Isabella Magazine

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					Isabella Magazine
List of contents:
50 years of progress . . . . . . . . . . .          2
                                                        50 years of progress
Isabella’s founder . . . . . . . . . . . . .        3
                                                        Dear reader,
Preface to chronicle . . . . . . . . . . .          4

The Isabella Chronicle . . . . . . . . .            5
                                                        Is it any wonder that we have chosen to make something of Isabella’s 50th anniversary?
Phoenix rises from the ashes . . . .               16

Ideas in stock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     18   We were proud when our company celebrated its 40th anniversary. But a 40th anniversary is nothing compared
25 years at Isabella . . . . . . . . . . .         20   to a 50th anniversary. Fortunately, many companies make it this far. Sadly, however, there are many others that

An awning’s road to the consumer                        do not.
begins with the consumer. . . . . . .              21

Camping at its best. . . . . . . . . . . .         23   We believe the reason for Isabella’s success lies in the fact that we have always been humble in the face of our
                                                        company’s achievements. We have approached every challenge we have faced with care and attention. We have
The triumphant progress of the
large Penta awning . . . . . . . . . . . .         24   taken the time to think things through carefully. More importantly, we have put our energy and resources into

Camping through the ages . . . . . .               26   manufacturing quality products.

It’s good to play. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     30
                                                        Robert Storm Petersen, a humorist of great repute in his native Denmark, once said: “Nothing in life comes
Holidays and camping in 2031
                                                        free, except pocket fluff!” We can only agree with his observation – Isabella’s success is purely the result of our
– a time travel story . . . . . . . . . . .        32
                                                        systematic approach and mutual inspiration.
Quality is not something we’re
prepared to discuss! . . . . . . . . . . .         34
                                                        Isabella and every member of the company’s staff continuously seek to improve their performance, and we are
Isabella Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      36
                                                        very grateful for the standing granted to us by Europe’s caravanners.
Isabella launched my career . . . .                38

Artist achieves synergy
                                                        With this 50th anniversary volume, we would like to invite anyone with an interest in our company to step into
at Isabella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    40
                                                        our world. At Isabella, we pride ourselves on our continuous dialogue with our customers, our distributors,
Winter camping . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         42
                                                        importers, suppliers, business contacts and, naturally, friends of the company. In the following pages, you will
Spending time in the sun . . . . . . .             44   find ”The Inside Story of Isabella.”
Anniversary camping
grill menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   46
                                                                                                                                                          Happy reading.
With Isabella amongst southern
Poles and northern Poles . . . . . . .             48

Europe’s longest camping trip
was a success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .        50

Importers / subsidiaries . . . . . . . .           54

 Isabella Magazine

 August 2006

 The magazine is printed on 115 g silk in
 Nimbus Sans and Nimbus Roman.

 Production: Isabella A/S.

Isabella Magazine :: 2 ::
By journalist and travel writer Jens Jørgen Larsen, Denmark

fulfilled his mission and became a legend in the camping world

                ho would have thought that caravan-       Highly respected
                ning would become such a popular          Søren Odgaard was loved by all. He was a good fa-
                lifestyle choice in the new century?      ther, a good employer, a good and loyal colleague and
Isabella’s founder, Søren Odgaard – that’s who! His       – more than anything – a business leader who always
far-sightedness was almost legendary, and he had a        kept his word. For this reason, he was loved by import-
sixth sense for seeing into a future which we can only    ers, distributors and the entire camping industry alike.
rarely predict with any success.                          That Søren Odgaard was a good employer is evidenced
                                                          by the fact that many employees have been with the
                                                                                                                     Søren Odgaard
Only the best                                             company throughout its expansion. They knew a Søren
As you set off on a new path, it is easy to feel a lit-   Odgaard who was always interested in them, and a
tle apprehensive. Not so Søren Odgaard. He believed       business leader who was never afraid to praise his em-     both at home and abroad. He almost lived to cel-
in his ideas, and he was true to his concept: to cre-     ployees or his suppliers when praise was due.              ebrate the company’s 50th anniversary – and what a
ate unique tents and caravan awnings of the high-                                                                    shame he didn’t. But wherever he is today, he would
est quality in a functional and elegant design. Søren     Grand old man                                              rejoice, be proud and wish us all many happy hours
Odgaard started a small business hiring out tents,        Søren Odgaard became the grand old man of the              of camping in the future.
and before long he had set up his own production of       camping industry, an industry which awarded him
cottage tents. These were soon followed by awnings        numerous accolades. It was thus well-deserved when         The camping pioneer and legend Søren Odgaard will
that rapidly became so successful that they overshad-     Camping Branchen, the Danish association of camp-          always be in our hearts.
owed the cottage tents, which the plant subsequently      ing equipment manufacturers, bestowed its honorary
ceased to manufacture. Søren Odgaard remained             award upon him. Søren Odgaard thoroughly enjoyed           When Isabella celebrated its 40th
true to his interest in camping and outdoor living.       the celebrations that accompanied Isabella’s 40th an-      anniversary, Søren Odgaard said:
                                                          Søren Odgaard is no longer with us. He lived to be
                                                          82. He passed away in 2005, a proud and satisfied
                                                          entrepreneur who lived to see his company succeed                                     “
                                                                                                                       Some would say that they could
                                                                                                                       have done it better. Some would
                                                                                                                      probably also say that they would
                                                                                                                     have done it differently. But I did it
                                                                                                                      my way. And if I hadn’t done it my
                                                                                                                     way, it might never have been done.
                                                          Søren Odgaard was awarded Camping Branchen’s
                                                          honorary award in 2003.
Isabella’s founder                                                                                                                       :: 3 :: Isabella Magazine
                                            Preface to chronicle

                                                                                                            ing Industri since it was to be found on the large
                                                                                                            Danish peninsula of Jutland, at the top of the Euro-
                                                                                                            pean continent. The awnings became a brand under
                                                                                                            the name of Isabella. Over the past decade, Isabella
                                                                                                            has expanded dramatically – so much so that the
                                                                                                            company’s growth has amazed even experienced
                                                                                                            marketing experts.
                        By journalist and travel writer Jens Jørgen Larsen, Denmark

                                                                                                            An annual production of many thousands of awn-
Measured against the endless number of stars in the universe, 50 is an                                      ings speaks for itself. If we translate that annual
insignificant number. But if we bring the figure down to earth and look at                                    production into square metres, the units produced
it from the point of view of the camping and leisure industry, then a 50th                                  every year would cover an area of 687,000 m2, or the
anniversary suddenly acquires substance and significance.                                                    equivalent of 104 football pitches.

                                                                                                            The Isabella name has become synonymous with

     n fact, the figure suddenly sounds rather im-      the foundations for the company that was to become   the type of awning that consumers and caravanners
     pressive. Because 50 years is a long time. It’s   the largest manufacturer of awnings in Europe.       have come to trust. Many different types of Isabella
     the number of years that have passed since the                                                         awnings may be found proudly gracing caravan sites
visionary Danish businessman, Søren Odgaard, laid      The company was originally known as Jydsk Camp-      around the world. They are a tasteful addition to the
                                                                                                            holiday homes of caravanners, from the boot of Italy
                                                                                                            to the North Cape, from Ireland to the Baltic. On
                                                                                                            the following pages we will reveal the inside story
                                                                                                            of Isabella and paint a portrait of its founder, Søren
                                                                                                            Odgaard, who came so close to celebrating his com-
                                                                                                            pany’s 50th anniversary with you and all of us. Søren
                                                                                                            Odgaard would have loved to be here today.

                                                                                                                                                  The Management

Isabella Magazine :: 4 ::                                                                                                                Preface to chronicle
The Isabella Chronicle:

From a humble beginning to
a leading position in Europe

By journalist Ole C. Jørgensen

     n the mid-1950s, it seemed like a stable career   enterprising Odgaard had a rewarding career ahead
     in the retail trade was on the cards for the      of him.
     young Søren Odgaard. At that time, he ran                                                                        Mrs Gustavsen in the sewing room in Grejsdalen
a successful retail chemist outlet in Vestergade in    Whether it was an intuitive awareness of the explosive
Vejle. The shop expanded steadily, and at a time       growth awaiting the retail trade, or the need and de-    chemist shop in 1957 is a question which he himself
when the Danes hardly knew what self-service stores    sire to become involved in what was then an unknown      never fully answered. In reality, it was probably a bit
and supermarkets were, it seemed as if the young and   industry which led Søren Odgaard to sell his retail      of both. Isabella’s subsequent success certainly dem-
                                                                                                                onstrated that his foresight, his desire to explore new
                                                                                                                paths, his business acumen and his ability to recruit
                                                                                                                the right people formed the basis for the astounding
                                                                                                                growth experienced by the Isabella factory under his
                                                                                                                leadership over the course of the next 50 years.

                                                                                                                There were no doubt many who felt that Søren
                                                                                                                Odgaard was about to enter an uncertain world with
                                                                                                                the starting capital he obtained from the sale of his
                                                                                                                chemist shop. But as far as the young man from Vejle

                                                                                               The factory      was concerned, the world was very simple. During
                                                                                               at Grejsdals-    primitive camping trips with his family, he had seen
                                                                                               vej 17 in        the opportunities offered by a world of outdoor lei-
                                                                                               the former
                                                                                                                sure which, until then, had primarily attracted scouts
                                                                                               offices of the
                                                                                               Vandelbanen      and the odd nature lover. He was convinced there
                                                                                               railroad         was a huge, untapped market out there, especially in
                                                                                                                light of the advances in welfare and the increase in
     Søren Odgaard sells his                                                                                    leisure time experienced by the Danes at a time when
     retail chemist shop

The Isabella Chronicle                                                                                                              :: 5 :: Isabella Magazine

The Borgward Isabella and the management
team in 1997

the hardships of the post-war years were giving way      It was a straightforward enough message, and it en-
to a sense of optimism and energy.                       ticed a steady stream of customers to visit the outlet
                                                                                                                                  Lux 1970
                                                         in Grejsdalen to try this new, exciting type of holiday
It all began in the garage in the cellar below the       for themselves.
family home at Grejsdals Landevej no. 6, at the
north-western edge of Vejle. The company’s name          Many were so impressed that they wanted to buy the
was Jydsk Camping Udlejning, later Jydsk Camping         equipment they had hired, and in just a few short
Industri A/S.                                            years the rental outlet was transformed into a sales
                                                         and production company.
The Isabella name
Opinions differ as to how Søren Odgaard came up          By 1959, business was so good that Søren Odgaard
with the name Isabella for his products. One of the      decided to manufacture the first of his own products.
most widely accepted theories is that the name came      Just a year later, his continued success led him to
from a beautiful classic car of the time, the Borgward   purchase the old station building in Grejsdalen,
Isabella. Another theory is that he was inspired by      which had recently been vacated by Vandelbanen’s                        Kongo 1960
a beautiful Spanish queen of the same name. In an        railroad. The premises were modified to manufac-
unguarded moment, Odgaard himself said that he
thought the name sounded beautiful, elegant and
dignified – just like his products.

In the garage in the cellar at Grejsdals Landevej, he
opened a rental outlet for tents, air mattresses and
gas heaters. Even at this early stage, future caravan-
ners were given a taste of Søren Odgaard’s ability to
communicate simple advertising messages. One of
the first ads for his new rental business read as fol-
lows: “Go on holiday when you want, and stay where
you want, for a krone a day”.

                Søren Odgaard completes
                the initial production run,
                and the Capri cottage tent is                                                                                Isabella 7 - 1963

Isabella Magazine :: 6 ::                                                                                          The Isabella Chronicle
ture tents, but not before Søren Odgaard had found
a gifted upholsterer in Vejle who could handle the
technical aspects of the production process.

At this time, the company focused solely on ex-
factory sales, and the products were exhibited on the
nearby meadows in Grejsdalen.

Rapidly increasing sales, combined with the almost
insatiable appetite for camping exhibited by Danes,
meant that production and sales soon outgrew the
old station building.

The portholes that were never copied
By 1961, production was expanding at such a rate
that Søren Odgaard was forced to make a quantum
leap. He went ahead and purchased a larger plot of
land at Nørremarken near Horsensvej road in Vejle
– the area that would later be renamed Isabellahøj by
the local municipality.

A small showroom, an up-to-the-minute sewing room
and some long-awaited storage facilities were con-
                                                        Auto tent 1960
structed on the new plot.

                                                        fashioned ridge tents, cottage tents and the so-called   The rapidly expanding business in Denmark led
The high quality of materials and manufacture that
                                                        auto tents, which in reality were also cottage tents     Søren Odgaard to look abroad, and the first Isabella
are still characteristic of Isabella’s products today
                                                        but somewhat easier for Danish camping enthu-            cottage tents were exported to Norway in 1961.
were guiding factors in the new specially-designed
                                                        siasts to take abroad with them. 1961 also saw a         They sold well and success on the Norwegian market
production area. As far as Søren Odgaard was con-
                                                        marked change in the camping equipment industry,         augured well for further growth.
cerned, quality should never be compromised.
                                                        with campers rapidly abandoning the more primi-
                                                        tive forms of camping and moving instead towards
Until that time, production had included old-
                                                        greater comfort.

                                                                                                                                    The sewing room at Nørremarken

The company’s new premises at Nørremarken 1965

     The new premises     1962
   at Nørremarken are     Products are exhibited                                                                 Sprite 400
           constructed    in the meadows

The Isabella Chronicle                                                                                                              :: 7 :: Isabella Magazine
                                                                                                                     tionality are continually reassessed. Experienced
                                                                                                                     caravanners will undoubtedly remember the story of
                                                                                                                     Isabella’s winter awning, which was tested in stormy
                                                                                                                     weather and arctic temperatures. The awning sur-
                                                                                                                     vived, and the story served to underline Isabella’s
                                                                                                                     reputation for quality and development.

                                                                                                                     1963 and 1964 saw a huge increase in the sale of
                                                                                                                     caravans in Europe. The Danes were no exception,
                                                                                                                     and the result was a marked rise in the demand for
                                                                                                                     awnings although the cottage tents remained popu-
                                                                                                                     lar. Jydsk Camping Industri had also begun to sell
                                                                                                                     caravans at Isabellahøj during this period. The sew-
                                                                                                                     ing room had to be expanded a couple of times dur-
                                                                                                                     ing the mid-1960s in order to keep up with demand.

