1. Himmelbjergtårnet (the Himmelbjerg Tower)


Before walking up the wide path to the Himmelbjerget Tower, you ought to take a look at the beech tree in the lawn just west of the pulpit. The tree has 11 trunks instead of one and it is, thus, unusual in both in terms of its size and appearance. Botanists have often discussed whether it is made up of one or more trees and, occasionally, the debate has been heated.

The fame of Himmelbjerget is primarily due to the priest and poet Steen Steensen Blicher (1782-1848). A group of young people were very fascinated with the area, and they inspired Blicher to convene a public gathering in 1839. The idea was to contribute to the "Rebirth of our Beloved Fatherland", and Blicher was not alone: More than 500 people appeared at the gathering. But the owner of Himmelbjerget really lit up and dreamed of money, so he applied for both a licence as well as permission to charge admission for visiting Himmelbjerget.

King Christian the 8th (1786-1848) would not accept this and so he made access to Himmelbjerget free for all. He simply bought the hilltop. Since then has become a popular attraction and meetings and parties have been held there.

In 1854, the founder of Silkeborg Papirfabrik (“Silkeborg Paper Mill”), Michael Drewsen (1804-74), took the initiative to organise the first Constitution Day festival on Himmelbjerget. He wished to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the June Constitution. The same Mr Drewsen also had the idea for ​​the Himmelbjerget Tower, which would be built to honour the Constitution and King Frederik the 7th (1808-63).

The tower was completed in 1875, and there is no mistaking the tribute on the frieze to the king and, for that matter, to the Constitution: "In memory of the King – Frederik the 7th – Friend of the Danish People -  Giving us the Constitution."

The portrait of the king and commemorative wreaths were revealed in 1891, and since then no changes have been made to the tower. The 25-metre-high tower provides an excellent view of the surrounding area - especially the hills on the north side of Julsø.

See the opening hours of the tower (in Danish)

2. Commemorative Stone

There is good reason to stop close to the trail leading to Himmelbjergtårnet, and dwell on the commemorative stones which have been erected in honour of notable persons – with ties to the local area. They are described below in chronological order.

1882: The Blicher Stone was erected on the

100th birthday of the author. On the stone, it is written: "in 1839 St. St. Blicher called the first Danish Public Gathering. "

1883: The Tscherning Stone. Anton Frederik Tscherning (1795-1874), member of the Constitutional Assembly and chairman of the group, Bondevennerne (“Friends of the Peasants”), was honoured with this stone, on which it is written: "The Spokesman of the great common People - Defender of political Equality until his Death. Common men from the entire Country erected this Stone."

1905: A stone was erected in honour of the children’s friend Leopold Budde (1836-1902) who founded Himmelbjerggården in 1897, which for many years was a treatment home for children and young people placed in care.

1915: The introduction of voting rights for women in 1915 is marked by the Women’s Oak and four natural stones erected around the tree.

1925: The Tower committee, which masterminded the Himmelbjerget Tower, erected the beautiful pulpit on which portraits have been carved of some of the men who have had great significance to the meetings held at Himmelbjerget.

1929: A stone was erected in memoriam of theologian Vilhelm Beck (1829-1901), who was the man behind the Inner Mission.

1999: The Constitution celebrated its 150th anniversary and, for this reason, sculptor Jørn Rønnaus’ oak-and-elm work of art was revealed. The artwork is called "Spirit and Letter" and refers to the Constitution and to the spirit of art and love. A house carved from words and a heart symbolise fellowship and love.

3. Høgdal

In the middle of beautiful surroundings, you find a small agricultural and culture-historical pearl, namely the quadrangular farm - Høgdal - with its farmhouse (from 1889) and three timber-framed wings. The farm was built in 1796 and passed from father to son for five generations and, despite its long history, it is extremely well-preserved and appears as it looked almost 100 years ago. This is because, amongst other reasons, in 1927, Høgdal was taken over by the brothers Jens and Peder Jensen, who were so conservative that everything continued as it had during the lives of their parents. They saw no reason to spend money on modern conveniences such as electricity and water. The female housekeepers did not exactly make a mint either, so most left again quickly. The brothers bought woodlands and saw themselves as silviculturists, first and foremost, and as farmers secondarily. Originally, the woodlands could be used for producing wooden clogs; however, this industry disappeared in the early 1900s. Instead, wood could be sold to sawmills and as firewood. For a while, the brothers themselves established a sawmill and sold timber, Jens and Peder earned plenty on the forestry, but they remained thrifty - they slept in the same double bed to stay warm - and became wealthy without changing their way of life. The two brothers died in 1972 and 1976, respectively.

