On the island of Als, you can always find your own private little beach. You are now standing by one of them – the historic bathing establishment of Augustenborg. There is a small sandy beach, a sun deck with bathing huts and a bathing jetty, which in summer is extended by 30 metres. If you feel like a dip, you can change in the bathing huts, where there is shelter and space for clothes and bags.
Ever since the time when the dukes owned the area, there have been bathing places along the north side of the fjord. The first bathing hut was at the small sandy beach in the palace garden. It was reserved for the family of the dukes. According to a map from 1796 it had its own little bathing jetty. At the end of the 18th century swimming became a popular pastime in Augustenborg as in the rest of Europe.
Near the end of the First Avenue, there was another bathing place with a small gazebo. It also belonged to the duke but was probably also used by others as it was further away from the palace. Here the fjord was deeper, so there was no need for a bathing jetty.
After the times of the dukes, three more bathing places were laid out. They were situated between the Second and Third Avenue, with no more than 100 metres between them.
The first bathing place, which was quite small, belonged to the Coastal Sanatorium, which was located on Slotsallé. It was a private bathing establishment and was reserved for the residents of the Sanatorium. Here there was both a bathing jetty and a small hut for changing.
The second bathing place had a very long bathing jetty and belonged to the State Hospital at Augustenborg Palace. Part of the area was confined as it was reserved for the patients of the hospital. At the end of the long bathing jetty there was a framed swimming pool of about 10 x 10 metres and two metres deep. The hospital staff and their children were allowed to come after closing time. Many of the children of Augustenborg probably learned to swim in the framed pool.
A little further along the coast, where you stand now, was the bathing spot for the townspeople. It was a public bathing establishment, used by people from Augustenborg and the surrounding area. The current Bathing Huts are built on the same site as the old bathing site, which probably dates from the last half of the 19th century.
The bathing huts of the old bathing operation were not on the beach as they are today – they stood on stilts in the water. In an old photograph you can see seven bathing huts on stilts. The huts were open to the water side, so you only had to walk down three steps to get into the water after changing. There was access to the huts from behind via a T-shaped bathing jetty.
At the entrance to the area there was a small kiosk where you could buy ice cream sticks, salty liquorice sticks and other sweets. And then, of course, the bathing establishment had its own bathing master, who, wearing a white “uniform” and cap, supervised the bathers. His name was Jørgen Christian Brügmann (Storegade 7) and his successor was Peter Petersen (Storegade 18).
Today, the bathing sites and the huts are used all year round. In the summer, by the guests of the campsite and many locals of all ages. In the winter, by the winter swimmers from the town.
The current bathing huts are from the 1970s and are in a bad condition, so the local development forum is working on a complete renovation – perhaps with inspiration from the old days.
If you continue along the coast to the west, you will come to a small primitive campsite at the end of the Third Avenue. Follow the avenue to get back to the gardens and the town.