Rubjerg Knude has fallen victim to encroaching sands.
In 1900, when the lights were first switched on in Rubjerg Knude on the northern coast of Denmark, the 75-foot-tall lighthouse was set back some 650 feet from the water, on nearly 200-foot-high cliffs. How times have changed: Today, because of coastal erosion and shifting sands, the lighthouse is only a few meters from the edge of a slope above the water, according to DR, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.
Due to the risk of the lighthouse toppling into the sea, the site will be off-limits to visitors as of August 14. Engineers will then begin efforts to move the lighthouse farther inland, where they’ll dig into the earth and reinforce the lighthouse with iron. When it comes time to physically move the lighthouse, in October, it will be “rolled” to its new location via a set of iron plates and wheels placed underneath it, according to DR. By early November, the lighthouse should be open to visitors in its brand-new setting, around 260 feet farther away from the coastline, according to Danish broadcaster TV2 Nord.
Each year, some 250,000 people visit Rubjerg Knude, which is near the town of Lønstrup and is one of the most popular attractions in Denmark’s North Jutland region, around five-and-a-half hours by car northwest of Copenhagen. But since its completion at the end of the 19th century, Rubjerg Knude has steadily been surrounded by sand: In 1968, it stopped functioning as a lighthouse and was turned into a museum and coffee shop. Even that ran its course, and in 2002, the site was abandoned because of sand, according to CNN. (Visitors can currently walk the sand dunes and climb to the top of the lighthouse, but there are no amenities.)
Although Rubjerg Knude will be off-limits for several months, the world has no shortage of beautiful abandoned places you can visit, as Sarah Buder recently covered for AFAR: a trip to Japan’s “ghost town,” anyone?