4. A Celebrity with his own benches and mound

The world-famous poet and author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75), like Frederik the 7th, visited Michael Drewsen on several occasions. Andersen was, amongst others, mesmerised by the process of turning old cloths into fine, white paper and several of his fairy-tales were inspired by the fast-growing city, the scenic surroundings and the Paper Mill. This is apparent from, amongst others, the fairy-tale "The Rags", in which a Danish and a Norwegian rag lay side by side in the pile of rags. This gave them the opportunity to discuss cultures.

Hans Christian Andersen sometimes went from farm to farm in the Silkeborg area and provided entertainment in return for food and shelter. As is meet and proper, Andersen has, of course, had no less than two benches (H. C. Andersen's Bench) close to Himmelbjerget and on top of Åsen in Sønderskov named after him. During the Romantic Movement (in Denmark primarily the period 1805-60), it was commonplace for celebrities to have a bench named after them. Andersen also has a bench named after him in Sønderskoven, close to Åsen. Here, west of Åsen, you find H. C. Andersens Høj (“Hans Christian Andersen’s Mound”), so-called because it was Andersen's favourite place in the area. His narrative "Ib and Little Christine" from 1855 is believed to have been inspired by Åsen in Sønderskoven. The site of the house where the bargeman lived may be Fisketange, of which traces are still visible in the forest just south of Åsen. 

5. Glarbo

Here and there, you can still find glass residue in the open fields. They originate from the glass production, which King Frederik the 2nd (1534-88) began in 1585 after several false starts. The area was perfect for this kind of manufacture, because there were both fuel and quartz sand. However, the manufacture of glass stopped soon enough because of the overexploitation of the forest, and at the turn of the 1600s it had come to an end.

Read more about the Glass Manufacturing Plant on Østre Stenhule (in Danish)

6. Sletten ("the Plain")

West of Himmelbjerget is an area of varied forest with both deciduous and coniferous trees, just like there is open grassland. Sletten is owned by FDF, which uses it for camps and courses. 

Read more on fdf.dk (in Danish)

Of other, more private, enterprises one might also consider Svejbæk Færgegård, which is publicly owned, namely by Hvidovre Municipality, and which is a holiday colony and school camp area. There is also a deer farm with fallow deer and a walking trail leading through the fenced-off area. In the associated forests, wild deer may also be spotted: Roe deer, fallow deer and red deer. 

7. Mergelbanen (the marl railway)

During the 1700s, Moors dominated the area and a full 50% of the total area in central and western Jutland consisted of moor. The moorland farmer used the heather for many different things: e.g. as fodder for livestock, fuel, brooms or as insulation for walls. The establishment of the Danish Land Development Service in 1866 sped up the cultivation and afforestation of the moors. There was one problem, however: The acidic soil of the moors had to be improved and it was done with marl, which is calcareous clay. The marl was collected, amongst others, in Bøgedal southwest of Himmelbjerget, where marl was being dug during the period 1921-24. It was often transported on small temporary railways – and so, even today, you can follow the marl railway in the area around ​​Himmelbjerget, but the track disappears further out.

Read more about the railway (in Danish)

8. Knøsgården and Store Knøs

The continuation school - Himmelbjergegnens Natur- og Idrætsefterskole (“The Nature and Sport Continuation School of the Himmelbjerget Area”) – is also open to guests, and within the bounds of the school, you may view a reconstruction of the old glass furnaces (see also “5. Glarbo” above). From Store Knøs, there is excellent view westward over woods and fields, while Borre Sø may be seen to the north-west. 

9. Kongestolen

Kongestolen ved Slåensø. Foto: Per Fløng

At Slåensø, you may find Kongestolen, from which there are excellent views of the heather-covered heights of Stoubjerg and Sindbjerg on the north side of Borre Sø. Close to Kongestolen, you will see very tall Oregon pines that are more than 100 years old, and one of these pines is measured at approximately 52 metres, which makes it Denmark's tallest tree – and, in fact, also the tallest in the Nordic region. Well yes, the record might be disputed, as Oregon pine is actually a North American species. It was introduced to Denmark in the 1860s, and it seems to thrive. 

10. Wetlands

In addition to the big lakes, there are several small wetland areas in the forest, and more appear. In the period 2013-2016, the Danish Nature Agency has created twelve new wetland areas, which will hopefully provide better conditions for small animals especially. Thyges Bæk (“Thyge’s Brook”) - at Diggerdam and Rødebæk - had for years been full of ochre, which harms wildlife. Now, two small ponds have been dug, which catches the ochre and cleans up the brook. The brook is cleaner and aquatic insects, newts and frogs now breed in the ponds. At Rødebækvej, ash died due to the fungal disease ash dieback disease. Therefore, two shallow lakes have been dug. It is hoped that the lakes will become the home of aquatic insects, which love to breed in such place, just like toads. Already in 2014, frogs were breeding here.

Read more about Himmelbjerget and Slåensø: