Svendborg (Danish pronunciation: [ˈsfɛnbɒːˀ]) is a town on the island of Funen in central Denmark. The town is in Svendborg municipality (population 58,998 in 2010). Svendborg is the second-largest city on Funen and has a population of 27,113 (1 January 2010).
In 2000 Svendborg was declared "Town of the year" in Denmark, and in 2003 celebrated its 750th anniversary as a market town.
Svendborg is also home to the “Naturama” museum, which has exhibitions of all kinds of stuffed animals e.g. birds and bears.
The largest container ship company in the world, A.P. Møller-Mærsk has its origins in Svendborg, in the "Villa Anna", and it remains in the hands of Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller.
A branch of University College Lillebaelt (Danish: University College Lillebælt) can be found in Svendborg.
The first recorded mention of Svendborg occurred in 1229 in a letter by Valdemar the Victorious, where he refers to the fortification, known as Svinæburgh. The explanations for this early form of the name varies. Some attribute the name to the excessive numbers of pigs (Danish: svin) in the area, others to large numbers of Harbour Porpoises (Danish: marsvin), while still others hold that the name simply implies that it is a fortress located by the sound.
In 1236, the Greyfriars monastery in Svendborg was established. The Greyfriars would be part of the city for the next 300 years, until the Protestant reformation in 1536. The ruins of the monastery were partly excavated in 2007.
In 1253, the city was granted market town privileges by King Christopher I.
During Medieval times the city was fortified with walls and moats. The defense system also included a small number of fortresses. Most historical facts about the medieval defense system, including the locations of fortifications, are disputed, as little archaeological evidence has been generated. In spite of this, it is a popular theory that the three towers in the coat of arms are the three fortifications("Skattertårnet", "Kyseborg" and a third unnamed one).
During the time of the Protestant reformation and the Count's Feud in the 1530s, the citizens of Svendborg joined forces with the King. Ørkild Castle, located just east of Svendborg, was property of the bishop of Odense, who was less than popular among the citizens of the city. The tension resulted in the castle being seized and burned down by an angry mob in collaboration with the King's forces. The King's forces would later, after ending their north-going campaign on Funen, return to pillage and plunder Svendborg.
After 1536, Svendborg went through a brief period of progress, but it would not last for long. In the following 250 years, the city would have to face various setbacks in its development, such as plague, hostile occupations and one major fire.
It was not until the end of the war with England and the Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century that the city started to progress quickly. The population grew from a mere 1,942 people in 1801 to a population of more than 11,500 in 1901. This development was followed by improvement of the infrastructure, such as railway connections being established to Odense, Faaborg and Nyborg, improvement of the local roads and the establishment of a real harbour suited for extensive trading, since goods could now easily be transported there. In the middle of the 19th century an explosion of industrialization happened, and all kinds of factories, from engineering factories to breweries were established. Modern gas and water supplies were established.
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