Lighthouses in Öresund

Beacon lightning in Öresund has a long history. From the medieval time when the trading in the Baltic Sea was a flourishing. The German businessmen got organized in "The Hanseatic League". Safety of the ships and the lights was the responsibility given to the Dominican monks in Lübeck. Documents from the 11th century shows that the King Valdemar Sejr gave the monks permission to cut down the trees needed to build warning signs and lights to help the seafarer around Falsterbo.
On the 14th century there was "flares" at Dragør to help the fishing boats. The fishermen paid a fee for the service. During the medieval times there were several lights in the south Baltic Sea but most of them were extinguished when the power of "The Hanseatic League" was weakening.

During these days sailing during day light was preferable. During the nights the ship did not sail. If a ship arrived to a port in the night they waited for the sun before entering the port. They drifted outside the port and the lights should be at their help when keeping their position waiting for day light.

Dangerous grounds were marked with "barrels" and were anchored on the ground.
When ships were made of wood and sailors made of steel
Lighthouse back in the days
In Denmark the started to use light houses during the 16th century and Öresund was the first navigable fairway in the world with light houses for navigation.

Coming from north the first light we see is from Kullen lighthouse. Kullen Light house is one of the most prominent landmarks along the Swedish coastline.

The danish king built a light house on Kullaberg 1560. It was a iron basket with wooden fire with a height over ground 12m. 3 years later they built a stone tower. Master builder was Pieter de Doncker.

The custom officer Jörgen Berger in Helsingør had the responsebility fot the light house. He got instructions from 1564 how to manage the light: There should be a fire all night. The wood should be stored so it was keept dry. The light on Kullen should shine from 1 hour after sunset until dawn from the first night in March until 1st of November.
The king gave Kullagården as a dwelling to the light-keeper. Today Kullagården is a restaurant and a golf court in very nice settings. Todays building was built 1900, the old building burnt down.
Tycho Brahe had got the island Ven from the Danish king Fredrik II and after discovering the star Nova Stella he became the Danish king's favorite and he was given Kullagården 28th of August 1577 with the privilege of taking as much timber he needed from Kullaberg to Ven. He needed much timber to build his observatory on Ven, there was no trees on Ven. He had no duty for the light, but the king gave him an ultimatum: If he wanted to keep Kullagården he had to accept the task as light-keeper.

Tycho Brahe also got the assignment to come up with ideas on improvement for Kullen light. Together with people with knowledge about shipping he should investigate if the light was placed on the best spot. They wanted to build a new tower for the light.

There had been complains to the king about the light for a long time and the king continued to receive complains. 1585 the king sent a letter to Tycho Brahe and ordered him to keep better order on the employed people at the light.

Well, Tycho Brahe did not care very much about the light on Kullen when he built Europe's foremost observatory. The king refused to believe that Tycho Brahe did not take is assignment serious. (He was still the kings favorite Every time the ships complained in Helsingør when paying the transit fee, he just send a warning to Tycho Brahe.

King Frederik II died 1588 and the relations between Tycho Brahe and the royal family turned sour. Emperor Rudolf II gave Tycho Brahe a job as an astronomer in Prague 1597 and he left Denmark. Even though Tycho Brahe mismanaged the light he kept the job until he died 1601, even during his exile.

One of the castle Kronborg architects, Antonis van Opbergen built a new light tower 1585 and replaced the old tower from 1563. When Tycho Brahe died 1601 Claus Podebusk got the job as light-keeper on Kullen.

A man from Holland made this drawing when passing Kullaberg 1615. He was a memeber in a peace delegation on the way to Russia.

At the end of he 16th century they found coal north of Helsingborg and they replaced the use of wood in favor for coal.
This is the oldest picture of Kullaberg with the lighthouse from 1615.
The coal was of poor quality and they started to import coal. This lead to an affair 1726 that gave effects all the way up to the Swedish parliament.

The businessman Erasmus Clefwe got the right to keep the fire on Kullaberg for a good compensation. He managed the light very poor and Kullen was extinguished many nights. Erasmus Clefwe defended himself with the difficulties to import coal. The scandal was a fact when it was revealed that Erasmus Clefwe had a salvage company salvaging ship wreck around the coast in Skåne.

In the middle of the 18th century the light on Kullaberg needed 800 barrels of coal yearly. The coal was imported from England and the ship had to pay the light fees when passing Helsingør and paying the transit duty "Öresundstullen". The light fee was delivered to a Swedish Officer.

In the summer 1749 the old tower from 1585 was demolished and a new tower was built by Henrich Mosenkegel in Landskrona. The new light became one of the best lights in Scandinavia. Even after that the complains continued about the light on Kullaberg.

