Isværket (The Ice Factory) at the entrance to the Port of Tejn was once where fishing vessels came to fill their holds with ice for refrigerating freshly caught fish. By the early 1990s, however, the Bornholm fishery adventure was winding down. The ice factory had to cease production. The Port of Tejn fell silent, and the building was left behind as a symbol of the port’s heyday. Back when the port was filled with fishing vessels and abuzz with activity, it was possible to walk across the harbour basin by stepping from one vessel to the next.
Attempts were made to sell Isværket, but no one was interested, until Christina and Christian, already running the little ‘Kalas’ café/ice-cream parlour in Sandvig, came by in 2019 and saw a building full of potential. Christian, Christina and their sons agreed it would make a unique venue. But they wanted the history of the building to be preserved, and its story told. This explains the rough, functional appearance of the building today, with as many of the original materials as possible kept intact.
Much has changed along the Tejn waterfront since then. Fortunately, some of the port’s original functions have been retained, and new initiatives have emerged with good local support for the new life this creates. Seagulls still scream from on high, and the smell of tarred fishing nets tingles your nose, because a few hobby fishing boats are still bobbing up and down along the quay.
In 2023, Isværket will open its doors to visitors serving freshly produced Kalas ice cream, coffee, tea or a glass of cool wine, while ships and small boats sail past right at your feet.
Christian and Christina were not actually intending to open another café, but their entrepreneurial urge to help breathe new life into the waterfront was aroused at the sight of the abandoned industrial building.
Christian, Christina and their sons all grew up on Bornholm, and each of them admits, with slight embarrassment, that over the years Tejn was just a place you drove through to get to somewhere else. But now they experience the town from a different angle.
It turned out to be a large-scale project. The building had to be completely gutted. Interior walls had to be taken out. The floor had to be broken up to lay piping and insulation. Afterwards, the interior had to be rebuilt and repurposed. Sustainable solutions were looked into and implemented wherever possible. To the greatest extent possible, the dismantled contents removed from Isværket were reused, and the selection of new materials was aligned with the building’s history and new concept. From only having a few doors and a single window, the building has now been opened up so it is possible to see its interior structure from the outside. There are panoramic sea views from all four sides of the building. It’s safe to say this building will soon be abuzz with activity.
Isværket will also house @ivandetbornholm, an enterprise that communicates knowledge about the sea surrounding the island. @ivandetbornholm organises activities for children and young people right outside Isværket, giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about what’s happening on land and at sea. Christian and Christina both emphasise their desire to provide a setting for entrepreneurial initiatives and established enterprises working to improve our marine environment and other sustainable marine-based initiatives aimed at breathing new life into the Port of Tejn.