Bornholm: The Baltic Jewel - Island Landscape and Nature

Bornholm is a unique island with a rich natural and landscape heritage that captivates with its diversity. This Danish island in the Baltic Sea is home to numerous protected areas that have facilitated the development of unique plant and animal species.

Bornholm's landscape is the result of a long-lasting interaction between humans and nature spanning the last 10,000 years. Even in the Stone and Bronze Ages, farmers cleared forests to prepare the soil for agriculture and animal grazing. In the Iron Age, most of the island's area was used for farming. Over the past 100 years, agricultural development and urban expansion have significantly reduced the natural landscapes on the island. Additionally, the planting of fir forests and natural resource extraction have also contributed to the decrease in wild areas.
Currently, the majority of Bornholm is used for agriculture, leaving little room for pristine nature. Vast fields dominate the island, limiting natural habitats. Nevertheless, Bornholm still offers diverse landscapes worth noting.
The eastern, northern, and western coasts of the island are rocky and cliff-ridden, reaching heights of up to 80 meters, especially in the Hammeren Peninsula area. In the south, there are extensive and wide sandy beaches. The central and northern parts of the island feature hilly terrain, while the south is characterized by flat landscapes and dunes. Bornholm's highest point is Rytterknaegten, standing at 162 meters above sea level and located in the center of the island.
The island is also intersected by several short rivers, with Øle Å being the longest at 22 kilometers. Bornholm also boasts several small lakes, which are either remnants of the glacial era or mining excavations. The largest among them is Hammerso, measuring 650 meters in length, 150 meters in width, and 13 meters in depth.

Despite human activity's impact, Bornholm still preserves its natural beauty and serves as an excellent place for observing diverse landscapes and wildlife. Protected areas play a crucial role in preserving the local nature, allowing the conservation of unique ecosystems and species. It's worth visiting Bornholm to discover the charm of this exceptional island and enjoy its unique landscapes and nature.

landscape and nature on Bornholm

Bornholm's Coastline - Harmony of Contrasts

The coastline of Bornholm offers a captivating tapestry of contrasts and diverse elements. One of the most striking aspects is the rocky coastlines, such as Jons Kapel in the north of Hasle, the northern Cape Hammeren, and almost the entire northern coast from the town of Allinge to Svaneke. Here, the northern coast rises proudly from the sea, forming steep cliffs and rugged cliffs. Despite its high cliffs, in some corners, nestled between low coastal rocks, you can find small, charming sandy beaches, picturesque coastal meadows, and enchanting reed-covered marshes.

A completely different story unfolds in the southern part of the island, where beautiful sand dunes and lush vegetation dominate the landscape. Starting from Nexo and Snogebaek, you'll encounter a low, marshy sandy coastline, which gradually transitions into a wide, over a kilometer long, dune-covered coastal area made up of fine sand as you move westward towards Dueodde. This sandy beach stretches westward. Instead of broad dunes, this area features sandy cliffs that are gradually eroded by the sea and sculpted by the wind. It's an incredible juxtaposition of contrasting landscapes that makes Bornholm such a unique place.

The Bornholm coast

Secrets of Bornholm's Crevasse Valleys: The Glacial Influence on the Island's Picturesque Landscape

Bornholm holds many mysteries within its diverse landscape. Among its most captivating features are the crevasse valleys, whose origins date back thousands of years, shaped by the force of glaciers. Let's explore how these enigmatic rock formations have influenced Bornholm's present-day scenery.

The current appearance of Bornholm owes itself to two periods of glaciation that occurred approximately 15,000 and 12,000 years ago when the glacier swept over the island twice, leaving a lasting mark. One of the most distinctive outcomes of this action is the so-called crevasse valleys. The largest among them are Ekkodalen and Døndalen, which formed due to tectonic fractures and were subsequently molded by the advancing glacier. The upper edges of these valleys were smoothed by glacial moraine, creating a fascinating landscape.
The effects of glacial erosion are also evident in the form of smooth granite hills, predominantly found in the northern part of the island. Additionally, Bornholm boasts numerous glacial erratics and pebbles, remnants of the glacier. This geological complexity makes the island incredibly diverse in terms of its landscape and serves as a source of mineral resources that have supported local industry and craftsmanship for centuries.
Within the crevasse valleys, streams have formed, originating in the higher regions of the island and flowing towards the sea. The deep valleys shield these streams from winter winds and provide shade and coolness during the summer, creating ideal conditions for the flourishing fauna and flora.

