The church, named after Saint Laurence, the seafarer’s and Skagen’ s patron saint, was probably built in the second half of the 14 th century and was at that time the largest church in the region. The sand drift began in the 16 th century and reached the church at the end of the 18 th century. In the end, the congregation had to dig their way into the church. The struggle against the sand continued until 1795 when the church was closed by royal decree. Today, only the tower of the ancient church is visible.
When Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish poet and fairytale writer, visited Skagen i 1859 he was also astonished by the Buried Church – so much so that in fact he turned his impressions into a story – "A Story from the Dunes", which concludes with these words:
"The drifting sands have covered the enormous arches. The dunes and wild roses cover the church, where the rambler now walks up to its steeple, which points up out of the sand, a colossal gravestone, visible for miles; no king ever had one more magnificent! Nobody disturbs the rest of this corpse. Nobody knows it or knew it before now – the storm sang it to me between the dunes!"
Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tale 91, 1860.