Hals Whale Jaws – Hals, Denmark - Atlas Obscura

Hals Whale Jaws

Hals, Denmark

A small Denmark town displays a pair of titanic jaw bones as their community symbol. 


In the small town of Hals, Denmark there are two tall bones standing on one end of the town square. The bones, which once belonged to a massive Blue Whale, let visitors literally walk into a whale’s mouth.

The original whale, who “donated” its bones, was shot back in 1868 in the Barents Sea by Captain C. Klitgaard, a resident of Hals. After returning with his tragic-to-modern-sensibilities kill, the blue whale’s jaw bones were removed, bleached, and given a new life as a local landmark. These first jaws were destroyed in 1953 when a truck hit the fragile old bones. Sadly, the remains were not worth trying to save.

Luckily for them, the town did not have to continue without their beloved bones for long. A new jaw was donated to the city in 1955 by the consul of Sandefjord in Norway, Lars Christensen. One of Norway’s greatest whalers, Thor Dahl from Sandefjord delivered a new set of jaws to the port in Aarhus, on April 27, 1955. The new jaws, which were taken from the largest animal in the world, the blue whale, dwarfed the previous mouthpieces. Judging from the size of the bones, the original creature is thought to have measured almost 100 feet long and weigh about 90 tons.

The whale jaws from 1955 are kept in the museum, safe from the elements and bolting trucks. They are replaced by a more durable replica from glass fiber. Even though it is a replica, you will still be in awe standing in front of the imposing monument. They are a popular attraction, especially for children who are not burdened by any moral quandaries the bones might present, and who also find it fun to stand inside the mouth of a blue whale.


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