On the narrow land tongue at the lock between the North Sea and Nissum Fjord, the world passes by in time with car and bicycle caravans, that move up and down along the coast. Here, Thorsminde opens and closes to the fjord and the sea.
The lock connects the south with the north and the land with the dunes. If you are looking westwards, it seems as if the sky flows into the sea and during severe storm it can happen, that the two look as one. As so many other places along the west coast, Thorsminde has been characterized by the irrepressible North Sea for better or worse. Dramatic stories of fate of the sea have marked the history and self-image of Thorsminde but especially one event has left one's mark. South from the city, Dødemandsbjergene, a burial ground, is located in the dunes, which witnessed the fateful Christmas morning in 1811, where the full-rigged ships HMS St. George and HMS Defence sank to the bottom and nearly 1400 English sailors lost their lives. At the Strandingsmuseum St. George, exhibitions tell thoughtfully, vividly and with the help of salvaged artifacts - everything from silver coins to chandeliers - the story of the shipwreck and the many other vessels, that strandend in and around Thorsminde over time. The coast here was feared by sailors to be one of the most dangerous ones in the world.
The sea and the fishery has, since the lock got built, been the lifeline - and is still to a large extent.
In Thorsminde, there are old and new enthusiasts who have fishing as a craft in each their own way. In old smokehouses, they smoke in the old-fashioned way over wood dust with added junipers or other natural flavours and the goods are sold to many different customers - perhaps to eat with a view of the harbour. Nowadays, there is not the same demand for smoking as in the old days, where the smoke was used to preserve, but smoke is still a popular and comprehensive flavour enhancer for all fish species. It takes a special handling to be a smoker. First, the fish gets salted and dried before it gets put into the oven, where it is smoked for approximately three hours, depending on the size. It is fish we all know: herring, salmon and cod, which are put on skewers. If you are lucky, you can get a whitefish - the salmon fish species, that can be caught right out there in Nr. Nissum Fjord. Or a hake, a delicious fish, that is overlooked too often.
At Vesthavnen daily fresh fish from the North Sea is sold, that can be wolffish, salmon, lobster, shrimps, cod and whatever else is landed by the 12 commercial fishers in Thorsminde. Here you can also buy shelled prawns, a whole smoked mackerel, pan-fried plaice and fish cakes to take with you or have them served on the shop's terrace on the opposite side of the quay, where the fishing vessels sail in with the fish. In the ovens, both herring, mackerel, salmon and hake get hot or cold smoked over beechwood pellets. Or if you have an own fish you want to have smoked, you will receive them here at the harbour as well. And on the other side of the lock you can also get fish for lunch or dinner with a view of the sea, the dunes and the harbour.
A few hours sailing from Thorsminde, cutters set sail with cod heads to lure crabs in from the seabed. In many other countries around the North Sea, crabs are an exotic dish but in Denmark they have been an annoying by-catch for the fishers for many years as the only edible allure has been the claws, which is why they threw them out again. But in Thorsminde, the fishers advocated for sustainable fishing of the reddish-brown shellfish and tried to have a different look at the crabs, which can be a just as tasty and delicious dish like lobsters. And that applies not only to the claws but the whole crab, which is sold at the fish auction and bought by more and more restaurants along the coast.
Going once, going twice, sold! In Thorsminde you can bid on the day's catch and experience the special atmosphere at a fish auction at the harbour every Saturday during the peak season. Here you can also grill and meet with locals, campers and holiday house guests for food and a cozy time every Thursday. The grill facilities can be used for free, you only need to bring charcoal and the food you want to grill. In June, a day with focus on fish takes place as well. It is the fried plaice and vividly music, that attracts people from near and far. In spring, there is a herring day, where the many fishers pay tribute to the silver-coloured fish and compete over who can catch the biggest one. Of course there is also a luxuriant herring table with schnapps.