Yesterday I went to an opening. Of Fanoe Vadehav Center. Which means Fanoe Wadden Sea Center. Which lies on this little island Fanoe where I live. In the middle of The Wadden Sea National Park.
The new centre is actually an old nautical school. Which was closed in 2004.
And an Efterskole took over. (A kind of boarding school where teenagers stay for one year, see more info in the post “Danish “hygge” “). That school was closed in 2013.
And now it has been taken over by two partners who have hired a staff of seven people.
They have renovated one section of the school’s bedrooms already, and will use them as hotel rooms. Then there is the big kitchen, and the cafeteria space, where they will have a restaurant. They want to connect with businesses around Denmark, maybe abroad, and offer teambuilding programmes, conferences, workshops etc.
(You can read more on their website which I have linked to. It seems to only be available in Danish, but maybe they will include an English translation later, it says their homepage is work in progress, it will be developed in the time to come).
I went to the opening yesterday at four pm, and so did about 200 other locals! They were quite overwhelmed, the centre leaders said, that the centre has such a great interest in Fanoe´s population.
The two partners, a man and a woman, held an opening speech together, thanking the politicians and bank on Fanoe for the very constructive communication process that has led to the creation of the centre. Then Fanoe´s mayor held a speech and declared The Fanoe Wadden Sea Centre open.
We were allowed to walk around and look at the renovated section of bedrooms. They were painted all white, and had a maritime look, made to resemble cabins on a ship. Very cute and bright double rooms, with a view out to wide green fields, and there was a dark blue stripe across the white pillows, with white “navigation numbers” written across the blue…
(Pardon my ignorance, latitudes and lengthitudes, isn´t that what it´s called in proper sailor´s language? …Both my grand dads were chefs at sea, so I guess I should know this lingo a bit better, but. There you go, I don´t).
Very nicely designed, anyways, the renovated double rooms, and they definately had that cabin feel to them. Good attention to detail.
We also saw a classroom turned into a conference room, and workshop rooms, rooms for holding seminar meetings, and rooms that will be made available to rent for Fanoe´s many small businesses…. they explained to us that they do the renovation step by step, so it was only the first section of bedrooms that was finished yet.
It made me feel extremely happy to walk around in the school, peeping into all the different spaces.
There were signposts saying what each room was intended to be renovated into… the signposts were formulated with wit and creativity.
The employees of The Wadden Sea Centre in general, seem to be pleasant, informal, open minded people. The two caretakers are artists, and their funny, very colourful paintings are brightening up the school´s red brick walls at the moment…
I can imagine there may be opportunity for local artists to exhibit their work there at a later date, and it seems they are welcoming good ideas on a very broad scale, both for project development, co operation on workshops… what not what not. The sky is the limit.
It is so exciting! I love when old buildings are turned into “culture houses”. In Bergen, Norway where I lived for 15 years, we have USF; United Sardine Factories, an enormous building on the docks, which has been turned into a culture house with art studios, cinema, concert halls, café… film companies have their offices there, theatre groups, festivals have their offices there… and the art made in the studios is exhibited around the public areas of the house, in hallways and in show rooms… it´s such a lovely place. For four years I worked as a volunteer for Nattjazz, a brilliant, annual 11 days long jazz festival held at USF. I also worked for a year and a half in Piraya Film, which has its office at USF.
It´s a spring ritual for the citizens of Bergen to walk out to the old factory, get a café table in the sunshine on the dock, overlooking the fjord, and order a pint of local Hansa lager. And maybe a portion of those garlic marinated prawns. Oh no, I´m getting homesick now! 🙂
I am very excited about the new Wadden Sea Centre. I hope to get my fellow students of vocal sound therapy on board my idea of us booking ourselves into the cabins for a weekend next Summer. We are finished educated sound therapists by then, and we could probably really do with getting together and discussing our first six months of professional experiences.
Which place could be better for a meeting like that, than on Fanoe, where we can walk around and enjoy the forest, the beaches, a bike ride, the old quaint architecture, the high quality shops that sell designer knitwork and lots of other things, the beautiful glass blower workshop… our mainstreet has it all, the best butcher in Denmark, an excellent bakery, gourmet shops, restaurants and cafés, icecream to die for…
And every Wednesday night in July the main street turns into one bit town party, with live music everywhere and people make flee markets in their gardens, children can get a ride on a pony for free, there is wine tasting and pan cake tasting and… yes. It´s easy to understand why Fanoe is a favourite holiday destination for so many Danes and Germans. (Lots of people from other countries too, but these two nationalities are in majority).
I hope to get to know the people who run the centre, and with luck there will be projects we can co operate on.
Maybe I can be on a list of theirs as a vocal sound therapist, offered as a part of things to do while on Fanoe… or maybe I can be hired in as a video documentation maker… Maybe Kulturelt Samråd, a board I´m a member of, can co operate with the centre in some of our projects…
So far everything is possible. The centre will find its feet and form, and no matter if I will benefit from it work wise or not, I will certainly benefit from their existence just because the centre is promoting Fanoe. What is good for the development of our island, is good for each one of us who live here.
Time will tell what will be. I can´t wait to see.