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Oehlenschlaeger beech

‘There is a lovely land, it stands with broad beeches, near the salty eastern shore...’. These famous words and the rest of the national anthem are said to have been written by Adam Oehlenschlaeger under the mighty beech tree in Stengade Forest east of Tranekær.

Oehlenschlaeger beech

Whether this is true or not is unknown, but we do know that Adam Oehlenschlaeger, the poet behind our national anthem, has been to Langeland several times, so there is a high probability that he was at least inspired to write the well-known melody on Langeland.

It is documented that Oehlenschlaeger was on Langeland in the summer of 1804, after which he published a collection of poems about this trip. However, the poem to the national anthem was not published until 1819 for a national song competition. But Oehlenschlaeger has several connections that link him to Langeland. The Ørsted brothers Hans Christian and Anders Sandøe, whose father was a pharmacist in Rudkøbing, were his tutors and were also the ones who got Oehlenschlaeger to study law at the University of Copenhagen. Not least, his younger sister Sofie married A.S. Ørsted.

Finding the beech

You'll find Oehlenschlaeger's Beech right down by the water in Stengade Forest. The beech stands in the ‘clearing’ that the old foresters called ‘fæstpladsi’. The area is ideal for a little rest where you can enjoy the view of the sea in the shade of the large beech tree. It is also possible to continue north, either along the beach, where you can reach Stengade Skanse, which offers several historical stories.

Adam Gottlob Oehlenschlaeger

Born in 1779, he grew up at Frederiksberg Castle, as his father was the steward of the castle.
Considered one of the great artists of the Danish Golden Age, a period when Danish cultural life flourished - music, literature, art, research.

Bøgen – hvor mange skal man være til at nå rundt om den

Activities by the beech

  1. Another myth about the beech tree is that you need at least five people to fully embrace it. Can you prove or disprove this myth?

  2. You can also use the first exercise to calculate how old the tree is?
    Note: a tree grows on average 2.5 cm in volume per year.
    - People's ‘wingspan’ is often a few centimetres shorter than their height.
    Then you can calculate whether the tree was here when Oehlenschlæger was on Langeland in 1804.

  3. Who can guess the height of the tree? One person stands next to the tree and another walks 30 metres away to measure the person next to the tree with their fingers and count how many times that person has to stand on top of themselves to reach the top.
    Multiply the person's height by the number of times they have to stand on top of themselves to reach the top.