When coastal erosion was threatening an old lighthouse in Denmark, authorities had a brilliant idea: move it some 80 meters (263 feet) away from the North Sea.
The 23-meter tall Rubjerg Knude lighthouse, perched on top of a cliff in northwestern Denmark, was put on special “roller skates” on Tuesday morning, and is being moved using a rail system, jacks, and hydraulics, the Danish Nature Agency said in a statement.
It is currently rolling off the edge of the cliff at a remarkable speed of 12 meters per hour — more than the eight meters estimated by experts, Mette Ring, press officer for the Hjørring municipality which is in charge of the project, told CNN.
“It’s going perfectly well, according to the plan,” she told CNN by phone. “At this speed, I think we will finish before the expected (time of) 5pm.”
When it was built in 1899, the lighthouse stood about 200 meters from the coast, Ring said.
Now it was only a few meters from the edge, she said, hence the need to save it before it fell down on the beach.
With the coast in front of the lighthouse eroding by around two meters every year, the municipality had estimated it could only remain where it was for another one or two years. It was a choice between either taking the risk of moving it, or dismantling it entirely, according to the local mayor, Arne Boelt.
Authorities were expecting at least 25,000 people to witness the event in person, Ring said.
But if you’re not currently in Denmark, you can still watch the livestream of the relocation here. It’s really slow, but strangely soothing.