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HomeFashionHow the Idyllic Danish Island of Bornholm Became a Creative Hotspot

How the Idyllic Danish Island of Bornholm Became a Creative Hotspot

Since opening in 2007, Nicolai Nørregaard and Rasmus Kofoed’s Kadeau has been on quite a journey. Between expanding to Copenhagen, being awarded three Michelin stars, and gaining a third business partner in Magnus Klein Kofoed, it has almost single-handedly put Bornholm on the world culinary map. 

For his grandparents’ generation, Nørregaard explains that foraging during the growing months and preserving for winter had been an essential part of island life. “When the New Nordic food movement began, I went out and started looking for stuff,” he recalls.

Smoked fish is to Bornholm what pizza is to Chicago, and the smokehouses with their traditional chimneys are the place to sample it. No town on Bornholm is prettier than Svaneke and no smokehouse, or røgeri, is more authentic than this one. The islanders will smoke anything from salmon to mackerel or shrimp, but the must-try local delicacy is the smoked herring sandwich, known as Sol over Gudhjem (which translates as sun over Gudhjem). A Bornholmish twist on the classic Danish open sandwich, or smørrebrød, it consists of generously buttered rye bread, topped with smoked herring, fresh onion, chives, radish, and the “sun”, in the form of an egg yolk. As for Gudhjem, it refers to the town in Bornholm where the sandwich was invented. The dish is not for the faint of heart, as you’ll have to filet the notoriously bony herring yourself. 

Where to stay

Let’s get one thing straight: on the scale of luxury to rudimentary, Bornholm leans more rustic-chic than chic-chic, so don’t come here expecting white tablecloths or palatial accommodation. In terms of swanky stays, Nordlandet is the closest you will get. The hotel is set on the rugged northern coast of the island, with 24 rooms, jaw-dropping panoramic sea views, and more natural materials and pared-back Scandi design features than you can shake a sprig of wild berries at. There’s also a natural sea pool and a rather excellent New Nordic-style restaurant, serving local delicacies like steamed cod with mussel cream, and North Sea shrimp with grilled leeks and green tomatoes.

For an authentic Bornholm experience that goes back to the island’s roots, steer your course for the fishing village of Hasle and Tobias Woxholtt’s Varra Water. Woxholtt worked a high-profile job in sports and events in Copenhagen before returning to Bornholm. These days, he can mostly be found in Hasle harbor, rescuing old fishing boats from the scrap heap, and upcycling them for use as accommodation. So far, he has completed Ripa, a charming wooden vessel from 1962, with a spacious deck, a cozy captain’s room, and sleeping quarters for up to six people. Guests can book a licensed captain to take them out for a day on the water or use the port facilities that include a natural sea pool, diving platform, and sauna. “Bornholm was what got me through a lot of my projects in Copenhagen,” he says. “When I’m here I can breathe, and that’s what want to share with my guests.”

What to do



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