The irregularity of the light and the big consumption of coal made the authorities in Sweden to look for a new design for the lights. Anders Polheimer got the task in 1783. 1791-92 he studied the light on Kullen. He invented a new light that reduced the consumption of coal. He constructed wind tunnels ending in the fire. The wind lifted the flares. 1792 the rebuilt the light on Kullen after his design.

1793, when Anders Polheimer published his investigations and proposals at the royal academy of sciences he made a remark the coal fire could be protected against storms if the fire was covered by a lantern (glass house). Denmark started to use covered coal fires first. The Danish Captain Poul de Löwenörn developed the idea and it later became the prototype for the lights in Sweden.

In a sailing direction from 1800 by Captain Poul de Löwenörn he describes the light house on Kullaberg; Kullen is unmistakable when you see the tower. The tower is not very high. but white in color and an annex on the east side make it look like a church. It's not always easy to see the light because of the haze on the mountain and that the wind presses down the flare. He also reminds that the light is extinguished in the summer, between 1st of May and 1st of August. The light's in Denmark was burning 12 month's per year.
Kullen light 1817
1817 the built a lantern on Kullen after Poul de Löwenörn construction. The coal fire was put in a glasshouse. Now the coal consumption was reduced and the light was steady.

This light was used until 1843 when the coal fire epoch came to an end at Kullen. 1843 the light was rebuilt again. Now they built a brick tower and the light was now changed to a rape-oil lamp with mirrors. Now the light was rotating. 1 turn in 5 minutes. It gave 4 flashes, 30 seconds long every minute. They started to use this light the 31st of October 1843.
1857 the brass mirrirors got silver plated and they start to use kerosenelamps instead for the rape-oil lamp. Kerosene was cheaper and gave a better light.

1899 they started to build the new light tower just north of the old one.
The present lighthouse dates back to 1899, but some kind of light or flame has been burning on Kullen since the 13th and 14th century.
Kullen lighthouse today
Kullen lighthouse the year 1900
The rotating lens weighs about 6000 kilos with a diameter of 2.58 meters. With a 1000 w electric bulb and an elevation of 78.5 meters above sea level Kullen has a light-range of 24.5 nautical miles.That makes Kullen the most powerful navigation light in Scandinavia.
Kullen lighthouse
Kullen L/H is an 15 m high grey tower and a yellow house in position N 56° 18,1' E 012° 27,1'. Lights elevation over sea level is 78m. Light characteritic Fl W 5s and range 27 nautical miles.

Kullen Västra L/H is an white lantern in position N 56� 18,2' E 012� 26,8'. Lights elevation over sea level is 12m. Light characteritic OC(3) WG and range 14 nautical miles (white sector).

Nakkehoved just east of Gilleleje
The first major light you see on the Danish side of Öresund coming from the north is Nakkehoved.

There are 2 light towers in Nakkehoved. The east tower is extinguished since 1898. Nakkehoved and kullen L/H is among the oldest lights in Denmark.

When they built the 2 towers 1772 it was not possible to built the lighthouses with light characters. They built the 2 towers almost identical to distinguish them from Kullen L/H. Thus coming from north you should see 2 lights on your right side (starboard) and 1 light on your left (port) side. I don't have to explain the importance of knowing if you are east or west of Kullaberg when approaching Öresund 230 years ago (it's even important today but easier with the radar to se Kullaberg)

The east tower was built 1772 and it's a square tower and is built on the gable of the dweling. It was built as a open light but around 1800 they covered the light and 1898 they extinguished the light.

Nakkehoved W light tower
Nakkehoved E light tower (extinguished)

Nakkehoved west tower is the westerly of the 2 towers (big surprise ) and was built 1772. When they extinguished the east light 1898 they raised the tower.

Svinbådan lighthouse
Kullaberg with Svinbådan from the south

Svinbådan L/H is an 25m high black tower with orange band and lantern on a grey base in position N 56° 09' E 012° 32,6'. Lights elevation over sea level is 24 m. Light characteritic ISO WRG 8s and range 17 nautical miles (white sector).

Svinbådan lighthouse was built in Lysekil and towed to its present location in 1959. A new light was built on the former helicopter platform on top of the lighthouse in 1994. This new light is designed to be driven by solar power when the shore cable has worn out. Svinbådan lighthouse replaced Sweden's fifth lightship
Svinbådan L/H is a very good radar target with racon. Svinbådan L/H is a good and fixed object to take the bearing and distance to get an accurate position when coming from the north before entering Öretvisten TSS (Traffic Separation) lane leading SE in Kronborgs white sector.

