Thy National Park

Thy National Park (Danish: Nationalpark Thy) is a national park area in Thy, Denmark, opened to the public on 22 August 2008. It is located in Northwest Jutland, along the coast from Hanstholm to Agger Tange and it spans 55 km (34 mi) north to south and 5–12 km (3.1–7.5 mi) east to west. The total area of the national park is 244 km2 (94 square miles).[2]

The dune and heath landscape of Thy was officially selected on 29 June 2007 to be the first national park in Denmark proper (Northeast Greenland National Park was established in 1974). Other national parks have been established later.[3]

The governmental Forest and Nature Agency states:[2]

A Danish national park contains the most unique and characteristic Danish nature.

The idea is about improving and strengthening the Danish nature, and giving both local and foreign visitors better possibilities to experience, use and get knowledge about nature, the landscape and the history of civilization.

Thy National Park is thus not just a simple tourist attraction.

Thy National Park
Nationalpark Thy
Nørre Vorupør Coast 2012-11-18
Coastline from Thy National Park
Map showing the location of Thy National Park
Map showing the location of Thy National Park
LocationThy, Denmark
Nearest cityKlitmøller
Coordinates56°56′49″N 8°25′19″E / 56.947°N 8.422°ECoordinates: 56°56′49″N 8°25′19″E / 56.947°N 8.422°E
Area244 km2 (94 sq mi)
Governing bodyDanish Ministry of the Environment
Thy National Park
Official nameNissum Bredning with Harboore and Agger Tange
Designated2 September 1977
Reference no.144[1]


The landscape comprise windy coasts and dune systems, either bare, covered by heaths, meadows or plantations, with a great number of conifers. Low-nutrient wet hollows (a kind of bog) also occur, and between this varied coastal landscape, small ponds and lakes can be found. Remains from the Stone Age Littorina Sea are visible here, in the form of occasional limestone cliffs along the coast or further inland.[4]

The drifting sands in Thy have plagued the locals for centuries, encroaching on their lands and buildings. But it was not until around the year 1800 that something was done about it and plantings of various grasses and trees was organized. Marram grass and various conifers was the main solution and the dune plantations are here today as living witnesses to the hard struggles against the forces of Nature. The plantations provided not only protection against the unrelenting sand, but also jobs, timber and firewood and with them a whole new fauna could establish in Thy, with red deer and roe deer as the largest animal.

Trees and grasses are not the only vegetation in the dunes though. The sandy dune heaths in Thy National Park are a rare habitat in a European context, and they are to be protected by law, so they have been a major contributory factor in establishing the national park. It is a continuous job trying to preserve them from invading flora. The larger animals are grazing excess vegetation, trees are sometimes uprooted and controlled burning is carried out occasionally, to give the sandy heath a chance. The heath vegetation might look simple to the untrained eye, but is in fact very varied, dominated by common heather, sand sedge, marram grass, the edible black crowberry, bell heather and various lichens. The sandy heaths of Thy attract many birds with some very rare breeders (in Denmark), such as crane and wood sandpiper and they form a habitat for a variety of smaller animals like the natterjack toad and many insects. The wet hollows in between support quite different plants such as bog bilberry, bayberry, marsh gentian, cranberry and a variety of sundew.[5][6]

In the northern parts of the park is the game preserve of 'Hanstholm Vildtreservat', initiated in the 1930s. It is an area of about 40 km2, dominated by sandy heath and it is in fact the largest connected sandy heath in Denmark. About 60–70% of the preserve is open to the public, except from 1 April to 15 July, when the birds are breeding. Hanstholm game preserve is home to many species of birds, some rare or endangered in Denmark, including the European golden plover, which breeds nowhere else in the country. In the coastal dunes, beach morning glory and the herb of scots loveage can be found. They are both very rare in Denmark, only to be found here and maybe a few unknown spots along the westcoast. Some of the lakes and ponds in or near the preserve are hard water habitats for rare and endangered plants like the water lobelia, quillwort, many species of chara and very rare plants like the slender naiad.[7] Since 2009 several sightings of wolves have been reported from Thy and Hanstholm Vildtreservat, although wolves have been exterpidated from Denmark since 1813. In the autumn of 2012 a dead wolf was found, presumably immigrated from the Lausitz-region in Sachsen, Germany.[8] A few wolves might be living here today.[9]

Many of the plants in the park are edible or have edible fruits, including blackberries, cranberries, sea-buckthorns or the seakale often found on the beaches, but a few of them are rare and protected, like the scots loveage herb.

Parts of the park have been designated as a bird protection and international Ramsar area, as well as Natura 2000 and various other protections.

Limosa limosa (alerted)

The globally near threatened (NT) black-tailed godwit is found in Thy National Park.

Formica high res

The large Hercules ant (Camponotus herculeanus) has established in some of the plantations here. It is either rare or absent from the rest of Denmark.[10]


Black crowberries. Many of the plants in the national park are edible.

Thy Nationalpark

View across the dune heaths of Hanstholm game preserve.

Lobelia dortmanna flower2

The slender water lobelias are indicator species of the very clean lakes and ponds in the national park.


