Denmark moves 720-tonne lighthouse to save it from falling into sea

  24 October 2019    Read: 725
Denmark moves 720-tonne lighthouse to save it from falling into sea

The 120-year-old Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse is one of Denmark's major attractions. Each year, the celebrated building located on a cliff overlooking the North Sea attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists but has been gradually disappearing into the dunes.

Towering 21-metres high and weighing 720-tonnes, the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse in North Jutland has been moved 70 metres inland, to save it from falling into the waters of the North Sea due to soil erosion.

To achieve this feat, workers put the lighthouse on rails. The whole process took about nine hours and cost about DKK 5 million ($750,000). The “relocation” is expected to extend the life of the lighthouse by 20 to 40 years, according to the Danish Nature Agency, which owns it.

Built in 1900, the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse is one of Denmark's major attractions. Initially, the lighthouse stood on a 60-meter hill 200 meters from the coast, but due to coastal erosion, it came dangerously close to falling into the sea. According to estimates by the local municipality, it was a matter of several years before the historic landmark would have been lost.

​The Rubjerg Knude lighthouse was retired in the 1960s when the sand dunes began to advance. In the early 2000s, a cafe and an exhibition hall were opened in the abandoned space but had to be closed down two years later, due to constantly accumulating sand.

Moving buildings is a rare but not uncommon practice. Italian architect Ridolfo Aristotele Fioravanti, who had an illustrious career in Muscovy, is often credited with being the first to move a church in his native Bologna in 1455.

Dozens of historic buildings were moved in Moscow in the early Soviet era to widen the streets of the Russian capital, most notably Tverskaya that runs from the Red Square. The process of moving buildings continued even after the war.

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