History - Year by year

How did it come to be, that the largest aquarium in northern Europe ended up being in Hirtshals?

From the beginning until now

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.

January 1984
The Museum Of The 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 actual number ended up being 250.000.

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.

The new sealarium opens, combined with the outdoor area including a playground and café.

In 2003 the museum changed its status from being a nationally recognized cultural museum, to being a nationally recognized zoo.

A violent fire destroys the entire building surrounding the Oceanarium and the infamous sunfish, Klumpe, dies. The rebuild lasts 18 months.

July 2005
The Oceanarium reopens and is once again inaugurated by The Museum Of The North Sea’s protector, Princess Alexandra.

October 2005
Another accident strikes, when a window in the sealarium breaks and the building surrounding the Oceanarium is flooded.

The North Sea Center and The North Sea Museum gets a joint administration and director, and from January 2008 the names are changed to The North Sea Science Center and The North Sea Oceanarium.

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.

June 2010
The new experience universe “The North Sea Expedition” is inaugurated by Countess Alexandra and her family.

March 2012
A crack in the big window of the Oceanarium is discovered and an investigation of the window is initiated.

May 2015
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.