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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bornholm Island
Country Denmark
Region Region Hovedstaden
Municipality Bornholms Regionskommune
Coordinates 55°08′0″N 14°55′0″E / 55.133333°N 14.916667°E / 55.133333; 14.916667
Area 588 km2 (227 sq mi)
Population 42,817 (2008)
Density 72.82 /km2 (189 /sq mi)
Municipality since January 2003
Mayor Winni Grosbøll
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Bornholm Island (far right) in Denmark
Bornholm and Christiansø (Ertholmene) with 5 former municipalities in green colour

Bornholm (Danish pronunciation: [b̥ʌnˈhʌlˀm] or [bɔʀnˈhɔlˀm]) (Old Norse: Burgundaholm, "the island of the Burgundians") is a Danish island in the Baltic Sea located to the east of (most of) the rest of Denmark, the south of Sweden, and the north of Poland. The main industries on the island include fishing, arts and crafts like glass making and pottery using locally worked clay, and dairy farming. Tourism is important during the summer. The topography of the island consists of dramatic rock formations in the north, sloping down towards “pine and deciduous forests” (greatly damaged by storms in the 1950s) and farmland in the middle and sandy beaches in the south.[1]

It also refers to Bornholm Regional Municipality, the municipality (Danish: kommune) which covers the entire island. Bornholm was one of the three last Danish municipalities not belonging to a county— the others being Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. On 1 January 2007, the municipality lost its short-lived (2003 until 2006) county privileges and became part of Region Hovedstaden (i.e. the Copenhagen Capital Region).

The small islands Ertholmene are located 18 km (11 mi) to the northeast of Bornholm. They do not belong to either a municipality or a region but are administered by the Ministry of Defence.

Strategically located in the Baltic Sea, Bornholm has been a bone of contention usually ruled by Denmark, but also by Lübeck and Sweden. The castle ruin Hammershus, on the northwestern tip of the island, is the largest medieval fortress in northern Europe, testament to the importance of its location.



Many inhabitants speak bornholmsk (Bornholmian), which officially is a dialect of Danish.[2] However, among many Bornholmians there is also a strong public sentiment towards having it officially accepted as language, backed by it recently being included among the languages of Skåneland by UNESCO on its Red Book of Endangered Languages.[3] Bornholmsk retains three grammatical genders, like Icelandic and most dialects of Norwegian, but unlike standard Danish. Its phonology includes archaisms (unstressed [a] and internal {{[d̥, g̊]}}, where other dialects have [ə] and [ð̞, ʊ / ɪ]) and innovations ([tɕ, dʝ] for [kʰ, ɡ̊] before and after front-tongue vowels). This renders the dialect difficult to understand for some Danish-speakers. However, Swedish-speakers often consider Bornholmian to be easier to understand than standard Danish. The intonation resembles the Scanian dialects spoken in the nearby Scania, the southernmost province of Sweden.


Unofficial flag of Bornholm.

Bornholm Regional Municipality is the local authority (Danish, kommune) covering the entire island. It comprises the five former (1 April 1970 until 2002) municipalities on the island (Allinge-Gudhjem, Hasle, Nexø, Rønne and Aakirkeby) and the former Bornholm County. The island had 22 municipalities until March 1970, of which 6 were market cities and 16 parish municipalities. The market city municipalities were supervised by the county and not by the interior ministry as was the case in the rest of Denmark. The seat of the municipal council is the island's main town, Rønne. The first regional mayor was Bjarne Kristiansen. The mayor as of 2010 is Winni Grosbøll, a member of the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterne) political party.

Ferry services connect Rønne to Świnoujście (Poland), Sassnitz (Germany), Køge (near Copenhagen, Denmark) and catamaran to Ystad (Sweden). Simrishamn (Sweden) has a ferry connection during the summer. There are also regular catamaran services between Nexø and the Polish ports of Kolobrzeg, Leba and Ustka. There are direct train and bus connections Ystad-Copenhagen, coordinated with the catamaran. There are also air connections from the Bornholm Airport to Copenhagen and other locations.

