of Jutland.
There are two porkers for every person in Denmark.
That's over 12 million pigs.
Miranda's on a deer stalk with a difference.
And me? I want to know what the Danes have got to smile about.
This is Coast and beyond.
From Scotland we've crossed the North Sea to embark on a great Danish journey.
I'm travelling down the coast of Jutland
heading for the Isle of Fano in the south,
starting as far north as you can go, Skagen.
This is the tip of the top of Denmark,
where two great bodies of water meet.
Look at this, Denmark is a country that actually comes to a point.
A few steps this way I'll be in the North Sea headed towards home.
A few steps this way and I'll be in the Baltic, headed towards Russia.
Now this is my kind of coast to coast walk!
And I'm not the only one,
crowds of Danes come here to witness the eternal battle
between the twin seas.
It's captivating to watch opposing currents collide
as two waters wrestle for control.
Many Danes make something of a pilgrimage
to this picturesque province of Skagen.
Why does the heart and soul of a nation seem to lie
at it's most northerly tip?
I'm hoping Skagen Museum Director, Lisette Vind Ebbensen can shed some light.
Oh, yeah. It's so flat, and the sea on either side,
it just feels like the sea could take it.
Yes, take it all, yeah.
British people are fond of saying that they are a sea-going island race.
Do Danes have this connection to the sea?
I think it is yes, and it probably goes back to the Vikings.
We're still proud of the Vikings, I suppose,
and the coast, and the sea does mean a lot.
And, I mean, in Denmark you're always close to the sea,
and especially here in Skagen where you have two different seas.
I've heard, that the Danish are the happiest people in the world.
Can that be true?
Well, I've heard that as well, and I guess the Danes are very happy.
-There's only like 5.5 million people here
and Danish people are happy people, they're warm,
they have a lot of hygge.
-Hygge is really hard to translate to any language in the world.
It's a very Danish word, and I suppose it means friendly or cosy.
We can have a hyggeley time.
A hyggeley time? You're making this up.
-Is this just something that Danish people say to foreigners to make them go away?
# Oh, the good life
# Full of fun
# Seems to be the ideal... #
'For my first lesson in this uniquely Danish concept of hygge,
'I've got to get on my bike like everyone else here.
'Am I having hygge?
'Maybe. Something tells me I need to investigate further.'
Every summer in Skagen they celebrate the longest day
with a giant bonfire and whole lot of hygge down on the beach.
Sankt Hans is all about hygge.
Sankt Hans is all about hygge.
Sankt Hans, St John's eve,
is a festival of light from the earliest times.
The celebration of Sankt Hans is a very old tradition
started by the Vikings or years before Vikings.
You put the witch on the fire,
then you light the fire sending the bad spirits away.
You come dressed as you are,
you don't have to dress up to come and hyggesheim.
You'll go and sit on the beach,
and you have some wine and it will all be hygge.
And people will have a beer and just walk around, and have some small talk with each other.
It's very romantic.
When the students come down here to the bonfire
and they want to throw their notes just before the fire is getting started.
as a sign of "We don't need them any longer".
So it has become a tradition
that they all do that for Sankt Hans evening now.
It's a big bonfire, you can feel it,
we're standing 50 metres away,
suddenly the heat is there and it's an incredible heat.
It was a lovely evening,
we had some good food and a very hyggely evening.
It may be 11 at night, but the sun's yet to set
and there's a lot more hygge to be had before dawn.
Winds whip over northern Jutland.
Its famous walking dunes
have engulfed whole villages,
so conifers and grasses were planted to anchor the landscape.
But not everywhere has been pinned down.
A small desert has been left to roam free,
the Rabjerg Mile, a magic carpet of sand.
This entire dune system is ceaselessly on the move.
The whole thing began its journey over there on the west coast
and it's moving across country towards the east.
In 200 years or so this huge ocean of sand
will have travelled cross-country from coast to coast.
The surreal shifting sands of this fairytale world stretch down to the sea.
Don't stand around too long or you'll get gobbled up.
Now, this towering sand dune
is surely impressive enough, but I'm told there's a sight
at the top of it that's nothing less than spectacular.
Look at that!
That's like a special effect from a film about the end of the world.
