Read more about The North Sea Oceanarium - the largest aquarium in Northern Europe!
In the late 70’s the idea of an aquarium in Hirtshals arise amongst local politicians and business people. The idea develops to include a science center for researching fishing, with the aquarium as the public face. In January 1984 The Museum of North Sea is inaugurated as a combined aquarium and contemporary museum for modern fishing. It is recognized by the state as a culture historically museum. Back then, the expected visitor number per year was 145.000 – the real number ended up being 250.000.
In 1998 the Museum Of The North Sea is expanded by the Oceanarium, the large aquarium with 4,5 million liters of water, making it possible to display the fish of the North Sea in their natural shoals. The inauguration was made by The Museum of The North Sea’s protector Princess Alexandra. The expansion meant the visiting numbers went up to 440.000 the first year. And in 2001 the new sealarium opens, combined with the outdoor area including a playground and café.
In 2003 a violent fire destroys the entire building surrounding the Oceanarium and the infamous sunfish, Klumpe, dies. The rebuild lasts 18 months. In July 2005 The Oceanarium reopens and is once again inaugurated by The Museum of The North Sea’s protector, Princess Alexandra. In October 2005 another accident strikes, when a window in the sealarium breaks and the building surrounding the Oceanarium is flooded.
In 2007 The Center of The North Sea and The Museum of The North Sea are combined and the names are changed to The North Sea Science Park and The North Sea Oceanarium in January 2008. During September 2009 the work with tearing down the older part of the attraction begins. An entirely new experience universe will be ready for opening on the 5th of June 2010. The ambition is to create the aquarium of the future by integrating exhibitions, aquariums and interactive play in an entirely new way.
In June 2010 the new experience universe “The North Sea Expedition” is inaugurated by Countess Alexandra and her family. And in March 2012 a crack in the big window of the Oceanarium is discovered and an investigation of the window is initiated. The work is complete in May 2015 and the new window in the Oceanarium is inaugurated by Countess Alexandra and her family. The largest aquarium in The North Sea Oceanarium is finally ready. On top of that, there is a new addition to the aquarium – a new and beautiful decoration in the form of a shipwreck.
Our purpose is to convey knowledge of the North Sea to our visitors. We touch down on subjects such as life in the oceans and how to benefit from the sea in a sustainable way while we exhibit a broad section of animals and plants from the North Sea.
The North Sea Oceanarium is a zoological facility approved by the state of Denmark and as such, we receive an annual amount of money from the Danish Ministry of Culture.
However, 90 percent of our maintenance and day-to-day running is covered by entry fees. Our attraction is a non-profit organisation and any profit is used to develop and improve the attraction. The North Sea Oceanarium is situated at the North Sea Science Park. Both facilities are economically and legally independent companies but they share a common administration and a common CEO.