Bornholm Regional Municipality was not merged with other municipalities on 1 January 2007 as the result of the nationwide Kommunalreformen ("The Municipal Reform" of 2007), which is quite understandable, since the island, as can be seen on maps, is quite far from the rest of Denmark.


Hammershus Ruin.

In Old Norse the island was known as Borgundarholm, and in ancient Danish especially the island's name was Borghand or Borghund; these names were related to Old Norse borg "height" and bjarg/berg "mountain, rock", as it is an island that rises high from the sea.[4] Other names known for the island include Burgendaland (9th century), Hulmo / Holmus (Adam of Bremen), Burgundehulm (1145), and Borghandæholm (14th century).[5] Alfred the Great uses the form Burgenda land.[6] Some scholars[7] believe that the Burgundians are named after Bornholm; the Burgundians were a Germanic tribe which moved west when the western Roman Empire collapsed, and occupied and named Burgundy in France.

Landsat satellite photo
Wind mill in Gudhjem, Bornholm

Bornholm formed part of the historical Lands of Denmark when the nation united out of a series of petty chiefdoms. It was originally administratively part of the province of Scania and was administered by the Scanian Law after this was codified in the 13th century. Control over the island evolved into a long-raging dispute between the See of Lund and the Danish crown culminating in several battles. The first fortress on the island was Gamleborg which was replaced by Lilleborg, built by the king in 1150. In 1149, the king accepted the transfer of three of the island's four herreder to the archbishop. In 1250, the archbishop constructed his own fortress, Hammershus. A campaign launched from it in 1259 conquered the remaining part of the island including Lilleborg. The island's status remained a matter of dispute for an additional 200 years.

Bornholm was pawned to Lübeck for 50 years starting 1525. Its first militia, Bornholms Milits was formed in 1624.

Swedish forces conquered the island in 1645, but returned the island to Denmark in the following peace settlement. After the war in 1658, Denmark ceded the island to Sweden under the Treaty of Roskilde along with the rest of the Scanian provinces and Trøndelag and it was occupied by Swedish forces.

A revolt broke out the same year, culminating in Villum Clausen's shooting of the Swedish commander Johan Printzensköld on 8 December 1658.[8] Following the revolt, a deputation of islanders presented the island as a gift to King Frederick III on the condition that the island would never be ceded again. This status was confirmed in the treaty of Copenhagen in 1660.

A immigration of Swedes, notably from Småland and Skåne, occurred during the 19th century, seeking work and better conditions. Most of these people did not remain on the island.

Bornholm, as a part of Denmark, was captured by Germany relatively early in the Second World War, and served as a lookout post and listening station during the war, as it was a part of the eastern front. The island's perfect central position in the Baltic Sea meant that it was an important "natural fortress" between Germany and Sweden, effectively keeping submarines and destroyers away from Nazi occupied waters. Several concrete coastal installations were built during the war, and several coastal batteries had tremendous range. However, none of them were ever used and only a single test shot was fired during the occupation. These remnants of Nazi rule have since then fallen into disrepair and are mostly regarded today as historical curiosities. Many tourists visit the ruins each year, however, providing supplemental income to the tourist industry.

Rønne, Bornholm.

On 22 August 1943 a V-1 flying bomb (numbered V83, probably launched from a Heinkel He 111) crashed on Bornholm during a test - the warhead was a dummy made of concrete. This was photographed or sketched by the Danish Naval Officer-in-Charge on Bornholm, Lieutenant Commander Hasager Christiansen. This was the first sign British Intelligence saw of Germany's aspirations to develop flying bombs and rockets - which were to become known as V1 and V2.

