Esbjerg: the smell of money?
"Fish smell= smell of money?"
In the good old days when Esbjerg harbour was working at full capacity, before the depletion of fish stock and European quotas, some people used to complain that Esbjerg smelt of fish when the wind blew from one particular direction. They used to frown and say it stank.
But the people of Esbjerg knew best and they used to reply: "it's not the smell of fish, it's the smell of money!".
Of course now, there are just a handfull of boats left, the dockers' house has been demolished and the town does not smell of fish anymore. And you know what? Inhabitants of Esbjerg do regret their good old fish/money stink!
"The harbour still survives a bit"
Part of the harbour are still in use, mostly for container traffic. Fishing has returned after a temporary total closure but it's only a fraction of what it once was.
"One head and two boobs"
This made me laugh so much!
This is the female toilets symbol in Jensen's Bofhus. It conveys the message in a fun but slightly disturbing way.
ESBJERG - DENMARK BY THE SEA
I’d be very surprised if you’ve ever heard of Esbjerg, as it’s one of those thousands of names on the atlas that are written in a very small typeface. Esbjerg is a bit like Niksic in Yugoslavia, Tamale in Ghana and Grosseto in Italy. In fact it’s probably nothing like these places. However they’ve all got roughly the same population, they too are written in small print and I’ll also wager that you’ve never heard of them either. My point is that there are lots of these places that aren’t major cities, that have no tourist attractions and that wouldn’t normally warrant more than a couple of sentences in any travel guide. These are places that you either drive past, or fly over, to get to somewhere more important. There is another way that you might know of places such as these, and that’s if you live there, and the weird thing is most of us probably do.
If you don’t live in such a place, and would otherwise breeze through your life blissfully unaware that this barely readable name took up a few square miles of this planet, then there is only one other way that you, and one of these places, might become lovers. That’s if Fate picks up the atlas, tosses a name at you and tells you that there’s now a reason to go there. I have friends who live in Esbjerg, and that’s why Fate insisted that I go there five times. Having prodded and probed, over the years, in most of its nooks and crannies I feel as if I can now speak with some authority as to why this particular place might be worth a slightly bigger typeface.
Esbjerg is on the west coast of Jutland, which is in Denmark. It’s a fishing, cargo and oil port with around eighty thousand people living, drinking and working there. You can get to it directly from Stansted airport in the UK. The last time I went it was a mere fifteen pounds for a return ticket on one of the budget airlines. Rather surprisingly you get a real aeroplane for this piddling amount of money, not the large kite with a very long string as I was expecting.
If you travelled from Stansted more than five years ago you may well remember that it was a wonderful place. It boasted brand new buildings, nice restaurants and not a passenger in sight. Unfortunately things have changed since then. It’s now absolute chaos as far as the eye can see, people and baggage all over the place, aeroplanes cluttering up the runway, check-in desks with stroppy employees and a legion of ‘fly on the wall documentary’ TV crews. Now it has all the odious hallmarks of a real airport, not a toy one. It was the arrival of the budget airlines that suddenly made it popular.
Fortunately Esbjerg airport is usually deserted and offers a welcome spell of peace and quiet after the horrors of Stansted. Esbjerg ‘International’ Airport is mostly used by helicopters for taking men in fluorescent suits to oil-rigs. Consequently an aeroplane is a bit of a novelty and half the town turns out to see what made all the noise.
Although it all sounds fairly small town, in a smaller town sort of way, there are two things you should know about Esbjerg. Firstly it is a very nice small town because the people that live there look after it. Criminals are publicly whipped and graffiti artists have their spray cans rectally inserted. I don’t know anywhere else in the world that seems to have the same sense of civic pride. It has a reasonably sordid nightlife that goes on until daybreak, which is also in its favour and it has a museum devoted to fishing, which isn’t. The second thing to know about Esbjerg is the importance of its location. Just to the North of Esbjerg are some of the finest beaches you’ll find in Europe. If you get the weather right, and that means August, you can’t beat them. They’re very popular with fat German businessmen and their bloated, nipple-burnt hausfraus. However don’t let that put you off, even when they insist on taking all their clothes off. Esbjerg is also only forty kilometres from Legoland. This is the Land of Primary colours and, although a child-magnet, it will leave your adult corneas suffering from Red, Blue and Yellow after-burn. The Legoland hotel, however, is good enough to provide colour therapy sessions at the end of the day and there is a chill-out room decorated in soothing pastel shades.
So, to summarise, I like Esbjerg, the people who live there like Esbjerg, and I’m sure you have the same fondness for your Esbjerg too.