Castles and manor houses
Riber Kjærgård is a manor house from around the year 1300, which today serves as an agricultural school.
With the colossal sculpture Man Meets the Sea, Denmark's gateway to the west opens out to the world and welcomes you to Esbjerg. Esbjerg can offer its visitors grand art and architecture, exciting museums, and not least unique nature thanks to its location next to the Wadden Sea.
Visiting the Fisheries and Maritime Museum in Esbjerg, only a stone’s throw from the North Sea, one understands better the relationship between man and the sea. The Museum’s fascinating exhibitions about the sea as a workplace will improve your knowledge of cultural history, while natural history comes alive between whale skeletons and the saltwater aquarium with a pool where you can stroke the fish. In the wonderful sealarium you can get close to Denmark’s largest predator, the grey seal - and then your visit really starts to get fishy! Hours fly by among stories of the harsh world of deep-sea fishing, the importance of the North Sea during the Second World War and the offshore ventures of recent decades. You can face the challenges of the sea: try life on a drilling rig, stand at the helm of a trawler and let the children loose in the adventure playground.
Near the beach just north of Esbjerg’s bustling port - as if designed to be a thought-provoking contrast - stands a major work of Danish sculpture: Svend Wiig Hansen’s ”Man meets the Sea” (1994). The four figures, 9 metres tall, gaze out to sea with a serene, unassailable tranquillity that is striking even from afar. They form a group, yet are seemingly left to sit alone with their own private yearning. Locally, the sculpture is aptly called ”The Four White Men”. According to the artist himself (1922-1997), they depict the profound connection between nature and the pure, pristine human being emerging from its mother’s womb, before encountering the fascinating confusion of the world. The huge sculpture was erected on the 100th anniversary of the rapidly growing town becoming an independent municipality in 1894, having outgrown the rural parish of Jerne to which it originally belonged.
From its beginnings in 1868, Esbjerg became the 5th largest city in Denmark in just 100 years. It took the lead in areas such as urban development, social policy, schools and kindergartens. Esbjerg was the first Danish city to be affected by the Second World War, and the first city to offer resistance to the occupying power. Esbjerg Museum has three exhibitions covering the occupation period and everyday life in Esbjerg from 1900 to 1950. A much praised exhibition, THE OCCUPATION - Esbjerg 1943, gets visitors involved when the fictional ”Hansen family” welcomes them and asks for help in resolving the dilemmas they faced during the occupation. RESISTANCE - Esbjerg Ribe Bramming 1940-45 explores the local resistance struggle in depth. In the Esbjerg 1900-1950’exhibition visitors can visit the grocery store, the shops on the town square, the apartment of a worker’s family and that of a director.
Esbjerg’s Art Museum uses modern methods to disseminate contemporary art. Like the city itself, the museum focuses on innovation, bringing children and adults into direct contact with art. No dry teaching here, but learning by experiment and being inspired to get personally involved - in the aesthetics laboratory or in the award-winning Wunderkammer, where art interacts with science. Esbjerg Art Museum makes art a total aesthetic experience at the intersection of music and visual art, in the fragrance installation, ”Wittgenstein’s Garden”, and the open stores where you can explore the museum’s collection for yourself. The museum focuses on contemporary art and contains one of Denmark’s most prestigious collections of Danish 20th century art, including works by Edvard Weie, Richard Mortensen, Svend Wiig Hansen, Asger Jorn and Thomas Bang.