Bornholm was heavily bombarded by Soviet forces in May 1945. Gerhard von Kamptz, the German superior officer in charge of the island garrison refused to surrender to Soviets, as his orders were to surrender to the Western Allies. The Germans sent several telegrams to Copenhagen requesting that at least one British soldier should be transferred to Bornholm, so that the Germans could surrender to the western allied forces instead of the Russians. When von Kamptz failed to provide a written capitulation as demanded by the Soviet commanders, Soviet aircraft relentlessly bombed and destroyed more than 800 civilian houses in Rønne and Nexø and seriously damaged roughly 3000 more during 7-8 May 1945.

During the Russian bombing of the two major cities on 7 May and again 8 May, the Danish radio was not allowed to broadcast the news because as it was thought it would spoil the liberation festivities in Denmark.[9]

On 9 May Soviet troops landed on the island and after a short fight, the German garrison (about 12,000 strong[10]) surrendered.[11] Soviet forces left the island on 5 April 1946.

More recently NATO radar installations have been placed on the island.

After the evacuation of its forces from Bornholm, the Soviets took the position that "The stationing 'foreign troops' on Bornholm would be considered a declaration of war against the Soviet Union, and that Denmark should keep troops on it at all times to protect it from such foreign aggression". This policy remained in force also after NATO was formed and Denmark joined it - i.e. the Soviets accepted the stationing of Danish troops, which were perforce part of NATO but were far from that alliance's most powerful element, but strongly objected to the presence of other NATO troops on the island - particularly, of US troops.

This caused diplomatic problems at least twice: once when an American helicopter landed outside the city of Svaneke due to engine problems in a NATO exercise over the Baltic Sea, and once (sometime between 1999 and 2003) when the Danish government suggested shutting down Almegårdens Kaserne, the local military facility, since "the island could quickly be protected by troops from surrounding areas and has no strategic importance after the fall of the Iron Curtain".

Historical architecture

The island also hosts some notable examples of 19th and early 20th century architecture, amongst others, about 300 wooden houses in Rønne and Nexø, donated by Sweden after World War II, when the island was repairing damage caused by the war.

Famous people

The Danish painter Oluf Høst was born in Svaneke in 1884.

The Danish writer and painter Gustaf Munch-Petersen moved to Bornholm in 1935 and married Lisbeth Hjorth while living on the island.

At age 8, socialist writer Martin Andersen Nexø moved to the island, and took his last name after the city of Nexø on its east coast.

M.P. Möller, a pipe-organ builder and manufacturer, was born on Bornholm and lived in a town a few miles south of Allinge.

Electricity Supply

Bornholm is connected to the Swedish electricity grid by a submarine 60 kV AC-cable, which belongs to the longest AC-cables in Europe. This cable is capable to deliver all power consumed on Bornholm. Bornholm has however also own power generation by small thermal power plants and especially by wind turbines.

References in popular culture

Ruins of Hammershus, a Medieval fortress.

The island is home to 15 medieval churches, four of which are Round Churches and display unique artwork and architecture.


Weather data for Bornholm
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.1
Average low °C (°F) -1.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 51
Sunshine hours 36 58 106 168 238 240 222 208 137 88 46 34 1,580
Avg. precipitation days 11 7 9 7 7 6 8 8 9 10 12 12 103
Source: DMI (Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut)[12] 05-12-2009

Other islands in the Baltic Sea

See also




  1. ^ Blecher, Lone Thygesen; George Blecher (2004). Swedish Folktales & Legends. University of Minnesota Press. pp. xvi. ISBN 0-8166-4575-2.  
  2. ^ Peter Skautrup, Det Danske Sprogs Historie, Gyldendal, 1968, vol. 4, p. 105ff.(Danish)
  3. ^, "UNESCO: Bornholmsk er i fare", October 25 2009
  4. ^ Mallory, J.P. and D.Q. Adams. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997: p. 269
  5. ^ Politikens Nudansk Ordborg (1993), 15th edition, entry "Bornholm" (Danish)
  6. ^ King Alfred's Anglo-Saxon version of Orosius, London, 1859, edited by J. Bosworth
  7. ^ Essai sur l'histoire du peuple burgonde, de Bornholm (Burgundarholm) vers la Bourgogne et les Bourguignons, 1965, by Rene Guichard, published by A. et J. Picard et Cie.
  8. ^
  9. ^ En Ø i krig / An island at war by Børge Kure
  10. ^ "Soviet Information Bureau report, 11 May 1945". Retrieved 2007-09-17.  
  11. ^ "Bornholm during World War II". Retrieved 2007-09-06.  
  12. ^ "Weather Information for Bornholm" (in Danish). Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut. Retrieved 12 May 2009.  