Lighthouses, as we all know,
are built for protection from the power of the sea.
How ironic, then, that this tower
should have bee overwhelmed by a much slower moving wave...of sand.
The light was lit for the first time in 1900
and finally extinguished in 1968
when the crew of this place had to admit defeat.
Some 1,600 years ago, people from hereabouts in Jutland
began getting in boats and heading for Britain.
They left behind their own sandy shores
and headed instead for the fertile lands of Kent
and the Isle of Wight.
The Jutes of Jutland were followed some 500 years later
by more famous and fearsome Danes, the Vikings.
Over on the east coast is Roskilde.
It's an ancient capital of Viking power.
Here, over 1,000 years ago,
they planned raids on Britain, as Alice is about to explore.
The cathedral at Roskilde is built on the site of a 10th century Viking church.
Generations of Danish monarchs are buried here.
But there's one Danish king who's missing from Roskilde,
someone whose remains are buried in Winchester Cathedral.
That's because in the early 11th century
King Canute was the ruler not just of Denmark but of England.
Canute was a colossus of the Viking world.
He didn't only reign in Britain and Denmark,
but also Norway and part of Sweden.
In the 9th and 10th centuries the Vikings were THE European superpower.
Each year, Roskilde throws a party to honour their warrior ancestors.
The secret of Viking power wasn't the sword or the axe,
but a weapon that guaranteed them speed and stealth.
This is a reconstruction of the ultimate 10th century war machine,
This one is called a Sea Stallion,
and she's based on an actual Viking longship
that was excavated from the fjord here at Roskilde.
She looks absolutely beautiful sitting here in the calm waters
of the harbour, but I do wonder just how sea-worthy she really is.
I've been offered the unique opportunity of signing up
for her 60-strong crew, but this is no free ride.
It's hard physical work
but it's quite relaxing in a weird way as well.
The rhythmic nature of it,
and there's a little pause at the end of each stroke where you just get to catch your breath.
This isn't a pleasure cruiser, the Sea Stallion's a living laboratory.
Building and sailing a replica of the ship found in this Fjord
has given the archaeologists a valuable insight into Viking technology.
Luckily for us when it was found
most of the keel and some of the floor timbers were found,
so by looking at that, the reconstructors were actually able to estimate
the design, the length, the width and also the depth of the ship
from, actually, just looking at those 25%.
'This classic boat design was so successful
'it was still being used by descendants of the Vikings,
'the Normans, for their invasion of England in 1066.'
And what about things like the colour of it?
The colour of the Sea Stallion, the blue the yellow and the red,
is actually from the Bayeux Tapestry.
-Most of the boats on the Bayeux Tapestry
have this blue, red and yellow colour...
-Yes, very similar.
-The blue is the most powerful colour,
it's the Royal blue, the expensive colour bought in the Arabic areas,
and then the yellow and the red is ochre colours
which we had in Scandinavia, that was most common colours to use here.
So do you think that King Canute would have had similar ships
when he brought his fleet over to Britain?
I would expect so, yeah. At least a few of them would be this size.
And this size of ship, this was exclusively a warship?
Yeah, a warship is always long and narrow and has a shallow keel.
In 2007, to discover how Viking warriors like Canute
crossed from Denmark to attack the British isles,
the Sea Stallion followed in their wake,
attempting a hazardous voyage across the North Sea.
When I first saw the ship lying there in the harbour
she looked beautiful but it was hard to imagine
how she was going to perform on the open sea, so how does she perform?
That was a big question for me too in heavy sea and heavy weather.
It's a wonderful ship, it's a wonderful ship.
I'm amazed how it's coping with these big waves,
five metres of waves and very steep, short waves.
Because I mean this rides very low in the water.
Yes, it's not one metre, so looking up at these waves coming, "Argh!".
Then you feel out there that it's a seagoing warship.
So can you imagine King Canute taking his army across to Britain in ships
like this, can you imagine what it would have been like for them?
We were over there in one ship.
They would have been sailing, maybe, 200 ships.
It must have been an incredible sight.
In 1015, Canute invaded England with a fleet of these ships.
It probably took him just three days sailing from Denmark,
his vessels both fast and seaworthy.
