Nightwatchmen in the old Ebeltoft - Djursland - Eastjutland

The night watchman keeps his watch
The night watchman goes back a long way in history, found throughout the country in every market town, such as in Ebeltoft, where there is first mention of a watchman from the end of the 1600s. In 1761, in connection with the introduction of a compulsory fire-fighting service in all of the countrys market towns, it was also decided that these towns should have night watchmen. The watchmen should be responsible for lighting and extinguishing the street lamps, maintain peace and order and, in addition, ensure that fire did not break out. Every hour they should patrol the streets and cry out the time.

In 1953, the tradition of having a night watchman was revived as a summer activity for the enjoyment of tourists and the local residents of Ebeltoft. Later a guild of night watchmen was founded. New night watchmen are admitted to the venerable guild at the annual summer gathering in Ebeltoft. There are auditions and inspections of equipment which should be well-maintained. Members of the guild thoroughly inspect the newcomers, an amusing sight that -is unfortunately only witnessed by the watchmen. After their initiation the new night watchmen are expected to observe the tough rules governing the guild, otherwise fines will be paid!

To be the night watchman in Ebeltoft is a much coveted position and explains why you can see the same watchmen season after season. The old verses are sung throughout the summer period 26 June - 15 August, at 8 pm, 9 pm and 10 pm in front of the Old Town Hall.

The watchmens uniform is a period copy and consists of a dark coat and cap. The watchman wears the sovereigns initials on his chest and around his waist a belt inscribed with Ædruelig og tro - sober and loyal. The watchman carries a lantern, a whistle and a morgen-stjerne, a truncheon set with spikes at its end which was used for -knocking drunks and other noisy louts around the head. Today, the morning star is raised in greeting. Whilst walking through the streets the watchmen meet many friends among the towns residents. It also happens that they are given a sign from behind a window indicating that a small glass will be waiting for them when the night round is over. The watchmen also sing at different restaurants on their route, which is occassionally rewarded with a little something for your throat.

In contrast to earlier times, where the watchmen fulfilled a specific role, the watchmans tour today is just a delightful and atmospheric summer attraction. The watchmens guild has 41 members, and more join every year. It is therefore never a problem to find relief when the permanent watchman needs a rest. New and ?merrier watchmans songs have also been written and composed. The merry songs are primarily sung in connection with special arrangements. The watchmen can also be booked through the Tourist Office to perform at weddings, family and corporate parties, or other gatherings to add a local dimension to the festivities.

Opening hours

27/06/2017 - 14/08/2017 Monday - Sunday

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Destination Djursland



Juulsbakke 1
8400 Ebeltoft


+45 86341400


  • Type

    • Watchman's rounds
    • Guided tours



Longitude : 10.677023
Latitude : 56.198041