  1. The Island of Bornholm, a chapter in Selected Prose by Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin, 1969, Northwestern University Press.
  2. The Battle of Bornholm in The hidden folk: stories of fairies, dwarves, selkies, and other secret beings, by Lise Lunge-Larsen, 2004, Houghton Mifflin.
  3. The Templars' Secret Island: The Knights, the Priest, and the Treasure, 1992, by Erling Haagensen and Henry Lincoln
  4. Behind the Da Vinci Code, 2006 documentary by The History Channel
  5. Bornholm i krig 1940-1946 (Bornholm in War), Bornholm museum, 2001, ISBN 8788179494. Book of photos from World War II.
  6. Bernt Jensen: Soviet Remote Control: the Island of Bornholm as a Relay Station in Soviet-Danish Relations, 1945-71, in Mechanisms of Power in the Soviet Union, Macmillan Press, 2000, ISBN 0-312-23089-3.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Scandinavia : Denmark : Bornholm

Bornholm [1] is Denmark's crown jewel. `The Pearl of the Baltic' has sandy beaches on the south of the island which are renowned for their Mediterranean light and feel. Its forests impart a more rugged feel than found elsewhere in densly-populated Denmark. Though practically unknown to Americans, this island of light is a favorite vacation spot for Scandinavians, Germans, and Poles. Its position in the middle of the Baltic (it is closer to Sweden, Poland and Germany than to rest of Denmark) gives both a secluded, yet international feel.

Bornholm is an island located in the Baltic Sea 37 km south of Sweden. The island is roughly 588 square kilometres and has 158 km of coastline. Bornholm is widely known for its smoked herring, high quality arts and crafts and its beautiful nature.

View of Bornholm from Hammershus
View of Bornholm from Hammershus


As of January 2003 Bornholms five regions assembled into one administrative and political unit called Bornholms Regionskommune. As of January 2007 Bornholm belongs to the Capital Region. (Hovedstadenregionen) This means that Bornholm has been administrativly fused with Copenhagen.

  • Hammershus A large ruin at the northernmost point of the island.
  • Joboland An amusement park with a small water park, animals and rides.
  • Almindingen The third largest forest in Denmark.
  • Bornholms Kunstmuseum The largest art collection on Bornholm. Include such artists as Oluf Host (Høst), Karl Isakson and many others.
  • The Medieval Centre of Bornholm A small rebuilt city from the medieval times. They have stalls, demonstrations, food, performers and special activities for children. Every year a large market is held for a week in mid-July. Enthusiasts from different countries attend and the centre is turned into a large theater with all kinds scenes from the everyday-life of the medieval. The climax is a huge battle with canon smoke, bowmen, tournament on horseback and knights in armor.


Bornholm has a long history as a military and political center in the Baltic ocean. The history goes back to the famous Vikings. Numerous findings at southern Bornholm indicate that Bornholm was a well established trading point. Poland, Sweden and Germany are all in the range of 100km. That made Bornholm attractive for the Danish king and the archbishop of Lund and the city of Lübeck during medieval times. Catholics who fasted were only allowed to eat fish and other similar things, so that in the 13th century herring was the main income source on Bornholm.


The European plague struck Bornholm in the middle of the 14th century and halved the population. It was also during this time that Hammershus was constructed, as well as the famous ‘round churches’. From 1525 to 1576 Bornholm was in pawn to Lübeck, because the Danish king Frederik I had been supported it in his rebellion against the Swedish King Christian II. The people of Bornholm were suppressed with high taxes and forced work. The people of Bornholm tried to break free but the revolt was fought down in the battle of Ugleenge.

