Havneudsigt Esbjerg

Cradle of Esbjerg


In the Second Schleswig War of 1864, Denmark lost South Schleswig and Hamburg, which was an important port for exports. This led King Christian IX to sign the 1868 bill to establish what is now the Port of Esbjerg. The port was to be Denmark's new gateway to the…

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Denmark's Chicago

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Time / Periode 1874
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Esbjerg is nicknamed Denmark's Chicago because in its first decades after the opening of the dock, the town underwent high growth and a rapid population increase. By the time Esbjerg gained market town status in 1899, its population had increased to around 13,000. A great many of the migrants to Esbjerg were fishermen, who came from the whole of the west coast of Jutland with an eye on the opportunities presented by the new harbour. The railway reached the town simultaneously with the inauguration of the dock in 1874, which made it possible to sell and export fish. Although never the plan, Esbjerg went on to become Denmark's largest fishing port. Port of Esbjerg has been extended many times over, but the dock still exists and is referred to as the cradle of Esbjerg.

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Rebecca Elliott
, more than 6 years ago

I am quoting from my grandmother, Jennie Jensen Lee, in a book she began to write before she died. "As I have said, I do not know exactly the chronology of events, but it was about this time that Grandfather's third fishing vessel capsized in the turbulent North Sea waters and in his own words, 'I stood empty handed and as poor as the day I started, only this time I had an invalid wife, one teenager, and her four minor brothers and sisters.' Then he remembered an event of his training days in the Danish Navy. I may quote him verbatim, because the story as he related it to me on my visit to Denmark when I was 26 still lingers so vividly that I'll tell it as he related it to me, his spellbound American granddaughter. 'We were on a naval training mission in Iceland. The Crown Prince of Denmark was a member of our training unit. He was trying to shoot ducks on the wing, but was missing consistently. I tapped him on the shoulder saying, 'Excuse me, your highness, but maybe I can show you a secret I have', and proceeded to fell the duck at which I aimed with the ease of a skilled marksman, which I happened to be. It wasn't long before we were both dropping ducks as fast as we aimed. Sometime before our paths were to part at the end of our service term, the Crown Prince said earnestly, and I was sure he meant every word, 'Heidi, if ever in your life I can be of assistance, do not hesitate to let me know.' That day when I stood empty handed and poor, I remembered. By this time the Crown Prince had become King. Grandfather had decided that when age would make it necessary, he would apply for a pilot's license in the Esbjerg harbor via the usual channels of examinations, waiting lists, etc. Now he decided that he was through with the sea and it was time to use the Crown Prince's promise. His commission came through as fast as the stroke of the King's pen could be put into action. My great great grandfather, Soren Heide, was appointed a harbor pilot in Esbjerg by the King of Denmark. He has been identified in a photograph of other pilots in the naval museum in Denmark. Their address at the time my grandmother visited them was 92 Havnegade, Esbjerg. I have googled mapped it, but notice now that Havnegade only goes to number 73.

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Denmark's Chicago

Esbjerg is nicknamed Denmark's Chicago because in its first decades after the opening of the…

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