Fejø – a small island in Denmark
Fejø, the biggest of three inhabited islands Askø, Femø and Fejø, has 600 inhabitants, is 16 square kilometres in area and has a coastline more than 30 kilometres long. It is a peaceful island without stress or hurry. The island has low hills and low shores. Its rich clayey soil is cultivated intensively.
It is not only the size that makes Fejø so different from its neighbours Femø and Askø. Because of the short crossing and the frequent sailings, both tourists and residents don't consider the ferry trip a problem. On the contrary, the crossing is by many considered a welcome opportunity to stretch one's legs, slow down and leave one's stress behind.
The islanders are friendly, helpful and sympathetic. It is an old tradition to greet those who come along on one's way, even when they are strangers. If you greet in return and thus keep the tradition alive, we will be extra happy.
Fejø has two villages, Østerby and Vesterby. They both have characteristic old buildings, many of them with thatched roofs. In the middle of the island, in between the villages, you will find the home for the elderly with a medical practice and the school with the museum, which is run by volunteers.
Each village has its harbour. The ferry harbour is at Vesterby, and Østerby has a charming yachting harbour called Dybvig, with an old boat-builder's yard, where the famous fishing boats of Fejø called 'drivkvaser' used to be built. The yard is still active, with the Mortensen family's fourth generation working (among others) for the National Museum of Denmark.
Skalø is about 100 hectares in area, and it is connected with Fejø by a narrow dike. Skalø has its own little, private harbour and a varied, beautiful landscape with both high clay cliffs and flat salt meadows. Moreover, there is an important birdlife on the island.
Fejø has a grocer, a post office, a mechanic, a hairdresser, an inn, a hotel, a cafe, a restaurant and many interesting stalls along the road, where fruit, vegetables, homemade marmalade, etc. are sold.
Down by the beach lies Fejø Kirke, one of Denmark's oldest island churches. It was built in the late 1200th century and originally also served the surrounding islands.
A lively place
Fejø is a very lively island with a.o. an annual festive carnival procession on Whitsunday, going from one harbour to the other. All society activities are joined under
the Fejø Society called
Fejøforeningen. Fejø Møllelaug, the mill guild, is responsible for the comprehensive restauration of the old Østerby Mill, aiming to turn it
into an active museum mill open to the public.
The main part of the business life on Fejø is within the primary sector: agriculture, fruit culture and the fishing industry. Moreover, several people work in the service sector, e.g. the post office. Skalø Havbrug A/S is the islands biggest working place, with 15 employees. Pisciculture produces 600 tons of salmon per year, slaughtered on the island in November. Afterwards, 50 tons of roe, 'the red gold', are prepared by Japanese specialists and sold in Japan as a delicacy called 'Fejo Sujiko'.
A little history
- 10.000 BC: the first people came to Fejø. They were nomads and reindeer hunters.
- 4.000 BC: Fejø becomes an island, as the water level rises under the influence of the melting water from the ice mass.
- 1231: Fejø is mentioned in King Valdemars cadaster under the name 'Fæø' ('fæ' means cattle – 'ø' means island). In other words, the island was crown land at the time.
- 1658–59: The Swedes occupy Fejø. In this period, the last piece of forest is felled for heating purposes.
- 1766: Fejø's peasants become freeholders as the Crown sells the crown land. This means that the residents, who call themselves 'Fejbattinger', never had other squires than the King.
- 1820 (approx): the population reaches a peak with a number of 1500, and the island gets both its own medical doctor and a midwife.
- 1872: a silver cup from the Viking age is found. It was made in France in the 9th century. The museum on the island has a copy of it.
Nowadays there is little cattle left on the fields. Today, Fejø is best known for its production of quality fruit. The surrounding sea gives the island a warmer climate during the critical springtime. Usually, the fruit trees blossom by mid-May: a sight, which in itself is worth the visit.