Thyborøn and the surrounding landscape on the spit Harboøre Tange bear witness to dynamic events and attempts by mankind to tame them. This is an excellent example of an “engineered landscape”.
Thyborøn only exists because of the efforts of mankind. It relies on dikes, groynes, a harbour, fortifications, roads and railway. In 1500 there was just one farm at Thyboe Røn and in 1741 there were 38 fishermen based at Røn town. Maps from 1791 show several buildings where Thyborøn lies today. In 1862 the sea broke through the isthmus and formed Tyborøn Channel that links Nissum Bredning with the North Sea. In 1875 plans were put forward to establish a national harbour. Dikes and groynes were built around the entire town as it was at that time. A railway line to Lemvig was built in 1899 and a small market town was established. The first harbour facilities were constructed in 1915-18 and a proper “harbour town” developed with several buildings related to the harbour operation.
During World War II the occupying forces built 66 large and 40 smaller bunkers in “Thyborøn fortification”. Several of the bunkers were camouflaged as ordinary building like warehouses, residential houses and farms.
A new harbour to the southeast (Søndre Havn) was established in 1950-51 when new dikes were built around the expanding town of Thyborøn. In the period from 1952-56 the level of the road was raised and the railway line was moved further east. These initiatives took place after approval of the so-called “Thyborøn Law” in 1946. The intention of this law was to close the Thyborøn Channel and build a sluice to protect the interests of farmers in Limfjord. This led to huge protests from fishermen and fishery organizations. In the following years the advantages of building a sluice became increasingly unclear. The “Thyborøn Law” was eventually repealed in 1970 and the sluice was never built. The dams north and south of Thyborøn are a memorial to many years of conflict between fishing and farming privileges and between the West Jutland people and central authorities. Fishery became increasingly important and the harbour was expanded. Thyborøn is now one of the three largest fishing harbours in Denmark. The harbour is in constant growth and activities include, in addition to fishing, goods transport, maritime services, offshore activities and tourism.
Thyborøn has much to offer to tourists. The Coastal Centre provides information about the dynamic development of the west coast as well as a museum bunker and a reptile zoo with species that are characteristic for the nature in the area. The Jutland Aquarium displays many of the fish and crustaceans that are found in the North Sea and Limfjord and arrange many guided tours along the coast and at sea. A Sea War Museum was opened in 2015. This has an extensive exhibition of material from the greatest sea battle ever to take place – the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Just south of the town and dike is the nature reserve “Harboøre Tange” and an experience area called “Naturrum Thyborøn”. Tourists can visit fish auctions and in August there is a “Fish Day” in the town.
The geopark cooperates with the relevant centres in, for example, Thyborøn on the development of experiences and communication. This is consistent with the geopark´s strategy not to establish independent geopark centres but to communicate in connection with existing centres in the area.