The cultural landscape

The steep stretch of coast has left its mark on life. Read more


16 March 1928

It happened very slowly when parts of the old church in Højerup crashed into the sea.

“The trees on the edge of the cemetery slowly started wobbling, and then the cliff below started sliding outwards. It was not until later that the topmost layers of soil crashed down in a muffled roar.”

This is how three fishermen, according to the local paper Østsjællands Folkeblad, described how the chancel of Højerup Church and parts of the cemetery plunged into the sea on 16 March 1928.

The paper Stevns Avis wrote that about 30 metres on either side of the church had slipped into the deep, that the church was as cut through with a knife, and that the door of the chancel stood exactly on the edge of the cliff.

The sliding of Højerup church had been expected for a long time. As early as 1910, the church had been closed as it was feared that an accident was imminent. The cliff under the church had become so undermined, due to erosion, that many discussions had taken place about how to secure the church and whether to secure it at all. Maybe it could be moved? It would have been dangerous and expensive to carry out the work.

The evening before the slide, a local village boy had passed the church on the eastern side of the church chancel. He had been to Rødvig to help the fishermen. He remembers hearing the thump of an engine at sea as he cycled past the church. Early in the morning, an enormous roar was heard.

An estimated 15,000 m3 of limestone had crashed down, but no one was injured.