Family Holiday in a Danish Holiday Home

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Family Holiday in a Danish Holiday Home

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Family Holiday in a Danish Holiday Home- motives and behaviour among second home renters

Jacob R. Kirkegaard Larsen PhD ScholarDepartment of Culture and Global StudiesAalborg UniversityMail:

The 19th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality ResearchAkureyri – Iceland / September 2010


Delimitation/definitionPrivately owned cottages or houses, often situated in clusters within a rural area close to the coast and used with a tourism or recreational purpose – in Danish also classified as “summer house”

Owners and renters18% of the holiday homes are rented out through official rental bureaus - 82% are used by its owners (or rented out privately)Renters of Danish holiday homes account for 35% of all overnight stays and 56% of all foreigners

The Danish Holiday Home


The Danish Holiday Home - OwnersThe typical owner:Middle age (45+) / elderly

No children living at homeSpace-time DistanceDanish owners onlyAll year “Weekend homes” (

Müller 2002)



: Statistics Denmark

MarketsThe German dominanceMarkets (2009)The Danish Holiday Home - Renters



: Statistics Denmark

MarketsThe German dominanceSeasonalityLack of broad shouldersThe Danish Holiday Home - Renters



: VisitDenmark 2005

MarketsThe German dominanceSeasonalityLack of broad shouldersRenter segmentsFamilies with children



(with children 0-12 years)

30 %


25 %

Family (with children 12+)

13 %




8 %


with grandchildren

7 %


6 %


1 %


10 %

The Danish Holiday Home - Renters


Renters and owners:Two different species within

the same environment?Aim:

Placing renter motives within the research tradition on second home motivesProvide a better understanding of second home motives seeing that two apparently different groups of users are attracted by the same “product”


Owners’ motives

Literature review – Danish, Nordic and International perspectivesMotives for use – not for ownership (e.g. Economic investment)Renters’ motives

10 in-depth interviews – summer 2010Blokhus & Hals (West/East coast)Families with children (German, Danish, Norwegian)Children between 0-15 years of ageLimitation:Comparing primary and secondary dataMethods


Danish second home owner motives


& Vacher (2009)Getting away from daily life and relaxTogetherness with family and friends

Being close to nature


& Bech Danielsen (2009)

Being t


in a different way

Getting away from home

Nature makes the difference

Being at home in the second home








Place attachment


“Duality permeates everything in what it means to be a cottager: two places with two lives, providing inversion but also merging into symbiosis.” (Jaakson

1986, p. 387)


Owners: Home…Continuity

The second home includes a high degree of continuity, recognisability seeing that it is repeatedly visited (e.g. Chaplin 1999; Jaakson 1986; Quinn 2004)

Place attachmentThe emotional attachment to the second home or the area is often very strong and may exceed that of the first home - the second home become part of the owner’s personal identityOwnership through many years or even generations Childhood or close family relations in the area(e.g. Jaakson, 1986; Kaltenborn, 1997, 1998, 2002; Svenson 2004; Quinn 2004)


Renters: Home…

Continuity and attachment81 % or the renters are returning visitors (VisitDenmark, 2005)In several cases previous acquaintance(s) with a rented second home – either in the same destination or a similar one – had contributed to the decision of this year’s holiday destination.

-> Previous visit seems to contribute with a kind of emotional product or place attachment among Holiday Home renters that makes them return...


Owners: … Away [1]

Inversion and relaxationThe second home is a ”free area” where all activities and chores are done out of free will and where life moves in a slower pace.(Chaplin 1999; Quinn 2004)

TogethernessThe second home provides a frame for inviting and being with family and friends and enjoy a more intimate and close way of being together.(Arronson 2004; Gram-Hanssen & Bech Danielsen 2009; Jaakson 1986; Skifter Andersen & Vacher 2009)


Renters: … Away [1]

Inversion, relaxation and togethernessHoliday in a holiday home is getting away from work and having time to be together as a family without the daily tasks that dominate everyday at home.