Søren Odgaard at the factory

The company’s trademark, the Isabella portholes,             that the portholes are the only thing that other awn-
were also introduced at the beginning of the 1960s,          ing manufacturers in Europe haven’t been able to,
though the initial version was somewhat more sub-            or dared, copy over the years. Isabella’s production
stantial than the ones that have characterised the           gathered pace in the 1960s, when one new and ex-
awnings from Isabellahøj over the past decades. The          citing awning from Vejle after another saw the light
story in the industry, usually related with a smile, is      of day as the factory’s product development efforts

                                                             The result was an actual research and development
                                                             department, where design, durability and func-          Søren Odgaard at the entrance to the canteen

                           The first awning goes
                           into production

            1963-64               Søren Odgaard devises
  Caravans go on sale at          the so-called A-measure-
            Isabellahøj           ment for awnings           Winter scene with awning – 1965

Isabella Magazine :: 8 ::                                                                                                                      The Isabella Chronicle
                                                                                                               Sales of caravans continued to increase at the begin-
                                                                                                               ning of the 1970s. The fact that many Danes wanted
                                                                                                               more comfort on holiday meant that large numbers
                                                                                                               of campers abandoned the cottage tents in favour of
                                                                                                               caravans and, in some cases, trailer tents.

                                                                                                               This period also signalled a change in the existing
                                                                                                               configuration of tent manufacturers. At the begin-
                                                                                                               ning of the 1960s, there were about half a dozen
                                                                                                               manufacturers of different types of tents in Den-
                                                                                                               mark, but a drastic decrease in the demand for cot-
                                                                                                               tage tents meant that several producers went out of
                                                                                                               business, leaving a market that was only capable of
                                                                                                               supporting a tiny number of manufacturers.

The canteen

A milestone
In 1967 Søren Odgaard devised the so-called A-
measurement (ground-to-ground measurement) for
awnings, which is still used to this day.

The A-measurement was a real milestone, for manu-
facturers as well as caravanners. In simple terms, the
system sought to standardise awning measurements.
Rather than manufacturing special awnings for the
many different types of caravans on the market,
manufacturers could produce a range of standard
awnings which were suitable for all different cara-
                                                                                                               Isabella Lux 1970 at Rindbæklund

                                                                                                               In 1973 Jydsk Camping Industri decided to concen-
                                                                                                               trate exclusively on awnings, thus abandoning the
                                                                                                               production of cottage tents and the sale of caravans.
                                                                                                               This proved to be a winning decision, not least in
                                                                                                               light of the drastic increase in imports of cottage tents
                                                                                                               from countries with far lower production costs.

                                                                                                               As interest in camping grew, the need arose for
                                                                                                               further product development. Initially, attention
                                                                                                               turned to the materials used in the manufacturing
                                                                                                               process. The old cotton tents had their limitations
                                                                                                               during temperamental Danish summers, and Søren
                                                                                                               Odgaard therefore entered into close collaboration
Isabella 360 - 1967
                                                                                                               with what was then Vejle Dampvæveri. The result
                                        1971                                                                   was a new roof with synthetic polyester interwoven
              Isabella’s premises are extended   1975
                                                 Isabella sets up a subsidiary in Great Britain. New           into the canvas. Crucially, the new roof was far more
                              1969               developments in tent canvas see the introduction of acrylic
              The canteen and sewing                                                                           water-tight and it was also far more durable.
                                                 canvases and polyester-coated roofs.
                 room no. 1 are built

The Isabella Chronicle                                                                                                              :: 9 :: Isabella Magazine
1975 saw a dramatic development in the quality of
tent canvas brought about by the need for more du-
rable awnings. The Danes, who had previously gone
on holiday for a two-week summer break and a few
weekends a year, suddenly began to view their cara-
van and awning as a kind of summer cottage, a holi-
day home to be used from early to late summer. The
cotton awnings were unable to withstand the weather
for such a prolonged period – especially during con-
secutive seasons.

The revolutionary new development saw the intro-
duction of acrylic canvas and polyester-coated roofs,
and caravanners quickly took to the new and more
durable awnings.

                                                                                                                                      Olympia Acrylic – 1979

                                                                                                                                       Olympia Gold – 1972
                                                             The entire output of awnings for
                                                    1977     the 1980 season sold out
Isabella’s 20th anniversary – the brown and orange Olym-
                 pia Acrylic anniversary model is launched       1980
                                                                 There are now more than 100
                           The trend-setting Isabella
                            beige colour is launched
                                                                     The Ambassador, Isabella’s most popular awning, is launched

Isabella Magazine :: 10 ::                                                                                                         The Isabella Chronicle
                                                                                                                          Olympia Acrylic
                                                                                                                          In 1977, in its 20th anniversary year, Jydsk Camping
                                                                                                                          Industri (now known simply as Isabella in camping
                                                                                                                          circles) launched an anniversary model: the Olympia
                                                                                                                          Acrylic, produced in shades of brown and orange.
                                                                                                                          It was a run-away success – not only because of the
                                                                                                                          quality, but because it encapsulated the trend-setting
                                                                                                                          colours of the day.

                                                                                                                          In 1979, the Olympia Acrylic really took off. Brown
                                                                                                                          and beige were the ‘in’ colours at the time, and Isa-
                                                                                                                          bella revolutionised the market by introducing an
                                                                                                                          awning built to a new design, where the sides and
                                                                                                                          the front could be removed or rolled down halfway
                                                                                                                          according to the needs of caravanners.

                                                                                                                          Isabella’s success almost brought the company to its
                                                                                                                          knees. Although relatively optimistic when it deter-
                                                                                                                          mined the production capacity, sales of the Olympia
                                                                                                                          Acrylic exceeded even Isabella’s wildest expectations.
The Ambassador 2502 – 1991                                                                                                The joy experienced in connection with the compa-
                                                                                                                          ny’s success was somewhat overshadowed by its frus-
                                                                                                                          tration at being unable to keep up with demand.

                                                                                                                          Isabella never wanted to end up in a similar situation
                                                                                                                          again, and a rapid expansion of the production fa-
                                                                                                                          cilities was agreed. By 1980, the company had more
                                                                                                                          than 100 employees. Over the years, Søren Odgaard
                                                                                                                          created a strong team of skilled employees, not just
                                                                                                                          in production but in sales, development, administra-
                                                                                                                          tion, finance and logistics.

                                                                                                                          The best-selling awning in Europe to date was
                                                                                                                          launched in 1982. The Ambassador range, which has
                                                                                                                          undergone continuous development, is still marketed
                                                                                                                          on the basis of the original concept.

                                                                                                                          Isabella’s exports also underwent rapid growth in the
                                                                                                                          1980s. Up until this point, sales to a number of Euro-
                                                                                                                          pean countries were primarily handled by importers.
                                                                                                                          Isabella had had its own subsidiary in the United

Isabella’s first forklift truck in the raw materials storage area in the 1970s

                                                                        Campion, the new pole factory, opens
                                                                        Another subsidiary opens in Norway
                                                                        The revolutionary IXL fibreglass pole system is
                                                          1982          The Penta, the largest awning on the market,
                            A subsidiary opens in the Netherlands       is launched
                                                                                      1990                                The Penta
                                                                                      Isabella enters the German market

The Isabella Chronicle                                                                                                                      :: 11 :: Isabella Magazine
                                                                                                     Kingdom since 1970, but in 1982 the company set up
                                                                                                     another subsidiary in the Netherlands, which, in rela-
                                                                                                     tion to the country’s population, was the camping cap-
                                                                                                     ital of Europe. In 1985, another subsidiary opened in
                                                                                                     Norway, followed in 1990 by yet another in Germany.
                                                                                                     Isabella continues to have a succesful working part-
                                                                                                     nership with an importer in Sweden, which has always
                                                                                                     been one of the company’s main export markets.

                                                                                                     Developments in Denmark
                                                                                                     In the 1980s, Isabella recognised that Denmark was
                                                                                                     its most important market, not just because of the
                                                                                                     sales volume but also because close contact with
                                                                                                     caravanners and distributors at home meant that the
                                                                                                     company was in a position to develop and manufac-
                                                                                                     ture its awnings in response to the needs of the mar-
                                                                                                     ket, and to react rapidly when new trends emerged.

                                                                                                     It is no exaggeration to say that the entire European
The first large sewing room in 1969                                                                   awnings market was characterised by Isabella’s inno-
                                                                                                     vative thinking and efforts to improve quality.

                                                                                                     Until the mid-1980s, all awnings were sold with gal-
                                                                                                     vanised steel poles. In 1985, however, the demand
                                                                                                     for greater mobility lead Isabella to develop a revolu-
                                                                                                     tionary fibreglass pole system, the IXL system. The
                                                                                                     new poles weighed far less than the traditional steel
                                                                                                     poles, and their strength and flexibility meant that
                                                                                                     the system was a very close contender in terms of
                                                                                                     quality. The main advantage, as far as touring cara-
                                                                                                     vanners were concerned, was that there were far few-
                                                                                                     er kilos to carry around, and that the awnings were
                                                                                                     far easier to erect.

                                                                                                     1985 was also the year in which the largest awning
                                                                                                     on the market was launched. The pentagonal Penta,
                                                                                                     with its ingenious pole construction, did not require
                                                                                                     a support pole in the middle of the awning to hold
                                                                                                     the roof.

                                                                                                     Despite Isabella’s optimism and hard work, the fac-
                                                                                                     tory found it difficult to keep up with demand in the
Camping in the 1980s                                                                                 first half of the 1990s. The company consequently
                                                                                                     acquired TeltLarsen in Odense in 1995, and set
                                                                                                     about adapting it for its own production.

                                                                                                     Isabella responds
                                     Isabella celebrates its 40th anniversary   2000                 The pace of progress meant that there was hardly
                                                                                Isabella begins
                                                              1995              cooperation with a   time for a backward glance in 1997, when Isabella
                                                    Isabella acquires           factory in Poland    celebrated its 40th anniversary.
                                                TeltLarsen in Odense

Isabella Magazine :: 12 ::                                                                                                      The Isabella Chronicle
Juelsminde Camping in the 1990s

                                                                                                               Toilet tent – in production for approx. 25 years

Professor Glob took a number of cottage tents with him on his desert expedition among the Bedouins

The market was in a constant state of change and
development. Suddenly, there was an increase in de-
mand for cheaper products as opposed to the high-
quality awnings that were Isabella’s trademark. As a
result, the factory began to develop a new series of
products of the same high quality but with fewer fea-                                                2005
                                                                                 Construction begins on the
tures than the traditional Isabella awnings.                                    new buildings at Isabellahøj

The Isabella Chronicle                                                                                                    :: 13 :: Isabella Magazine
In practical terms, this was achieved by entering into
close collaboration with a Polish factory which was
able to fulfil Isabella’s stringent production require-
ments. This partnership, which began in 2000, has
since flourished.

Despite increased capacity in Poland and in other
locations around Denmark, it became clear after
the turn of the millennium that developments in the
market demanded further expansion at Isabellahøj.
In 2005, contractors broke ground on an imposing
new project designed to house Isabella’s new up-to-
the-minute administration offices, a new impressive
showroom and a more efficient warehouse.

Søren Odgaard’s spirit lives on
Isabella’s founder, Søren Odgaard, died in 2005
having remained active until the end. Over the last
dozen years or so, he had implemented a number of
measures designed to ensure the factory’s continued
existence, such as establishing the Isabella Founda-
tion and hiring a number of skilled managers and
employees.                                               ing phase, when future growth suddenly raises differ-   Søren Odgaard’s near legendary intuition has also
                                                         ent demands for management and development.             meant that the company is now in a position to grow
The mix of young and experienced employees has                                                                   while retaining its position as the leading awnings
been one of Isabella’s strengths over the years. A       One of the most important reasons for Isabella’s re-    manufacturer in Europe. Isabella’s products will still
number of vital managerial posts have been subject       markable transformation from a pioneering compa-        be in demand, and will continue to be copied, in the
to a gradual generation shift lately, thus ensuring      ny to the largest and most advanced specialist manu-    future.
sustained continuity and the continued development       facturer of awnings in Europe lies in its founder’s
and expansion of the Isabella factory.                   ability to appoint skilled managers and to delegate     Søren Odgaard knew that nothing comes of nothing
                                                         responsibility while keeping both feet firmly on the     – and his spirit is alive and well at the factory at Isa-
Many entrepreneurs find it difficult to keep up once       ground. And, of course, Søren Odgaard’s talent for      bellahøj.
their company has made it through the first pioneer-      handling money.

Sun-Z                                                                                 Universal 240

Isabella Magazine :: 14 ::                                                                                                                   The Isabella Chronicle
                                             Phoenix rises
                                             from the ashes...

                           By Peder Odgaard, Technical Manager

In the summer of 2004 Isabella suffered a serious fire in its
oldest showroom

     n the summer of 2004, Isabella suffered a seri-                                                              The second stage, the administration block itself, was
                                                         As Søren Odgaard stood among
     ous fire in its oldest showroom, and only the                                                                 completed on 24 April 2006 – a day that employees
                                                        the smoking embers the day after
     remarkable efforts of Vejle Fire Brigade and                                                                 from Isabella’s sales and finance departments had
                                                          the fire, he decided that a new
personnel from two fire stations in nearby towns pre-                                                              looked forward to with a great deal of anticipation
                                                         administration block and a new
vented the fire from spreading to Isabella’s produc-                                                               and excitement. They had been moved to other
                                                        warehouse should be built on the
tion hall and warehouse.                                attractive piece of land alongside                        premises, including Isabella’s existing showroom, at

                                                                  the main road.                                  the beginning of the construction process. Here, the
As Søren Odgaard stood among the smoking embers                                                                   sales representatives had established makeshift of-
the day after the fire, he decided that a new admin-
istration block and a new warehouse should be built
                                                                                ”                                 fices in the exhibited awnings, creating a small camp
                                                                                                                  site that buzzed with activity between eight in the
on the attractive piece of land alongside the main                                                                morning and five in the afternoon.
road. Three architects were invited to submit their
tenders on the basis of ideas and drawings produced    ary 2006. It rapidly proved to be extremely func-          Just one look at the bright, well-arranged floors that
by Isabella’s employees, and in August 2005 excava-    tional and efficient, much to the delight of Isabella’s     house the many offices makes it easy to see that the
tions were begun for the new 4500 m building com-
                                                       distributors. The warehouse stands like a 10-metre-        new Isabella building was worth the wait. Every fea-
plex designed by Westergaard|arkitekter.               high black monolith above an underground parking           ture discreetly reflects thorough planning and fine
                                                       garage which is much appreciated by Isabella’s em-         craftsmanship – concepts that are not unknown
As promised by the main contractor, KG Hansen,         ployees since it offers direct access to the administra-   where Isabella and its products are concerned.
the new 2000 m warehouse was opened on 2 Janu-
                                                       tion block.

