Christiansø and the Ertholmene islands which it is the biggest of, is Denmark's Easternmost point. In the summer months boats from Bornholm bring tourists in great numbers to Christiansø to experience the cozy and unique little society.
Christiansø is 710 meters or 800 yards long, and houses about 100 all-year inhabitants. In the summer season the youth hostel and the camp site houses additional short term inhabitants.
After the war with Sweden which ended in 1658 Denmark had to give up Skåne, part of Southern Sweden today as well as Bornholm and the Ertholmene islands. But Bornholm and Christiansø rebelled against the Swedes and became Danish again, and since then Ertholmene have belonged to the Danish Ministry Of Defence. In 1684 the tower Storetårn was built on Christiansø, and the islands Christiansø and Frederiksø were turned into a fortified naval support base.
The military command over Christiansø ended in 1863, and the buildings were offered to former soldiers turned fishermen who fished at banks close to Christiansø. All buildings have been protected and it is forbidden to build on any of the Ertholmene islands. The two parallel long yellow buildings on both Christiansø and Frederiksø were barracks for married soldiers and their families in the military period.
During the war with England at the beginning of the 19th century Christiansø was home port for royally sponsored pirates who captured English ships and brought them to Christiansø. This become too much for the English in 1808 when a flotilla of English ships came near Christiansø and proceded to bombard the island. The bombardment caused some damage and the English were outside the reach of the cannons on Christiansø - until the wind got stronger, and the British ships had to pass close by. Then the Christiansø cannons got to fire back at the British ships.
Christiansø is all granite and has no springs or natural water sources whatsoever. Rain water is collected in the basins where rock for the fortress construction was quarried and used as fresh water. The many frogs in the ponds are a sign of the purity of the water, and they offer the island a constant sound background in the summer months.
When you talk of the Christiansø fortification you talk of it as a single place, but it is really two islands, the larger Christiansø and the smaller Frederiksø to the West, which together create the natural harbour between them. The light in the summer months is a story of its own - many artists come to Christiansø to work in and take advantage of the strong light, and many of them have left their contribution on a frieze on the walls of the inn in the form of something like a coat of arms for each artist.