On the island of the wild rabbits, Endelave, lies this charming little church from the 15th century, which has been a gathering point for the small island community for centuries. The church is situated close to the harbour, easily accessible for a visit during a day trip or vacation on the island.
Island church amidst the vacation island
During the medieval period, the island of Endelave belonged to the Danish king. However, it was often mortgaged to several prominent estates around Horsens Fjord, including Stensballegaard, Åkjær, and Boller. It was under Niels Munk of Bygholm that Endelave Church was constructed around the mid-15th century.
It is noteworthy that the church bears a resemblance to other island churches in the area, such as Hjarnø and Alrø churches. These churches share the characteristic of being smaller than mainland churches and also several hundred years younger. This is believed to be due to pirate raids along the Danish coasts in the 12th and 13th centuries. However, in the early 1400s, the Danish crown made a concerted effort to combat this, explaining why coastal churches often date from this period.
Endelave has never had an overwhelmingly large population, but the island's inhabitants were faithful churchgoers in days gone by. If one failed to attend service, they could expect to be questioned about the reason afterward. Hence, it was necessary to expand the church as the island's population grew. This led to expansions of the church nave at the expense of the church choir.
Endelave Church is still active and serves as its own parish.
About the church
Endelave Church was built in Gothic style, characteristic of the 15th century. The most significant renovation of the church occurred in 1930, when the well-known local architect from Horsens, Viggo Norn, built a new tower. Before this, the church bell had stood on the ground in a bell frame. Endelave Church doesn't boast many riches or treasures of church art but exudes its own charm. Noteworthy items include the old oak door from the porch into the nave, the altarpiece with two side panel paintings from the 17th century, and the pulpit from the 16th century. There are two ship models hanging in the church as a testament to the island's maritime character: a full-rigged ship from the 19th century and the warship 'Dannebrog' from the 1950s.
Visiting the church
Endelave Church is open during daylight hours. You are welcome to step inside, but please respect the church's religious function. The church may be in use for services and ceremonial events.
If churches had eyes, Endelave Church probably wouldn't complain about the view. It sits right by the beach on the north side of the island, a few hundred meters west of the harbor. It is conveniently situated near the island's eateries, shops, attractions, and accommodations.
Lovely Endelave is one of Denmark's most delightful vacation islands. The ferry crossing from the east coast takes an hour, allowing visits for both day trips and longer stays. The island's eateries, shops, and accommodation options are located in the village near the harbor, while the wild nature awaits further out. You can stroll around the island on the popular hiking trail 'Kaninoen,' rent a bike, or take your car on the ferry.