Det gamle Toldsted ved Hølken Strand GB
Toldstedet. 1930 - 50
In the mid-1800s, huge quantities of grain were produced in Denmark, and the grain exports to Great Britain created considerable wealth.
In the mid-1800s, huge quantities of grain were produced in Denmark, and the grain exports to Great Britain created considerable wealth. This period is often referred to as the grain trade period and there was a flourishing trade from the numerous coastal trading points up and down the coast including the one at Hølken Beach, earlier known as Boulstrup Beach.
Large quantities of grain, coal, and other commodities were shipped out from this beach and, conversely, bricks and tiles were imported from Flensburg and timber from Norway and Sweden.
Inevitably, customs duties had to be levied on foreign imports/exports and, in the 1850s, this resulted in a customs house being built at Hølken Beach.
A merchant from Aarhus by the name of Rotwitts purchased the grocer shop in the village of Boulstrup sometime in the 1850s, and he also built a warehouse near the trading point at Hølken Beach. Other merchants, including a Mr Wistoft from Aarhus, continued the lucrative coastal trade.
The story goes that the customs officer from Boulstrup was very fond of food and drink and, several times, he was wined and dined in the village, thereby giving the locals time to coordinate their smuggling activities on the beach.
The grocer from Boulstrup operated the beach warehouse until 1884 when the local Hads-Ning District Railway was opened, linking Århus, Odder, and Hou and turning the neighbouring village of Boulstrup into a small provincial town with a railway station.
This meant that the days of the coastal trading points were finally over, and the customs point was moved to the port of Hou.
After its heyday as a customs house, the large two-winged, whitewashed, and thatched house became a summer residence when the high-court barrister from Odder Mr Waage and his family bought it in 1940. Until 1971, the Waage family lived permanently in the house during the summer months and established a lawn, a suntrap, a vegetable garden, and flower beds. Today, the former customs house is an all-year residence.
The former customs house is a unique old building and the only example of a customs point in Odder Municipality. The customs point is designated one of the municipality’s Places of Cultural Heritage.
The 15 seaside cottages that can be seen a little further along the beach date from the late 1920s and early 1930s.
They were built by farmers from Boulstrup, who used them as beach huts on their seaside plots at a time when it was fashionable for ordinary people to go to the beach. The beach huts are quite unique and the only ones of their kind to survive – they represent the summer cottage culture of the farming community around 1930. The huts were made of cheap materials. Some resembled gazebos, others looked like sheds. No electricity, running water nor sewerage facilities were installed.
Before 1900, recreational interest in coastal areas and beaches were the province of the well-to-do and the landed gentry. After the turn of the century and fuelled by the socio-religious ideas of Grundtvig prevalent in the late 1800s, peasants began to appreciate the benefits of swimming and the beauty of the seaside. The fresh air aspect was not an issue for the peasants – there was plenty of that in their daily lives. Their ‘summer cottages’, therefore, were typically quite small – only about 15-20 m2, and they were mainly used for changing clothes or for Sunday afternoon tea, but not really for overnight or longer stays.
The seaside cottages were built before the 1937 Nature Conservation Act put a stop to building activities less than 100m from the beach line.
Today, approximately half of the cottages are still owned by the families who built them or by families who acquired them in the 1940s or 1950s.
According to one owner, his family bought one of the small seaside cottages in the late 1940s. The purchase price for the cottage was DKK 90 (approx. EUR 12) and the annual rent payable to the farmer was DKK 10 (approx. EUR 1.50).
The 15 seaside cottages have not undergone significant alterations since they were built, and a local conservation development plan was therefore drawn up in 1994. This meant that the cottages were allowed to remain despite contravening the nature conservation legislation, and no extension or alteration to their exterior is permitted. The cottages must be tarred black and the windows painted white.
However, the local conservation plan permitted sewerage facilities, water, and electricity to be installed in the cottages. The owners have now purchased the plots of land on which their cottages stand.