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Birkholm’s population of 8 makes it the smallest inhabited island of the South Funen Archipelago. The island covers 92 hectares and is only 1.9 metres above sea level.


Birkholm is situated north-east of Ærø in a vast shallow area and its closest neighbours are three small islets named Nyland, Store Egholm and Lille Egholm.


Mørkedyb, a natural fairway and former glacial stream from the last Ice Age, runs close by the small ferry berth; this sea lane is heavily trafficked because of the shallow, stone-filled waters on either side.
The population of the island was 80 only 70 years ago. Back then the island had its own school, grocery shop and mill and the land was cultivated until 1994.


Now the island is solely used for cattle and sheep grazing.
The village proper is surrounded by an embankment 2 kilometres long and 2.8 metres high to prevent flooding at high tide. The embankment was built in 1872 after a flood caused by high winds submerged most of the island.


This flat island abounds with birdlife, i.e. many breeding, migrating and wintering birds and several species of rare plants grow in the salt meadows to the north and south-east.
Visitors may be fortunate to see seals in the shallow waters around the island and islets, which are occasionally inhabited by thousands of moulting swans.


The island is also a habitat for rare amphibians such as the Green Toad and Fire-Bellied Toad, which were released here after having vanished for several years.
Sandhoved – a narrow, straight spit extending to the south-east – as well as Store Egholm and Lille Egholm are vulnerable natural habitats which visitors are strongly urged not to enter from 1 March – 15 July.


The island has a fine bathing beach and accommodation is available at a primitive tent site near the harbour. As there are no shops on the island, visitors must bring their own food and drink.
A little mail ferry departs from Marstal (Ærø) twice a day.

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Birkholm and small islets
©Kort & Matrikelstyrelsen

Gammelt høstredskab fra Birkholm
Old harvester from Birkholm
Photo - Birgit Bjerre Lauersen