Monday, May 20, 2024

Island Market

Scandinavia: The Scout Association Purchases Private Island Fort in Denmark

The Danish Guide and Scout Association has confirmed the purchase of a private island off the coast of Copenhagen with the help of a charitable donation to the tune of twenty million kroner.

Middelgrundsfortet - Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Middelgrundsfortet – Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

The Danish Guide and Scout Association, Det Danske Spejderkorps, has this week confirmed it has bought Middelgrundsfortet, a private island located just off the coast of Copenhagen. The purchase is thought to have been made possible thanks to a charitable donations from the Nordea-Fonden and the A. P. Møller Fonden.

The purchase is widely reported to have set back the Danish Scouting Association an impressive 16.4 million kroner (approximately USD 2.5 million). Having received donations to the tune of twenty million kroner, however, Det Danske Spejderkorps was able to acquire the artificial island without feeling the pinch, and even has money left over to invest into other scouting activities.

The 70,000-square-metre island, which up until now had been listed with private island brokers Vladi Private Islands, is reported to be the world’s largest artificial island without abutment, and was constructed in 1894 as part of King Christian IX’s plans to create a sprawling sea defence network to protect the Danish capital.

Located in the Øresund, just 15 minutes off the coast of Copenhagen and not far from Malmö, Middelgrundsfortet was once the largest sea fortress in the world, comprising of wave breakers, two hundred rooms, a spooky two-mile network of underground tunnels and much more. A battery of HAWK surface-to-air missiles could be found on the island until 1984 when the Fort was declassified from military purposes and later sold to a private investor.

The fort was then briefly used as a hotel and team building location before once again being placed on the market again in 2010 after undergoing a complete restoration of both its coastal protection facilities and the property itself. It includes a helipad, aerodrome and a port which, according to brokers Vladi Private Islands, is said to be well equipped for both private and commercial marine purposes.

Middelgrundsfortet - Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Middelgrundsfortet – Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Before being snapped up by the Scouts, there was said to be interest from a variety of sources, including from a couple of hoteliers and a group of businesspersons looking to create a European refuge for entrepreneurs or “start-up isle.” In the end though, it was Det Danske Spejderkorps who completed the transaction, much to delight of the island’s owner, who was pleased to see that the island would be used in such a positive way.

The Scouts’ Chief Secretary, Charlotte Bach Thomassen, explained: “Just two days after Middelgrundsfortet was placed on the market, a few of the Scouts’ management team started playing with the idea of moving there. I think they just thought it might be cool to own an island, but it turned out to be an idea, we just had to pursue – it’s just something really spectacular. I think there’s just something special about islands, you know.”

Despite having undergone such a recent renovation, however, David Hansen, the head of the Danish Guide and Scout Association still believes there is work to be done on the island before the organization takes over the property later this year. Once the work is completed, the island will then be used as an “activity laboratory” created by and for children, with the aim of developing young people’s sense of community, recreation and social responsibility. The project will go under the name Ungdomsøen (Sea Youth).

“Scout movement aims to develop children and young people want to take social responsibility, and when we bought this fantastic island, it is because we hope that we can engage even more young people – even outside of scouting – by inviting them out on our island to become wiser on what changes they can help to create on the mainland, ” explained Hansen in an interview with Jydske Vestkysten.

The Chief Scout continued: “Its unique location and surroundings make Middelgrundsfortet an ideal location for our scouts to challenge themselves and others. In the coming months, we will work to define and develop the individual elements of the project which will ultimately transform this island into a beacon of development for children and young people alike. We will try to exploit the fact that we’re moving into a completely unique location that can be used in all possible ways”

Det Danske Spejderkorps is set to take over the island in April 2015, with the aim of hosting its first events on the island by the end of 2016.

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