Welcome aboard Hjejlen

The world's oldest paddle steamer

Hjejlen has been named a historical monument by the Ship Preservation Foundation.

S/S Hjejlen is Denmark’s oldest steamship and the world’s oldest coal-fired paddle steamer still in operation with its original engine. When Hjejlen was delivered in 1861, she was cutting-edge modern. Today, Hjejlen is declared a historic monument by the Ship Preservation Foundation. When you step aboard Hjejlen, you embark on a journey back in time.

You follow in the footsteps of many proud locals, curious tourists, the Royal Family, and H.C. Andersen, who loved sailing aboard Hjejlen. As the beautiful scenery glides by, you can experience the fireman tossing coal into the boiler and see the engineer oiling the old engine – just as it has been done for over 150 years.


Since 1861

Hjejlen's story

On May 25th, Hjejlen was launched by Baumgarten & Burmeister in Copenhagen, after Silkeborg’s dynamic founder had ordered the paddle steamer for 10,000 rigsdaler – twice the amount he had been authorized to spend.

The official inauguration took place on June 24th, when King Frederik VII, Countess Danner, Drewsen, and specially invited guests sailed from Himmelbjerget to Silkeborg.

For the 1900 season, Hjejlen underwent a major renovation for the first time, which included a new modern hull, a shorter chimney to avoid the need to “break” it at the railway bridge, the relocation of the steering wheel forward, and covering the steering position with an extended, fixed metal roof. Additionally, a railing was installed around the deck to increase the number of side seats.

Hjejlen’s 75th birthday was celebrated on June 24, 1936, with an unofficial “mini-regatta”, albeit without fireworks, but with entertainment at the harbor and an asphalt ball on the square after the sailing.

Hjejlen’s 150th anniversary was celebrated in style. Queen Margrethe honored Hjejleselskabet by participating in the celebration, sailing from Himmelbjerget to Silkeborg, just as King Frederik VII and Countess Danner did on June 24, 1861, when Hjejlen was inaugurated.


Engine power: 50 hp
Top speed: 8 knots
Max number of passengers: 130
Seats: 100

Welcome on board:

On Hjejlen, you sit on benches upstairs and downstairs, outside and inside. You create your very own authentic experience on Denmark’s entire gem as she slowly but surely glides through the lakes of Søhøjlandet, embraced by the magnificent nature.

Your boat with your crew

Rent a boat – send inquiry

Great events last longer than just a single day or evening. They live on in memories and conversations long after. By choosing to host your event on one of the Hjejle boats, you’ve already laid the solid foundation that ensures the event will be a resounding success.