The peculiar pillwort fern is near threatened (NT) on a global scale, but found growing in Thy.

Cultural history

The cultural history found in Thy National Park is as old as the land itself. At the end of the last Ice Age, when the ice melted and receded, the land began to rise by the process of post-glacial rebound and the virgin grounds were soon settled by Stone Age cultures. Their early presence and activities are still visible in the landscape in the shape of dolmens, burial mounds, kitchen middens and organized flint productions.

As the land continued to rise from the sea, human activity increased as well and Thy was a very active spot, with a thriving culture in the Bronze Ages. We have archaeological evidence from their settlements in the area and many barrows from that period can still be seen,[11] especially in the northern reaches near Hanstholm. An unknown number of the pre-historic remains have been covered by the drifting sands and dunes over the aeons though, so the fact that so many mounds are still visible is an indication of just how active the area was.

The human activity continued into the iron Age, the Viking Age and the Middle Ages, with their own individual traces in the national park, often with a strong tie to the harsh North Sea. It was at some point during these times that the formerly lush environment around Thy collapsed. For many years the land had been stressed and over-exploited by excessive grazing and tree cutting. Finally drifting sands got the upper hand and have formed the environment and culture here for several centuries. It was not until around the year 1800 that larger organized efforts to stop the destructive sand drifts was initiated and it took more than a hundred years for them to succeed.

From modern times, perhaps the most dramatic evidence of human activities are the German bunkers built here during World War II, when Denmark was occupied. The German Wehrmacht found it important to fortify themselves in Thy and all along the west coast. As part of the Atlantic Wall, Thy was strategically important in dominating the North Sea, limiting the Allied marine forces, as an effective defence against the British air force and for many other reasons. Many of the massive concrete bunkers and fortifications are still around today, some abandoned or ruined and some restored and now functioning as museums and testimonies of that bleak era. In the north part of the park lies the Hanstholm Fortress, as a modern museum of the events that took place here in World War II. In total, five restored bunkers and batteries are spread along the coastline in the national park.

Dyrhøie Rundhøj IMGP6552

Dyrhøj. One of the many Bronze Age burial mounds in Thy.

Tved Klitplantage

The plantations stopped the advance of the destructive sand drifts, but it took more than 100 years.

Agger 2012-09-08 16-08-01

An old fisherman's house in Agger.


Some of the cannons at the Hanstholm Fortress, now a World War II museum.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Nissum Bredning with Harboore and Agger Tange". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b Welcome to the National Park of Thy, Danish Forest and Nature Agency
  3. ^ Danish National Parks, Danish Ministry of the Environment
  4. ^ The Nature in National Park Thy The Biological Association of Northwest Jutland. On p.11 is a map of the Littorina Sea coastline in Thy. ‹See Tfd›(in Danish)
  5. ^ The dune plantations of Sydthy pdf-map and info. Danish Nature Agency.
  6. ^ Stenbjerg in Thy pdf-map and info. Danish Nature Agency.
  7. ^ Hanstholm Vildtreservat pdf-map and info. Danish Nature Agency (2010).
  8. ^ Yep, it was a wolf The Copenhagen Post (07.12.12)
  9. ^ New wolf sightings in Jutland The Copenhagen Post (02.01.2013).
  10. ^ The Nature in National Park Thy The Biological Association of Northwest Jutland. p.4
  11. ^ Thy has Denmark's highest concentration of Bronze Age barrows.

External links

Chara (alga)

Chara is a genus of charophyte green algae in the family Characeae. They are multicellular and superficially resemble land plants because of stem-like and leaf-like structures. They are found in fresh water, particularly in limestone areas throughout the northern temperate zone, where they grow submerged, attached to the muddy bottom. They prefer less oxygenated and hard water and are not found in waters where mosquito larvae are present. They are covered with calcium carbonate deposits and are commonly known as stoneworts. Cyanobacteria have been found growing as epiphytes on the surfaces of Chara, where they may be involved in fixing nitrogen, which is important to plant nutrition.


In physical geography, a dune is a hill of loose sand built by aeolian processes (wind) or the flow of water. Dunes occur in different shapes and sizes, formed by interaction with the flow of air or water. Most kinds of dunes are longer on the stoss (upflow) side, where the sand is pushed up the dune, and have a shorter "slip face" in the lee side. The valley or trough between dunes is called a slack. A "dune field" or erg is an area covered by extensive dunes.

Dunes occur in some deserts and along some coasts. Some coastal areas have one or more sets of dunes running parallel to the shoreline directly inland from the beach. In most cases, the dunes are important in protecting the land against potential ravages by storm waves from the sea. Although the most widely distributed dunes are those associated with coastal regions, the largest complexes of dunes are found inland in dry regions and associated with ancient lake or sea beds. Dunes can form under the action of water flow (fluvial processes), and on sand or gravel beds of rivers, estuaries and the sea-bed.

The modern word "dune" came into English from French c. 1790, which in turn came from Middle Dutch dūne.