Isabella Magazine :: 16 ::                                                                                                        Phoenix rises from the ashes...
As soon as you enter the new foyer, you are met by           which to present new Isabella models. In one corner       and computers to customers and business part-
a bright red 1957 Borgward Isabella coupé. Many of           of the atrium is an amphitheatre which will be the        ners throughout Europe – all from a corner of the
the company’s employees have enjoyed a trip in this          setting for many summer events arranged by Isabel-        atrium!
beautiful vehicle in connection with their service an-       la’s Art Society of which some 120 employees are
niversary. Tradition has it that they are picked up at       currently members.                                        At the top of the building, with views across the town
home and driven to Isabella for a day of celebration                                                                   and the atrium, is a showroom which is large enough
– a small but festive part of a big day.                     A new feature for users of the new Isabella build-        to exhibit a small number of special models, or for
One of the favourite parts of the new building is the        ing is that all technical functions are controlled by     small internal events. This floor also offers direct ac-
shared café. The facility has been inserted between          computer – the lights are automatically turned on         cess to the partially covered roof terrace. The sail
the two office floors and juts out above the water and         and off, the doors open only with the correct code,       that soars above the terrace is termed a hyperbolic
into the enclosed atrium like a giant drawer pulled          the external sun shades are activated when a room         paraboloid by those in the know – and Isabella’s
out of the façade. In time, the garden will become           needs cooling, and the heating system takes into ac-      white sun sail was indeed designed by textile archi-
a peaceful green oasis and a beautiful space with            count the personal requirements of the building’s         tecture experts from CENO TEC. At night it is lit
sun benches and shadow trees – the ideal setting in          users. A wireless network connects the telephones         in slowly changing shades of red, and the sail soars
                                                                                                                       above Isabella and rises towards the sky like Phoenix
                                                                                                                       from the ashes – symbol of “the new Isabella”.

                                                                                                                       With its new headquarters in Vejle, Isabella has cre-
                                                                                                                       ated a building for the future.

The sail on Isabella’s roof terrace was inspired by, among other things, the large sail that serves as the emblem of
the largest European music festival in Roskilde in Denmark. The sail is made of acrylic and was supplied by our
business partner Sattler’s subsidiary CENO TEC in Germany.

Phoenix rises from the ashes...                                                                                                           :: 17 :: Isabella Magazine
                                             Ideas in stock

By Peder Odgaard, Technical Manager

Anyone can have an idea, but great ideas take time – a lot of time.

     sabella has a large team of dedicated employ-     and prices… and what about the purchase of materi-
     ees whose time and efforts are spent finalising    als, CAD-CAM documents, brochures, translations,
     the company’s new products. Before a product      stock and production control, etc., etc.
reaches the launch stage, there are a great many
things to be sorted out first: weave patterns, sewing   In the midst of all these careful considerations and
methods, instructions, pole constructions, packaging   calculations, the product may not even make it

                                                                                                                        IsaFix locking clamp

Isabella Magazine :: 18 ::                                                                                                 Ideas in stock
                                                                                                                      Karen Ozmec, Lene Egly and Peder Odgaard

                                                                                                                                                             Hercules Twin

through all the development stages because the de-         The Vision also features a host of new design ele-
mands placed on our finished products are so high.          ments, and we believe – in all modesty – that we
This means that many ideas will not come to fruition       have created the most attractive awning ever, whose
straight away, but may instead be ‘shelved’ and al-        shape, colour and function unite to form a unique
lowed to mature. Not unlike good wines, which often        product which we are sure will be appreciated by to-
improve with age.                                          day’s caravanners.

One example of such a well-matured project is the          For 50 years, Isabella has been synonymous with
new IsaFix locking clamp. The elementary sketch for        progress and new developments within the camping
the IsaFix is more than four years old, but the “double-   industry. In the future, we will continue to bring forth
action gear box” was only technically optimised two        new ideas, large and small, which will mature and see
years ago, allowing the poles to be immobilised with       the light of day – at a caravan dealer near you!
a simple 180° twist of the handle. A patented techno-
logical breakthrough.

Another example of ideas maturing over time is the
Vision, Isabella’s anniversary model, which borrows
several ideas from the Reflex prototype (Caravan
Salon, Düsseldorf 2002), including the patterned
shade and ventilation net and the integral gutter,
which have been further developed since the Reflex

Ideas in stock                                                                                                                            :: 19 :: Isabella Magazine
                                               25 years
                                               at Isabella

            n Isabella employee’s 25th anniversary
            of service is a very special celebration
            indeed. Although officially excused from
work, employees spend the day at the office being
celebrated in style.

At the beginning of the day, employees are collected
from their home address in the grand old Isabella
Borgward by Ivan Odgaard and driven to Isabella,
where the entire staff are waiting with flags and
bunting. A reception is also held on the day, attended
by family and colleagues, and food is served in the
cafe for all employees at the factory.
                                                                 Anna Margrethe Jørgensen is greeted by flag-waving colleagues on the day of her 25th anniversary of service

Søren Odgaard introduced a beautiful tradition on
the occasion of the very first 25th anniversary at Isa-    part of the celebrations to mark an employee’s anni-      The trees that are planted are oaks, because the oak
bella. He created a park on a piece of land adjoining     versary, he or she is joined by colleagues and family,    symbolises the perseverance and loyalty demonstrat-
the factory, where a tree is planted in honour of every   and all pay a visit to the park to plant the tree. The    ed by employees who remain with the company for
employee who has worked at Isabella for 25 years. As      ceremony is accompanied by speeches and a toast.          so many years. It is also the longest-living tree in this
                                                                                                                    part of the world, and therefore the one most suited
                                                                                                                    to bear witness to the event for many years to come.
                                                                                                                    There is an old Chinese proverb which says “One
                                                                                                                    generation plants the trees, another gets the shade”.

                                                                                                                    In the cafe at Isabella, there are pictures of all em-
                                                                                                                    ployees who have celebrated their 25th anniversary,
                                                                                                                    and that’s quite a few… 24 of Isabella’s employees
                                                                                                                    have, in fact, worked for the company for more than
                                                                                                                    25 years – a clear sign that Isabella is a good place
                                                                                                                    to work.

                                                                                                                    Anna Margrethe Jørgensen and
                                                                                                                    Søren Odgaard planting an oak in the park

Isabella Magazine :: 20 ::                                                                                                                         25 years at Isabella
                                             An awning’s road to the consumer
                                             begins with the consumer

                             By Sales and Marketing Manager Carsten Dyg, Isabella

Producing, selling and servicing awnings for the caravanners of Europe
is a lengthy process – and a well-planned one, too.

               apping the needs and wishes of con-      Ready, steady, go!                                    will the production department’s sewing machines
               sumers is vital, so we always begin      Did we get it right as regards the needs and wishes   swing into action. A new Isabella awning is about to
               with the input we receive from ex-       of our consumers? Does the price match the quality?   hit the market.
perienced caravanners. The valuable ideas garnered      Do the colours follow current trends? Does the feel   Once an awning has been manufactured, it is subject
from these experts, and from our dealer network,        of the product match Isabella’s image?                to stringent quality checks before being packed and
are combined with the technical opportunities avail-    Only when the answer to all these questions is yes,   sent on to our distribution department.
able to us. Next, the R&D department takes over
– and adds its own ideas. Design, materials, possible
combinations of colours, durability and strength
under different weather conditions are just some of
the applicable parameters. The design department
produces prototypes for further review and test-
ing. Next, assessments are made during an internal
presentation round, where representatives from the
sales, R&D and production departments are given a
chance to air their views.
Together with principal players from our importers,
subsidiaries and selected dealers, we carry out a fi-
nal assessment and reach a decision on the actual
product launch.

An awning’s road to the consumer begins with the consumer                                                                       :: 21 :: Isabella Magazine
                                                                                                                       service for the lifetime of the product – and that’s a
                                                                                                                       very long time indeed!

                                                                                                                       Our motto has always been that Isabella customers
                                                                                                                       are our most important asset. And we look after the
                                                                                                                       things we value most.

                                                                                                                       Isabella drives the camping scene right across
                                                                                                                       Europe. Isabella awnings are supplied in a large
                                                                                                                       number of different combinations. All, however, are
                                                                                                                       designed with passion and a sense of the aesthetic
                                                                                                                       and the functional, built around a frame designed to
                                                                                                                       withstand the wind and the weather.

                                                                                                                       And all are created as the result of a fruitful dialogue
A new awning is marketed in several different ways          ing. Isabella’s flagship product, the Penta, is a case in   between consumers and Isabella, in the hope of an
as part of the overall process. It is exhibited at large-   point. You can read more about the Penta elsewhere         enjoyable life of camping. A free life – the freest kind
scale trade events and exhibitions around Europe.           in this magazine.                                          of life imaginable.
Press releases are sent out, and our marketing depart-
ment undertakes the actual marketing campaign.              Service
                                                            Isabella does not forget a customer once a sale has
What is most important to us, however, is for our           been completed. Our service departments, strategi-

collection to be exhibited in our dealers’ showrooms        cally positioned in local markets, ensure that our
– this is where consumers can feel the quality of Isa-      customers can have their awning repaired when
bella’s products for themselves.                            necessary. Even though an Isabella awning is both                      Isabella awnings –
                                                            elegant and sturdy, and sewn with reinforcements in                    elegant and sturdy.

What began as an in-depth dialogue between cara-            all exposed places, accidents can occasionally hap-
vanners and Isabella has now resulted in a new awn-         pen. In this way, customers are guaranteed Isabella

Isabella Magazine :: 22 ::                                                                          An awning’s road to the consumer begins with the consumer
                                              at its best

                         By William Smesman

No matter how large, elegant or well-equipped your caravan, it should
under no circumstances lack an awning. You spend almost as many
hours in the awning as you do in the actual caravan, so you should
always choose an awning of the highest possible quality – which is
exactly what Isabella offers.

           s chief editor of the Belgian camping         awning offered free by the dealer when you buy your      and dismantling the awning. In addition to solid
           magazine ‘Kampeerwereld/Camping &             caravan – you would undoubtedly regret it. Instead,      poles, Isabella is one of the few manufacturers to
           Loisirs’ I can only concur – an awning        ask him for the price of this awning, and suggest that   offer a reinforced roof canvas which prevents water
is an absolutely indispensable part of camping life.     he deduct this sum from the price of the awning you      from collecting on the roof.
An awning is the equivalent of the terrace in front of   really want, such as an Isabella awning. With 50         And if your awning were to be damaged in a severe
a house, a welcome extension to the caravan which        years’ experience, the Danish manufacturer knows         storm, you can contact the Danish manufacturer’s
brings you closer to nature. You can sit here and ob-    better than anyone what makes a good awning. Isa-        service department for spare parts. The company
serve life around you on the camping site. On holi-      bella’s products are characterised by the incredible     also offers a wealth of accessories, including organ-
day, it is the ideal place to cook and eat, or to wel-   quality of the canvas, and the many practical venti-     izers, attractive carpets, storm sashes, etc. In short,
come friends for a chat. The awning can also serve as    lation openings which largely prevent condensation.      Isabella fully deserves its position as the market
a children’s playroom or as a storeroom. The caravan     The corners of the seams are reinforced, making it       leader in awnings.
itself is only really used at night or during the day    almost impossible for them to split. The zips, which
when temperatures are low.                               are all of the highest quality, are protected by a flap
                                                         against water and damaging UV rays. Poles are avail-
Acquiring an awning                                      able in steel or an ultra-light carbon fibre material.
A good awning usually represents an investment of        Caravanners who travel regularly should choose the
around 10–15% of the price of the caravan. Be as         carbon fibre poles as they are considerably lighter
critical when choosing your awning as you are when       (weighing approx. 7 kg less than the traditional steel
choosing a caravan. You should never accept any old      poles) and much simpler to handle when erecting

Camping at its best                                                                                                                    :: 23 :: Isabella Magazine
                                              The triumphant progress
                                              of the large Penta awning

                                                                                                                  poles or guy ropes. 1998 saw the introduction of Uni-
                                                                                                                  Cut, which provided the optimum fit for the caravans
                                                                                                                  of the day. Now, in Isabella’s anniversary year, the
                                                                                                                  Penta makes its finest appearance yet with beauti-
                                                                                                                  ful colours, the finest ever light panels in the roof, a
                                                                                                                  mosquito net panel in the left side, a door in the left
                                                                                                                  corner panel and a window in the right corner panel.
                         By Tommy Boisen, Isabella
                                                                                                                  An annex attachment is now also available. The at-
                                                                                                                  tachment is added at the sides as extra equipment,
Isabella’s largest awning, the Penta, has assumed a leading position in                                           providing additional space and the option to create a
the wonderful world of camping                                                                                    sleeping cabin, for instance.

                                                                                                                  An inspiring tale
                                                                                                                  The following tale serves to illustrate the Penta’s stur-
                                                                                                                  diness: a camp site owner in the north of Jutland with

          he Penta first appeared in 1986 following       Milestones                                               a large number of permanent caravans purchased 19
          a long creative process. Isabella’s research   In 1992, an all-round canopy was added to the Penta      of the largest Penta awnings in 1998 for his rental cara-
          had revealed that caravanners wanted a         to protect the sides from dirt and water. In 1994, the   vans. He chose to leave the awnings outside both sum-
roomy awning which would be sturdy enough for            Penta was further improved with the aid of an inter-     mer and winter, even in the knowledge that the Penta
year-round camping, since the season then, as now,       nal lifting pole at the rear of the awning, making it    is not designed for winter camping. Large amounts
often began at Easter and lasted right into Septem-      self-supporting without the need for external support    of snow can crush the tent, and the canvas may get
ber and even longer for some.

Cutting-edge design
The Penta was way ahead of its time when it was
created in 1986, and as a result the basic design has
changed very little since then. Even so, today’s Penta
is a carefully designed high-technology product
which has been tested by consumers for more than
20 years. Sometimes, however, changes are needed.
The light panels in the roof, which were introduced
in 1989 to create an indoor climate which far sur-
passes that of other high-quality awnings, are just
one example of such a change.

