Friday, 30 September 2011

The Flagship of the Royal Navy, HMS Albion, in Øresund

The Royal Navy´s flagship, the 18,000-tonne (176 x 28,9m) amphibious assault ship HMS Albionö passed Helsingborg/Helsingør today about 3.20 PM on its way to Copenhagen. The Plymouth-based HMS Albion  carries troops and vehicles up to the size of the Challenger 2 main battle tank. She deploys the forces using four Landing Craft Utility (LCUs) and four Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVPs). The flight deck supports helicopter operations. The ship is currently used to attend incidents around the world.

Wikipedia gives some additional information about HMS Albion´s recent activities:

In June 2011, the ship had been redeployed along with the Response Force Task Group to the Gulf of Sidra off Libya to provide assistance to the ongoing NATO-led operation there. She subsequently continued on to the Indian Ocean, passing through the Suez Canal on 15 June, to assist with anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa. In Autumn 2011 she is due to enter a state of "extended readiness" (that is, join the UK's equivalent to a reserve fleet), when (her sister ship) Bulwark completes a major refit.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Buxtehude in Elsinore

The St. Mary´s church in Elsinore (Helsingør) is a beautiful former monastery church, built in 1430-1500. During the reformation in Denmark the monastery was closed, and the king then gave the church to the German and Dutch community in Elsinore, which converted it to a German church in 1576-77.

The St. Mary´s in Elsinore is probably internationally best known for its most famous organist, Diderich (also spelled DiderikDieterich or Dietrich) Buxtehude (1637?-1707) and his organ, which still is in use in the church.

It is believed that Buxtehude was born in the neighbouring city (on the other side of the Øresund) of Helsingborg (then Danish, but after 1658 Swedish), where his father was an organist.

At the age of 20, Buxtehude became the organist of the St. Mary´s church in Helsingborg, from where he moved to Elsinore in 1660 to become the organist of the German church, which also carries the name St. Mary´s. The German community in Elsinore had good connections to Northern Germany, and soon the word spread that there was an outstanding organist in Elsinore. In 1667 Buxtehude was invited to become the organist at the famous St. Mary´s church in Lübeck, where he stayed until his death.

The Buxthude organ in Elsinore was built in 1662-1663. The alterations, made in 1854 and 1959-60, have recently been reversed, and today the organ again presents itself as in the time of Buxtehude.

Thanks to the organ and excellent accoustics, the St. Mary´s is a popular concert church. Recently the British baroque music specialist Paul Hillier and his Grammy-winning Theater of Voices ensemble together with organist Bine Bryndorf recorded a selection of Buxehudes vocal music in the church.

Here is the promotional video for the Scandinavian Cantatas CD, which has received a lot of critical praise:

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sunseeker on the rocks in Øresund

Right now this Sunseeker yacht is lying solidly on the rocks at the Hittarp reef about 5 km north of Helsginborg. It does not look damaged, but something unexpected must have happened, since this is not a place where yachts of this size usually lay anchor. The native reef cormorants and gulls seemed not to be bothered by the intruder.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Tycho Brahe´s map of the island Hven

Tycho Brahe built two observatories - Uraniborg and Stjerneborg - on Hven
 This map of the Swedish island Ven (or Hven in Danish) is the only map that the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546 - 1601) personally drew. It is also the first map in Scandinavia which is based on systematic measurements. The map was included in Brahe´s Epistolanum astronomicum libri from 1596.

Tycho Brahe working in Uraniborg

At the the time Brahe produced his map, he was living and working on the then Danish island Hven, which had been given to him by king Frederik II. The island is situated in the Øresund strait between Scania (Sweden) and Zealand (Denmark).

Four cargo ships

Yesterday afternoon these four cargo ships passed Kronborg castle in Helsingør:

The Alva (68 m x 10 m). Flag: St Vincent Grenadines
The Frisian Lady (105 m X 14 m). Dutch flag
The Kapitan Lus (98 m x 18 m). Flag: Malta
The Falkland Cement (99 m x 17 m). Flag: Bahamas

Sunday, 25 September 2011

A beautiful autumn day for boating in Øresund

Today, 25.9.2011, was a glorious autumn day in the Øresund region. The Sound was full of pleasure boats of different size and colour. Here are a few them: