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Lighthouse on Wheels: Danes Spend Rs 5 Crore to Move 120-Years-Old Tower Away from Sea

Lighthouse on Wheels: Danes Spend Rs 5 Crore to Move 120-Years-Old Tower Away from Sea

Environment Minister Lea Wermelin has called the lighthouse 'a national treasure' to justify spending 5m kroner (over five crores in INR) for its relocation.

A defunct, 120-years-old lighthouse in on the move in Denmark, thanks to some history-loving and conscientious Danes.

For over a century, the Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse stood tall and white on the coast of the North Sea in Rubjerg, in the Hjørring municipality of northern Denmark. The lighthouse was first lit in 1900 and the last time it was in use was in 1968 when sand swallowed two nearby buildings.

Soil erosion and shifting soils, however, would soon have spelled doom for the 20th century structure. To save the lighthouse along with its heritage, the Danish government decided to put the 75-ft structure on wheels and tow it for 263 feet away from the sea. The move is costing the government 5m kroner (£580,000 or over five crores in INR), Danish local media reported.

When the lighthouse was first built, it had been 200 metres away from the sea. The distance has now been reduced to six meters. Until recently, it was being used as museum. To this day, the monument attracts over 250,000 tourists and visitors each year.

Environment Minister Lea Wermelin has called the white, square lighthouse "a national treasure" to explain why ministry spent five million kroner ($747,000) to save it. Boelt and the town of Hjoerring also have chipped in to foot the bill.

Local mayor Arne Boelt said "many things can go wrong" when moving the defunct lighthouse, weighing about 1,000 tons and sitting atop a cliff 200 feet above sea level.

"But it's worth the risk ... the alternative would to dismantle the lighthouse."

The move is expected to last 10 hours, at a speed of 26 feet per hour.

(With inputs from AP)

first published:October 22, 2019, 18:51 IST