Isabella Magazine :: 24 ::                                                                                   The triumphal progress of the large Penta awning
ripped in a storm. He defied all cautions, however, and    for caravans, and even during this anniversary year        pegging elastics, FixOn II™ screwless brackets and
equipped his awnings with steel guy ropes as well as      it is difficult to think of changes that would improve      the latest dot jacquard curtains, as well as draught
a large number of additional support poles and roof       the awning without rendering it far too intricate. The     skirt, wheel arch cover, pegs and guy ropes.
poles. He also lived on site, and always made sure that   advantage of the design is that the awning is always
he removed any snow from the roofs of the awnings.        perfectly assembled when correctly tensioned, re-          Still going strong
                                                          gardless of the caravan on which it has been fitted.        The Penta will undoubtedly be around for many years
In December 1999 Denmark was hit by the worst             I must remember to mention that the Penta’s side and       to come. Who knows – it may even live to celebrate
storm for 100 years. The awnings were particularly        front panels are made of a tough 280 g dyed acrylic        its 25th anniversary in 2011 – or even its 50th anniver-
exposed since the winds were strongest in the north of    from Isabella’s supplier Sattler in Austria. The roof is   sary in 2036. That is pure supposition, naturally, but
Jutland. The awnings made it through the worst with       made of coated polyester with an attractive and prac-      it is no doubt realistic given that the Penta has been
very little damage except for a couple of bent poles.     tical interior pattern and light panels in the same ma-    the most successful awning ever.
                                                          terial, all supplied by Ten Cate in the Netherlands.
A summer cottage                                          The base is made of polyester/PVC and includes an
The Penta has been described as a summer cottage          internal mudflap. The Penta is supplied with IsaFlex

The triumphal progress of the large Penta awning                                                                                        :: 25 :: Isabella Magazine
                                                through the ages

                          By Jørgen Frölich, DCU

The days are over when camping was seen as a cheap holiday option.
Camping, more than almost any other sector of the holiday market, has
undergone extremely rapid development and is today the preferred holi-
                                                                                                                     During the post-war years, camping sites offered no
day option for Danes.
                                                                                                                     more than a small wooden hut with a toilet bucket or
                                                                                                                     a hole in the ground, along with an outside tap.

          his is partly due to the fact that the camping   In the beginning, a farmer or a village would have a      tom of your tent. This was the height of luxury. In the
          sector has demonstrated great foresight, to      small piece of land where visitors could put up a tent.   morning, visitors would clean up after themselves,
          the extent that camping sites and caravan        In the years immediately after the Second World           gather up every wisp of straw and put it all back in
parks are often as comfortable and well equipped to-       War, only ramblers and cyclists went camping. The         the barn.
day as most homes. Not only that, but manufacturers        facilities on site were few and far between, consisting
of tents, caravans, motorhomes and camping equip-          usually of a tap and a single toilet with a bucket or a   At this time, neither plastic or air mattresses nor
ment have succeeded in supplying products of the           hole in the ground.                                       fixed tent floors had been invented, which meant that
very highest quality.                                                                                                rain and creepy-crawlies rapidly made their way into
                                                           There was no manager on site, but a man would             the tent. This was something you simply learned to
                                                                                 come around in the evenings         live with. If there was no straw around, you picked
                                                                                 at around nine P.M. and ask for     some tall grass to put under your sleeping bag, and
                                                                                 25 Danish øre per person per        a raincoat was ample protection against damp from
                                                                                 night. If you were really lucky,    below.
                                                                                 you might find a comfort camp
                                                                                 site with a small barn and some     Water-flushed toilets
                                                                                 straw you could put in the bot-     The 1950s saw the advent of water-flushed toilets and
                                                                                                                     outdoor sinks – generally installed in a lean-to. In the
                                                                                 They were sweet, those sixties      1960s, camping really took off in Denmark. Indoor
                                                                                 girls – seen here enjoying
                                                                                                                     laundry, toilet and bathroom facilities were installed.
                                                                                 themselves in a caravan from
                                                                                 that period.                        Hesselhus Camping was at the forefront of develop-

Isabella Magazine :: 26 ::                                                                                                                Camping through the ages
The greatest luxury was a small barn with straw that could be used as a mattress. There were no such things as fly sheets, but a cotton tent would keep out a shower provided
you didn’t touch the canvas. Otherwise, the rain simply came pouring through the material.

ments – it was the first camping site in Denmark to          Foreign influences                                           ter facilities. The facilities, in fact, became so good
have warm water in the taps, a large playground and         In the 1960s, caravans started to become popular.           that sites could stay open all year round. Krakær in
a common room with a television. Little wonder,             The British-made Sprite, in particular, introduced          Mols was the first site to pilot this initiative.
then, that this superb site attracted large numbers of      the caravan to Denmark.
visitors.                                                                                                               The advent of the caravan brought about a need for
                                                            These vehicles were unwelcome foreign interlopers           awnings, and Isabella was part of the evolution from
                                                            at camping sites. Sitting there in the evening in his       the very beginning. Since the factory already made
                                                            tent with his wife and kids, chilly, dressed in damp        pyramid-shaped tents and cottage tents, it was only
                                                            clothes and with wet towels that refused to dry prop-
                                                            erly in the humid weather, it was impossible for a
                                                            man not to cast an envious glance towards the lady
                                                            in the brightly lit caravan, in her nice skirt and light
                                                            blouse, making coffee in her warm and cosy cara-

                                                            Camping takes off
                                                            It was thanks to caravans that camping really began
                                                            to take off. Suddenly, the season could be extended
If a site was near a lake, all personal and dental          over and above the two weeks’ summer holiday that           In the 1960s, car drivers also began to
hygiene needs were met here. Visitors could even have                                                                   visit camping sites. Seen here is a white
                                                            people had at the time. Sites became more profitable
a bath – something that only few were lucky enough to                                                                   cotton tent along with a Volkswagen and
have at home.                                               as a result, and site owners were able to invest in bet-    an Opel Rekord.

Camping through the ages                                                                                                                   :: 27 :: Isabella Magazine
                                                                                                                                                           Kongo - 1960

                                                                                                                   Olympia Syntex 1977

                                                                                                                                                  Isabella Eskimo - 1969

natural to follow developments and begin to manu-
facture awnings. This proved to be an excellent initia-
tive, since Isabella is now one of the largest awnings
manufacturers in Europe.

The best in Europe
Although there are many excellent, well-equipped
caravan sites abroad, it is fair to say that Danish
sites, on the whole, are among the best in Europe.
There are few other places where you will find such
a variety of comfortable, user-friendly facilities, from
well-equipped kitchens with cookers, ovens and grills
to special bathrooms for children and families which
often match or exceed the facilities on offer at home.
There are, of course, also many activities on offer
including swimming pools, large playgrounds with           are being sold in huge numbers across Europe. Spe-      floor-heated bathroom with toilet, wash basins at dif-
bouncy castles and cushions, a variety of playing          cial facilities are being created for these vehicles,   ferent heights, shower and storage facilities where
fields, etc.                                                including level parking areas, refilling and emptying    they can leave their belongings and avoid having to
                                                           facilities for tanks, etc.                              queue or share a toilet with others. Experience shows
The future                                                                                                         that many families are prepared to pay up to around
Progress continues apace. The latest trend to hit to-      Private bathrooms are slowly beginning to appear.       £7.50 a day for this luxury, and perhaps save in other
day’s caravan sites are the many motorhomes, which         This means that visitors can rent their own private,    areas.

                                                                                                                   Today’s caravan sites are also at the forefront of
                                                                                                                   developments when it comes to IT, with many sites
                                                                                                                   now offering Internet cafes and wireless Internet

                                                                                                                   Isabella 500 - 1970

Isabella Magazine :: 28 ::                                                                                                               Camping through the ages
:: 29 :: Isabella Magazine
                                               It’s good to play

                                                                                                                   welcome to join in, especially with games from their
                                                                                                                   own childhood – old-fashioned games are popular
                                                                                                                   with children. Playing is free, it gives us a fantastic
                                                                                                                   sense of closeness and togetherness and it allows us
                                                                                                                   to spend some wonderful moments together while

                          By Anne-Vibeke Isaksen,
                                                                                                                   Nature playgrounds
                                                                                                                   So-called nature playgrounds, which are springing up
We grownups should play for at least an hour a day – it’s good for the                                             in many places nowadays, combine natural materials
body and the soul. Spending time with children makes you see how                                                   and physical challenges to form a cohesive whole. It
liberating it is to play. Playgrounds are a sure hit at caravan sites because                                      doesn’t really take much – children can spend hours
children rapidly find new playmates here.                                                                           playing on a climbing frame if it has been creatively
                                                                                                                   designed. Nature playgrounds are also good because
                                                                                                                   they are usually located in an open area, in a forest

         pending time with children makes you see         children, and a caravan site is a real eldorado where    or by a lake for instance, allowing the landscape to
         how liberating it is to play. Playing is good    they can expand their horizons.                          become a part of the children’s play.
         for the body and the soul – whether you
are a child or a grownup. Play leads to smiles and        Different playgrounds                                    Shapes and colours
laughter, which in turn lead to a sense of security,      Playgrounds differ widely in Denmark and abroad.         Playgrounds which incorporate bright colours and
closeness and togetherness. Children can show us          The number of stars awarded to a caravan site is of-     ingenious shapes that inspire play are a sure hit with
how to escape our busy lives, with too much screen        ten a good indicator of what you can expect from the     children, who usually spot them at a distance and
time and too little exercise. They are the first to seek   playground facilities. One thing, however, is certain:   will keep pestering their parents until they are al-
out the playground once the family arrives at the         99% of all caravan sites have a playground.              lowed to play. Isabella and the Isabella Foundation
caravan site.                                                                                                      have so far given some 60 Danish caravan sites a
                                                          Since having our children, we no longer stay in the      Kompan playground, known for its colourful climb-
The playground is a sure-fire hit at any caravan site,     same spot on the caravan site. In the early years,       ing frames and intricate shapes. Kompan are high-
because children rapidly find new playmates here.          when we brought our little tent, we usually pitched      quality Danish playgrounds with a lifetime of up
And once they do, their imagination knows no              it in the farthest corner, far from the facilities and   to 30 years. Safety is absolute provided service and
bounds. The way in which children play differs from       the other people on the site. Now that we are joined     maintenance routines are observed. In Denmark,
country to country as a result of diverse traditions      by our children aged one and three, we make camp         consultants from the Danish Camping Board visit all
and cultures. Some will know games that others have       as close to the playground as possible. That way, we     approved Danish caravan sites once a year to carry
never heard of, but children are quick to accept new      can sit and relax in front of the caravan while the      out playground safety checks.
ways of playing as long as these provide a challenge      children play. They quickly create their own universe
and bring them closer together. Camping is ideal for      and their own world through play. Grownups are

Isabella Magazine :: 30 ::                                                                                                                           It’s good to play
Parental responsibility
Although legal responsibility rests with the owner,
parents should always accompany children, espe-
cially younger ones, to the playground. This is where
all the children at a caravan site meet up, and it can
get a little boisterous on summer evenings in high
season, especially on the bouncy cushions. If you
spot a dangerous object or similar in a playground
at any time, you should notify the owner or the site
manager immediately, though without restricting the
freedom of play for children.

The rules
In short, caravan site owners who build their own
                                                            Playgrounds which incorporate

playground must ensure that it is approved by the            bright colours and ingenious
local authorities once it has been completed. The          shapes that inspire play are a sure
owner is subsequently responsible for maintenance,                 hit with children.
including safety checks. Most of the larger caravan
sites that build playgrounds nowadays use a profes-                       ”
sional firm to do so. Responsibility for playground          2
safety rests with the owner.

Further information
Go to, the Danish Play-
ground Control site, for the latest requirements and
specifications for Danish playgrounds.


Photos by Rasmus Schønning
1. Boys will be boys! It’s good to play – even if you’re
   a grownup.

2. Elite Camping Bøsøre Strand Feriepark has been
   designed around a Hans Christian Andersen theme
   – hence the large playground with well-known
   figures from the fairy tales.                                                                  6

3. TopCamp Jambo Vesterhav’s playground is
   probably the most expensive in Denmark at DKK            4
   1.5 million. “Come on down, kids” says the site’s

4. Isabella’s colourful playgrounds may be found at
   60 Danish caravan sites – here at FDM Hegedal
   in Djursland.

5. Many caravan sites keep animals, which are
   always a hit with children of all ages.

6. At Feddet Camping on Zealand, children can
   become fishermen for a day.

It’s good to play                                                                                    :: 31 :: Isabella Magazine
                                                Holidays and camping
                                                in 2031 – a time travel story

                          By Rolf Jensen, Dream Company as

                          Rolf Jensen, manager and founder of Dream Company as in Copenhagen, is the author
                          of three bestsellers: The Dream Society, published in 10 languages, Heartstorm, a book
                          about storytelling for the business community, and most recently Fremtidsmagerne
                          (due to appear in English as A Time Traveller’s Tale). The book, which was published in
                          December 2005 by Børsens Forlag, describes a journey in time to the year 2030. With
                          inspiration for the present from 2030, the book is aimed at companies that want to be
                          prepared for the future. Rolf Jensen is a popular and inspiring lecturer in Europe and
                          elsewhere, and an advisor to a number of large corporations.

Let us journey in time to the year 2031. Needless to say, the industry
rarely looks this far ahead, but just occasionally it is a good idea to get
a bird’s eye view of things in order to see the major trends.

          et’s begin by asking ourselves this: Will peo-    percentage share of disposable income spent on ex-       to live up to the standards of beauty projected by
          ple still be going on holiday by the time we      periences will increase. Experiences denote all the      society. Endless demands are placed on us.
          have celebrated New Year’s Eve another 25         emotional things that appeal to our hearts – camping
times? In the majority of European countries, people        holidays are a good example. Camping holidays are        But not so on a camping holiday! When we go camp-
are working longer hours. Will we end up working so         not part of the information society – on the whole,      ing, we are free to do exactly as we please. Sleep until
much that we no longer take time off for holidays?          we don’t go on holiday to gain knowledge or become       we wake, eat when we are hungry, go to bed when
No! Although we are working longer hours, we are            wiser. So why do we go camping? The first and most        we feel like it. Go exactly where we please. We can
also taking more holidays. Which is actually quite          important reason is FREEDOM.                             change our route, change our mind, we are free… On
sensible – our busy lives and increasing stress levels                                                               the other hand, this also means that we only have
mean that we are badly in need of fresh experiences         Statistics show that the lives of the people of Europe   ourselves to blame if we get lost. We are free to cre-
and new impressions which we cannot get at work             are subject to ever greater control. Our working days    ate our own holiday experience. We are the boss, our
and therefore need to seek out during our free time.        are getting longer and our free time is increasingly     time belongs to us and no-one else.
If the growth in international tourism continues            taken up by a variety of activities. We spend less and
apace, we will be travelling twice as much as we do         less time ‘doing nothing’, relaxing and hanging out.     The other major trend which points towards the in-
today in 25 years’ time. Twice as much. This presup-        We are constantly in demand, continuously required       creasing popularity of camping holidays is the focus
poses, of course, that we can actually afford to travel.    to act and make decisions as a result of electronic      on LOVE, ROMANCE and FAMILY. This is an im-
Prognoses indicate that the disposable income of            gadgets, the Internet and mobile phones. There is        portant aspect of the so-called ‘experience economy’.
people in the richest parts of the world will increase      less freedom and more control in our lives. At the       We are spending less time together during the week,
by around 60%. There will be more money for holi-           same time, we are being told to eat healthily, to ex-    and less time at home. Many of us see more of our
days. Tourism is a growth sector.                           ercise, to watch our weight, to stop smoking and to      work colleagues than we do of our own families. Holi-
We are rapidly moving towards an ‘experience econo-         stop drinking. To whiten our teeth, to reduce wrin-      days give us a chance to make up for this, and camp-
my’, and tourism will play an important part. The           kles. We are expected to look younger and prettier,      ing holidays are just the ticket. Camping allows us to

Isabella Magazine :: 32 ::                                                                                                           Holidays and camping in 2031
see each other in a new light. We can rejoice together
when we manage to find a good site before dark, and
we can have a moan when it is cold and wet and
we’re hungry. We may quarrel and bicker, but we’ll
be together and doing things as a family. And that is
precisely what we don’t have time for normally.

