Travels with V
An island forgotten by time
This is probably one of the smallest islands we have ever visited. The Danish island of Livø is only some 300 hectars. But only eight persons live here permanently so there’s plenty of room for its few visitors. The nature is varied, splendid Nordic and strikingly beautiful. Meadows, fields, forests, beaches and steep hillsides can be found here. It lies sheltered inside the Limfjord, a broad water that divides North Jutland in two.The island is so small you’ll walk around it in four hours.
The first thing you notice when yoy step off the boat is the peace and tranquility. Motor vehicles are forbidden here, with one exception for a tractor. There’s one dominating enterprise, the farm, called “Livø Avlsgård”. It’s state owned and has a clear eco profile, cultivating among other things old and more nutritious cereals like spelt and emmer. Cows and calves graze over wider areas and birds of prey circle majestically overhead.
Livø was in the middle ages a property of a monastery on the mainland, but was later bought by a nobleman. In the beginning of the 20th century a dark period began when a doctor and a devout follower of eugenics built an institution for what we today call (light) mentally disabled. It was like a prison or a concentration camp, there was nowhere to run. And too far to swim to the mainland.
Luckily the camp was discontinued in 1961 but the building still stand and now make up the little village, with a small food store, a “Kro” (bar and restaurant) and rooms for visitors. Tourists embark on a small ferry at Ranum on the mainland, and after a 20 minutes sea trip arrive at the small Livø harbour. Where there’s also some space for visiting private boats.
Adding to the tranquil atmosphere of Livø is the fact that dogs are not allowed here. This is because of the relatively free-roaming cattle and the delicate island wild life. A sign also tells us that smoking isn’t allowed anywhere outside the village. We guess that this is turned a blind eye to when it’s time for the peak of summer, the annual jazz festival. We missed that event, but it’s ok because since we now are the only guests we have the full attention from the nice people setting up our room and fixing our meals. And serving ice cold beer.
A walk around the island takes you via the picturesque little village with the big farmhouses, via a lovely pebble beach to the steeper hills on the west side. Here you can find the small remnants of “Hökerens”, an old trading post. Further on there’s a lookout tower giving you a great view of the southern parts with the long “tail” of sand stretching out. It’s a no-go area where groups of seal live. By the wheat fields there’s a little dam called “Krebsedammen”, the crayfish dam, sadly now with no crayfish left in it.
Livø is an island with a very special atmosphere, a small zone where the passing of time seems almost irrelevant. It’s a relaxing and awareness stimulating experience that we strongly recommend. There is a website about its resources and activities here, but it’s unfortunately only in Danish.