When the longships reached the British coast,
their shallow draft meant they could navigate up the rivers
to take the English by surprise.
Canute claimed the crown of England
and cemented a relationship with our monarchy that has spanned the centuries.
Which explains why Canute, King of Denmark and England
doesn't rest here in Roskilde,
but back in Britain at Winchester Cathedral.
Vikings no longer race down this coast, but the Danes are still drawn to their shore.
In the summer, whatever the weather,
they'll head to the west of Jutland for its feel-good factor.
I'm off to the beach, to continue my quest for hygge,
the uniquely Danish sense of wellbeing or happiness.
I'm going to need some tips from a Dane.
Whenever you wash up on foreign shores a little local knowledge goes a long way.
So I'm joining Mette Lisby,
who's going to show me how to enjoy the seaside Danish style.
I've been on a sort of pilgrimage in search of hygge,
or to experience hygge.
Is there hygge to be had on the beach?
There is, but it's actually not the best place for hygge.
Is it a bit too exposed and a bit too open on the beach?
Exactly, yeah, and most people when you say "hygge"
will think about the long winter evenings where it's dark
outside and you have candles inside, you might even have a fireplace.
'So it's hard to find hygge on the beach, but you don't have to go far.
'Apparently, you head for your summer house.
'One in four Danes has one.'
-I'm more used to a hut with a door and a padlock.
-Oh, no, no.
We have big beach houses, or summer huse, as we call them.
Could I have one of those?
-No, we're very protective of our beach houses.
The rules are that you can only buy them if you're Danish.
-Really!? No foreigners?
That's not really in the spirit of the European Union.
It's not at all, no. In Denmark, foreigners can't buy the beach houses.
You're very possessive about your coast.
Yes, I think so. Yeah, it's mentioned in all the national songs and anthems of Denmark.
I think it's something we're proud of, really.
You can come, you can look at it, but you can't stay.
-And then you have to leave!
-When are you people going home?
I'm not ready to throw in my beach towel just yet.
There's hygge to be had out there somewhere.
My search for coastal cosiness continues.
Heading away from the open sea is the Limfjord,
which twists and turns as it carries the coastline
deep into the heart of Jutland.
Carved out in the last ice age,
the landscape around Limfjord's had a surprisingly big impact
on the British breakfast.
On the banks of the fjord, Nick's making himself at home.
For generations, Britons have been connected to this country
by what's written on the back of their bacon, Danish.
Mass-marketing has always been a vital ingredient
in the Danish recipe for success,
but what got them started them on the business of selling us bacon,
and why did we gobble it up?
'One name is enjoyed by more homes in this country
'for its consistent high quality than any other.'
It's British consumers who have helped to make the Danes
one of the biggest exporters of pig meat in the world.
There are two porkers for every person in Denmark,
that's over 12 million pigs.
Surprisingly, this rich bacon business
was built on very poor coastal terrain,
a landscape familiar to rural expert Flemming Just.
Is this a beach or a field?
It's a field and in fact it is very typical for Jutland, sandy.
It is just sand, isn't it? There's not a lot of nutrients in sand.
Until the middle of the 19th century
it was totally covered by heather and almost no forest.
Once, this was a windswept wilderness without a pig in sight.
It's transformation to bacon central
began with a disastrous defeat for the Danes some 200 years ago.
In the Napoleonic wars,
Britain attacked Denmark to capture its fleet.
In the aftermath, the Danes lost control of Norway
as the map of Europe was re-drawn.
Later, the Germans grabbed a chunk of Danish territory,
their rich agricultural land in the south.
To survive, the Danes had to make the most of their infertile coastal plains in North Jutland.
Denmark's bacon boom was about to begin.
So from that time on, they started to cultivate the heather land here in Jutland,
so a kind of agricultural revolution at the same time as Britain had its industrial revolution.
Those two revolutions, they combined,
so Britain deliberately decided only to focus
on their industrialisation and not care about farming.
Britain couldn't feed itself,
whereas Denmark became the larder for the British industrialisation.
These sandy fields weren't good for growing crops,
but pigs aren't that fussy,
so this coastal region became farmland to feed us bacon.
As intensive rearing replaced this rural idyll,
pigs grew into big business,
and 100 years later, Danish was one of the first foods advertised on British TV.
