communities through the traditional dress worn by the island women. When a young girl from Fanø or Rømø went to Ribe to apply for a domestic job, she would wear her island dress to demonstrate her values.
Dresses for everyday wear and for special occasions
When urban fashion trends reached the Wadden Sea islands in the last half of the 19th century, the women primarily donned the traditional dress for special occasions, or when they wanted to manifest their islander identity, and this is how the costumes became a hallmark of the islands. It was not unusual to see women on the islands wearing the local costume as their everyday wear right up to the mid-1900s. The costumes were similar from island to island, however there were slight local variations with regard to style, colour or headdress. The women of Fanø had a different costume for all occasions: work, festive occasions and even for mourning. A distinctive feature of the Fanø costume is the “struden” headwear that covers the face and protects the wearer's face against the sand and sun when working in the fields. The local costumes are still very much in use today: on Fanø during the local history festivals, Fannikerdage and Sønderho Dag, on Rømø for special occasions, and on Mandø for the Mandøfest, a celebration of local culture.
Tourists and property speculators
In the last half of the 19th century, the seeds were sown for the islands’ new source of income. Fresh air and bathing in the sea became extremely popular, and this provided the islands with new opportunities in the form of beach tourism. On Fanø, the first spa resort was established in Nordby in 1851. In the following decades, bathing machines, beach pavilions and hotels mushroomed on the beaches of Vesterstrand and Sønderho. Fanøbadet, a North Sea spa, was established in 1891, with an ambition to attract visitors to Fanø from the rest of Denmark and from abroad. The first golf course to be built in Denmark was established in 1901 in connection with the spa. Following the drop in international tourism industry during the First World War, Denmark’s first air route was established, flying tourists from Copenhagen to Fanø Strand. Spurred by dreams of striking rich, Rømø joined the beach-bathing craze in 1898, when Johannes Jacobsen, a local priest, establish the spa resort Nordseebad Lakolk. Lakolk was founded with a hotel, a food bar and a number of holiday houses that were built between the dunes close to the beach. However, the resort went bankrupt after a few years, among other things, due to the poor accessibility from the mainland. Several of the