Bornholm is not just a picturesque landscape; it is also a fascinating geological history that has shaped the island over millennia. The crevasse valleys stand as one of the most striking testimonies to the glacier's impact on this enchanting place. When you visit Bornholm, don't forget to uncover the secrets of these remarkable rock formations and immerse yourself in the history and beauty of this unique island.

The rift valleys on Bornholm-ekkodalen

Heathlands of Bornholm: Past and Future of the Landscape

Bornholm hides within it a fascinating cultural landscape - heathlands. Until the mid-18th century, a significant part of the island was covered in this characteristic ecosystem, which was the result of centuries of cattle grazing. Today, though to a lesser extent, you can still find isolated patches of these ancient heathlands that have been preserved amidst changing landscapes.

In Hammerknuden, the open areas of Bornholm, one can experience the ambiance of bygone eras thanks to conservation efforts. Paradisbakkerne and the central part of Rutsker Hojlyng are places where attempts are made to safeguard remnants of the original, wild heathlands for future generations. It's like a journey back in time to when these areas were dominated by heather.
However, the true rarity lies in the Balkalyngen heathlands - Denmark's only heathlands situated on sandstone. These are unique ecosystems that serve not only as havens for wildlife but also as valuable sources of scientific knowledge about Bornholm's ecology and history.

Bornholm's heathlands, while no longer as widespread today, still play a vital role in preserving the cultural and natural heritage of this charming island. Through the efforts of people and environmental conservation, we can continue to enjoy their beauty and marvel at the history they hold within them.

The heath on Bornholm-Paradisbakkerne

Bornholm - Nature Sanctuary: Secrets of the Local Forests

Bornholm can boast one of the most fascinating and diverse forest landscapes in Denmark. It is here, on the land of this charming island, that forests conceal countless secrets of nature.

According to statistics, Bornholm is the most wooded province in Denmark, with over 20% of the island's area covered by forests. The most impressive forest complex is Almindingen, ranking third in size in the country. Rising on rocky terrain, it towers over the surroundings, creating an incredible view that delights anyone who finds themselves here.
But what makes Bornholm's forests so unique? It's worth noting that many of the local forests were planted in areas that were once covered in heathlands. This is the result of long-term human activities that have contributed to the creation of this extraordinary forest landscape.
However, this is not the end of the story about Bornholm. Along the island's coasts and near numerous streams and brooks, fragments of primeval forests have been preserved, making them a true natural gem. They are characterized by a unique species composition, dominated by trees such as oak and cherry, typical of this region. It is here that we can immerse ourselves in the wild nature and discover the beauty of Bornholm's primeval forests.

Additionally, on the island, you will encounter many small groves and so-called gallery forests that accompany streams and brooks. These small green oases create extraordinary places for a walk or relaxation in the midst of wild nature.

Forests on Bornholm-Almindingen

Marshes and Lakes of Bornholm: The Natural Jewel of the Baltic Sea

Bornholm captivates with not only its beautiful landscapes and picturesque coastline but also its marshes and lakes. Although Bornholm cannot compete in terms of the quantity of freshwater bodies found in some other parts of Denmark, it still offers unique and fascinating natural experiences.

Hammerso is the pearl of Bornholm and, at the same time, the only large freshwater reservoir on the island. This unique place with a mountainous character undeniably attracts nature enthusiasts and tourists alike. The lake is surrounded by lush forests and picturesque hills, creating a scene worthy of admiration.
However, that's not all that Bornholm has to offer when it comes to freshwater. The island is home to numerous marshes and small shallow lakes, which you can find in both open spaces and dense forests. Many of these marsh areas were used for peat extraction during World War II, and today, small, untouched lakes serve as a testament to the island's history.

The lakes, ponds, and marshes of Bornholm are essential habitats for diverse and often rare organisms. During spring nights when the moon rules the night sky, you can admire the courtship dances of cranes and listen to the concerts of tree frogs. These are unforgettable experiences that leave indelible memories and allow you to feel one with nature.