So how will the camping map of Europe look in 25
years’ time? The short answer is that there will be
more to distinguish the different destinations, and
greater choice. A camping holiday will no longer just
be a camping holiday, it will usually have a theme.
Consumers will want niche destinations: love, ro-
mance, family, freedom, nature, sport, the environ-
ment, music – the possibilities are endless. Camp-
ing destinations and camping equipment must be
adapted to these requirements. As far as caravans,
awnings and other equipment is concerned, this will
                                                           Isabella Olympia 1979
mean more product variants, more choice – standard
equipment will be harder to sell.

But that’s 25 years from now – so what can we do
to attract more people to camping in the meantime?         to take the children winter camping, suggest they vis-
                                                                                                                      If the growth in international
My answer would be to reinforce the story-telling as-      it the nearby amethyst mine. There might even be a
                                                                                                                    tourism continues apace, we will
pect of a destination. If the aim is to attract visitors   haunted house nearby – or a witch or two! The most
                                                                                                                    be travelling twice as much as we
with an interest in ornithology to Extramadura in          important thing is that every story must appeal to the
                                                                                                                        do today in 25 years’ time.
Spain, you can tell them exciting stories about eagles     heart. The best stories will succeed and attract the
and the great outdoors. If you want to entice people
to visit North Finland, tell them about Santa Claus
– who just happens to live near Rovaniemi. Tell them
                                                           largest numbers of visitors. Remember – a camping
                                                           holiday is an emotional experience.                                    ”
                                                                                                                                       By the North Sea, 2005

Holidays and camping in 2031                                                                                                  :: 33 :: Isabella Magazine
                                           Quality is not something
                                           we’re prepared to discuss!

                       By Ivan Odgaard, Production Director

As my father, Isabella’s founder Søren Odgaard, used to say: “The least
that can be expected of us is that we behave decently”.

         his statement has become the cornerstone    ings and camping equipment unrivalled anywhere in   always been that quality should be considered our
         of Isabella’s fundamental approach and      Europe.                                             main priority. This will continue to be the case in
         philosophy. By complying with the above,                                                        the future.
and always doing our best, we can manufacture awn-   Throughout the past 50 years, rule number one has
                                                                                                         As a manufacturing company, we are known far and
                                                                                                         wide for this approach, and it is therefore vital that
                                                                                                         these quality demands are met not only by ourselves
                                                                                                         but also – and equally importantly – by our suppliers.

                                                                                                         Just as customer care is important, we pay great at-
                                                                                                         tention to supplier care. Our suppliers are meticu-
                                                                                                         lously selected, and great demands are placed on
                                                                                                         them before we enter into a working relationship.
                                                                                                         We maintain a close ongoing dialogue with suppliers
                                                                                                         and their development departments in order to en-
                                                                                                         sure that the very finest, state-of-the-art technologies
                                                                                                         are employed in the manufacture of our products.
                                                                                                         We meet regularly with our suppliers to discuss ways
                                                                                                         in which we can remain at the forefront of develop-
                                                                                                         ments and ensure the best possible quality and price.

Isabella Magazine :: 34 ::                                                                        Quality is not something we’re prepared to discuss!
Once a close working relationship based on mutual         craftsmen in the industry. Flexibility, stability and,   We do everything we can to treat our employees
trust has been created, all parties work hard to ensure   needless to say, quality are all keywords that may be    decently as we are convinced this is the best way
that it can be maintained for many years to come. In      used to describe Isabella’s employees. The fact that     to achieve our business objectives. Quality is not
fact, many of our suppliers have worked with Isabella     our employees are one of our most important assets       something we are prepared to discuss – this has al-
for years – some almost from the very beginning.          means that we do our utmost to treat them well.          ways been, and always will be, rule number one at
                                                          We know that even the best raw materials can be          Isabella.
We firmly believe that quality is of the essence, and      ruined by poor workmanship. We also know that if
the best raw materials must therefore be handled          we all do our best, we can achieve the quality that
with great expertise. Since our products are unique       characterises all Isabella’s products.
pieces of craftsmanship, we naturally use the best

Quality is not something we’re prepared to discuss!                                                                                 :: 35 :: Isabella Magazine
                                               Isabella Vision
                                               breaks with awning traditions

          urope’s largest specialist awnings manufac-        But the awning’s appearance, and the many innova-            light panels made of sun-reflecting foil above the ter-
          turer, the Danish Isabella factory in Vejle,       tions incorporated in its design, will make life far         race, which give good light inside the awning and in
          will be marking its 50 anniversary in 2007
                                                             more comfortable for caravanners.                            the terrace area.
with an entirely new and highly advanced awning. The
Isabella Vision also highlights the company’s position       Isabella Vision’s unique shape makes it hard to over-        The new window section at the front has been in-
as the leading awnings manufacturer in Europe.               look. The three-metre deep awning has been extend-           spired by the floor-to-ceiling glass windows in mod-
                                                             ed at the front with a one-metre wide terrace, and the       ern holiday homes. The window is split into large sec-
In many ways, the Isabella Vision breaks with con-           sides incorporate a wide canopy with a special water         tions, and the two central sections may be replaced
ventional ideas of what an awning should look like.          run-off feature. The large roof construction has roof        by a ventilation net panel.

The highly advanced Isabella Vision will attract a great deal of attention at caravan sites around Europe, not least because of its unique appearance.

Isabella Magazine :: 36 ::                                                                                               Isabella Vision breaks with awning traditions
The sides are newly designed with a special ventila-     The many innovations include a very special gutter        caravanners can choose to cover the entire window
tion net panel at the bottom. The canopy has fixed        and run-off on both sides. The design incorporates        panel, or just the top, middle or bottom section of
sides, which means that the ventilation net panel        a “rain groove” in the outermost edge of the canopy,      the window panels.
may be left open even when it rains. In addition to      which is angled towards the centre from both sides.
the aforementioned ventilation net openings, the         A rain collector which ends in a typhoon guy rope         The Vision will be launched in a new colour combi-
awning incorporates two further panels in the front      may be connected at this point, allowing water to be      nation of tweed, copper and moonlight with pearl.
which provide additional ventilation.                    led away from the awning.                                 While the roof is made of the familiar polyester-coat-
                                                                                                                   ed canvas, the copper-coloured acrylic material has
The ventilation net panels form an integral part of      Internally, the new Vision awning is very house-like.     been given a new water-repellent coating.
the Vision design. The newly designed ventilation        This is first and foremost the result of the square win-
net pattern is also available as removable panels in     dow panels, but also because of the lack of curtains.     After several years of development, Isabella is ready
the terrace sides and the corner sections at the front   Shade is achieved by means of a system of blinds in       to present a very handy replacement for the tradi-
of the awning.                                           both the front and the sides, which is so flexible that    tional adjusting screws that form part of the pole sys-
                                                                                                                   tem. The CarbonX fibre reinforced fibreglass frame
                                                                                                                   features a locking clamp which is easily operated us-
                                                                                                                   ing just one hand – one touch. The new system is
                                                                                                                   known as IsaFix and is so far only available with the
                                                                                                                   new awning.

Isabella Vision breaks with awning traditions                                                                                        :: 37 :: Isabella Magazine
                                              Brand Manager and Chief Designer Lea Thomas Smith:

                                              Isabella launched
                                              my career

                         By journalist Erik Bisgaard

In the mid-1990s, Isabella helped Lea Thomas Smith by providing finan-                                             industry, and I have therefore maintained a close
cial support and expertise. Today, he works as Brand Manager and Chief                                            link with the company over the years,” continues Lea
Designer for one of the largest caravan manufacturers on the market.                                              Thomas Smith, who is currently busy developing a new
                                                                                                                  series of turnkey design solutions for motorhomes.

            e was very young and had trained as an       the research project was therefore rapidly forged. In    “Over the next few years, motorhomes will gradu-
            architect in Germany and as an indus-        1994 this resulted in a collaboration project to de-     ally be designed as independent vehicles rather than
            trial designer in Denmark when he first       velop new ideas for the internal design of caravans,     chassis with an accommodation unit attached,” he
came into contact with Isabella. Lea Thomas Smith,       with possible extension options provided by awnings.     explains. “They will be just as beautiful and carefully
who is British in origin but educated in Germany, was    Isabella gave the young designer a free rein and pro-    designed as cars.”
invited to Denmark as a guest of the Nordic Council      vided him with materials, knowhow and some finan-         The Brand Manager and Chief Designer believes the
of Ministers and Danmarks Designskole to contrib-        cial support.                                            EU will tighten the demands on Danish excise rates,
ute to an interdisciplinary Nordic research project in   “The aim was not to create immediate solutions,” ex-     putting the Danes in a position where they can afford
industrial design. He made a start alongside the Ice-    plains Lea Thomas Smith. “Isabella has always taken      to enjoy the benefits of a modern motorhome. The
landic designer Olafur Thor Erlendsson, and today        the long view in terms of development, so we focused     camping industry is undergoing rapid growth across
he is a professor at Danmarks Designskole, where he      on long-term ideas and solutions that have since         Europe, something which is expected to continue for
trains Danish and foreign design students. Isabella      been put into use in the camping industry,” says Lea     several years – according to Lea Thomas Smith, a
has always maintained close ties with new designers      Thomas Smith, who has gone on to enjoy a highly          designer who is very fond of Denmark!
in the camping and leisure industry, and a link with     successful career in the industry. First in Italy as a
                                                         designer of furniture for large luxury yachts, then at
                                                         the Hymer design centre in Germany, followed by a
                                                         number of years as chief designer at Westfalia with
                                                         his own design centre in Stuttgart. He is currently
                                                         employed as Brand Manager and Chief Designer at
                                                         one of the largest caravan manufactures in Europe, a
                                                         position that carries a great deal of responsibility.
                           Lea Thomas Smith              “It was Isabella that got me started in the camping

Isabella Magazine :: 38 ::                                                                                                             Isabella launched my career
  Take part for a chance to win one of:
  10 Flex windscreens
  10 Shadow 300
  10 sets of 2 Isabella microfibre cushions

  Go to to enter the competition.

  You’ll find all the answers you need in this
  issue of Isabella Magazine.

  1. What colour is Isabella’s old Borgward Isabella?

  2. What year did Isabella first build at Nørremarken?

  3. What is the name of Isabella’s new
     anniversary awning?

  The answers must reach us no later
  than 20 April 2007.
  Winners will be notified directly.

Competition                                              :: 39 :: Isabella Magazine
                                              Artist achieves
                                              synergy at Isabella

By journalist Erik Bisgaard

Artist involved in product development looks at pattern
design and colours

               anufacture and design have always         Karen Ozmec took as her starting point the feeling       Art and industry in synergy
               been essential parameters at Isabella.    that she believes lies at the root of camping life: a    According to the artist, the aim was not to produce a
               The company’s products must be of         feeling of moving out into nature, a sense of nature     new awning, but to work on a range of new ideas.
the highest possible quality, and the colours and pat-   with branches, twigs and bark just like when we were     “As an artist I am not responsible for the company’s
terns should ideally be eye-catching.                    kids building dens in the woods.                         finances, market share or sustainability, and this lack
A few years ago Isabella joined forces with Karen                                                                 of ‘responsibility’ is a real breeding ground for new
Ozmec, an artist from Hedensted, in order to foster      “I imagined a more transparent awning where you          ideas.”
new ideas and impulses in the areas of manufacture       could see the stars through the roof and the sur-
and design. This collaborative venture, entitled “the    rounding nature through the sides. I know that to-       It may be possible to further develop some of these
creative alliance”, was the result of a government       day’s caravanners have to stay on a busy caravan site,   ideas in connection with future products.
initiative to encourage industry to involve artists in   and that they cannot set up camp in the wild. I there-   In order to highlight the collaborative venture en-
the development of new products in order to achieve      fore sought to design a tent pattern that would lead     titled “Art & Industry”, the ten most productive
synergy.                                                 people to think about interwoven branches, grass         projects were exhibited at the Trapholt Museum of
                                                         waving in the fields, a kind of organic and trans-        Modern Art, and later at a camping show in Düs-
Into nature                                              parent wall against the outside world. The awning        seldorf, where the light blue awning with its inter-
Isabella was one of the organisations that welcomed      serves as a substitute home during holidays, when        woven pattern generated many column inches and
the initiative. Together with Karen Ozmec, the com-      you move out into something temporary and mobile,        attracted a great deal of attention and interest in
pany developed new thoughts and ideas designed to        something which is more open to the outer world,”        Isabella. The collaboration also benefited Karen
contribute to the company’s product development          explains Karen Ozmec.                                    Ozmec.

Isabella Magazine :: 40 ::                                                                                                    Artist achieves synergy at Isabella
                                                                                    Karen Ozmec is seen here at work in her studio.
                                                                                    The artist and her work may be seen at

Exciting                                                  is a resource-rich, friendly and well-run workplace,     Academy of Art. “The patterns featuring interwoven
“A large creative company like Isabella can in real-      and it was great to get a chance to try new materials    branches and waving grass, monotypes created with
ity manage by itself, it doesn’t really need an artist.   and to get an insight into production and IT. I can      foil from tent windows, have found their way into my
As an artist, however, you can learn a lot from this      use this knowledge in my daily work as an artist,”       world of imagery.”
kind of partnership,” says Karen Ozmec. “Isabella         explains Karen Ozmec, who studied at the Vienna

                                                                                                                              The development team at the Reflex model

Artist achieves synergy at Isabella                                                                                                 :: 41 :: Isabella Magazine
                                             Winter camping
                                             – the best there is!

