History of The Danish Coastal Authority

The Coastal Authority originates from the Royal Danish Department of Maritime Works, which was established in 1868.

From the onset, the main task of the Royal Danish Department of Maritime Works was to protect the west coast of Jutland, and until 2005, there were building sites along the west coast in e.g. Agger, Thyborøn, and Ferring, where concrete groyne blocks were cast, groynes were built, and dikes and sand dunes were maintained, etc.

Over the years, tasks have been added, while others have been terminated. The Danish Coastal Authority is still responsible for the protection of the West Coast, but today, the work consists in project planning, analysis, measuring, and monitoring of coastal developments. The coastal protection work itself is outsourced.

Casting of concrete blocks, Ferring 1896.

In connection with the protection of the west coast of Jutland, the Danish Coastal Authority has proud traditions of surveying and analysing coastal developments. The Royal Danish Department of Maritime Works made its first coastal measurements back in 1874, and since then, the analytical work has come to include the rest of the Danish coastline. Today, research is carried out in the fields of coastal dynamics, coastal protection methods, and the effects of climate change.

Groynes has been constructed along the west coast since 1874. Before the construction took place, the erosion was large and at Bovbjerg lighthouse, shown in the middle of the picture, the shoreline retreated 500 m from 1840. Since its breakthrough in the 1980s, nourishment has enabled to stall shoreline retreat. Photo: Hunderup Luftfoto

Because of the special conditions on the west coast of Jutland, the ports along the coast have also played an important role in the history of the Danish Coastal Authority with tasks varying from traditional port operation to the present time tasks including dredging of port entrances and basins, maintenance of outer works, and sluice operation.

In line with increased focus on the coasts and their development, administrative work e.g. regulation of port and coastal protection have come to play a larger role for the Danish Coastal Authority over the years.

The modified tasks have caused restructuring, most importantly when the Royal Danish Department of Maritime Works was replaced by the Danish Coastal Inspectorate in 1973, only to be replaced by the Danish Coastal Authority in 2001.