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Ribe (German: Ripen), the oldest extant Danish town, is in southwest Jutland and has a population of 8,188 (1 January 2010).[1] Until 1 January 2007, it was the seat of both the surrounding Municipality, and County. Ribe is now part of the enlarged Esbjerg Municipality in Region of Southern Denmark.



Established in the first decade of the 8th century[2] and first attested in a document dated 854 AD; Ribe is the oldest town in Denmark.

When Ansgar the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, set out on the "Mission to bring Christianity to the North", he made a request in 860 to the King of Denmark, that the first Scandinavian church be built in Ribe. This was not coincidental, since Ribe already at that point was one of the most important trade cities in Scandinavia.

However the presence of a bishop, and thus a cathedral, in Ribe can only be confirmed from the year 948 AD.

The town has many well-preserved old buildings, Ribe Cathedral, c. 110 houses are under Heritage Protection. Denmark's oldest town hall is found on the town's Von Støckens Plads. The building was erected in 1496, and was purchased by the city for use as a town hall in 1709.


  • Early 8th century AD, founding of Ribe.
  • The Treaty of Ribe was proclaimed in 1460.
  • 1580, 3 September: A great fire destroys a large part of the town. 11 streets and 213 houses burn down.
  • 1634, 11–12 October: A storm tide floods the city with waterlevels rising to 6.1 meters above average.
  • 2007, 1 January: The Municipality of Ribe ceased to exist as it merged with the municipalities of Esbjerg and Bramming, now forming a new municipality of Esbjerg.
  • 2010, 4 June: Celebrated the city's 1300th anniversary with a town-wide party[3]

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