Hello, there, I'm the Danish bacon Viking.
The majority of Jutland's pigs end up here in Esbjerg.
Denmark's largest North Sea port was founded in 1868
especially for exports to us.
But before they can be loaded onto ships, Danish pigs have to become Danish bacon.
140 countries now buy Danish,
but they claim the best cuts head our way.
These are backs of bacon.
7,000 of them are going through here today,
and they're all bound for Britain.
It's staggering to think how, from humble beginnings,
shipping pig meat from this port really did save Denmark's bacon.
Now they send us over 250 lorry-loads each week.
That's 300,000 tonnes of the stuff every year.
And it's not just bacon the Danes have fed us from here.
Over the years we've spread butter that's past through this port,
gulped lager, and even done a bit of building with the odd plastic brick.
They've all passed through Esbjerg bound for Britain.
Denmark's flat western coast
takes a constant battering from the North Sea.
The winter storms throw up 20 ft waves,
so it's no wonder exposed towns like Thyboren are under threat.
That's why the Danes are busy sucking up sand,
only to pump it back onto the beach.
A wee stroll along the shore suits me fine, but some people feel the need for speed.
The North Sea beach marathon is one of the few anywhere in the world
run entirely on sand, which makes this marathon especially tough.
Taking up the challenge is 68 year old retired Methodist minister Malcolm Brooks from Hereford.
I hear it's pretty tough,
but the tougher a marathon is the more attractive I find it.
I'll be really in touch with human beings' basic instincts,
muscle, body, the air, the sea, the sand,
the landscape, basic kind of primitive fundamental things.
Bring it on, bring it on.
I'm just up for it, it's great.
Got my shades to stop the glare from the sea and the sun,
got my energy gels.
See you later.
With 26 and a bit miles of soft sand to negotiate
in temperatures touching 30 degrees Celsius,
Malcolm's got his work cut out.
It's tough. It's hot.
It's much softer, much sandier, quite slippy and slidy.
I've done 19.7 miles.
The race has been on for almost seven hours,
but you are still having runners struggling
to get to the finish line, and the last runner is Malcolm Brooks.
Yeah, I mean I'm running on my own,
I'm right at the end, but I don't mind that.
Malcolm's twice the age of most of the competitors,
so there's no shame in coming 236th out of 236.
With Malcolm in they can all go home.
Very nice. The last bit was really, really tough.
I came home pretty breathless.
As I make my way down the Danish coast, concrete pill boxes are my constant companions.
They're the ruins of the fortifications for Hitler's so-called Atlantic Wall.
Although it never seemed very likely that the Allies would invade through Denmark.
But the Germans built bunkers here anyway.
The Atlantic Wall master-plan demanded concrete fortifications
all along the coast from Norway to Spain, so systematically,
rigorously, the war machine of the Third Reich rolled on regardless.
With each new tide, the North Sea erodes the foundations of the German occupation,
but there's one memory of that tyranny that will never be washed away,
what happened when the Holocaust came to Denmark.
To uncover a rarely told tale of how ordinary Danes outwitted the Nazis,
Alice is in Copenhagen.
Back in 1940, Copenhagen was like it is today,
a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, buzzing with life.
One April morning all that changed,
as the streets echoed to the sound of jackboots
when the Danish Government was forced to accept the protection of the Third Reich.
But by 1943, Germany was losing the war and Danish resistance was growing stronger.
Germany then took complete control in Denmark, and Hitler
ordered the arrest of all the country's Jews for transportation to the concentration camps.
The round-up was set to begin on the night of the 1st October, 1943,
Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year,
when the Nazis expected that Jewish families would be at home,
but most of them were already on the run.
Plans for the round-up had been leaked by a sympathetic German administrator.
Rabbi Bent Melchior was 14 at the time
when his father broke the fateful news to the Jewish community.
We went to synagogue very early on that morning,
and my father stopped the service,
went up and said "Listen".
There were 100, 120 people in the synagogue,
"I tell you this is life or death,
"don't be at home on Friday night".
That Friday night, the Germans raided the homes of Danish Jews
expecting to detain about 8,000 people,
but they found only 250.
Denmark's Jews were already in hiding.
