On a drive through Hvide Sande you will at times experience, that the bridge in the middle of town is up. Because all ships need to pass through the water lock in order to get from the North Sea to Ringkøbing Fjord and vice versa. The water locks also have other important functions.
Access to the fjord and the sea
Before the 1930s, there was only access to the fjord at Nymindegab in the southern part of Ringkøbing Fjord. Because of major problems with sand migration, it was decided to move the access point further north. A passage was dug out, between the dunes, on the narrow strip of land between Ringkøbing Fjord and the North Sea and a water lock was constructed. In 1931 the water lock was finished and the town of Hvide Sande was built around it. That means that Hvide Sande is a relatively young town. The first water lock, which is a chamber lock, is managed by the harbour administration at Blåtårn. From here they open and close the lock for ships that need to pass through.
Salination and water level control
The other lock is located north of the chamber lock and was built between 1928 and 1931, with the purpose of regulating water levels and salinity in Ringkøbing Fjord. Both water levels and salinity vary throughout the year due to water streaming in from rivers, tides, rain - and the weather in general. This lock consists of 14 gates, each of which are 6.25 meters wide. In every gate there’s a sluice, which can be elevated and lowered with steel wires and electric engines..
This lock controls the water levels in an area the size of 3100 km3 on the east side of Ringkøbing Fjord.
This water lock is a place of work, with no access for visitors except two weeks in August, when the art exhibition ‘Kunst i Slusen’ takes place. Her different artists exhibit their works and that provides visitors with the opportunity both to enjoy art and to see a unique place of work.