                                                                                                                  the sun is shining from a clear blue sky, and the
                                                                                                                  only problem is deciding whether you’re going to go
                                                                                                                  downhill or cross-country skiing…

                                                                                                                  Needless to say, there are also campers who travel
                                                                                                                  around in their caravan in the winter. Families who
                                                                                                                  love to spend public holidays in a winter sports
By Lars Erik Paulsson
                                                                                                                  paradise, and the rest of the winter period exploring
                                                                                                                  wherever their fancy takes them.
Already, tens of thousands of families around Europe have discovered
that their caravan makes a great mobile hotel, even in the winter, and the                                        Winter camping can be much more rewarding than
number is growing year by year.                                                                                   you might think. Maybe you’re longing to go to that
                                                                                                                  tropical swimming pool 150 km from home, or per-
                                                                                                                  haps there’s an exciting musical in town that you
                                                                                                                  would like to combine with a unique culinary expe-

          rom the beautiful Scandinavian mountains     often the price is no more than the cost of hiring a       rience. In both cases, a caravan is the ideal choice
          to the sun-kissed hills of Southern Tyrol,   cabin in a popular ski resort for a week.                  when it comes to finding overnight accommodation.
          you’ll find them everywhere – caravanners
who have discovered they can set up camp at the foot   Living in a caravan in the winter is a fantastic experi-   As we have seen, there is a lot you can do with your
of the best ski runs!                                  ence, and with all the mod cons available in modern        caravan, even in the winter. But camping in the winter
                                                       caravans you won’t be cold, bored or miserable.            also means that you must prepare a little more care-
They leave their caravan set up throughout the win-    And just imagine raising the blind in the morning          fully than if you were camping in the heat of summer.
ter season, ready to be used when they need it. And    when the temperature is 15 degrees below zero and

Isabella Magazine :: 42 ::                                                                                                                           Winter camping
It is essential, for instance, that everything functions    Good things to bring
100 per cent in the caravan. A broken heating sys-          AWNING
tem, for instance, would mean having to cut your            An awning is a covered patio that protects against
journey short and return home.                              the wind, and a great place to store your winter
                                                            sports equipment. You can also use the awning to
Making sure the battery is in order is just as impor-       change out of your ski clothes to avoid getting snow
tant. The battery is the ‘heart’ of the vehicle, and        in the caravan. The pitch of the roof on the awning
without it little works.                                    must allow snow and melt water to run off the roof
                                                            freely. A special winter securing set will ensure the
The best thing, therefore, is to let a garage service the   awning is better able to withstand the weight of the
caravan carefully before you set off. The garage will       snow. A universal awning may also perform well in
check that everything is working as it should, and          some cases.                                              to choose the required length (the drop in voltage is
sort out any problems. If you know for certain that                                                                  higher with longer cables). The cables must be fit-
the caravan is in tip-top condition, you may be able        SNOW SHOVEL and BROOM                                    ted with a CEE plug, but a suitable adaptor may be
to get away with a few simple checks.                       It is always a good idea to bring a small snow shovel    required if you end up at a site with the old type of
                                                            and a broom – like the one you use for your car – to     outlet. Short tightening straps are cheap and suitable
Needless to say, both your car and your caravan must        keep both the awning and the space where the gas         for suspending the cable, and the width of the straps
be equipped with winter tyres. If studded tyres have        flask is stored free of snow.                             will ensure that the cable is not damaged.
been fitted on the car, then they should also be fitted
on the caravan.                                             PIECES OF BOARD                                          GAMES and BOOKS
                                                            You will need pieces of board to level the caravan       After a long day on the slopes you will generally be
Once you have arrived safely, there are a few things        and to place below the supporting legs and wheels.       tired in the evening, but there may be days when the
you will need to do before you can relax and enjoy                                                                   weather keeps you indoors.
your winter break:                                          ELECTRIC CABLE
• A sudden change in the weather may cause tyres            You may need a longer cable than in the summer if
  and supporting legs to freeze onto the ground, and        you are going to hang the electric cable to prevent
  it is therefore advisable to place a piece of board       it from freezing onto the ground. Ten-metre cables
  below these. The pieces of board can be left be-          are better than 20-metre cables as they will allow you
  hind if stuck.
• The handbrake on a caravan should never be en-
  gaged in the winter. The brake may freeze, pre-
  venting the caravan from being moved until the
  weather improves.
• The electric cable must be elevated to prevent it
  from freezing onto the ground. Many winter cara-
  van sites provide special overhead lines for this
• If the reduction valve has a ventilation hole, the
  valve must be turned so that the hole is at the bot-
  tom. This lessens the risk of it freezing.
• “Low cost gas” may contain water and other
  contaminants that can cause problems when the
  weather turns cold.
• Never pile snow against the caravan in the belief that
  the temperature inside will rise. The snow will block
  the inflow of air below the caravan, thereby compro-
  mising the so-called safety ventilation system.
• Never try to stop a draft by blocking roof hatches
  or other vent holes. These also form part of the
  safety ventilation system.

Winter camping                                                                                                                         :: 43 :: Isabella Magazine
                                               Spending time
                                               in the sun

By journalist and travel writer Jens Jørgen Larsen, Denmark                                                         Relaxing pace of life
                                                                                                                    Long-term campers are masters of their own destiny.
                                                                                                                    No-one tries to hurry them, there is no tour group
– it’s great to holiday in the sun, and even better when you                                                        waiting to move on to the next attraction. The pace
can stay for a while                                                                                                of life is slow, as slow as you please in fact. There is
                                                                                                                    always plenty to see in the new borderless Europe.
                                                                                                                    Some of our sunny countries are veritable treasure
                                                                                                                    troves of attractions that are rich in history and easy
                                                                                                                    on the eye. More enticing than anything, however, is
                                                                                                                    the opportunity to relax under sunny blue skies in

                e are all drawn to the sun, and some      ticular for a variety of reasons. First and foremost,     the shade of a palm or a cypress.
                European countries have more sun          the equipment used by caravanners nowadays is far         We visited a site in Spain. Be it May, June or Septem-
                than others. Many Europeans in par-       more advanced than before. It is no secret that all       ber, everything is open and the grass is green. There
ticular have therefore travelled south in search of sun   the mod cons we are used to enjoying at home can          are fewer visitors than in July and August, and the
in both the spring and autumn. Most fly, but some          now be found at caravan sites or in caravans and          prices are markedly lower in the off-season.
take their own car despite the long journey. The ma-      motorhomes, and an awning is almost as good as a
jority stay in timeshare apartments, in which some        conservatory.                                             The off-season in Spanish
own a share, while others spend five to eight weeks                                                                  It was purely by chance that we came across the fan-
in a hotel. Usually, the sun and the off-season prices    Folklore                                                  tastic caravan site Camping L’Àmfora, but then such
have been the main attraction, but the fact that older    Home comforts are thus to be had even outside the         chance events can often have very happy outcomes.
holiday-makers have retired or taken early retirement     home. But there are other factors that also attract       No doubt, we also wanted to find what we were look-
and therefore have time on their hands has also been      modern man to long-term camping in sunny climes.          ing for – a site that would be suitable for the older
a major contributing factor. Lastly, some have trav-      Caravan sites are rich in folklore. They attract people   generation. We finally found it near Girona in North-
elled to warmer climes for health reasons. Asthma         from many different countries and allow for a rich        ern Catalonia, close to the French border, and we
and arthritis sufferers in particular feel much better    exchange of languages and cultures. Add to this the       decided to stay for a while.
in the sun.                                               social aspects which are so unique to camping life.
                                                          Long-term camping holidays are also viable in eco-        Within reach
New trend                                                 nomic terms: it is no more expensive to live on a         One of the reasons for camping is that you can stay as
A new trend is now emerging, largely led by North-        caravan site – especially in the off-season – than it     long as you want when you find somewhere you like.
ern Europeans. The concept in question is long-term       is to live at home. And the pace of life at a caravan     And as a long-term camper, you have plenty of time
camping, and I have found a caravan site which is         site is usually very relaxed. Before long visitors have   on your hands. If it rains, or if the site fails to live up
absolutely ideal.                                         made new friends, be it at the swimming pool, at the      to expectations, you simply move on. The Camping
The fact is that more and more people are enjoying        bar, in the restaurant or with caravanners on adjoin-     L’Àmfora site provides a full range of services and
their retirement on caravan sites under the southern      ing pitches.                                              facilities and offers a wide variety of activities for all
sun. Caravanning appeals to the over sixties in par-                                                                ages that will keep you busy for several weeks. Water

Isabella Magazine :: 44 ::                                                                                                                   Spending time in the sun
gymnastics, an Internet café, playing fields, a fantas-      More space                                                  lot of difference since it gives a sense of space. It is
tic beach with beach-based activities and plenty of         As a starting point, it is fair to say that some caravan    not unusual to be squeezed onto a stamp-sized pitch
space for sunbathing. Those who want salt water can         sites in Southern Europe are far too big. But Camp-         at caravan sites in Southern Europe, particularly
swim in the sea, others may prefer the outdoor pool         ing L’Àmfora is different: firstly, it has been split into   during the high season. Visitors are packed in like
complex.                                                    different sections to suit different tastes, depending      sardines, so it is clearly an advantage to come in the
There are lots of restaurants, entertainment venues         on your age and the type of holiday you want. Sec-          off-season.
and attractions in the area – you may well like to          ondly, the site is very green.
bring your bicycle.                                         The size of the pitches (up to 180 m2) also makes a

Peace and tranquillity
The list is endless. This is not to say that you have
to try them all, although most activities are included
in the very reasonable overnight fee. It is up to you
                                                             You will find more information about the camping site at (English and Ger-
to pick and choose, and it is precisely this freedom
                                                             man), including the fees for overnight stays, which start at 12 euro per night for pitches measuring
which is so meaningful. The most remarkable thing            100 m2. Add to this the price per head, which starts at 3.50 euro per night.
about this site is that, unlike other large sites of this    Until the end of July, and again from the beginning of September, two adults in a caravan can stay
type, it has not turned into an amusement park. The          at the site for 15–16 euro per night at a pitch with an electrical hook-up.

noisy activities are grouped in one area, and if you         So-called luxury pitches measuring 180 m2 are also available, with hook-ups to electricity and fresh
want to stay nearby you are free to do so. If you want       water as well as a sewer hook-up. The price is 20 euro per night, and pets are allowed.

peace and quiet you can stay near the beach or the           Some of the ‘must see’ attractions in the area include Salvador Dalí’s home town and museum in
surrounding plantations.                                     Figueres, the Aiguamolls de L’Emporda Natural Park and the monastery in Sant Pere de Rodes.

                                                             NB! Remember to check your health insurance before any extended visit abroad.

Spending time in the sun                                                                                                                  :: 45 :: Isabella Magazine
                                              Anniversary camping
                                              grill menu

                         By Jesper Schytte, Chef

There is nothing like the great outdoors. Being outside is exciting and life
affirming, whether you are on a caravan site in the South of Italy or in the
Swedish archipelago.

         pending time outdoors, allowing your sens-      All you need are a few kitchen utensils and some ac-
         es to absorb all the wonderful elements of      cessories such as a grill, and you are well on your
         nature, is a balm to soothe the soul. It is     way. You may also want to get a chef’s hat – just
this unique opportunity to get back to nature that we    to make sure you look the part at the caravan site!
enjoy in our modern world, and that is why camping       And remember to buy the best ingredients you can
has become so popular.                                   find. The ingredients used in the recipes are gener-
                                                         ally available everywhere.
The addition of a great meal, a good bottle of wine or   Below are Jesper Schytte’s recipes for a starter, a
a refreshing glass of beer can only make the experi-     main course and a dessert.
ence more perfect.
Isabella Magazine has asked Jesper Schytte, top chef
at the well-known five-star Hotel Munkebjerg near
Vejle in Denmark, to create a series of gastronomic                                                             Isabella strongly recommends
delights that any caravanner can prepare.                                                                       that you do not use a grill inside
Hotel Munkebjerg is perched far above Vejle fjord on
                                                                                                                your awning because of the
the southern side of the water at a height of no less
                                                                                                                potential fire and smoke
than 97 metres. That’s quite a lot in Denmark – but
nothing compared to the highest point in the country                                                            hazards.
which measures no less than 173 metres!

Isabella Magazine :: 46 ::                                                                                                 Anniversary camping grill menu
Starter                                                 Main course                                                  Dessert
Grilled marinated salmon on a bed of asparagus and      Grilled veal entrecote with grilled peppers, tomato          Grilled pineapple with dark rum served with vanilla
rocket                                                  compote and parsley potatoes à la Munkebjerg                 crème fraiche and chopped pistachios

   Ingredients:                                            Ingredients:                                                 Ingredients:
   4 salmon fillets (approx. 100g each)                     4 veal entrecotes (approx. 180g each)                        1 pineapple
   1 lime                                                  1 red pepper                                                 200g cane sugar
   1 tbsp soy sauce                                        1 yellow pepper                                              8cl dark rum
   1 tbsp sesame oil                                       1 green pepper
                                                                                                                        2.5dl crème fraiche (38% fat)
   1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander                          6 tomatoes
                                                                                                                        100g icing sugar
   A pinch of chopped chilli                               1 onion
                                                                                                                        1 tsp vanilla sugar
   Sesame seeds                                            1 sprig of basil
                                                                                                                        Pistachio nuts
   500g rocket                                             Olive oil

   12 green asparagus                                      Salt and pepper

   12 cherry tomatoes                                      500g small potatoes

   1 lime                                                  1 sprig of parsley

   1dl sesame oil                                          50g butter

   Salt and pepper

To prepare:                                             To prepare:                                                  To prepare:
Mix the juice and peel of 1 lime with soy sauce,        Quarter the peppers and remove the seeds. Toss in            Cut the pineapple into 8 slices, remove the core and
chopped coriander, sesame oil, chopped chilli and       olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on          coat the slices in cane sugar. Grill on low heat for
sesame seeds. Pour over the salmon and marinate for     both sides until softened. Roughly chop the toma-            4–5 minutes on each side and baste with the dark
1 hour in the refrigerator, turning occasionally.       toes, mix with the finely chopped onion and basil             rum.
Prepare the asparagus and toss in olive oil and salt.   and put into a foil tray with a little olive oil, salt and

Grill for approx. 3–4 minutes, turning halfway.         pepper. Cover with tin foil and grill for approx. 30         Put the crème fraiche, the icing sugar and the vanilla
When softened, remove and cut into four pieces.         minutes. Once cooked, mash with a fork, season and           sugar in a bowl and whip until stiff.
Keep warm.                                              keep warm.

Rinse the rocket and halve the cherry tomatoes. Mix     Clean the potatoes and boil until almost cooked.

the sesame oil and the lime juice and season with       Make four tin foil packages with potatoes, butter,           To serve:
salt and pepper. Pour over the rocket, asparagus and    parsley, salt and pepper. Grill for 20 minutes. Grill        Arrange two slices of pineapple on each plate. Top

cherry tomatoes.                                        the entrecotes 4–5 minutes on each side and season           with an egg-shaped dollop of crème fraiche and gar-

                                                        well with salt and pepper.                                   nish with chopped pistachios.

Grill the salmon for 7–8 minutes.

                                                        To serve:
To serve:                                               Arrange on a plate, layering the veal entrecote and
Arrange the salmon on the asparagus and rocket          the grilled peppers. Add a little tomato compote.
salad and serve with rustic bread.                      Garnish with basil and serve with the potatoes.

Anniversary camping grill menu                                                                                                         :: 47 :: Isabella Magazine
                                              With Isabella amongst
                                              southern Poles and
                                              northern Poles

                                                                                                                Frederick William IV and carefully restored. The
                                                                                                                church tower was reconstructed using stone, how-
                                                                                                                ever, as it was felt that the tall tower would otherwise
                                                                                                                be unable to withstand the harsh mountain climate.
                                                                                                                The rest is original.

