Foto: Geopark Odsherred
Biggest summerhouse-area in Denmark
Odsherred municipality is located on the north-western edge of the island of Zealand. It is surrounded by water on three sides and has a unique scenery with rolling hills, forests, some of the best beaches in Denmark and a very special light that has attracted many artists to the area.
Many people living in the capital have their summer cottages in Odsherred, which they use during the summer and later in life as retirement homes. Therefore, there is a big difference in visiting Odsherred during winter and summer. In the summer tourists and owners of the 23.871 summer cottages populate the area and Odsherred’s calm and peaceful scenery shifts pace into a colorful summer festival.
In winter the appr. 33.000 inhabitants get a lot of space in the many supermarkets and restaurants, the ones that are not closed down for the season, that is.
Much diversity in landscape and population
Odsherred is known for its fantastic nature and is a UNESCO Global Geopark because of its special ice-age landscape. The special light and nature attract many artists but also people who choose to live outside the city with nature and local identity being the major value for determining where to live. Therefore, there are also many people who choose alternative and sustainable models of living.
On the other hand, Odsherred has some socio-demographic challenges. Although only an hour from Copenhagen by car, the distance to the capital means a lot in Denmark. Therefore, Odsherred has, as many other rural areas in Denmark, had problems attracting the workforce and younger people to the area. Since it is very expensive to live and effort a flat in Copenhagen, people with low income and resources are forced out into the rural areas. This means that there also is a big part of the population with social and economic problems.
Odsherred stands together
The challenges and diversity also create a special mood and attitude in the population. Some might say that the people of Odsherred are especially tolerant and used to putting resources together to get the most out of less. This can be a great adventage in working as an artist in Odsherred.
Co-design in Odsherred
The population of Odsherred is scattered around many small villages and towns with Nykøbing Sj. having the greatest population and only 6.000 inhabitants. Because of this very rural structure, local identity means a lot and the municipality has been working together with locals on strengthening and developing the local communities. This requires a lot of relational work but has also built great experience in using co-design as a tool for local development. Since Odsherred’s nature has attracted many artists to the area, art and culture are also an essential tool in these development projects. Here you can find some examples of those collaborations.
The people’s sculptures during an annual political festival: Folkemøde i Odsherred
A local artist uses the festival to design a sculpture every year together with all the visitors on the festival. Using different techniques, visitors produce bits and pieces which are then put together in a whole artwork, as for example the gate of wishes, consisting of designed bricks, a sculpture consisting of small clay-men (democrats) designed by the visitors, or a globe consisting of small mosaiques, that embody a world goal each.
A collaboration between UNESCO Geopark Odsherred, the municipality and a local artist. All 7th graders in Odsherred have gone through a process learing about Geopark Odsherred (landscape, art, culture and local produce) and have then made small clay-sculptures (masks) that are put together to an impressive land-art monument in the middle of Odsherreds hilly ice-age landscape. Every mask links to a video, where the children describe their personal relation to the area.
A tool developed to mobilize the local ressources, ‘village makeovers’ strengthen local pride and establish new meeting points in the local communities. The whole project consists of an annual contest where local communities compete on receiving funding for their local development projects. This could be a new shelter area, a new park, a new beach, or a new art scupture. Municipality and citizens work together on renewing and establishing new areas with recreation purposes.
Using Parish-mapping methods, artists and citizens develop a map, that tells the stories of the community and embodies the communities identity.