Hanstholm fortress

Hanstholm fortress (German: Festung Hanstholm; Danish: Hanstholm batteri) was a large coastal fortification, built by Nazi Germany at Hanstholm in north-western Denmark during World War II. The remains of the fortress is now a World War II museum situated in Thy National Park.


Klitmøller is a Danish town in Thisted Municipality, the North Denmark Region. Klitmøller has a population of 822 (1 January 2014). The town is 11 km southwest of Hanstholm and 18 km northwest of Thisted. It used to be a small fishing village, but windy ways and curving ways have transformed Klitmøller into one of Europe's premier windsurfing and kitesurfing destinations, known colloquially as "Cold Hawaii".

List of gray wolf populations by country

The global grey wolf population is estimated to be 300,000. Once abundant over much of North America and Eurasia, the grey wolf inhabits a smaller portion of its former range because of widespread destruction of its habitat, human encroachment of its habitat, and the resulting human-wolf encounters that sparked broad extirpation. Considered as a whole, however, the grey wolf is regarded as being of least concern for extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Today, wolves are protected in some areas, hunted for sport in others, or may be subject to extermination as perceived threats to people, livestock, and pets

Wolves tend to quickly adapt to change, and are often referred to as an indicator species; a species delineating an ecoregion or indicating an environmental condition such as a disease outbreak, pollution, species competition or climate change. Wolves do not seem to be able to adapt as readily to expanding civilisation the way coyotes do. While human expansion has seen an increase in the latter's numbers, it has caused a drop in those of the former.

List of national parks of Denmark

There are six national parks in the Kingdom of Denmark; five in Denmark proper and one in Greenland.

The first national park in Denmark proper was Thy National Park (Danish: Nationalpark Thy), created in 2008. It is located in Thisted Municipality, Nordjylland. The park is a narrow stretch of land along the North Jutlandic Island's west coast from Hanstholm southward to Agger Tange, excluding Hanstholm, Klitmøller, Nørre Vorupør, Stenbjerg and Agger. Thy National Park is named after Thy, an area that includes not only today's national park but also adjacent land further east. The park has dunes, heath, forests and grassland and also covers several small lakes and a small part of the Limfjord, which is the fjord that separates the North Jutlandic Island from the Cimbrian Peninsula.

In August 2009, the second national park Mols Bjerge National Park was inaugurated, followed by Wadden Sea National Park in October 2010, and Land of the Scylding National Park in 2015. Two additional areas in mainland Denmark were proposed in 2008 and 2009 to become national parks, but one of these plans was abandoned in 2012. The other, Kongernes Nordsjælland National Park, was inaugurated in 2018.Greenland has had its own national park since 1974. The Northeast Greenland National Park stretches across three fifths of the northern parts of Greenland's east coast and, since its expansion in 1988, two thirds of the eastern parts of Greenland's north coast. Bounded by the coasts, the park covers the island's entire north-eastern quarter, all of which is almost uninhabited.Like Greenland, the Faroe Islands forms another autonomous region of the Kingdom of Denmark, but contains no national parks.

Nature reserve

A nature reserve (also known as natural reserve, bioreserve, natural/nature preserve, or natural/nature conserve) is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research. Nature reserves may be designated by government institutions in some countries, or by private landowners, such as charities and research institutions, regardless of nationality. Nature reserves fall into different IUCN categories depending on the level of protection afforded by local laws. Normally it is more strictly protected than a nature park.

Thy (district)

Thy (Danish pronunciation: [ˈtˢyːˀ], local dialect [ˈtʰyi̯kʲʰ]) is a traditional district in northwestern Jutland, Denmark. It is situated north of the Limfjord, facing the North Sea and Skagerrak, and has a population of around 44,000. The capital is Thisted population of 14.000. Snedsted, Hanstholm and Hurup are minor towns in the area.

Since the Danish municipal reform of 1 January 2007, Thy is roughly identical with Thisted Municipality which belongs to the North Denmark Region. The southernmost part of Thy, the Thyholm Peninsula, belongs to Struer Municipality in the Central Denmark Region. Before the merger, Thy consisted of four municipalities: Hanstholm, Thisted, Sydthy and Thyholm.

Thy forms the western part of the North Jutlandic Island and borders Hanherred to the northeast with Vendsyssel even further northeast. In the Limfjord is the island of Mors, considered a twin district of Thy, and south of the fjord is Hardsyssel in western mainland Jutland. Thy is traditionally regarded part of northern and western Jutland alike. The dialect belongs to the West Jutlandic group.


Vorupør is a coastal parish in the district of Thy on the North Sea coast of Jutland, Denmark. The major and northern settlement, Nørre Vorupør, has a population of 591 (1 January 2014) while Sønder Vorupør 2 km further south is much smaller. Vorupør is situated in Thisted Municipality, North Denmark Region.

While the traditional occupation was fishery, it is today mainly a small-scale tourist resort, known for its beaches, nature and relative unspoiltness, as compared to other resorts. Vorupør is situated in the middle of the Thy National Park which was inaugurated in 2008, however, the vast dune and heath areas surrounding the village have been protected areas for some decades.

 Kingdom of Denmark

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