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The Mill of Mandø


The Landmark of Mandø for more than 170 years


 The mill, as you can witness today, is the story of how a small community, with less than fifty permanent residents, have gathered 2.8 million Danish crowns  by creativity, cooperation and enthusiasm to restore and keep the icon of Mandø island alive.


The first mill of Mandø is from the 1820’s. Before that time all the grain was ground in Skallebæk Mill on the mainland of Jutland. This procedure was of course very expensive for the small and poor island.


Already in 1786 the island applied for a small mill on Mandø. But the Count of Schackenborg, who was the owner of Skallebæk Mill, would not allow the new mill on Mandø without a high tax on the work.


In the 1820’s the permission was finally granted to Peder Hansen Grejsen, a Mandø resident of that time. The Danish King Frederik the 6th granted permission to build a small post mill, to grind the grain from Mandø only. The first mill built was small and difficult to operate. E.g. it required help from neighbours to be operated and only 10 years later the current mill was built. Hartvig Bundesen, the great great grandchild of Peder Hansen Grejsen, who is one of the most faithful summer residents of the island, has been of great  help in writing the history of the mill.


The mill of Mandø is a Dutch mill, which means that the top is turning, not the body of the mill. The mill was in operation all the way up to the start of the Second World War. Three years after the war in 1948 the Mandø Association took over the ownership and the entire obligation to take care of the mill and its heritage.


The mill is perhaps the smallest of all mills in Denmark but with a lot of machinery and inventory. This shows the importance of the mill to the whole of the Mandø community.


When the mill in 2001 needed paint we discovered the mill was in a poor condition. A special mill committee was created and experts were called in to go through the details and give a quote on the restoration. It was very important for us that the restoration was done by people with the right expertise.


It was a very big amount of 2.8 million Danish crowns for the small association to gather for the restoration. The work was divided into 2 stages, one for the interior and one for the exterior. When 1.2 million Danish crowns was available the exterior restoration was begun to secure the mill against wind and weather. The exterior restoration was on the foundation, the body of the mill, the top of the mill and building new wings.


After the hurricane in 1999 the mill stood untouched as the only building on Mandø. The only reason for this luck against the storm was the fact that the wings were left in the most favourable position. 


When the mill was taken apart it was discovered that there were eight windows instead of four in the original construction which made the restoration more expensive. Then when the top on the mill was split apart, the coverage of the top was a shingled roof and not the current roofing felt. We had an ambition in the restoration work to take the mill back to the original construction, so it was agreed to spend the extra money to do this.


With the opening of the mill in 2005 after the exterior was made the wings of the mill were turning for the first time in 60 years – a great moment for all of us, but especially for the older generation, who had seen it functioning.


We are now finished with the entire restoration. We have succeeded with help from Hjerl Hedes Træværksted to reconstruct the inventory of the mill. We can start to process flower and oats, if we let go of the brakes and start the wings.


Only a fantastic interest and support from private funds and a positive attitude from companies and the members of the Mandø Association has made all this possible. Fundraising, support events, selling of souvenirs and private investors in Ribe and on Mandø have gathered ½ million Danish crowns.


The day of the reopening of the mill was on the 13th September 2008.

A wonderful day.


A small book  has been published about the history of the mill, written by our architect on the reconstruction, Vagn Østergård Kristensen and Hartvig Bundesen Grejsen.

Another small book that tells about the island has been published by Butik Krøjeværket.


All merchandise sold in the shop

 will go directly to the support of the mill.

Chairman of the Mill CommitteeJesper Jacobsen - E-mail      JHH WebDesign