Aarsdale is a typical Bornholm fishing village at the east coast of Bornholm with about 450 inhabitants. There is still a busy harbour today with many fishing vessels.
When you walk down the small roads in Aarsdale, the way leads you to the old smokehouse, in which you still this day today can get a real Bornholm delicacy – a warm and freshly smoked herring. Eat the fish right at the smokehouse or get them packed in a newspaper and take it home. You can judge from the stack of firewood that the smokehouse still is in use.
The outermost tip of Aarsdale is called Oren. It was here, the fishermen could lay their fishing nets, when they needed to be tarred and reparied. The area is still open between the sea and the typical gables on the houses. The oldest houses in the fishing village point their gables towards the sea, like a ship that turnes its bow towards the waves, when it storms.
Årsdale windmill is the beauty between the old Dutch mills on Bornholm. Aarsdale windmill has been in use since it was built in 1877 and is still in use.
The inhabitants of Aarsdale need to go up ti Sct. Ibs Church, when the want to attend service. All the way since sometime in the 12th century, Sct. Ibs Church has overlooked the surrounding area down to the coastline. The church is one of the oldest on the island and has the second highest tower, after Aa Kirke in Aakirkeby.
Aarsdale has been a fishing villages at least since the Golden Age of the big herring shoals in the Baltic Sea during the Middle Ages. A time, when you almost could catch the fish with your hands. Aarsdale has alway been known for its smokehouses and for many years it has been Bornholms largest fishing community.
During the 17th century Aarsdale was home for around 30 families – and families at that time were big. Throughout the next few hundred years the village grew steadily. The inhabitants had their cattle on common areas around the village and they cared for their potatoes on the private soil around the house.
In 1870 the inhabitants of Aarsdale started building a harbour – the one, we see today. This really triggered the fishing, as well as the building of several smokehouses in Aarsdale. The first were built around the 1880s and helped develope Aarsdale as a fishing village furthermore.