“To me it is important that I get away from work; It is 14 days where I don’t have to think about work.” (German father) “I have to say I didn’t have high expectations about anything except that I looked forward to being with my family. Relaxing…” (Danish mother) “You’re together so intensely. In everyday life you go to work for at least 8 hours and they [the children] go to school and day care. Here you wake up together, have breakfast together and are together in the house doing things and then you decide what to do that day. You’re kind of together all day [and] that’s probably what I find the ‘cosiest’.” (Norwegian mother)The holiday home is used as frame for “family reunions” – grandparents with children and grand children (3) / parents inviting the grandparents (4)...


Owners: … Away [2]Nature

A second home in the vicinity of the city as a recreational compensation for the daily urban life(Dijst et al. 2005; G. Halseth & Rosenberg 1995;

Jaakson 1986; Müller 2002; Svenson 2004; Skifter Andersen & Vacher 2009; Tress 2002; Wolfe 1951)Closeness to nature is related with outdoor activitiesWater related activities such as swimming and sailingWalking and bikingFishing and berry picking Experience the unspoiled, authentic and non-touristic nature(Jaakson 1986; Jarlöv 1999; Petterson 1999; Stynes et al. 1997)


Renters: … Away [2]

NatureThe holiday home landscape and nature - beach and garden - should activate the children and provide parent pleasure

Interviewer: Could you tell me about a typical visit to the beach? German father: Okay, well (…) everything is packed in two cars; all sorts of things – wind shields and toys for the children, chairs for us [parents], something to drink (…) So we go there in the cars and builds everything up, we sit down and the children are gone. It‘s more or less like this… Daughter (11 years): …we‘re in the water, in the dunes, maybe building a sand castle… different sorts of things. “It very nice with this terrace… we [the parents]can sit here and the children can play…” (Norwegian father)


Owners: Home and Away”At

home” is still associated with the first home

and it is the change between the two homes that is important to the owners(Gram-Hanssen & Bech Danielsen 2009)The “simple life” in the second home is only desirable for a period then the complex and more challenging life at the first home is again preferred.(Perkins & Thorns 2006)Kaltenborn (1998): ”The alternate home”Chaplin (1999): ”Home yet holiday”

– inversion of



in a




Renters: Home and Away

Danish and Norwegian familiesThe sense of home and away is related to more than just the shift between everyday life and holiday:

“Most of the time we are away doing something, so when we are at home [in the holiday home] we just need to relax.” (Danish mother) “When you’ve been away all day, it’s actually nice just to get home – such as today [the family had spent all day in a fun park].” (Norwegian grandmother) “(...) this picture [children playing in the garden] is the homely and cosy atmosphere [“hjemme-hygge”] at the holiday home while this [lions in a Zoo] is going on a trip and being entertained” (Norwegian mother)Svenson (2004): The cottage may be more central to the private cottager’s (owner) experience while it may be more incidental to the commercial cottager (renter).


Renters: Home and Away

German familiesInversion and a feeling of get-away seems to higher extent obtained in the mere shift from their everyday home to a second home in Denmark. They prefer to spend time in the nearby area and nature of the second home and consider fun parks and zoos as a “waste of time”:

“I know that there is a lot of great things here… a Swim Paradise or Legoland and other places like that but that’s not important to me because it will just take up a whole day (…) and it costs a lot of money. I’ll rather do something at the beach… but on the way home the children would like go to Legoland, naturally” (German mother)Father: “What would you like?”Son (5 years): ZooFather “… we can always go to the zoo in Hamburg”-> Renters are not a homogenous group regarding the perception of inversion of everyday life and getting away from home.


Two different species – with similar rootsRenters motivation do entail that the children are activated and therefore differ from owners motives

Basic motives appear to be similar – it’s the escape from home by means of nature and family togetherness and yet a feeling of homeDiversity also seem to exist across markets and within the family

->Second home motives of owners and renters seems not to be a clean demographic cut -> more complex set of motives has to be considered when developing the future holiday home destination…


Thanks for your attention!

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