Short History briefing:
The below text is the general known
Bornholm was formed 1,700 million years
ago, but it was only 10,000 years ago that the first humans came to the
island in hollowed-out tree trunks.
The Vikings, who ravaged much of Europe from the sea at around the turn
of the last millennium, also persecuted Bornholm.
On an outcrop of rock between Ekkodalen
(Echo Vally) and Jomfrubjerget (Virgin Hill), a rampart was built that
served as a refuge for the peasant population during attacks from the
sea. The oldest royal castle in the Nordic region, Lilleborg (Little
castle), is situated at Almindingen.
In the southern part of the
Paradisbakkerne (Paridise Hills), there is an even more ancient refuge,
from around the year 500, when the people of Bornholm fought against
wandering tribes. Gamleborg (Old Castle), situated in the
Paradisbakkerne (Paridise Hills), was also used as a defence against the
Vikings. Still more ancient are the many passage graves and dolmens from
the Neolithic Age, a large number of barrows and rock carvings from the
The Swedish War
The 800-year-old meter-thick walls in
the island's four roundchurches, the castle ruins of Hammershus and the
many refuge castles stand as clear testimony to the island's more recent
history, with its battles against pirates, against plundering foreign
fleets, against the church and royal might.
During the Swedish War of 1658, the
people of Bornholm decided to free themselves from the Swedes. They shot
the Swedish commandant and handed over the island to the king of
Denmark, who had to promise never to cede Bornholm to foreign powers.
At the end of the Second World War,
Bornholm's two largest towns, Rønne and Nexø, were bombed and occupied
by the allied Russian forces. The occupation lasted eleven months after
the end of the war.
After the bombs
After the bombings towards the end of
the war in 1945, Rønne and Nexø were extensively rebuilt. A gift from
the Swedish state enabled 300 wooden houses to be constructed in the two
towns. The areas in which they are located have been maintained, and
even Swedish town planners travel to the island to see how it was done.
The history of Bornholm since the Second World War has been shaped by
the Russian bombing and occupation of the island. The will of Bornholm
to defend itself is reflected in a Home Guard that, in proportion to the
size of the island, is unequalled in Denmark. The three armed forces are
all represented on the island, which is of major strategic importance to
NATO. This is the eastern listening post of the Atlantic Alliance that,
particularly during the Cold War and the turmoil in Eastern Europe,
played a vital role in supplying information to the rest of the world.
Despite the great distance of the island from the Danish capital,
Copenhagen, and the rest of the country, a large majority of the people
of Bornholm wish to retain the link with Denmark. There has, however,
constantly been a Bornholm independence movement that desires autonomy.
Thus, in many places, the special Bornholm flag can be seen; unlike the
Danish flag, it sports a green cross. Until 1970, Bornholm consisted of
15 rural districts and six municipalities. In the municipal reform, they
were consolidated into five, i.e. Allinge-Gudhjem, Hasle, Nexø, Rønne
and Aakirkeby. Higher-level issues are dealt with by Bornholms Amt (the
County of Bornholm). Today all five including the Amt (County) have been
consolidated into one.
The new County is now also a part of the new Regions in Denmark and
Bornholm have been placed under Copenhagen.
Far out in the Baltic Sea
For the first 20 years following the
Second World War, Bornholm's isolated situation acted as a brake on
developments on the island. The introduction of car ferries on the
Copenhagen and Ystad (Skåne) routes served to accelerate development.
Ferry transportation to and from Bornholm is still important. In 1973,
the State took over the Bornholm shipping company. At the end of 1999,
the first catamaran ferry was put into service on the route between
Rønne and Ystad, cutting sailing by half. Combining this with the
Øresund bridge, the journey time between Copenhagen and Rønne was halved.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Bornholm has found itself situated
in the middle of the Baltic Sea with close links to the surrounding
Our history and hopes:
Bornholm had its own king until 1097, when a Catholic Christian crusade
conquered Bornholm and ruled over the island until 1526, when the Catholic
Church due to Martin Luther lost its power in Northern Europe.
When the Protestant church was new and poor was one of Bornholm’s four
Shires Pawned for money, from about 1140 to 1270 to different noblemen and
for a short time also to the Danish king. In 1270 the deposit for
Bornholms forth shire was paid.
So from 1270 until 1526 was the entire Bornholm an independent Catholic
country with out any duke or king to rule it.
Zartmann and Jørgensen who wrote bornholms history for over 100 years ago,
thought that the "holm" (islet) the art bishop in Bremen who by the way
never had been to the Nordic, wrote about in 1060 was Bornholm. But it was
Zealand. The bishop wrote that Denmark’s most famous harbour was on
"Holmen". And so it still does and it is called Copenhagen and the place
Holmen which is on Zealand. Bornholm was then an independent kingdom and
was called Bårrijnhålm.
when the Catholics lost their power to Luther the King of Denmark, Norway,
Iceland, Faeroe island, Skåne, Halland and Blekinge and Slesvig-Holstein
became Bornholm also one of the countries the king ruled over.
The old Bornholmish laws was kept intact, most of them until the 1890's.
king in Copenhagen owed the Hansa-union in Lübeck a lot of money, so the
first he did after the conquest of Bornholm was to pawn the country
Bornholm to Lübeck for 50 years from 1526 till 1576.
Just as the 429 years under Catholic rule we Bornholmere had some good
years except for the first, in the 50 years under the rule of the grocers
also in those years and the years before that, that the peasants in
Denmark and other places became slaves under noblemen, counts and barons.
But the Bornholmish peasant and citizen have always been free people who
made their own decisions and defended their country Bornholm.
and 1658 the Swedish-Finish king conquered Slesvig-Holstien and most of
Denmark. To get this land back the Danish king in Copenhagen gave some of
Norway and Skåne, Halland, Blekinge and Bornholm to the Swedish-Finish
after about a year the people of Bornholm made rebellion and killed the
To get protection from Sweden the rebel group sailed to Copenhagen to give
the land back to the Danish king. But with the claims of being made free
of most taxes which we were from 1659 till 1890's.
And that Bornholmere only should be soldiers ON Bornholm and those
Bornholms old laws should still be in force.
came under Danish rule and enjoyed it for the next 200 years, until the
king gave up the power written in Grundloven (constitution law) of 1849.
With the constitution law we got majority dictatorship where the Danes
suppressed the rest of the minorities in the country. As a result of that
Iceland took the opportunity to break loose in 1944 while Denmark
co-operated with the German government in Berlin.
after a long struggle also Greenland and the Faeroe island got home rule.
And it is that we now fight for in Bornholm.
the Russian bombing of our two major cities on May 7th. and again May 8th.
The Danish radio was not allowed to broadcast the news because it would
spoil the liberation dances in Denmark.
for new buildings didn't afterwards come from Denmark, but from Sweden.
Bornholm was occupied by Russia until 5. April 1946 and we have ever since
been a Danish colony.
Where our language is not allowed in the schools, not written in the news
papers, not used on TV2 - Bornholm and we are over flagged with the Danish
flag, to really show us and the world who is our rulers.
any official statesmen, UN member come by and read this. Then I / we
pledge you to use your voice in your parliament or in the UN to speak our
The people of Bårrijnhålm / Bornholm.