Kalkværksvej 10, Mønsted, 7850 Stoholm.
Viborg/Holstebrolandevejen. 14 km from Viborg.
APR to mid-JUN daily 10-16.
Mid-JUN to mid-AUG daily 10-17.
Mid-AUG to OCT daily 10-16.
Adults DKK 120, Children (3-11) DKK 60, Children (0-2) free.
Groups (20+): Adults DKK 100.
Groups (80+): Adults DKK 80.
|Classification:||Rock Mine Limestone Mine flint mine|
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Dimension:||T=8 °C, L=60,000 m, H=98 %.|
|Guided tours:||D=120 min, L=2,000 m.|
|Address:||Mønsted Kalkgruber, Kalkværksvej 10, Mønsted, 7850 Stoholm, Tel: +45-8664-6011, Fax: +45-8664-5911. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|~1000||Denmark was christianized and the monks needed lime for building churches and had the knowledge how to produce it.|
|1860||the lime production was at its climax.|
|1872||the farmers of Mønsted sold the lime priviledges to the Mønsted Kalkværker.|
|1953||the limestone pits were closed.|
|1955||the limestone quarry was also closed. Now limestone from Djursland was burned in the limekiln.|
|1978||the lime industry in Mønsted ended.|
|1981||bought by the violinist Anker Buch who organized subterranen concerts.|
|1997||bought by Skovthe-og naturstyrelsen and reopened.|
|DEC-2006||Arla Foods recalled a shipment of cheese exported to Germany after detecting rats in the cave where the cheese was matured.|
Here in Denmark, like all over the northern plains of Europe, from Belgium to Poland, the plains are covered by thick layers of glacial sediments, the moraines of the glaciers of the Ice Ages. These sediments are composed of sand, gravel, and huge blocks, mostly crystalline rocks like granite and gneiss. They were brought by the glaciers from Scandinavia. Below this layer of young, loose sediments is typically chalk from the Cretaceous. Famous places where they form steep cliffs and coastlines are along the Channel in France and Great Britain and on Rügen island. But the limestone here is even younger Bryozoan limestone, which is on top of the chalk.
In Mønsted a typical geological situation for the northern European Mesozoic Basin provided the farmers a resource of value: limestone. The limestone was mined on the surface in quarries and several mines which followed the limestone layer underground. It was burned in a lime kiln and used for many purposes: slaked to mortar for building churches, later the metal and chemical industry also bought the limestone and the farmers used the limestone for the fields to neutralize acidic soil. The flint in the limestone was used as fillings in streets, foundations and brickwork.
On their website they state that this are the world's largest underground limestone quarries, they give a length of 60 km. There is no official list, but showcaves.com has listed the Odessa quarries with a length of 1,700 km. This assertion is thus refuted by a counter-example. Nevertheless, the size is definitely impressive, and on a tour you will see only a very small part. They also state that the mines were operated for 1,000 years, the theory is that the Vikings already mined flint and limestone. However, the archaeological evidence is thin, so the date is only an estimate.
The extensive quarries are today used for various things. There are concerts and Halloween exhibitions, even art exhibitions have been made it the mine. Bat Safaris are special guided tours with emphasis on the bats. A part of the mine is used for an hourly multimedia presentation about the lime history of the area. And finally there is the special cheese, which is sold at the Café Grotten.
Probably the Grube Ost (mine cheese) is the most impressive use of the mines, at least from the odorous viewpoint. The cheese spends eight weeks in the cave for maturing, while it is turned once a week. The 98 % humidity and 8 °C are the ideal conditions for this process. The result is a rather smelly cheese with intensive flavour, somewhere between Danbo and Emmental. Most of the cheese is sold to Germany named Arla Höhlenkäse (Arla Cave Cheese). 200 tons of cheese were stored in the caves by the small Vellev Mejeri (Vellev dairy), which produced 11,500kg cave cheese per day. Arla is the Danish and Swedish food company to which the Vellev dairy belongs, and Europe's largest dairy company. The small dairy at the village Vellev was very successful and won various prices for the cave cheese. But despite being successful, there are obviously some drawbacks in belonging to a huge food company. Together with three other dairies Vellev was closed in 2004, the production moved to Hjørring. At least the employees were given new jobs at the other dairies of the company. And the cheese is still produced in the caves.
Beneath the mines there are the Kalkværket (Lime Works) in front of the mine. Here the limestone was heated in lime kilns and thus transformed into burnt lime. The extraction of lime stopped in 1956, but limestone was burned in the Kalkværket until 1980. Later the building was listed as Historical Monument and restored in 2003-2004. It's possible to visit the building on self-guided tours, and one of the highlights is the walkway around the chimney and its view.