Granite quarry near Hammershus
Granite quarry near Hammershus

Early Modern

A battle between Denmark and Sweden in 1645 led to Swedish control of the island, but it was brief - they left again the same year. In the Roskildepeace of 1658 Bornholm, Skaane , Halland and Blekinge were given to Sweden. Again the people were forced to pay high taxes to the suppressive forces. The Danish king advised the people of Bornholm to fight back. In 1658 the Swedish commander of Bornholm was killed in Rønne, and the people of Bornholm freed themselves from years of foreign command. Bornholm was given to the Danish king as ‘his island’. Jens Kofoed, Poul Anker, Peder Olsen and Villum Clausen became champions of liberty. The same four men have, in modern times, given name to the ferries from Bornholmstrafikken.

World War II 1940-1946

Bornholm was Danish until World War Two, and then was it taken over by the Germans and later freed by the Russians in 1945; the Russian wouldn’t leave Bornholm because of the progressing cold war and only left after being given some special privileges.

The Cold War 1946 - 1989

Bornholm was NATO’s Fist towards the east, but a Russian (Soviet) declaration after World War II stated that the placement of "foreign soldiers" (NATO) on Bornholm wasn't allowed. So, it was only Danish soldiers who were allowed duty at Bornholm. Because they were able to listen to Soviet, Polish and East German military radio transmissions from a location much further to the east of any other NATO members, enabling military movements and reinforcements deep within the Soviet Union to be monitored, Denmark's contribution to shared NATO intelligence was very highly valued, particularly at times of international tension. More recently NATO radar installations have been placed on the island.


As in other places in the world, Bornholm felt the industrial revolution during the 19th century, and in 1843 its Hasle klinker (clinker)was established, it was one of Bornhom's biggest export ventures since the herring in the middle ages. Also, the underground of Bornholm was and still is today a major part of the Bornholm industry. Bornholm is an island of Granite. Bornholmstrafikken (formerly known as ‘Dampskibsselskabet af 1866’or The Steamship Company of 1866) was founded in 1866 and is still the regular route to and from Bornholm.

A view of the closed factory, Hasle Klinker
A view of the closed factory, Hasle Klinker

Bornholms main income source has, as an island, always been the ocean which surrounds it, and in the 1970s thru the 1980s the fishermen of the island were so successful that many of them became really wealthy. No one ever wondered about the quantity of fish they pulled up in their boats until the beginning of the 1990s. The harbors and processing facilities were all rebuilt to be prepared for a new season of fishing, but the season was called off by marine biologists. Because of overfishing, the sea was empty, there were no fish in it. That led to a crash in the industry because one man at sea could keep six on shore at work – in processing facilities, shopping, service and maintenance.

five kinds of granite on Bornholm (from Aakirkeby square)
five kinds of granite on Bornholm (from Aakirkeby square)


Today Bornholm is a popular travel destination for many people in the Baltic region as well as tourists from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Poland and Denmark who are a common sight in the summertime.


As Bornholm has many tourists each year most people speak either English, German or Swedish, the exception being most of the older population. Almost all tourist folders are to be found in English, German, Polish and a Scandinavian language.

Get in

By aeroplane

There is an airport in Rønne and numerous regular flights on a daily basis to Copenhagen are operated by Cimber Sterling and Bornholms own airline, Wings Of Bornholm. Also, Bornholm Airport is an international gateway fulfilling all requirements linked to this fact. Naturally direct booking and luggage check-in to foreign destinations via Copenhagen Airport is available at the ticket office in our air terminal.

International Departures and Arrivals

  • Widerøe [2]- Oslo to Bornholm Tuesday and Sunday in the period 5. July – 12. august 2007.
  • Lufthansa [3]- Hamburg to Bornholm in the period 7.april to the 27. October 2007 at saturdays.