And I remember early next morning, you know,
that was at a period when you still could have milk brought to your door every morning,
we heard one of these boys whistling,
and my father commented, "Can you understand
"that anybody can whistle on a day like that".
In 1943, much of Europe was under Nazi control.
Denmark's Jews had one desperate chance for freedom,
find a harbour and sail to neutral Sweden.
But getting there meant crossing a heavily guarded stretch of water.
Over the next three weeks, in secret,
thousands of families made for the coast to fishing villages like here at Gilleleje.
Praying that they wouldn't be betrayed by informers, scores of people hid out in the buildings
around here waiting for good weather,
and hoping that a fisherman might be able to ferry them to safety.
The fisherman that was given the responsibility to take us over
was a man who never had navigated away from the coast.
He had bought a compass,
but he didn't know how to use it.
About 20 men, women and children could be crowded onto a fishing boat of this size,
trusting in the fisherman to get them across this fairly narrow stretch of water
across to Sweden, which you can see, tantalisingly close on the horizon.
But they would have been all too aware that there were German patrol boats in the area.
It was terrifying,
I could not...
Excitement, I couldn't feel.
After several hours at sea, just before dawn
they arrived off the coast of what they thought was Sweden.
We saw land, we saw the lighthouse, the light going over the waters.
But in the darkness their skipper had sailed around in a circle.
We were at the southern point of Denmark,
and the people sitting at the lighthouse were not Swedes but were Germans.
The fisherman didn't know, we first thought he was a traitor,
but we realised he was as afraid as we were.
They tried again, but now in broad daylight,
exposed to patrolling German aircraft.
To get over in daylight, we were lying down on the wooden covers,
and who knew where we were going?
I mean, it was just a coincidence
that we actually got to a Swedish place,
and it was close to 1 o'clock, noon,
when by a miracle, a son of a Swedish fisherman
went to his father and they took us onboard on their boats,
and we came into land and I remember when he said,
"Valkommen till Sverige". Welcome to Sweden.
And I can tell you that
I'm still in touch with this little boy,
who's no longer six but something like 72.
On a day like this with a benign sea and Sweden clearly visible on the horizon,
it seems remarkable but not every boat was as sea-worthy as this one
and some of them just didn't make it.
There were tragedies, but 95% of Denmark's Jews,
almost 8,000 men, women and children were helped to safety in Sweden.
Together, ordinary Danes had defied Nazi tyranny,
in the darkest of times, a shining beacon of hope.
And to quote my late father, Jewish history has many examples
where Jews were helped to leave the country,
but where Jews were welcomed back that is a unique story,
and we were certainly welcomed back.
My journey continues south along the shore of Jutland.
This is a protected stretch of beach,
and you won't find many houses,
but strangely, you can park right on the sand.
No pay and display here,
but take local advice, tourists regularly get stuck,
and getting caught out by the tide costs more than a parking ticket.
Just behind the dunes, Miranda's seeking some residents
who've happily parked themselves in a very protected spot.
It's just after dawn, and I've come here to find some animals you don't
normally expect to be living by the sea, and that's red deer.
WHISPERING: This is great. I'm just at the edge of the forest, using the forest as cover.
The deer are feeding out on this open grassland.
You can just see the dunes, and obviously there's the sea just behind me.
He's just put his head down, but I think that the deer
feeding behind us is probably a young male, just had tiny antlers.
It's hard to get close to them. These shy creatures are easily spooked.
But the serenity of the scene isn't quite as it appears.
These red deer have rather noisy neighbours.
They share their home with the Danish army.
This is a restricted zone, off limits to everyone not driving a tank.
Oddly, this unusual relationship between wildlife and warfare seems to work.
I want to see it from the military perspective.
So, Fritz, tell me how long the Danish army has lived side by side with the red deer here?
We have actually being living together since 1928-29
approximately, so we know each other quite well, I have to say.
We have a little bit of a strange neighbourship because
when we are outside of our vehicles they are gone,
but when we're inside our vehicles we have no problems,
they can stay just beside the vehicle,
and it means they feel if we are starting shooting and so on.
They just slowly disappear from the area.
All around the shooting area there is a big forest
so the deer can go into the forest
and stay there for a long period and come out again if we are finished.
