25 Fantastic industries
Industry is a vital cog in the wheel of Danish history. The Heritage Agency of Denmark is therefore highlighting the values of Danish industry. Click the menu on the left to find out more about the 25 fantastic industries.
Industry is the essence
Industrialisation has shaped the Danish society and culture as we know it today. The landscapes, buildings, goods, tools, technology, workplaces, factories, etc. that are part of modern life are firmly rooted 150 years back in time.
In one way or another, all industries have had an impact on anyone born or brought up in Denmark. And the impact is in evidence everywhere in many different ways.
25 national industries
In 2004-2007, the Cultural Heritage Agency of Denmark implemented a special project to throw light on and preserve the heritage of the industrial society – and to enhance museum research in industrial history. As one of the results, 25 industries were selected that are of special importance to Denmark and industrialisation.
The Agency also chose and described 161 regional industrial heritage sites, conducted a wide range of surveys of harbours, cement industries, sugar refineries and industrial art and defined best practices for reusing harbours and industrial buildings.
This was achieved to reflect how industry is a valuable aspect of Denmark's cultural heritage and to draw attention to the importance of these industries for Denmark's national history.
The 25 industries weave a picture of Denmark's industrial history from 1840 until 1970. There are three long 'waves':
The first wave of industrialisation – 1840-1890
In about 1840, industry began to play a larger role. Although the first steam engine in Denmark was built in 1788-90, steam engines and mechanical production were uncommon before 1840. But during the period 1840-1890, the new technology spread.
At the same time, more and more industrial companies were established in and a network of railways and harbours gradually covered Denmark. Most companies were small.
The second wave of industrialisation – 1890-1950
From about 1890, steam engines were gradually being edged out by electric and diesel engines, and companies began to use more energy. In other words, more of the work was mechanised and companies were investing in more machines.
The companies grew in size, and rationalsed planning of both work processes and the factories themselves was the order of the day. Both employees and employers formed unions.
The third wave of industrialisation – 1950-1970
From about 1950, mass production became widespread in Danish industry inspired by American models. There was more planning and rationalisation. New consumer goods appeared in the shops – refrigerators and televisions, plastic goods, medicines and other commodities.
Meanwhile, instead of still pinning its hopes on the domestic market, industry was gearing up to export a large share of its production. From around 1930 and until around 1970 crafts and industry was the economic sector employing most people.