Tourist in a Danish national park
On August 22nd 2008 Denmark's first national park - National Park Thy - situated in the north of the Jutland peninsula was opened. The national park is open to everyone 24-7 and you can walk around freely.
What is a Danish national park?
In Denmark, national parks are a somewhat new phenomenon. The first national park, located in Thy, was opened in August 2008, Mols Bjerge was opened in 2009 and the Wadden Sea opened in 2010. Additional national parks will open in the coming years. Currently, two other areas have been nominated as national parks in Denmark: Skjern Å (the largest river in Denmark) and Kongernes Nordsjælland (The North Zealand of the Kings). Prior to these nominations, a long democratic process, in which the local community has contributed with knowledge and involvement, has been taken place.
Establishment of the national parks is based on broad local support. Each national park will have a decentralised management, consisting of a board, a national park council and a secretariat. The board and its chairman are to be appointed by the Danish Minister for the Environment. As much as possible, all members of the board will have close affiliations to the national park area.
The board must prepare a plan for the operation and development of the national park. The local community will be asked to participate in this process. Development of the national parks will take place over a number of years, and will be based on voluntary agreements and local support.
What does a Danish national park hold?
A Danish national park holds some of Denmark's most unique and valuable nature areas and landscapes. These are areas of importance to the Danes, but they are also given and will receive international attention and significance. National parks also include areas which have already been nominated as international nature protection areas (NATURA 2000 areas).
The aim is for Danish national parks to display the most important types of nature in Denmark. The forests and the open countryside with cultivated fields, grazing and hedgerows will be included together with small villages and urban communities. A national park may cover both land and sea.
The Danish national parks are not museums. People live, work and stay in the Danish national parks. Parts of the national parks are privately owned.
The individual national parks will have broadly differering contents, and therefore it would be a good idea to look up the information about every national park, in which you are interested, to find out exactly what can be experienced there.
What is allowed in Danish national parks?
Anyone can move around a national park free of charge. However, there may be guided tours for which you must pay. The same rules and laws apply inside the national parks as apply outside the national parks.
It will not always be clear where a national park starts or ends; there are no fences around the Danish national parks. More information can be obtained at the local tourist agency.