The Museum Sønderjylland
(The Museum of Southern Jutland)
is a special museum for natural history, cultural history, and art. The museum comprises a series of both small and large departments which are spread out across Southern Jutland. The departments specialize in various exhibitions and activities. Southern Jutland also offers a series of independent museums, which The Museum Sønderjylland cooperates with on a daily basis. These are mentioned in the back of this brochure.
This is already evident from about the end of prehistoric Denmark, when the region, along with the present-day German Schleswig, established a cultural unity called Sønderjylland, from the fourteenth century, Slesvig.
The Eider is portrayed early on as the southern border of Sønderjylland, and at the end of the seventh century, a boundary wall was constructed to the south - the Dannevirke. In the twelfth century, the river Kongeåen was the northern border of the region; Sønderjylland is described as the area 'sønden å' (south of the river). In early medieval times, the Danish king placed a border guard – often one of his sons – in the area. This was necessary because Sønderjylland has throughout history been the bridgehead to Scandinavia and thus an area prone to attack from the south. From around 1200, the border area of Sønderjylland became the duchy Slesvig. Although the duchy was a fief under the Danish Crown, the dukes strove for independence. During medieval times, the connection between the Duchy of Slesvig and the German duchy of Holstein grew closer. From 1460 the Danish king became the duke of both duchies. The connection between Slesvig and Holstein grew stronger, despite the fact that the two duchies were split between separate dukes. Under the collective name 'the Duchies', the entire area was one of the economically most important territories to the Danish Monarchy until the nineteenth century.
From around 1830, nationality came to play an increasingly important role and the question of whether Schleswig and Holstein should become independent or belong to Denmark or to Germany became increasingly significant. This culminated in the two wars over Slesvig in 1848-50 and 1864. In 1864, Slesvig was annexed by Prussia and became a part of the German Empire. In 1920, the former duchy was split at the current border on the basis of a referendum.
Sønderjylland, or North Schleswig, became a part of the Danish Kingdom for the first time since the thirteenth century and South Schleswig became a part of Germany. However, in both areas there are still national minorities: a Danish minority south of the current border and a German minority north of the border. In addition, a Frisian minority lives on the west coast of South Schleswig.
At the museums website www.museum-sonderjylland.dk you will find information on opening hours, ticket prices, email addresses etc. You will allso find information about exhibitions and other events.