The place beyond development

Denmark is changing and evolving all thetime, but in the small hut town on Vaernengene nothing must change. In thenature area Vaernengene at the bottom of Ringkoebing Fjord in Denmark, lies 327small huts. Originally the huts were built by hunters for sleeping betweenhunting days. However, the huts were built on protected land. Therefore, formany years, they were meant to be torn down, but eventually the huts wereprotected. They were allowed to stay on one condition. The huts must neverchange, either in appearance, size or anything else.

Mikkel Ousen is 24years old, and is the third generation in the family, who go hunting atvaernengene. He works in the ambulance and rescue service in Fredericia, nearly130 kilometers away. Almost all of his spare time is spent on going to the hut.If the weather is promising for hunting, he even tries to swap his shifts atwork so he can visit the area.

Since then, the small hunting huts have beenin hibernation and must always remain as a primitive hut town". It hasmade the place a unique area where nothing is changing except the people whovisit the place of hunting, enjoying the nature and primitive life, the way ithas been done for almost a hundred years. This is the story of people who havean important part of their lives in and around the primitive huts atvaernengene.

Aerial view of large Mjoel. The location of the huts at Vaernengene gathers around three natural dunes: Large Mjoel, Small Mjoel and Groenbjerg. Unlike a lot of other constructions where people want to have a view, the location of the huts at vaernengene is an expression of an adaptation to wind and weather. They are sheltered and avoid flooding from the fjord. The picture hangs in Allan Soerensen's hut.

"I don't thinkthere's any place like this in the whole world," he says. At least not anyplaces that Mikkel Ousen has seen. And he doesn't go anywhere else to hunt.There is plenty for him here. “This very flat meadow and the rich wildlife isunique. This is where I have had some of the best memories of my life,” saysMikkel Ousen.

For Helle Jensen, it'simportant that her grandchildren get some historical input from the real world,and not spend too much time on iPads. Therefore, they are on a hike in thedunes at the hunting huts. She does not own a hut herself, but she has beencoming in the area for many years.

“One year at Sct. HansI fell into the water when I wanted to unlock my boat to sail home to my hut.It was so foggy that I couldn't find my way home, so I ended up spending thenight out on the fjord arm in arm with my dog to keep warm. ”

Outdoor life hasalways been a part of Allan Soerensen's life. Especially Ringkoebing Fjord,where he can fish and enjoy nature. It is a special area to him and the placewhere he feel most at home.

Allan Soerensenstarted coming at vaernengene as a child, when his parents had a hunting hutthere.
At the age of 20 Allan was living in anapartment in Southern Jutland, but after the breakup with his girlfriend, heneeded some space. He went back to Vaernengene where he bought his own hut. Foralmost 30 years, it has been the foundation of his life.

When people from theRingkøbing-Skjern Museum in 1993 interviewed 40 hut owners at vaernengene,almost all hut owners determined that just their hut had the most special andbeautiful view of them all.

When Kjeld AnkerEspersen was a child, his parents had a little hut by the Limfjord. The manyfond memories from that time were one of the reasons why he and his wife boughta hut on Vaernengene 20 years ago.

In the summer thereare a lot of children at Vaernengene. A general attitude at the place is thatit is important that children go outside, climb trees and play in the dunes.

Natural sewerage.There is no sewerage in the hut towns, which is why some people dig holes inthe dunes for the natural remains. When the hole is filled, they cover it anddig a new one.

22-year-old OliverThomsen has been coming to the Vaernengene since he was a child. Both hisfather and grandfather have been hunting at vaernengene for many years. Thehunting trips has always been important to him, even as he got older and peoplearound him started living the typical life of young Danish people.
“When I was in high school, I many timespreferred going hunting instead of partying like most of my classmates,” saysOliver Thomsen.

The water sloshessilently against the barge, while Oliver Thomsen is trying to rub heat into hisred and cold hands. He has been hiking for over an hour through mud, water andreeds to reach the place he hopes will allow him to shoot some ducks.
He lies down in the barge, where he has been somany times before. Sometimes there are many opportunities for shots, and othertimes he is just laying waiting for hours before he returns to his hut.

In Per Stausholm'snecklace, the bird ring hangs from one of the short-necked geese he has shot atVaernengene this year. From the ring's information, he knows that the goose wastagged in Stavanger in 2004, and since then it has been observed in bothBelgium, the Netherlands and Northern Norway.

The flag always hangsat Per Stausholm and Anita Pedersen's hut when they are at Vaernengene. After asuccessful hunt, Per Stausholm hangs today's prey in the front of the hut. Notall hunters do the same thing. They often keep the catch to themselves - not toreveal their good hunting locations.

Mikkel Ousen's firstrifle was a wooden toy gun, which he always carried around when he was a child.His present rifle is a gift from his grandfather.

Jamie Tvilum takes anap in the straws to cure his hangover before sunrise. He got to bed a littlelate the night before. Meanwhile, Mikkel Ousen stands waiting for the firstgeese to come flying. He is ready for hunting. Jamie does not have huntingcharacters himself, and this is the first time he has been on the hunt atvaernengene. He has heard Mikkel Ousen tell many good stories about the placeand wanted to experience it himself.

About 25,000short-billed geese were counted in 2013 at Vaernengene, and the nearby birdsanctuary Tipperne. In Denmark, the stock has been growing rapidly over thepast four decades, so there are now 80,000. There are 300 hunting licenses forsale for Vaernengene per year.

Using Format