-And do you like having them around, is it nice?
-Very nice, yeah.
Despite the disruptions, the deer love being beside the sea.
There's tasty heather and shelter in the dunes from the constant wind.
It's early Autumn and the rutting season has begun.
Ole Daugaard-Petersen is head of the deer reserve.
There's some interesting activity going on in the group down there.
There's a large number of hinds and there's that big stag
that's constantly patrolling, looking after that group of females.
Just now the mature stags are rounding up the hinds and
the point is he wants to mate with all of them.
He wants to keep his competitors away,
and you will see the young stags
circling around the herd,
hoping to get the chance to get a go with the hinds,
and the mature stag, he will keep them away.
So he can keep going for two, three weeks rutting, no eat no nothing, and then you will see the stag,
suddenly he will be lying sleeping for a few minutes,
up again and so he carries on for three weeks,
and then it's done and he leaves his hinds.
He might have lost 30-40 kilos during those three weeks,
so he's really busy, you know?
Three weeks of rutting with barely a break,
these majestic stags have got some serious stamina.
We've reached Denmark's most westerly point, Blavandshuk.
A top spot for a great view.
Just three miles or so off the coast here is the most notorious reef
in the whole of the North Sea.
In the days of sail it was known to the skippers as Duyvels Horn. The Devil's Horn.
Once the graveyard of countless ships,
today, Horns Reef is helping to save the planet.
It's home to one of the world's largest off-shore wind farms.
This is a site that's set to be increasingly familiar off our shores,
but what you don't often see is how these big beasts get built.
At the port of Esbjerg, engineering and green enthusiast, Dick Strawbridge,
is about to discover how the pieces fit together.
They assemble what bits they can on the quayside before shipping them out to sea.
Bolting the blades on is job number one.
The bloke in charge is Siemens's technical wizard, Jesper Moeller.
-This is a 45-metre blade made out fibreglass.
It's just literally fibreglass?
Yes, it's fibreglass, fibreglass and balsa wood, and it's cast in one piece.
Hold on, say, "It's cast in one piece again."
There's an echo, it's long enough to give you an echo.
The shape is developed over many years
and it's actually consisting of different aircraft blade shapes.
This is the tip, but you look at that, that's sharp.
It's not quite straight.
It has a slight curve, because when it's pointing up towards the wind
-it has a slight bend towards the wind...
It flexes, then when the wind pushes on it, it straightens out.
Everything looks shiny and new right now, but out in the North Sea
these turbines are going to face a right battering.
So why go to all the trouble of sticking them nearly ten miles offshore?
Well, offshore has a lot of advantages.
It has a very stable flow of wind.
Lots of constant wind?
Yes, and also higher wind compared to onshore locations.
It's time for this land-lover to brave the North Sea and take a look.
The installation vessel is already on its way, and I'm hot on its heels.
Another good reason to build out here, no complaints from the neighbours.
But some people do have to live near the turbines,
and the maintenance team need a house.
We're about 14 kilometres off the Danish coast.
This is the accommodation platform, and we're in the middle of nowhere.
The engineers share the platform with an electrical sub-station.
There's lots of technology here,
and that's not surprising because all the electricity from the wind turbines
is sucked in here before being sent ashore,
and when the wind blows, there's enough electricity to power 20 million light bulbs.
This is a paradise for engineers.
It may look like the turbines are in nice neat rows, but it's more complicated than that.
The turbines aren't in a block, they're in a fan shape,
which means when the wind blows from the west
any turbulence doesn't reduce the efficiency of the other turbines,
so all the energy from the wind can be captured by the wind turbines and turned into electricity,
and there's absolutely masses of it.
The installation vessel is now in position,
and they've started to erect turbine number 70.
I'm on my way.
Denmark is the land of Lego, this is the ultimate big piece of kit to put together, isn't it?
Seapower with its crane is going to assemble it all, good job.
So, how do they do it?
Actually, it's a really simple system.
They drive a mono-pile into the sea bed about 20 metres, then they put the yellow section on.
It is actually the transition piece, and they make sure that's perfectly vertical.
Then they've already added on one piece of tower,
we're about to see a second piece of tower go on,
then they'll shove the turbine on the top and then the blades and it's done.