                                                                                                                Krakow very impressive
                         By Anne-Vibeke Isaksen,
                                                                                                                Unlike most of the other cities in Poland, Krakow
                                                                                                                was not totally destroyed at the end of the Second
Over the past ten years, Isabella has joined Anne-Vibeke Isaksen on count-                                      World War. This makes it well worth a visit. Krakow
less camping holidays, most recently on a trip from the south of Poland to                                      was extensively restored in connection with its status
the country’s north. The trip was made in two vehicles, with Britta and Ole                                     as European City of Culture in 2000. The market
Koch in a motorhome and Anne-Vibeke with her husband Rasmus Schøn-                                              square, which dates from 1257, was one of the larg-
ning and their two children aged one and three in a car with a caravan.                                         est in Europe for many years. Today, it remains the
                                                                                                                very heart of the city, with specialist shops, stalls,

         he idea of driving from the south to the      where you stand in the town, the view of the snow-       cafes and restaurants. You will find the presentable
         north of Poland was conceived a year ear-     clad mountains is stunning, and the endless oppor-       and elegant face of Krakow in the centre of the city,
         lier, when we passed through the north of     tunities offered by the mountains is no doubt what       but if you have time it is well worth taking a look at
Poland on a trip around the Baltic Sea. The area was   attracts the majority of tourists to the area. Artists   the more remote parts, which provide a more bal-
so interesting that we decided to return when we had   have been drawn here since the end of the 1800s          anced impression of Poland’s third largest city.
more time to explore the country in detail.            in search of inspiration for their work. Nowadays,
                                                       the main square is full of local farmers selling their   Road conditions and lay-bys
Zakopane – a real mountain town                        produce, a variety of woollen garments and the local     From the south of Poland, we head north. The lay-
At the foot of the Tatra Mountains lies the town of    speciality, oscypek, smoked cheese made of sheep’s       bys are relatively few and far between, but there is
Zakopane at 1,000 metres altitude. Regardless of       milk and formed into decorative shapes. It is a good     plenty of space at the petrol stations so we use these
                                                       idea to buy a few so you can present an unusual          instead when we need to make a stop. The few lay-bys
                                                       cheese selection back at the caravan.                    we find have no facilities, but we have all we need in
                                                                                                                the caravan and the motorhome. The roads, which
                                                       Detour to a Norwegian stave church                       are well signposted, range from excellent to rather
                                                       On our way northwards, to our surprise, we came          poor. It is obvious that the Poles are in the midst of
                                                       across a Norwegian stave church in the western part      reconstructing the entire road network, and it is even
                                                       of the town of Karpacz. The church, which is more        more obvious how far they have come. On the good
                                                       than 700 years old, stems from Valdres in Norway. In     roads we average approx. 80 km/h, but our speed
                                                       1841 the rundown church known as Vang was moved          drops to 40–50 km/h wherever conditions are poor.
                                                       to Karpacz. It was bought by the Prussian King           This is quite significant in terms of journey planning,

Isabella Magazine :: 48 ::                                                                       With Isabella amongst southern Poles and northern Poles
so it is a good idea to factor additional time into your   Home to the stork                                          trasts between the past and how far they have come
schedule so that you can adapt your driving to the         We continue our journey northwards through the             vary greatly. This applies to both the road network
prevailing road conditions.                                Mazurian Lake District, which is home to a large           and the caravan sites. The preconceptions we had
                                                           number of exciting historical sites, friendly little       before our visit have been blown away. Meeting the
Few kilometres from Belarus                                towns, stunning nature and – significantly – a huge         Polish people adds an extra dimension to a visit,
After several hours’ drive through desolate agricul-       concentration of storks. We decide to drive all the        and your money will go far here. You can read more
tural areas and forests, we arrive at the Bialowieza       way to Zywkowo, a few kilometres from the border to        about the whole journey at www.campingdanmark.
National Park, home to the European Bison, the             Kaliningrad. This tiny village, which consists of just     dk. Two programmes in the series Anne-Vibeke Re-
largest land mammal on the continent. The last wild        eight farms, has more than 50 stork nests and pro-         jser [Anne-Vibeke’s Travels], also available on DVD,
bison in Bialowieza and the Caucasus died after the        vides a unique opportunity to see the birds at close       were filmed during the trip.
First World War, but a small number of animals in          hand. The locals are happy to take you on a tour,
zoos and concentrated efforts to revive the species        and tell you all about life in the countryside. In many    See the website for further information.
have meant that there are now around 600 bison in          places, Poland remains a primitive agricultural soci-
Poland. The largest concentration may be found in          ety where the fields are ploughed with horses – an
the Bialowieza Forest. The best way to see them is         absolutely idyllic sight for visitors.
to visit the animal park just north of the town. The
park is also home to Tarpan horses, wolves, deer,          Poland – a new destination
wild boars and elks.                                       Poland has a lot to offer. Its turbulent history, excit-
                                                           ing culture, stunning landscape and friendly inhabit-
Fun at the caravan site                                    ants fighting to rebuild their country is a fascinating
Much of the trip is spent enjoying each others’            combination to inquisitive caravanners. The Polish
company at the caravan sites. The sites we find dif-        people have been through a great deal, and the con-
fer widely. Some are quite advanced with excellent
facilities, others have a long way to go. We have all
we need in the vehicles, however, so we are not re-
ally dependent on the facilities. Service at the sites
is excellent though – we are met with kindness and         Photos: Rasmus Schønning

hospitality everywhere we go. Minutes after arriving,
we have set up camp and lit the barbecue. We enjoy
our meal and a good bottle of wine under the sun
canopy in front of the caravan, happy and contented
at the end of another day spent exploring.

With Isabella amongst southern Poles and northern Poles                                                                                :: 49 :: Isabella Magazine
                                             Europe’s longest camping
                                             trip was a success

                        By Peer Neslein

Two Danish caravanners fulfilled their dream and crossed Europe towing
one of the largest caravans on the market.

They had christened the project “The Gibraltar–        ing out of caravanning for the past 19 years. He was
North Cape Expedition”. As the name implies, this      joined by TV cameraman Jann Nielsen.
was to be the ultimate camping trip, from Gibraltar    They travelled in a Hyundai Santa Fe 4-wheel drive,
at the southernmost tip of Europe to the cold North    towing one of the largest caravans on the market, the    Gibraltar to the North Cape since we set off from
Cape, where the northernmost road in Europe ends       KABE Royal 720 TDL King Size, which measures             Copenhagen. From there, we went via Paris and Ma-
307 metres above the Arctic Ocean.                     820 cm in length and 250 cm in width.                    drid to Gibraltar and Tarifa in Spain, the southern-
The project was headed by Denmark’s first profes-       Peer Neslein recounts the trip:                          most town in Europe. We completed the first 3,250
sional caravanner, Peer Neslein, who has made a liv-   “Actually, the journey was longer than the trip from     km in six days.”

Isabella Magazine :: 50 ::                                                                                     Europe’s longest camping trip was a success
Towards the north
“In Gibraltar, we turned around and set course for
the North Cape, a journey of some 6,000 km along
the length of Europe. We chose to travel along the
“Inland Road” (E45) up through the middle of Swe-
den, further up through Finland and into Norway
just south of Kautokeino. On the 20th day of our
trip, we drove the last few metres to the edge of the
North Cape plateau, 307 metres above the Arctic
Ocean. According to the odometer, we had driven
9,824 km,” explains Peer.
“Visiting the North Cape out of season was a fantas-
tic experience: a motorhome and a car were the only
other vehicles we saw apart from our own. We were
lucky, however, in that the North Cape Hall was open
between 12.00 and 17.00 on a trial basis. We were

also lucky with the weather, which was reasonably
good with temperatures a few degrees above zero.”
                                                        time, we chose to travel along the E6 down through
                                                                                                                    Along the way, we visited the
                                                                                                                 largest Norwegian camping show
South again                                             Norway. This is a two-lane road which is used by a
                                                                                                                  in Hamar, where we were due to
He continues: “And then it was time to turn the         lot of large lorries, and we often had to drive very
                                                                                                                  exhibit our caravan on Saturday
vehicle around once more and to head south. This        slowly and carefully with our two-and-a-half metre
                                                        wide caravan.”
                                                        “We quickly discovered that we could only drive
                                                        around 500 km a day on this road, as opposed to                        ”
                                                        around 700 km a day on the motorway. Along the
                                                        way, we visited the largest Norwegian camping show
                                                        in Hamar, where we were due to exhibit our caravan
                                                        on Saturday morning.”
                                                        “After 24 days we disembarked in Helsingør, and by the
                                                        time we rolled into our parking space in Brøndby and
                                                        unhitched the caravan, we had driven a total of 12,373
                                                        km. On average, we had done around 7 km/l with our
                                                        2- litre Hyundai Santa Fe turbo diesel,” says Peer.

Europe’s longest camping trip was a success                                                                                :: 51 :: Isabella Magazine
Denmark’s largest and most
expensive caravan
“We hadn’t exactly chosen the easy option since we
had decided to tow one of the largest and most ex-
pensive caravans available in Denmark, namely the
KABE Royal 720 TDL King Size, which is more
than eight metres long and two and a half metres
wide. It costs around £27,300 and is equipped like a
holiday home with luxuries such as central heating,
underfloor heating and a bathroom with a shower
cubicle. It’s a huge caravan which could make even a
circus master green with envy.”
“The reason we chose that particular vehicle is that
we wanted to see what it was like to drive around Eu-
rope with such a large caravan. And it’s been abso-
lutely fine. We only found two caravan sites in Spain
that we couldn’t enter. The roads and the sites were
simply too small. But you do have to think twice when
turning with a caravan of this size, because the rear
end easily swings out a couple of metres,” says Peer.

Isabella Magazine :: 52 ::                              Europe’s longest camping trip was a success
Equipment tested along the way
“I took the opportunity to test a range of camping
equipment along the way, including an Oyster sat-
ellite dish, a Dometic air conditioner and various
other things. It was great to be able to watch Danish
television anywhere in Europe. But the trip was also,
in some ways, an act of provocation – I wanted to
prove that it’s not difficult to tow a caravan,” con-
cludes Peer Neslein.
You can read more about the trip at www.camping- or

Europe’s longest camping trip was a success             :: 53 :: Isabella Magazine

ISABELLA through 50 years

              anufacturers across Europe have tried to copy the Isabella awn-       Today, it is difficult to imagine the German market without the awning with its
              ing with its famous portholes for decades. Needles to say, German     famous portholes. At caravan sites right across Europe you will find huge numbers
              manufacturers are no exception. Despite the efforts of the coun-      of caravanners with German number plates on their cars who have chosen to erect
try’s tent-making industry, however, the “Scandinavian look” awnings never be-      the Danish awning in front of their caravan.
came very popular.
                                                                                    Isabella’s German team has high expectations of the future, and is convinced
In 1990, a German subsidiary was established to market the compelling quality,      there is scope for further expansion. This belief is supported by the knowledge
timeless design and perfect shape of the Danish awning to German consumers.         that we have the best product on the market, and the willingness to give dealers
                                                                                    and customers the necessary service. A product is never better than the service
The Isabella awning is symbolic not just of camping, but of a special philosophy    provided with it.
and a specific image. These values were convincingly promoted to German camp-
ing enthusiasts through product presentations at trade fairs around the country,
and by a select group of trusted dealers, in accordance with a carefully planned

After just four years, the German subsidiary needed its own building with the
necessary space for an administration department, warehouse facilities, logistics
and a well-equipped service department. Priority was given to the subsidiary’s
continued close ties with the Danish parent company.

Isabella Magazine :: 54 ::                                                                                                               Importers/subsidiaries
                                                                                                   Kurt Blomqvist,
                                                                                                   Kabe’s founder

“Thank you for 40 years of working together successfully!”

          ven before his very first holiday trip in 1958, the far-sighted Kurt
          Blomqvist – Kabe’s founder – had rigged up an awning in front of his
          homemade caravan to create a shady area outside. And just a few years
later, Kurt was able to offer a variety of sun canopies and windscreens for his
mass-produced caravans.

In the summer of 1967 the Blomqvist family set off on a caravan holiday in Den-
mark, and in Vejle Kurt heard about a small local company that produced tents.
The company’s name was Isabella, like the well-known Borgward car, and the tents
were specially designed to be mounted on caravans.
                                                                                       In the summer of 1986, sales of awnings and accessories had escalated to such
Kurt Blomqvist promptly went to the newly built production facilities at what          an extent that Kabe decided to focus more intensely on this business area. Kama
is now known as Isabellahøj to see the slightly older Søren Odgaard with a view        Fritid AB was therefore established. The employees who had worked with awn-
to buying one of these awnings for his caravan. But as so often happens in Den-        ings and accessories at Kabe moved to the new company. Tommy Nilsson, who
mark, a simple transaction turned into a far more interesting exchange. The two        had been taken on in February 1964 as the first salaried employee at Kabe, was
gentlemen started talking about caravans and other shared interests, and Kurt told     appointed managing director, and Kama Fritid, which was founded on 1 February
Søren Odgaard about his company back home in Sweden…                                   1987, can now celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The two manufacturers got on well, and knowing the Danes they probably enjoyed         “Personally, I can look back at a long-standing partnership. I was made respon-
a glass or two of aquavit.                                                             sible for buying, stock and the sale of accessories at an early stage, and the sale of
                                                                                       Isabella products is therefore very close to my heart, explains Tommy Nilsson.
By the end of the meeting, Kabe had become Isabella’s principal agent in Sweden,
and it remains so to this day – even though no contracts or signatures have ever       Since the awnings were now being sold by an independent company, Kama Fritid
been exchanged. A handshake is a handshake agreed the two entrepreneurs!               suddenly found that it had extra resources available. Isabella soon gained a large
                                                                                       market share in Sweden, and more than 50% of the awnings seen at Swedish cara-
Later that summer, Søren Odgaard and one of his employees visited Småland              van sites today are made by Isabella!
and Tenhult with the first prototype awnings, and the partnership was launched.
For the first few years, the awnings were sold under the name “Kabe Originaltält”       In the autumn of 1969 Bo Ljungberg was employed by Kabe. Initially, Bo worked
and Isabella, but the Isabella name soon became so popular in Sweden that even         in the development department, but before long Kama needed help with the sale
discerning Kabe customers opted for the new brand.                                     of awnings and accessories. With just a few brief interruptions, Bo has been re-
                                                                                       sponsible for the sale of Isabella awnings in Sweden since the mid-1970s, and
In the 1950s and 1960s it was not unusual for people to build their own caravan,       Isabella’s leading position on the Swedish market is in no small part due to his
and the demand for materials and parts was huge. Many also wanted to equip             extraordinary efforts.
their caravans with a variety of practical fittings and features. Kurt Blomqvist, who
was not just a skilled engineer but a man with a nose for business, supplied Kabe      “Here at Kama, we’ve made many friends at Isabella over the years, and we al-
owners – and many others – with the accessories they needed. Kabe’s catalogue of       ways look forward to our annual visit to Isabellahøj,” continues Tommy Nilsson.
accessories became something of a bible for the caravan enthusiasts of the time.       “Isabella has always been very important for us, and the company is our most
                                                                                       important collaboration partner.”
Initially, the majority of awnings were sold through Kabe’s own distributors, but
when the “Kabe Originaltält” designation became superfluous, it was simpler for         “Thank you for everything you have done for the camping industry over the past
Kurt and his employees to sell the Isabella awnings to distributors of other cara-     50 years. Kama Fritid looks forward to continuing our successful partnership in
van makes.                                                                             future!” concludes Tommy Nilsson.

