Hirtshals is a town and seaport on the coast of Skagerrak on the island of Vendsyssel-Thy at the top of the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark, Europe. It is located in Hjørring municipality in Region Nordjylland. The town of Hirtshals has a population of 5,532 (1 January 2022).[1] Located on the Skagerrak, it is especially known for its fishing and ferry harbours.

Hirtshals is located in Denmark
Location in Denmark
Hirtshals is located in North Jutland Region
Hirtshals (North Jutland Region)
Coordinates: 57°35′N 09°57′E / 57.583°N 9.950°E / 57.583; 9.950
RegionNorth Denmark (Nordjylland)
Settled1860, when the Lighthouse was built
Incorporated (city)1919-1931
 • Urban
4.43 km2 (1.71 sq mi)
90 m (295.5 ft)
 (1 January 2022)[1]
 • Urban
 • Urban density1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)
 • Gender [2]
2,798 males and 2,734 females
DemonymHirtshalsgenser or Hirtshalsboer
Time zoneUTC+1 (Central European Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (European Summer Time)
Postal code
DK-9850 Hirtshals
WebsiteHjørring Municipality


Shopping malls in Hirtshals
The Hirtshals Kro pub in the town centre.

The town of Hirtshals developed around the artificial harbour which was constructed between 1919 and 1931. In 1925, the Hjørring-Hirtshals railway line opened to link the port of Hirtshals with the Danish rail network. In 1966, the harbour was expanded and became one of the largest fishing ports in Denmark. On September 8 1989 Partnair flight 394 crashed off the coast of Hirtshals killing all 55 passengers on board.

Until 1 January 2007, Hirtshals was also the seat of Hirtshals Municipality which was merged with existing Hjørring, Løkken-Vrå, and Sindal municipalities to form an enlarged Hjørring Municipality.


Hirtshals is located on the sand and clay promontory Hirtshals, overlooking the Skagerrak between the Jammer Bay and the Tannis Bay. The shoreline is backed by low cliffs, beneath which is a narrow and rocky beach.


The town's 35-metre-high lighthouse, Hirtshals fyr, is a local landmark. Building was begun on 28 June 1860, and it was first lit on 1 January 1863. It is constructed of red brick and covered with Dutch tile.


The nature of Hirtshals: the beach, the cliffs, the North Sea and the history: the bunkers and the lighthouse.
Memorial in Hirtshals to the crew of lifeboat RF 2, sunk in 1981.

The sea level has been[when?] as high as 1 metre over the norm.[clarification needed] But in days where there is no wind, the waves typically will not be higher than maximum 20 cm (8 in) over normal sea level.

Due to the proximity of the town to the coast, sea fog is not an uncommon occurrence. In the winter, the air temperature can fall as low as 1.6 degrees, but in the summer, it can reach over 25 degrees Celsius.[3]


Hirtshals Havnekontor (Hirtshals' Harbour Office) keeps track of wave periods. Annual wave periods fluctuate between half a second, up to about 9 seconds. According to Hirtshals Havnekontor (Hirtshals' Harbour Office) normal wave heights are between 2 and 2.5 metres.


The prevailing wind in Hirtshals is to the south or south-west. Wind speeds vary all year long, usually topping at 10 m/s during the winter.


Drilling rig MAERSK GUARDIAN during renovation in Hirtshals

Fishing plays a big role for the town and its inhabitants, as does tourism and the renting of summer homes. Due to the ferry connections with Norway, the shops in Hirtshals thrive on the large number of visitors, especially Norwegians, who shop in the small town all year long.


It is the home of one of the largest aquariums in Europe, the Nordsøen Oceanarium. This was built in 1984 as Nordsømuseet, The North Sea Museum, and got its present name after it was extended in 1998 to include a fish tank containing 4.5 million litres of water, making it the largest in northern Europe. The Oceanarium has 70 different species in its collection. A fire in December 2003 destroyed the new extension, but it was rebuilt and reopened on 22 July 2005.

The 2014 Danish film The Sunfish is set in Hirtshals.


Hirtshals Harbour
MS Norröna leaving Hirtshals while MS Bergensfjord is arriving.
Credit: Marius Vassnes

Port of HirtshalsEdit

Hirtshals is the Danish terminal for the services of the Norwegian ferry company, Color Line. Each year thousands of tourists travel back and forth between Hirtshals and the Norwegian cities of Kristiansand and Larvik. Previously, Color Line also offered services to Bergen, Stavanger and Oslo, but decided to stop operating these routes in early 2008. Another ferry operator, Fjord Line, now operates a route to Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand and Langesund. It has also been possible since autumn 2010 to travel to Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands and to Seyðisfjörður in Iceland with Smyril Line. The port has LNG facilities for the ferries,[4] and hosts the first wind farm built without subsidies.[5][6]

Railway stationsEdit

The Hirtshals railway line connects Hirtshals with Hjørring and the rest of the Danish rail network. Hirtshals railway station is the principal railway station of the town. The town is also served by the railway halts Lilleheden and Emmersbæk.

Notable peopleEdit

Lene Espersen

Local radioEdit

  • Skaga FM,[8] formerly known as Radio Hirtshals, is a local radio station that plays domestic and foreign hits from the 1980s, 1990s and onwards, and reports on current events happening within the municipality of Hjørring. MHz: 105.6 FM.
  • Since the early year 2010, local ferry operator Color Line (serves two ferry routes between Hirtshals and Norway) have had their own radio station, Color Radio, that plays popular songs from mostly the 1980s and 1990s. It also gives passengers from Hirtshals to Norway information about the next departure, and when check-in closes. The radio can be heard all over Hirtshals town, and from the motorway roundabout near Aabyen at the E39. MHz: 95.3 FM.

External linksEdit

Links to Hirtshals WeatherEdit

Webcams of Hirtshals HarbourEdit


  1. ^ a b BY3: Population 1. January by urban areas, area and population density The Mobile Statbank from Statistics Denmark
  2. ^ BY1: Population 1. January by urban areas, age and sex The Mobile Statbank from Statistics Denmark
  3. ^ Hirtshals Havnekontor Weathermeasurings
  4. ^ "Fjord Line is rebuilding single-fuel LNG-ships to dual-fuel". Shippax.
  5. ^ "Subsidy-Free Onshore Wind Gains Traction in Europe". www.greentechmedia.com.
  6. ^ Hirtshals wind turbines on YouTube
  7. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 25 April 2020
  8. ^ The Skaga FM official website (Mainly in Danish, but offers German tourist radio during the summer)