120-year-old lighthouse placed on wheels to move it away from eroding Danish coastline

The Rubjerg Knude lighthouse during preparations for its relocation (Picture: AFP/Getty)

A lighthouse in Denmark has been put on wheels and rails in an effort to move it away from an eroding coastline.

The 120-year-old Rubjerg Knude lighthouse, which is 76ft high, stood 650ft away from the coast in Jutland when it was first lit in 1900.

However, decades of erosion mean it is now just 20ft away from the water. On Tuesday, it will be moved more than 250ft away from the North Sea.

Local mayor Arne Boelt said “many things can go wrong” in moving the defunct lighthouse, which weighs about 1,000 tonnes and sits on top of a cliff 200ft above sea level.

The Rubjerg Knude lighthouse was being placed on a large rail to move it away from the coast (Picture: AFP/Getty)
People look on as the lighthouse in Rubjerg Knude is being moved away from the coastline (Picture: AFP/Getty)

He added: “But it’s worth the risk - the alternative would to dismantle the lighthouse.”

The move, which is already underway, is scheduled to take 10 hours, at a speed of 26ft per hour.

Environment minister Lea Wermelin has called the white, square lighthouse “a national treasure” to explain why her ministry spent five million kroner (£576,000) to save it.

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Mr Boelt and the town of Hjoerring have also chipped in to foot the bill.

The lighthouse finished operating in 1968 and was briefly turned into a museum, including an exhibit about the structure’s struggle against sand drift.

In the end, it was closed as shifting sands slowly buried the two buildings next to the lighthouse, although the lighthouse still gets more than 250,000 visitors each year.

The lighthouse at Rubjerg Knude that is being moved away from the coastline (Picture: AFP/Getty)
The lighthouse has been placed on wheels and a rail (Picture: AFP/Getty)

The move was being broadcast live on major Danish news outlets.

In 2008, a nearby church was dismantled to prevent it from falling into the sea. The Romanesque Maarup Church, built on a cliff around 1250, was picked for scenes in Babette’s Feast, which in 1987 became the first Danish film to win the Oscar for best foreign language film.

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