Inspired by movies – Finding the perfect location for Babette’s Feast

Babette’s Feast is actually based on a short story by Karen Blixen. Maybe this name rings a bell, because one of her other stories was the inspiration of the movie Out of Africa. Anyway, Babette’s Feast was originally set in Norway.

The director of the movie, Gabriel Axel, traveled to Norway and visited the village where the story takes place. But he wasn’t pleased with it; he thought it was too idyllic. In order to accentuate the feeling of isolation in which the two sisters find themselves he chose the dramatic landscape of Jutland. This is the area of Denmark where you find the most spectacular landscapes: a coastline that constantly moves further inland, trees bent or shaped by the wind, buildings or even villages destroyed by the mighty dunes, …

As a backdrop he chose Mårup Kirke; this is a Romanesque church that was built in the 13th century. It was a very simple building, with only a nave and a choir. Axel asked his crew to build a handful of houses around it and this is where the biggest part of the movie was made.

Since Mårup Kirke was not far from Grenen, we decided to have a look there. The houses that had been built for the movie were gone and so was most of the church. The problem was that the church during many centuries had suffered from the constant erosion and the shifting sands. In the beginning of the 20th century, the church wasn’t used anymore and a new one was built in the nearby village of Lønstryp.

After a couple of severe storms in the second half of the 20th century Mårup Kirke was in such a bad state that the authorities decided to dismantle it. Only the walls are left standing now. The parts that have been removed have not been thrown away; they were put in storage. Until now, the authorities are not sure if – and where – the church will be rebuilt.

The ruins do attract a lot of people. That is probably due to its interesting background and history, but also because it was once used as a setting for Babette’s Feast. And let’s not forget the dramatic landscape!


  • unclerave August 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Dramatic photos! — YUR

  • LeeN August 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    It’s sad they broke down the church… :-(… The atmosphere of the movie depends a lot on the simplicity of the church – I agree with the film director that this village captured the mood of the story best, though I didn’t know it was actually filmed around an existing church: I thought the whole set was made up.

  • Reliving Our Adaptable Adventure – Part 2 « Cosy Travels of the Viking and his Kitten October 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    […] Babette’s Feast again! I know, it has been dubbed, but it was the best I could find. Watch the second half of the video […]

  • Reliving Our Adaptable Adventure – Part 2 | Road Tripping Europe June 15, 2013 at 11:17 am

    […] Babette’s Feast again! I know, it has been dubbed, but it was the best I could find. Watch the second half of the video […]


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