In 1574 King Frederik had the castle of Kronborg built in the Öresund town of Helsingør as a gift to his 16 years old wife Sofia av Mecklenburg. This, by the way, is the castle in which Hamlet wandered around in Shakespeare's famous play. A few years later, Frederik�s generosity was once again apparent, when he decided to give the island of Ven outside Landskrona to the scientist Tycho Brahe.

1772 they put a lantern in the window on the NE tower (Queens's tower) on Kronborg castle. 1800 they replaced the top of the tower to a light.
Kronborg castle from the south
When coming from north Kronborg block the view over the ferry terminal in Helsingør. And coming from north makes us the "give way ship" for the ferries leaving Helsingør for Helsingborg.
Kronborg L/H is situated in the NE tower of Kronborg castle. It's 31m high in position N 56° 02,4' E 012° 37,4'. Lights elevation over sea level is 34 m. Light characteritic Oc(2) WRG 6s and range 14 nautical miles (white sector).

Kronborg castle from the north
When passing Kronborg there is not very much space to alter course to starboard and pass behind the ferries. I try to keep as close as possible to M4 L/B so I have more space on my starboard side.

Just south of Helsingør the TSS split in 2 lanes leading south. 1 east and 1 west of the shoal Disken. Disken is marked in the north with an north cardinal buoy so if I can't make it back to the east lane it's possible to pass west of the shoal if I had come
to much south when giving way to the ferries. But I must say that the ferries are very helpful when it comes to pass behind south bound ships.

The island Ven is in the middle of Öresund just south of Helsingør and Helsingborg. It's natural for north bound ship to pass east of Ven and south bound ship to pass west of Ven.
On Ven there are 3 major lighthouses:

Ven L/H
Haken L/H
Vens Södra udde L/H

Stunning scenery
Haken L/H with mainland Skåne in the back.

Ven L/H
Ven L/H is an 8m high white tower with red band near the NW point of the island Ven in position N 55° 58,2' E 012° 40,0'. Lights elevation over sea level is 24 m. Light characteritic Lfl WRG 10s and range 16 nautical miles (white sector).

When coming from the north with an course to SW passing Ven on the west side. (North bound traffic passing on the east side) East of Ven Ven L/H is not very good for fixing a position before altering course to SSE. But with the rang marker on the radar it's pretty easy to stay clear of the shoal marked with an W-cardinal buoy E of Ven.

Haken lighthouse with dwellings
Haken L/H is an 12m high white tower with red dwellings in position N 55° 54,6' E 012° 43,5'. Lights elevation over sea level is 15 m. Light characteritic ISO WRG 8s and range 16 nautical miles (white sector).

Haken L/H is situated on a small cape at the island Ven's east side. This cape is very distinct on the radar and thus a very good object to fix your position when east of Ven coming from the south and changing course to steer towards the
TSS between Helsingborg and Helsingør. Haken is also situated in a very beautiful surroundings.

I'm not sure but I think you can rent this dwellings during the summer. Perfect for a romantic holiday, even though I doubt it was very romantic living there 200 years ago.

Vens Södra udde

Vens Södra udde L/H
Vens Södra udde L/H is an 8m high white tower with red bands in position N 55° 53,5' E 012° 42,7'. Lights elevation over sea level is 35 m. Light characteritic Oc(3) WRG 30s and range 16 nautical miles (white sector).

Vens Södra udde L/H is situated on the south side of Ven and I don't see the meaning of it. Today the ship have radars, well, anyway I have never used it for anything.
Haken L/H
Picture from 10th of May 2003 when passing Ven with CT Star

Will be updated with picture as soon as I have a photo Pinhättan L/H is an 13m high orange tower with black bands in position N 55° 43,3' E 012° 52,1'. Lights elevation over sea level is 12 m. Light characteritic Lfl WRG 8s and range 14 nautical miles (white sector).

Pinhättan L/H is situated just west of Barsebäcks nuclear power plant. Pinhättan L/H is a very good radar target and gives a good echo for fixing an accurate position when coming from Malmö or Flintrännan in the south.

Middelgrund Fort
There are 2 lighthouses on Middelgrund Fort, 1 on the weast side and 1 on the east side of the island. The light houses consist of a red block. The light on the west side have a characteritic Oc WRG 5s and range 15 nautical miles (white sector) and the light on the east side has an characteritic Oc (2) WRG 12s and range 15 nautical miles (white sector).

Middelgrund Fort from East
Picture from 10th of May 2003 when passing Drogden with CT Star

On the south side of Middelgrund there is a marina.