The engineers are battling to complete the job before the autumn storms hit.
In calm weather, they can put up three turbines in 24 hours of non-stop effort.
This thing is massive!
I've got to get myself one of these,
This beauty is over 1.5 times taller then Nelson's Column,
but the technology doesn't stand still.
The ones planned for our seas are going to be even bigger than these guys.
Look out for them coming to a coast near you.
The Wadden Sea, a vast tidal mudflat,
an essential resting place for migrating birds.
Over 50 species can be found on it's marshlands
and over 10 million birds pass through every year.
I'm still on my quest to discover why Denmark is rated the happiest nation on earth.
I'm told it's linked to their unique concept of cosiness, or hygge.
So far on my journey, I've learned that Danish hygge is about community.
It's about coming together with family and friends for good times.
Maybe the mega flocks of birds are inspired by hygge too.
As evening approaches, thousands of starlings swoop and swerve
in search of a safe haven for the night.
Denmark has 406 happy isles, but there used to be one more,
a tiny outpost in the North Sea. Heligoland.
Then, around 200 years ago,
the British acquired this small community.
At first, we built Heligoland up, but ultimately we blew it up.
Mark's exploring Britain's remarkable bond to an ill-fated isle.
This newsreel from April, 1947, shows a Royal Naval officer
nine miles off the shore of Heligoland,
his thumb poised on a button that will trigger a massive explosion.
This British naval officer was about to set off
the largest non-nuclear explosion the world had ever seen.
But why, two years after the end of the war,
do the British want to devastate this tiny German island?
Heligoland had been wired with 7,000 tonnes of high explosive,
to be triggered at precisely 1 o'clock on the last of the BBC pips.
Why did we have such a grudge against this beautiful island,
an island that once used to be British?
For centuries, the proud fishing community of Heligoland had lived in relative peace.
Then, in 1807, Britain acquired the island from the Danes
after they backed the wrong side in the Napoleonic wars.
For 83 years, the Union flag flew over the Heligolanders,
but our flirtation with them had an explosive end.
Former Essex man Raymond Beves knows the story.
It's such a lovely place, sunny, sandy beaches...
And free and really clean, really clean.
70 years before we blew it up,
Britain was helping Heligoland develop as a tourist attraction.
Well, our tourism yeah, it was started up under British rule,
James Symmonds started it up in the 1860's-1870's,
and it was encouraged by the British, that's what started it up.
-It was a fashionable spa town?
-It was, it was.
-A spa island.
It was, it was. They knew at that time we needed something like that.
-Healthy everything, we had everything.
Oh, it was marvellous, a paradise in the North Sea, isn't it?
And it still is.
Heligolanders were happy to be part of the British empire,
but in 1890 the island became a pawn in the game of political chess
played between two imperial powers.
Against the islanders' wishes the British government agreed a swap,
giving Heligoland to Germany
in exchange for control of Zanzibar and chunks of East Africa.
It seemed a good swap
until you consider Heligoland's strategic location in the North Sea.
Germany transferred the island into a massively fortified naval base
to use against Britain in two World Wars.
During the Second World War this was a fortress island.
Down there were these U-boat pens.
It's hardly surprising that Heligoland became one of the key targets for the RAF.
Despite many air attacks, fortress Heligoland remained a threat.
By 1945, as the Allies advanced deep into Germany,
the island still refused to surrender.
Then came a knock-out blow, a 1,000 bomber raid.
'Heligoland, German naval base and fortress island,
'gets a shattering attack from heavies of RAF bomber command.
'After this operation, it was considered unlikely
'that any living thing could have survived on the island.'
Watch the step.
One islander who did survive is Erich Kruss.
As a boy he sheltered with his family
in the network of bunkers beneath the island.
So how many metres have we gone down?
About 18 metres, about 60 feet.
-A just enormous corridor.
This was where you sheltered?
Yes, it was very fearful.
put 7,000 bombs on us
in three waves for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Could you hear the bombs exploding?
Not only hear,
-So it must have been terrifying, you must have thought a bomb must have come down.
-The light went off,
the children screamed, the women screamed.
What was it like when you emerged from the bunker?
There was nothing left on the top of the island.
The devastation, this is just like matchsticks.
