The Island of Fyn and its island sea is enchanted. It is Denmark’s point of the balance, fertile, warmhearted, satiating, and nourishing. Its forests are colorful magical spaces, filled with dark hollows and sudden sprays of light, and its fields rise and fall in gently rolling swells that create a sense of peace in the heart and satisfy the senses.
But like all enchanted places, the magic is subtle. The fields, forests, and coasts of Fyn are deceptively undramatic, nothing pulls at the eye, nothing demands your attention. Its deep inner life is hidden from the rash, but reveals its secrets to those who seek.
Fyn is no place for the thrill hunter, nor those who have succumbed to the modern world's immunity to enchantment or the seduction of poetry. Like everything of true quality, the landscapes of Fyn are an invitation, an offer to discover for one’s self its living, peaceful richness. It beckons you to share the secrets of their seasons, their dark gales, long summer nights, and gentle rains.
Like all other places in Denmark, Fyn is formed by the winds and waters of its coastlines and the earthy loam of its fields and forests. Each district is unique and has a charm all its own.
Artists who have lived and worked on Fyn have always been enchanted by the profound, yet beautiful simplicity of its landscapes, landscapes that reveal rather than proclaim; the perfect relationship between Man and earth, color and form, which lives deep in the passion of its fertile soil and bears the memories of its people.
The Islands of the South Funen Sea
The islands off the coast of southern Fyn, are born in a meeting of the heavens, earth, and waters, between southern Jutland and northern Germany. Constantly shifting skies appear and disappear, and change shape as you move across the sharp restless waves of its sea. As you sail in from the deeper waters of the Baltic, or down the straits from the Kattegat or Skagerrak, the islands often appear as dark, low-lying banks or thin lines of intense greens and saturated yellows, strewn around the wide waters between Denmark and Germany. They seem to float in pale fogs, or rest pristine and clear in transparent empty spaces. To the west, the islands have low bluffs reaching down to long stone beaches. To the east, the islands are low and flat, their fields and houses are their highest point, and dikes of fieldstone and seaweed, face the changing moods of the sea.
The islands are enveloped in a transparent silence that covers every hamlet and field, a silence that presses gently against the body, and lies light and gentle in hedges of dense green, while the sound of the sea drifts over the shingle and the low stone dikes. Every sound has its own life, and every creature has its own voice in this silence, voices you have always known, intimate and close, small voices that rustle and sing, whisper and chatter, all hidden in the deep cool shadows of field and hedgerow.
Everything grows in this fertile silence. All sound dissolves and sinks into the moist black earth to become blankets of color. Flowers of bright yellow and startling blues entwine in the deep greens of bush and reed. Sharp stems and sun matted leaves, rise above the sandy soil that binds and weaves the small bright colors that beguile and remind.
The islands seem close wherever you look, separated by a sea that gives and takes, separated by a space of water and sky that expands in the silence from which all things are born. The delicately curving coastlines create sinuous arabesques with coastal bars that often reach far out into the deep, their shoals barely visible above the surface. These sand and shingle coasts are the meeting place of the great mystery where water and land become one.
Small rocky banks rise and fall in the tides and winds, appearing and disappearing in the mists and fogs of Spring, Fall and Winter; some hovering close to an island, some alone in a vast expanse of a close and empty sea, some unseen except to the sharp eye, hidden in the waves that break upon them.
The life of the islands are bound to the winds and currents that follow the barometer's needle. The waters of the sea and the sky share reflections in mirror-like calms or the lashing rains and breaking waves that crash upon the dikes in cascades of dark green spray. Clouds hover black where sea meets land, with shafts of light breaking through the heavy darkness, or fly with high flowery white tails that become heavy grey masses crowding down unto the fields and harbors. The light that spreads around the islands and fills the spaces of the sea, reach far inland with a brilliant blue violet, or subtle translucent green that brings the warmth of the sun and all that is life.
The air that the islands breathe slips past the tongue with a faint taste of sea wrack and salt, and leads the heart to its simple shore.
Experiencing Denmark is like experiencing two very different countries. One Denmark belongs to the sea and harbors, and those who live by it, the other to field, village, and forest.
The Denmark of the sea is a narrow, one-kilometer broad coastline, with its fishing villages and medieval mercantile towns, and thousands of miles of vast open sea that connects the people of this coastline to every land of the boundless Atlantic Ocean. Its villages serve the sea and its graves the waters.
Traveling just a small distance inland, brings one into an entirely different world, a different language of accents and shades that are bound from cradle to grave in the dark fertile earth.
Here landscapes roll and rise, suddenly appear, then disappear around a corner of a field or the edge of a forest. The old roads, more like paths, hardly big enough for two cars to pass, are bordered by sprays of wild flowers, soft, radiant colors splashing on the fields as the road cuts through their edges. They meander gracefully around the hedge of an old farmhouse, lose themselves in short, heavy forests, or climb to the top of a gentle hill that leads to a horizon of clouds and a measureless expanse of intense sunlight that shines with a taste of deep blue.
The landscapes of Fyn are like silent melodies that flow and entwine, merge and part, never lasting for more than a few moments before changing key and rhythm.
The round of seasons paint the land with a myriad of patterns and colors. The greens of early spring or late fall crops, bordered by naked trees and heavy skies, seem to arise from the black soil, and glow in the coming darkness with an inner light all their own. The deep reddish yellows of harvest grain create patch-work patterns over miles and miles of rolling fields, and the tops of plow furrows catch the first flare of morning light. Sharp, leaden blues of winter, and their thick heavy mists, flow over the long hedgerows of rock and dry bramble. Hills seem to rise softly to crest on a bare sky or envelope and shelter a fragment of field, a small stream, or a solitary thatched farmhouse.
Seen from the crowns of the Beacon Hills, miles of fields in a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns, seem to roll down from their steep sides, and on towards the shining of sun on the sea in the far distance. Small villages, most from between the twelfth and fifteenth century, gathered tight around the immaculate white of their church, can be seen spread amongst the earthy pastels of fields and marshes.
To experience Fyn’s spirit of harvest and field, stream and village, you have to choose ‘the path less taken’. Find the smallest road indicated on the map, and with no destination in mind, turn at every deserted crossroad you come to, let the land lead you to all of its forgotten places and let it become the path of your own journey, and the warmth of all your memories.