Importers/subsidiaries                                                                                                                  :: 55 :: Isabella Magazine
                                                                                         are able to offer customers a display of our products. This is the start of the chain
                                                                                         that connects us to the caravanners, and it is of great importance to us that the
                                                                                         products are sold and displayed in the right way. Major stockists of our products
                                                                                         can offer advice and supply goods instantly. During the season, we deliver goods
                                                                                         to retailers at least weekly, daily when required, and the sales teams usually com-
The Awning People                                                                        municate on a daily basis. With modern technology, we can offer up-to-the-minute
                                                                                         advice on stock and availability from our warehouse or the production lines. This

            ur company was founded back in 1957 by a Dane called Søren                   combination of high-profile customer interface and technology strengthens the
            Odgaard, who wanted to buy a tent for his holidays. Repeated at-             trust that we have developed in each others’ businesses over the years.
            tempts to find one failed, so he made his own. It is worth remember-
ing that car travel was still a relatively new phenomenon back then, and that the        Product loyalty is the mainstay of our success. Primarily, our products are second
idea of an annual holiday was still in its infancy. Before long however, he had many     to none; when problems do occur, however, they are dealt with by professional
orders from fellow campers who were impressed with his work, and Isabella was            retailers in conjunction with a dedicated and enthusiastic after-sales service team
born. Isabella Denmark is now one of the leading employers in Denmark with               at UK Headquarters. Our market research shows us that we command massive
almost 200 members of staff.                                                             brand loyalty; many customers say they would “never buy anything else”. The sup-
                                                                                         port of official dealerships with the same high standards as our own will ensure
In 1977 the first subsidiary was established in the UK, soon followed by others in        that we maintain this unrivalled position.
the Netherlands, Norway and Germany. Most of the staff in the UK office have
been with the company for many years, and all members of the team are valued             The “Product Knowledge” sessions regularly available to all Isabella Dealers con-
for their individual contribution. Throughout the whole organisation, we call our-       stitute one of Isabella’s most important customer support programmes. These
selves the ‘Isabella Family’.                                                            sessions serve to update salespeople on the latest models, innovations and acces-
                                                                                         sories, which in turn ensures that the information given to caravanners is correct
Isabella awnings have always been objects of desire, at the cutting edge of design       and up to date. The questions most frequently asked by customers often include
and innovation. We believe that the two main reasons for the company’s long-             “They’re expensive – how do I know I’m buying the right one for me?” and “How
lasting success are value and quality. We can boast 50 years of continuous develop-      do I make sure mine lasts a long time?” Our aim is for all our staff and retailers
ment in design and attention to detail, and our objective is to provide caravanners      to be able to confidently explain all the technical details to our customers. We are
with the very best quality materials and finished products. Making a top-quality          always happy to share our knowledge on materials and manufacturing processes.
awning involves employing the best workers and using state-of-the-art machinery.
Isabella workers are trained in-house, and their comments and suggestions are            Although built on a solid foundation of many years’ experience, Isabella is also
always welcome.                                                                          changing with the times. In some ways we are responding to the changes in cara-
                                                                                         vans, but we are still confident we can continue to lead the awning market in the
In 1976 Isabella was one of the first awning manufacturers to use acrylic materials       future. Sales of the larger awning sizes have increased steadily, and we can also
– slightly heavier than traditional cotton, but colour-fast, non-rotting, and quick to   supply porches to those who do not want an awning that stretches the full length
dry. The following year we introduced awnings with 6-metre long zips and remov-          of their caravan. We have expanded our porch range as this market has grown
able panels. In the mid-1980s came the IXL fibreglass frames, stronger and lighter        rapidly over the past eight years. Lately, we have also introduced the very popular
than traditional steel. These were enhanced and reinforced in 2005 with carbon           Ventura range, marketed separately and distinctly from Isabella. Many first-time
fibres, and renamed CarbonX. More than 95% of Isabella awnings sold in the UK             caravanners are choosing these products as an introduction to Isabella.
today have CarbonX frames.
                                                                                         We have a full time webmaster, and have launched two dedicated sites with up
Our awnings are made in Denmark and other EC countries, and the influences                to date news and information, featuring model technical specifications and also
of all European markets can be seen in the products we manufacture. All sales            containing the history of all caravan sizes from across Europe. We are working
teams meet the Danish design department every year to develop new awnings for            with the latest technology in all areas, and find many customers these days prefer
the various markets. Feedback from customers and retail outlets is an important          to contact us by e–mail.
part of the agenda.
                                                                                         For 2007, we are delighted to introduce our vision for the future, new features
Some UK retailers have been selling Isabella awnings for almost 30 years, and they       and new awnings, all designed by the Danish experts in response to the needs of
are now also selling the new range of Ventura awnings, which are made under li-          the UK market.
cence to Isabella. Retailers are carefully selected and have their own exclusive mar-
ket area. Caravan companies are often family owned and operated, ensuring empa-
thy and an understanding of customers and their needs. We look for outlets that

Isabella Magazine :: 56 ::                                                                                                                        Importers/subsidiaries
NL:                                                                                  Orange-
Isabella Denmark celebrates its 50th anniversary
                                                                                     coloured giant
            alf a century ago the founder of Isabella, Søren Odgaard, had an idea.
            Today, we can safely say that it was a really good idea.

            Isabella has been one of the leading suppliers of awnings for many                    alf a century ago, I first came across a so-called ‘caravan’. A well-to-do
years. Isabella is always on the lookout for new opportunities, always at work on                 neighbour came driving down the road towing one of these contrap-
new models designed to make caravanning more comfortable and caravan sites a                      tions, closely followed by a whole flock of children. The children were
great deal more attractive.                                                          so excited that the proud owner of the caravan parked it on a small field nearby
                                                                                     and started to erect an awning in front of it. By the time this giant had finally
Over the years, the company has successfully established a number of subsidiaries    been erected, the children had all gone, tired of waiting. I only remember that
in different European countries.                                                     the awning was orange. It probably wasn’t an Isabella awning, since Isabella had
                                                                                     only just been established in Denmark at that time. When I acquired my first used
Isabella Nederland celebrates its 25 anniversary this year. We are a full subsidi-
                                                                                     caravan, some twenty-five years later in 1982, a similar orange awning was part of
ary of the parent company in Denmark, and we can always count on its full sup-       the deal. And it probably took as long to set it up as it took for Isabella to become
port in the shape of a huge wealth of know-how. Isabella Nederland has its own       established in the Netherlands.
service department, which enables us to supply most spare parts rapidly.
                                                                                     We only managed to erect our awning once, and that was enough. If it had been an
The Internet has undergone a dramatic revolution over the past few years, and        Isabella awning, things would have been very different. I know, from experience,
Isabella certainly hasn’t wasted any time. A fast and attractive website with huge   that they are far easier to erect. And I’ll give Isabella this: the company has always
amounts of information, background reading and technical details is now avail-       been at the forefront of developments when it comes to quality and innovation.
able.                                                                                The most surprising new features have almost always come from Denmark. A
                                                                                     real market leader. In addition to Isabella’s anniversary, this fact also merits many
Despite these technological advances, we are proud of the fact that the production   happy returns. So – congratulations Isabella!
of awnings still relies largely on real craftsmanship. Thanks to stringent produc-
tion standards and the use of the very best materials, we are ready to face the      Fred Voorbergen, Chief Editor
future. Together, we can make caravan sites even more attractive.                    Kampeer & Caravan Kampioen

Importers/subsidiaries                                                                                                                :: 57 :: Isabella Magazine
NO:                                                                                 FR:
ISABELLA NORWAY                                                                                 amping Distribution became Isabella’s representative in Belgium and

        sabella moved into the Norwegian market in the 1960s. Isabella’s products               Luxembourg at the end of 1999, and establishing a first-class dealer
        were brought to the Norwegians by one of the most well-respected members                network from the season 2000 onwards was therefore the main chal-
        of the country’s camping industry, namely Hans-Kristian Nielsen. He was a   lenge. Initially, there were already 4 Isabella dealers in Belgium. With our efforts,
real pioneer who turned caravan holidays into a popular movement. Today, he is      we rapidly established a network of 10 dealers and we now have 15 dealers ready
an honorary member of Norsk Caravan Club and the Norwegian trade organisa-          to cover the Belgian market – Wallonia as well as Flanders – in 2007. At the begin-
tion.                                                                               ning of 2003, it was decided that Camping Distribution should handle the French
                                                                                    market as well, establishing yet another Isabella network. In April 2003 we started
At the beginning of the 1970s the baton was passed to Perry Breesth, who went on    working with Narbonne Accessoires as an official Isabella distributor/dealer in
to take the company’s products to new heights via Isabella Norway. He was joined    France. Narbonne Accessoires Group sells caravan and motorhome accessories
in 1975 by Trine Lise Garberg, and on 1 October 1985, when the Danish parent        on the French market, specialising in awning sales. Narbonne had 45 outlets
company chose to concentrate further on the Norwegian market by establishing a      across France in 2003, a number which will have risen to 52 by the end of 2006.
subsidiary, it seemed only natural for responsibility to be transferred to her.     Camping Distribution’s policy is the same as for Isabella DK, Isabella subsidiaries
                                                                                    and importers – namely to provide the best awning products with the best service
Progress has been steady ever since, and we can look back at many successful        to our customers, be they dealers or caravanners. We also aim to expand our
years in terms of both turnover and market share.                                   dealer network around Belgium, France and Luxembourg.

In 1994 the company moved to new premises. These were considerably expanded         Camping Distribution is led by François Morici, with the assistance of his wife
in 2000. Thomas Andreasson was appointed marketing manager in 1994, and be-         Véronique Morici. “Like Søren Odgaard, we started our business at home using
tween 1985 and today the number of employees has increased from two to seven.       a small room measuring no more than 3.5 by 4 metres as an office. In December
                                                                                    2005, we moved into new premises just behind our private home. Using modern
In addition to supplying the Norwegian market with awnings and equipment, Isa-      technology, which makes communication fast and simple, we work very closely
bella Norway has also set up its own sewing room, which specialises in repairs.     with Isabella DK on a daily basis. We are proud to be a part of the Isabella family,
The company has played an important role in the camping industry in Norway,         and we very much enjoy our work.”
through its advertisements in national and local trade journals and magazines and
attendance at trade shows both locally and nationally.

Isabella Magazine :: 58 ::                                                                                                                   Importers/subsidiaries
Importers as
                                                                                                                    porter since 1969, and has thus represented Isabella
                                                                                                                    and its products in a most professional manner for
                                                                                                                    more than 35 years.

                                                                                                                    Iceland’s geographical location makes it one of the
                                                                                                                    smallest markets in Europe, but Isabella’s products
                                                                                                                    have been available on this North Atlantic island for
                                                                                                                    several years thanks to a solid working relationship
                                                                                                                    with Gísli Jónsson. Here, camping is a way of life

            s an exporter, Isabella is fully aware of    events in connection with distributor meetings and         and it takes many different forms – caravans are not
            the importance of maintaining a good         trade fairs. As a result of this close working relation-   what take up the space due to the often rather poor
            working relationship with its coopera-       ship, our importers are often able to recognise some       and impassable roads.
tion partners around the world.                          of their own ideas in new initiatives, helping them to
                                                         see the importance of cross-border communication           Switzerland is an interesting European market in
Our importers are all equally important, whether         for optimum results.                                       terms of caravanning. A range of different import-
they come from Finland, Austria, Iceland, Switzer-                                                                  ers represented Isabella until the turn of the millen-
land, Italy, Portugal, Poland or Sweden – and col-       Isabella welcomes all good ideas, and we try to incor-     nium, when the company’s subsidiary in Germany
laboration is the key.                                   porate any suggestions that can improve our prod-          took over distribution to the Swiss dealers. There is
                                                         ucts for the benefit of caravanners the world over.         no longer a Swiss importer as such, but a series of
Collaboration is absolutely essential, because col-                                                                 highly professional dealers.
laboration is what allows us to influence the local       Isabella therefore knows the importance of being
sales and service organisations.                         approachable and open to new information, and the          Essebi in Bolzano has represented Isabella’s interest
                                                         value of exploiting new know-how.                          in Italy for over 15 years.
Isabella’s importers are therefore carefully chosen.
We firmly believe that cooperation must build on          As a modern production company Isabella is, and            Portugal has been a major market for the past 10
mutual trust and understanding of the product and        always has been, dependent on skilled cooperation          years, and Isabella is represented here by Marcampo.
the organisation. We feel our importers trust us as      partners for the sale of its products. This applies both   This is an achievement as the awning standard here,
much as we trust them – and this trust is the basis of   to dealers at home and, just as importantly, to its for-   as in other Southern European countries, is quite
our mutual success.                                      eign contacts. Isabella has established local subsidi-     different from other areas that we work in.
                                                         aries on all of its largest markets around the world,
Isabella’s importers work very hard for the company      with the exception of Sweden, where sales have been        The latest addition to the family tree is Poland. Fol-
and its products, and Isabella values them all very      handled by an importer since the end of the 1960s.         lowing its inclusion in the EU, Poland is fast on
highly. The company often works with the same busi-      Part of Isabella’s success can also be attributed to       the way to becoming an established market for the
ness partners for many years, and these partnerships     the efforts of a handful of skilled collaboration part-    well-known Isabella awnings. Isabella is currently
create bridges between countries, allowing both pro-     ners that have acted as importers in their respective      represented by ProCamp, a company that also im-
fessional and personal friendships to grow.              countries. In Finland, Caravan Company (and more           ports caravans. Isabella has also established a close
                                                         recently one of its subsidiaries by the name of Kehä       working relationship with other parties manufactur-
We support many local initiatives in order to ensure     Caravan Tukku) has proved an excellent importer,           ing in this country, and future developments can be
that our importers feel in tune with Isabella.           having represented Isabella’s interests in a highly        expected.
                                                         professional manner since the mid-1970s. Isabella’s
It is important for Isabella to know that caravanners    awnings and accessories have also been imported by         From time to time, on a smaller scale, Isabella ex-
who purchase our products are treated well, no mat-      Kama OY to Finland since the mid-1990s. These two          ports to other countries and believes that wherever
ter where that purchase is made. The service custom-     companies, which both function as wholesalers for          there are caravanners, there are possibilities for the
ers receive from our importers must be as good as        caravan accessories, represent Isabella in Finland         future.
that which is provided by our subsidiaries.              and do so very professionally indeed.

This is only possible if a close link is established     The same is true of the largest caravan distributor in
between the different countries, with those involved     Austria, Helmuth Pusch Wohnwagen. Pusch Wohn-
paying frequent visits abroad and taking part in         wagen, which has branches in five different towns in
both the planning and implementation of a range of       Austria, has functioned as the Austrian Isabella im-

Importers/subsidiaries                                                                                                                :: 59 :: Isabella Magazine

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