Last wreck of the Dutch-Danish naval battle recovered

Archaeologists are convinced that they have recovered the last ship that foundered during the naval battle of Fehmarn in 1644. In that battle, a Swedish-Dutch fleet almost completely destroyed the Danish adversary: only two of the seventeen ships escaped.

The wreckage was found off the coast of the Danish island of Lolland during the construction of an undersea tunnel in the direction of Germany. At a depth of only 3.5 metres, first ballast stones were found, followed by wreckage and bronze cannons.

The researchers determined that the wood must have been cut after 1572. In addition, traces of great heat were found on the cannons and the wood, which, according to them, indicates that the ship must have sunk due to fire.


The naval battle was fought on the margins of the Thirty Years War, a protracted religious conflict in which Protestant and Catholic states fought for power in Europe. Denmark tried to prevent Sweden from gaining control of the Sound, the strait to the Baltic Sea. The Republic of the United Netherlands supported Sweden because of its lucrative trade in the region.

The Netherlands lost one ship in the naval battle, but ten Danish ships were captured. Five others sank or were sunk. In 2012, a decayed Danish ship and the sunken Swarte Arent were found nearby.

The researchers believe that the ship now found was the Delmenhorst. That ship was sailed by the Danes on a sandbank, so it was protected by a coastal battery. However, the enemy sent a fire ship to it, causing it to sank after all.

The Danes speak of an interesting find, because this ship was built in a transitional period, when shipyards were just starting to use construction plans. Finds have already been uncovered, including cannonballs and a calculation coin, which can easily be used to calculate Roman numerals.

The remains of the ship will not be brought to the surface, but will disappear under a layer of sand to protect them. They will be referred to in a beach park to be built near the tunnel