And where was your house?
I don't know, I don't know.
Were the RAF right to bomb the island like they did?
It was war, but three weeks before the war ended it was not necessary.
So when you came out
your house was gone?
I just went from the bunker
with my mother to the ship and we left the island.
Homes were reduced to rubble,
but much of the Nazi war machine remained intact.
The victorious Allies decreed
that all German fortifications must be destroyed,
so the Heligolanders were exiled from the island while the Royal Navy
planned the total annihilation of the Nazi installations on Heligoland.
In 1946, a certain Captain Skipwith of the Royal Navy
inspected the battered and bombed island,
looking at what was left of the German defences.
Just before he left, he gave the order,
"Blow the bloody place up".
The Royal Navy demolition team
were tasked with creating what became known as the big bang.
Nearly 7,000 tonnes of high explosives and German munitions
were packed into the bunkers beneath Heligoland.
'Zero hour was to be the normal BBC time signal, at 1 o'clock, the last pip.
'The naval officer in charge waits aboard the cable ship Lesso to set off the tremendous charge.'
'With a flash low rumble, the whole top of Heligoland seemed to lift and shatter.
'The job was done.
'Heligoland is completely destroyed.
'The island will remain deserted except for birds,
'just a shattered rock in the North Sea, a fitting memorial to the man who led Germany to destruction.'
This massive explosion shook the island to its very core,
creating huge craters and changing the shape of Heligoland for ever.
The islanders wouldn't give up their battered home.
After much protest, it was given back in 1952,
and former residents like Erich returned to rebuild their lives.
And after over 60 years,
have you really forgiven the British for what they did to your island?
I think so, everybody has forgiven.
Nobody who lives today is responsible for that 60 years before.
See? All those people dead.
Of course it's ironic that we were destroying something that was once part of Britain.
Yes. And my father, my grandfather,
my grandmother, my uncle was born British.
Britain's had a complex relationship with the tiny island of Heligoland.
Bonds of blood link our two islands, broken by the tragedy of war.
I'm on the final leg of my journey.
In my quest for happiness Danish style,
I'm off to visit a very contented community on the island of Fano.
My destination, the Isle of Fano, Denmark's oldest holiday resort.
Life here's laid-back, the legacy of a privileged past.
In 1741, this canny community clubbed together
and bought their island from the king,
and soon the good times started to roll with a whole lot of happiness ever since.
Originally, the island's wealth was built on ship building.
The money was put into bricks, mortar and thatch.
My quest to experience hygge in Denmark has come to a cosy conclusion.
For me, this place embodies what I understand of the Danish concept of hygge.
If it's about finding contentment in comforting, cosy places,
then there's definitely hygge here.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Coast explores the strong bonds Britain has with its neighbour across the North Sea, Denmark. The Danes top the polls as the happiest people on Earth and Neil Oliver investigates the uniquely Danish concept of 'hygge', a cosy comfortable feeling almost impossible to translate into any other language. From palatial beach houses that are off limits to foreigners to Denmark's oldest seaside resort, Neil discovers how their coast keeps the Danes happy.
Nick Crane examines how the Danish made big business out of selling bacon to Britain. Following defeats in the Napoleonic wars and the loss of lucrative farming land the Danes put poor soil to work rearing pork, but why did the British gobble it up?
Alice Roberts sets sail in a full-scale replica of a Viking longship to see how they gave the Norsemen the edge over the English in battle. Alice also discovers how over 8,000 Danish Jews managed to escape the Nazi concentration camps in a flotilla of fishing boats that braved hostile waters to reach the safety of neutral Sweden.
Miranda Krestovnikoff meets some unflappable red deer, who make themselves at home on a windswept shoreline, despite the fact that they share the sand dunes with tanks from the Danish army.
On Heligoland Mark Horton reveals how in 1947 Britain's Royal Navy blew this tiny island apart in the largest non-nuclear explosion the world had ever seen. It's all the more remarkable because Heligoland is an island that used to be British.
Dick Strawbridge gets access to the construction of one of the world's largest offshore wind farms, learning how wind turbine towers are built 10 miles out to sea using technology that may soon transform the British coastline, as offshore wind farms become an increasingly familiar sight.