Marshes and lakes on Bornholm

Bornholm's Earth Resources: The Geological Wealth of the Island

Bornholm is not only a beautiful island with picturesque landscapes but also has rich geological deposits that form the basis of local mining activities. Various resources are extracted here, which have found applications in various industries and construction.

One of the primary resources extracted on Bornholm is granite. This hard stone is used for producing monuments, road construction elements, water structures, and aggregates. Limestone and sandstone are other essential materials extracted on the island, which have been used in house construction and cement production since the Middle Ages.
In many places on Bornholm, the extraction of construction materials based on gravel and clay is carried out. Furthermore, in the past, wooden charcoal was used as fuel during both World Wars.
The island is also rich in other special industrial resources. Schist is utilized in glass production, kaolin is used for porcelain manufacturing, and phosphorites are employed in the production of artificial fertilizers. Alum, essential for tanning leather, is also mined on Bornholm.

Numerous mining sites and quarries are scattered across the island, creating a distinctive "cultural landscape." Some of these excavations are filled with water or overgrown with vegetation, forming unique ecosystems. Others showcase deposits from various geological periods, allowing for a deeper understanding of the island's geological history.

Excavations and quarrying on Bornholm

The Extraordinary Fauna of Bornholm: Encounter with the Wild Island's Nature

This wild island, though geographically close to Denmark and southern Sweden, has many unique natural treasures to offer. One of the most interesting examples of species that have made Bornholm their home is the deer. This majestic mammal, although present on the island, is not a native inhabitant. It was introduced here by humans and has since become an integral part of the local fauna. Meeting a wild deer on Bornholm is a unique experience that reminds us of how humans can influence the natural environment.
Bornholm is also famous for its abundant hedgehog population. These small creatures, though charming, can sometimes pose certain challenges, especially when camping. Hedgehogs on Bornholm enjoy special protection and are a significant part of the island's ecosystem.
Bornholm is a true paradise for bird enthusiasts. Its rich avifauna includes seabirds and migratory birds from Scandinavia. It's a place where you can admire these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Ornithological reserves, such as those in the vicinity of Nexo and on the island of Graesholm, are true gems for ornithologists, offering unique opportunities for birdwatching and marveling at their diversity.

Ertholmene archipelago

On the island, European bison were also introduced from Poland, which serves as a valuable example of actions aimed at protecting endangered species. Bornholm is a place where nature takes center stage, and people strive to preserve biological diversity.

One highly intriguing aspect of Bornholm's nature is bats. Thanks to a new way of listening to these mammals, 6 new bat species have been discovered on the island in the last 10 years. This demonstrates how much more we can discover in the natural world if we are patient and inquisitive.
Archaeologists have unearthed many valuable artifacts related to the island's ancient inhabitants on Bornholm. The bones of many animals, such as reindeer, deer, beavers, wild boars, and martens, allow us to reconstruct the island's natural history over the centuries.
Bornholm is also famous for its delicate roe deer, whose population is exceptionally abundant on the island. Deer hunting is highly popular here, and the stags have impressive antlers, attracting nature enthusiasts and hunters.
Birds are an important part of Bornholm's ecosystem. Every year, more than 100 new bird species are discovered here, making the island a fascinating place for ornithologists and bird enthusiasts. In particular, two types of birds, the Common Nightingale and the Rook, are more common here than anywhere else in Denmark.
Bird migrations on Bornholm are spectacular. In spring and autumn, you can observe massive flocks of cranes and wagtails, making the island unique for bird watchers. On warm spring days, migratory birds such as the Common Rosefinch also arrive on Bornholm, adding to the charm of the island.
When it comes to reptiles, Bornholm does not differ significantly from the rest of Denmark. There are five species of reptiles here, most of which can be found in the heathlands of Hammerknuden. Interestingly, the island is also home to nine species of amphibians, and the common frog, although present throughout Denmark, has a special place in the island's ponds.

Bornholm is a true natural treasure where the diversity of species and ecosystems captivates everyone who visits this charming island. It is a place where nature is protected and appreciated, serving as an inspiration for research and nature conservation.

tovbanen on Bornholm
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