The North Cape is exactly 1,564 mi (2,518 km) away from Lighthouse Lindesnes – Norway's oldest beacon and the most southern spot of mainland Norway. In medieval times, Lindesnes was already one of the most significant landmarks between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. In February 1655, Norway's first beacon fire was lit up exactly here.
The National Beacon Light Museum
Since 2004 the National Beacon Light Museum has been situated at Lighthouse Lindesnes, accommodating various exhibitions portraying the development and history of the beacon light as well as the culture along the shore. The museum's main focus is set on the historical and social significance of the beacon fire for the maritime infrastructure alongside Norway's coastline, port development, rescue measures and, last but not least, indispensable weather forecasts. Further attractions are the old “fyrgryta”, a replica of the last coal stove of the lighthouse as well as the foghorn. Another exposition shows models and photographies of lighthouses around the globe. You find a rock hall just underneath the lighthouse, which the exhibitions and film screenings take place in. In addition, you also have a café on-site to relax and a museum shop to purchase any kind of souvenir you like to take home with you.
In close proximity to the museum, you may visit the German forts that are still left here from the Second World War. Alternatively, you may go hiking. There are various designated hiking trails in the surrounding area. This might be the chance for you to combine both visiting the lighthouse and, in addition, experiencing the beauty of Norwegian coastal landscapes.
Waterways have always played a major role concerning means of communication and trade in and around Norway. Having said this, the area around Lindesnes has always been a major node as this was the place the entire coastal traffic met at to establish international connections. Up and including the late 19th century, one of the major trading routes went along this site in Northern Europe. Along with Skagen Odde at the tip of northern Denmark, Lindesnes was the main navigation mark through the Skagerrak, the maritime area between the northern coast of Denmark and the southern one of Norway. The navigation channel in this area are known for its strong winds and currents, dreaded by all seafarers.
Norway's first lighthouse
Due to the particular and somewhat heavy climate conditions in this marine area, it doesn't come as a surprise that it was Lindesnes that became the place to host the first ever beacon light in the whole of Norway. On behalf of Danish King Fredrik III, Pouell Hansønn (from Kristiansand) was given the privilege to host the beacon light in Lindesnes on July 18th, 1655. It was supposed to finance the project by means of levying taxes on all port traffic between Bergen and Båhuslen. As great as it sounds, the timing was pretty bad to initiate project “beacon light”. The reason for it were that it took the three ships that were sent out carrying all materials and equipment from Kristiansand in autumn 1655 seven weeks in total for their voyage to Lindesnes. Even the ship that was sent out to fetch coal from England needed quite a long time until it returned. It seemed it wasn't just the right time to initiate visionary projects. Therefore, a 3-floored wooden tower with 30 candles on top seemed sufficient for now. The candles were protected by leaded windows and were lit the first time on 27 February 1656. This rather unconventional construction quickly became subject to criticism. Even at the time when the coal firing originally was supposed to start, the critical voices had still not stopped. As a consequence, the king was then forced to cease the coal fire in autumn the following year. It was only in 1725, after 69 years, that the beacon fire at Lindesnes was burning again. To avoid confusion with the lighthouse of Skagen Odde, there were two different beacon lights installed. While one was set up on the promontory, the other one was in Markøy, a bit further west. The two fires were lightened on February 1st, 1725 and consisted of an open fire pot, placed directly on a rock.
Transition from coal fire to halogen lamp
In 1822, the reconstruction of the open fire pots to closed coal fires was carried out. The goblets were placed in a closed lamp room on top of a bricked foundation with chimney flues. This way the burning process became safer and more economical. Both foundations can still be visited today. The second fire was put off in Markøy. The first lens was then applied in Lindesnes in 1854. A wick lamp with paraffin functioned as source of light. 1915 was the year the lens moved to the newly built cast-iron tower. In addition, there were a machinery house and a fog warning horn installed in 1920. This is how the fire station got its form as it stands today. In the meantime, the lens was lightened by oil lamps, blowtorches and electrically operated lamps. Nowadays, the lens is operated by electric engines and a powerful 1,000 watt halogen light is seen by all navigating on the open sea, passing this area. The lighthouse had a stable line-up until 2003.
The lighthouse nowadays
The buildings and edifice at Lindesnes are mostly derived from the early 20th century. Each year, there are around 100,000 visitors who come here to explore the lighthouse including the surroundings.
How to get there
Lindesnes is the most southern spot of mainland Norway. You may travel here via the main road E39 to Vigeland, located westwards of Mandal and southeast of Lyngdal. At the roundabout with the huge lighthouse placed in the middle, you need to take a right turn and follow the R460. Via Spangereid, you follow the road until you arrive at the lighthouse. From Vigeland it's only a 30 km (18.6 mi) journey to Lindesnes Fyr.