©Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen
Strynø is one of the slightly larger islands (500 hectares, 3 x 2 kilometres) and its highest point is 9 metres above sea level. It is located south of Tåsinge and was formerly densely populated with 800 inhabitants. Now 216 islanders live here, some of whom farm the land, while others have their own business or commute to a larger island.
The South Funen Archipelago is a flooded Ice Age landscape whose islands were once connected in a large landmass. During the Stone Age the island was part of a large forest covering the modern-day Archipelago with Neolithic settlements at various places – the remains of which are still visible (in calm weather) on the sea floor in the shallow clear waters about 200 metres from Strynø Harbour.
Several centuries ago, Strynø belonged to the Crown, like many other small islands in Denmark, which were used as hunting grounds to hunt large animals such as horses and deer. Back then the island was completely covered with trees.
Strynø now consists of farmland and salt meadows with coast protection (embankments) along the shore – the woodland has disappeared.
Several small islets are scattered around Strynø as small fertile specks in the shallow waters. Seals are often seen lying and resting out on the reefs and islets.
These vulnerable natural habitats abound with birdlife and flora, and in several places access is prohibited during the breeding season from 1 March to 15 July.
This applies to Græsholm, Bredholm and Grensholm, just three kilometres west of Strynø, which are breeding bird sanctuaries and internationally designated as special protection areas. Bredholm in particular is one of the Archipelago’s most important migrating and wintering areas for several species of goose.
The islets to the immediate north-west of Strynø – Bondeholm and Vogterholm – also abound with birds and unique wild salt-marsh flora, islets which visitors are strongly urged not to enter from 1 March – 15 July.
Sheep are released for grazing on the islets of Bredholm, Vogterholm and Strynø Kalv to keep them from overgrowing and to provide better growth and breeding conditions for plants, birds and insects. The grazing effects are closely monitored by Øhavets Græsningsselskab (Archipelago Grazing Society) which runs the “Organic Island Lamb” pilot-and-demonstration project whose primary aim is nature conservation and secondary aims are animal welfare and the production of high-quality lamb.
The village of Strynø abounds with small birds, and the waterholes and ponds are inhabited by rare amphibians such as the Green Toad.
Strynø and Avernakø are the only two islands in Denmark with the recurring annual tradition of raising the Maypole – a celebration of spring and the arrival of summer that probably originated as a pagan fertility rite.
Strynø has a school, shops, an inn, a tent site by the harbour, accommodation venues, a bathing beach, a beautiful old (listed) mill, as well as a centre for cultural and shipping history with nature guides known as Øhavets Smakkecenter (Archipelago Smack Centre).
The ferry service from Rudkøbing has seven daily departures.
Photo - Birgit Bjerre Lauersen
Photo - Torben Bürgel Nielsen