1890 - 94 The Fort Middelgrund was build. Fort Middelgrund was built on the northern part of the shoal called Middelgrund approx. miles from downtown Copenhagen and the task for the fort was, to prevent a bombartment of Copenhagen, to protect the field of seamines outside Copenhagen habour and stop enemy forces to land nearby Copenhagen.
Middelgrund Fort from Northeast
Picture from 10th of May 2003 when passing Drogden with CT Star

Tre Kronor L/H
Tre Kronor L/H is on the east side of the battery on the fort Tre Kronor at Copenhagen harbour entrance in position N 55° 42,2' E 012° 37,0'. The lighthouse is a 12m heigh white round iron tower. It's the oldest iron tower in Denmark

Tre Kronor lighthouse was built 1836 on Tre Kronor fort. They built the fort 1787 - 1821 to protect Copenhagen

In 1767 ther was a necessity of defence of the roads to Copenhagen habour and it was decided, on a suggestion from Frederik Danneskiold-Samsøe, to establish 7 artillryforts in the open Sea, on both sides of the road, but only a smaller part of the present Fort 'Lynetten' was built.. In 1784, the Goverment came to terms, that they had to built 3 forts: Trekroner, Provestenen and Stubben. Only the construction of the Tre Kroner was launched and it took 43 years before the Fort was completed.

Nordre Røse L/H
Nordre Røse L/H is a 17m high round granite tower in position N 55° 38,2' E 012° 41,3'. Lights elevation over sea level is 14m. Light characteritic Oc (2) WRG 6s and range 18 nautical miles (white sector).

Nordre Røse L/H was built 1877. After passing Middelgrund coming from the north steering an southerly we steer in Nordre Røse L/H white sector. Passing Svælget and approaching Nordre Røse L/H we have ta change course to the SSE and pass the Q.G light buoy just east of Nordre Røse and then we are in Drogden channel which leads to Drogden L/H.
Nordre Røse L/H from East with Copenhagen airport in the back
Picture from 10th of May 2003 when passing Drogden with CT Star

Drogden L/H
Picture from 10th of May 2003 when passing Drogden with CT Star
Drogden L/H is a 20m high white tower with red bands in position N 55° 32,2' E 012° 42,3'. Lights elevation over sea level is 14m. Light characteritic Oc (3) WRG 15s and range 18 nautical miles (white sector).

After passing Nordre Røse L/H we steer in the buoyed channel named Drogden. This is the part of Öresund which we have to take in to account when deciding if we are going to pass through Öresund or Great Belt. We can pass Drogden if we have a draft of 7,5m or less.

The poor monks in The Dominican Order arrived to Lund 1223. They got permission to found a monastery from archbishop Andreas Sunesens. Simon; manager on the monastery was a enterprising man and he requested from the king Valdemar Sejr that the monks shuold build a navigation mark on the peninsula Skanör/ Falsterbo. They had permission to take wood for the fire.

1635 there was a new light built, now coal was used for the fire. Information from the 18th century says that the basket contained 5 liters of coal and had to be refilled 6 times/ hour. During the season from August to May they used 600 barrels of coal.

1795 the light-keeper got a houseto live in, it had taken 2 years to build a light house of stone with a coal fire on top. They bought a lens 1843 and started to use oil for the fire. They built the lantern on top of the light house. It had became comfortable to be light-keeper at the south entrance Öresund.
Falsterbo L/H 1900

Falsterbo L/H

Falsterbo Rev L/H is a 30m high orange tower with black bands on a grey base in position N 55° 18,5' E 012° 39,5'. Lights elevation over sea level is 29m. Light characteritic ISO WRG 8s and range 22 nautical miles (white sector).

Coming from Drogden in the north we steer an SSW:ly course to pass west of Falsterbo Rev L/H. Falsterbo Rev L/H is the centre of an circus with ships coming from the north, south and east. When entering the circus from the north and changing course to the east we have to be aware of the ships coming in the traffic lane from the south.

After passing through the east bound traffic lane we have to watch out for ferries leaving Trelleborg for Germany and ferries bound for Trelleborg.

Falsterbo Rev was built 1971 in Jävre- Sandholmen. She was towed and positioned at Falsterbo Rev 1972. Falsterbo Rev has a height of 30m over the sea level and stands at a deep of 18m and thus making the lighthouse 48m in height, Sweden's highest lighthouse with a weight of 10.600 ton.
Falsterbo Rev L/H
Launching of Falsterbo Rev L/H in Jävre 1972

Coming from the south Falsterbo Rev L/H is a good object to steer on. Approaching the lighthouse and put the variable range marker on desired range and change course to a northerly course when the lighthouse is on the marker. Then it's just to steer towards Drogden L/H. As seen on the chart above south bound traffic have their own lane. So it's no problem with south bound traffic when steering to the north. In the summer there can be much sail boats and stuff, but that's another story.
Falsterbo Rev L/H with south bound traffic coming from Öresund.
Picture from 13th of June 2003 when passing Falsterbo Rev with Framnäs on the way to Gothenburg from Nynäshamn.