Domestic Departures and Arrivals

  • Wings Of Bornholm [4] and
  • Cimber [5] - Copenhagen to Bornholm regular all year.

By ferry

International Departures and Arrivals

Domestic Departures and Arrivals

Get around

You can get to the island by ferry or airplane, but the island also provides excellent opportunities for arriving by private boat. It’s easy getting around either by car, bus or bicycles.

By taxi

You can hail a taxi on the street, or call for one to come pick you up at a specific address. A taxi can be ordered at + 45 59 95 23 01.

The charge for a trip from the airport to Rønne is approximately €7, and a trip from Rønne to Nexø(longest distance) is €50.

By bus

There are 9 bus lines connecting cities and attractions. Some stops are designed for getting off, walking a scenic route and getting on a bus at the next stop.

Image:Rutekort regionale.jpg

The BAT 24 hour ticket at €18 can be a good deal if you travel a few times and do not want to worry about the rates and zones.

By bike

The easiest way to explore Bornholm is by bike, the longest distance on the island is 36km. there are excellent biking facilities all over Bornholm. It is easy to rent a bike at Bornholm an the charge varies from place to place but about €10 for a day and €20 for a whole week.

Østerlars round church
Østerlars round church
  • Almindingen - third largest danish forest
  • Dueodde
  • Hammershus
  • Round churches
  • The old part of Rønne
  • Slotslyngen - wild nature near Hammershus
  • Bicycling
  • Sunbathing
  • Walk/trekking
  • Almindingen - The third largest forest in Denmark
  • Paradisbakkerne - Home of 'Rokkestenen' a massive rock aprox. 35 tonnes.
  • Dueodde - The sand is ultra-fine and inviting. The water is clear and clean with lots sand bars, so there is both shallow and deep water close to the shore.
  • Balka - Balka is the most popular beach on Bornholm. It is several kilometres long and has very fine sand and shallow water.
  • Antoinette - A beach north of Rønne, plenty space to be your self and enjoy the weather and ocean.
four kinds of herring
four kinds of herring
  • Smoked herrings are a speciality of the island. You can get them at smokehouses in seaside towns, such as Arnager, Gudhjem or Snogebæk, where they also sell other fish and seafood delicacies.
  • Sol over Gudhjem Smoked herring on rye bread with a raw egg yolk on top.
  • Marinated herrings
  • Other seafood. Eg. scrimps, salmon, sole, and eel.
  • Another specialty of the island is rye crackers, made by Johannes Dam in Aakirkeby
  • A variey of local cheeses.
  • Smoked herring
  • Glass art. There are many small glass workshops around Bornholm.
  • Ceramics
  • Granite

Bornholm is famous for its many high quality crafts such as blown glass and textiles. Visit the different shops and exhibits.

  • Bornholmer Bryg beer made by Svanke Bryghus [10] and available in most bars and restaurants on Bornholm.
  • Bornholmer Snaps snaps made on Bornholm Den Bornholmske Spritfabrik ApS [11] available at almost any store at Bornholm.
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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Danish Bornholm.


  • IPA: /ˈbɔrn.həʊm/

Proper noun




  1. a Danish island in the Baltic Sea



Proper noun

Bornholm c.

  1. Bornholm


Proper noun

Bornholm c.

  1. Bornholm


Proper noun

Bornholm c.

  1. Bornholm

Simple English

Bornholm is a small, rocky island in the Baltic Sea. Bornholm is a Danish island.

The island is a popular holiday resort for Scandinavians, Germans and Poles. Many yachters come here in the summer.

At the end of World War II, the island was "liberated" by the Soviet red army, and held for several months after the German surrender. The island lies far east of the demarcation line between the allied forces in Europe. For some time the Soviet presence looked like an occupation. It was not until April 5th, 1946 that the island at last was free. But then the Danish government took over and the island is today a Danish colony. But the struggle for a free island still goes on as it can be seen on this page Free Bornholm


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