MessageToEagle.com – Råbjerg Mile in Denmark is Europe’s largest desert. This is also the place where can find the largest moving sand dune in Northern Europe.
The sand dune is huge. It carries 4 million m³ of sand, occupying an area of around 1 km² and a height of 40 meters. Originally hailing from Skagerrak, Denmark where it was formed 300 years ago, it has thus far moved to an area between Skagen and Frederikshavn, crawling at about 18 meters per year.
Råbjerg Mile is one of those places where you can still experience the natural forces that over many centuries made it difficult for the population to live a normal life. No plants could survive here and people had to leave the region. The entire lanscape change mainly due to colder climate.
For almost 4,000 years several parishes and farms were buried beneath the sand. Everything was abandoned. The lonely Råbjerg Church located a few kilometers south of the dune stands is the only building that managed to survive without disappearing in the sand.
In the 16 and 17th centuries, these moving sand dunes were a threat to northern Jutland. Back then, colossal dunes spanning up to 7 kilometers drove populations from the coastal areas, a problem that was addressed by the government only in the 19th century through the Sand Drift Act of 1857, which allows the state to “own” and appropriate the sand dune as well as its surrounding areas. There was an urgent need to hamper the dune’s movements. In order to take control of the area, dune grasses and conifers were planted around the massive sand pile. It was only in the 1950s, that the dune drifts were finally under control.