Houses built from limestone

In Denmark as a whole, limestone houses are rare – but not at Stevns. Read more
 

The sea along the cliff 

A long, inaccessible coastline: The steep cliff has made it difficult to get from sea to land, but the cliff has also protected against hostile attacks. Read more
 

The cultural landscape

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

The Limestone Landscape as a livelihood

Limestone was used for bricks and mortar, chalk for paint and writing chalk, while flint in antiquity was used for tools and weapons. 

Limestone was used for bricks and mortar, chalk for paint and writing chalk, while flint in antiquity was used for tools and weapons.

Denmark has no raw materials – or so it is often said, but this is not entirely true. Since the Middle Ages, both chalk and limestone have been quarried at Stevns Klint. The flint found at the cliff has also been useful.

All three raw materials in the cliff are easily accessible, and the limestone is hard enough to be cut into building stones and burnt into mortar. Many people have therefore based their living on the cliff.

Extracting raw materials at Stevns has no doubt been favoured by the fact that the Gjorslev Estate managed to gather the rights to the underground at an early stage. In 1892, quarrying was leased to Faxe Kalk A/S, which had great experience in the industry. Today, the last active quarry by Stevns Klint is leased to a Swiss enterprise.

The large limestone mines in Jutland have primarily supplied raw material for burnt lime, while the chalk and the clay around Aalborg from the 1880s provided raw material for an extensive cement industry. The chalk at Møn has never been extracted.

Limestone

For centuries, the people of Stevns have extracted limestone from Stevns Klint for construction. This started in the Middle Ages when churches and fortresses were built. Some 100 churches on Zealand were built out of limestone from Stevns Klint, just as the cruciform fortress at Stevns, Gjorslev Manor, was built of limestone from the cliff. Limestone from Stevns Klint has also been turned into mortar and lime fertiliser.

Chalk

Through the ages, chalk has been the greatest source of income from Stevns Klint. Chalk is used for many products, and early on it became an important raw material for putty, paint and polishing agents. Foreign ships that carried timber to Copenhagen would often carry chalk in their holds on their return journey. In this way, the chalk formed part of a trade circuit.

Flint

Through various periods, man has used flint for different purposes. In antiquity, lots of flint was used for tools and weapons. In places where there was a lot of flint, the residents had access to a valuable trade commodity. In the mid 1600s, the use of flint for weapons became popular again. Modern firearms needed to be ignited, and for this, flint was used exactly as in a tinderbox. In the 1700s, smallholders in Stevns supplied lots of flint pieces to Tøjhuset, the Danish Arsenal Collection in Copenhagen. At Stevns, flint was also used as building stones.