The city of Aabenraa or Åbenrå , with a population of 15,760 (1 January 2011), is situated at the head of the Aabenraa Fjord, an arm of the Little Belt
Little Belt
The Little Belt is a strait between the Danish island of Funen and the Jutland Peninsula.The belt is about 50 km long and 800m to 28 km wide, the maximum depth is approximately 75 m, and contains numerous small Danish islands....

, in Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, 38 miles (61 km) north of the town of Schleswig. Its name originally meant "open beach" . Aabenraa is located in Aabenraa Municipality
Aabenraa Municipality
Aabenraa Municipality or Åbenrå Municipality is a municipality in Region of Southern Denmark in south-western Denmark. It has existed in its current form since 1 January 2007 following a merger of several smaller municipalities. The municipality has an area of 951 km² and a total population...



Aabenraa started growing in the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 around Opnør Hus, the bishop's castle, and received status as a merchant town in 1240. During the Middle Ages the town was known for its fishing industry and for its production of hops
Hop (plant)
Humulus, Hop, is a small genus of flowering plants native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The female flowers of H. lupulus are known as hops, and are used as a culinary flavoring and stabilizer, especially in the brewing of beer...


Between 1560 and 1721 the town was under the rule of the Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp.

The town's glory days were during the period of the 1750s to c. 1864, when ship traffic was at a high growth rate with trade to the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, and Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. It possessed a good harbour, which afforded shelter for a large carrying trade, Aabenraa having the Danish monarchy's third-largest trade fleet, after Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 and Flensborg
Flensburg is an independent town in the north of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Flensburg is the centre of the region of Southern Schleswig...

. The city had a number of well-known shipbuilding
Shipbuilding is the construction of ships and floating vessels. It normally takes place in a specialized facility known as a shipyard. Shipbuilders, also called shipwrights, follow a specialized occupation that traces its roots to before recorded history.Shipbuilding and ship repairs, both...

 yards, which were known for their fine ships. The most famous of these was the clipper
A clipper was a very fast sailing ship of the 19th century that had three or more masts and a square rig. They were generally narrow for their length, could carry limited bulk freight, small by later 19th century standards, and had a large total sail area...

 Cimber, which in 1857 sailed from Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 to San Francisco in 106 days. Fishing and various small factories also provided occupations for the population.

From 1864 as a result of the Second War of Schleswig
Second War of Schleswig
The Second Schleswig War was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question. It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig.Denmark fought Prussia and Austria...

 it was part of Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, and as such part of the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

, and from 1871 onwards, part of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

. In the 1920 Schleswig Plebiscite that brought Northern Schleswig to Denmark, 55.1 % of Aabenraa's inhabitants voted for remaining part of Germany and 44.9 % voted for the cession to Denmark.
After the 1948 Danish spelling reform
Spelling reform
Many languages have undergone spelling reform, where a deliberate, often officially sanctioned or mandated, change to spelling takes place. Proposals for such reform are also common....

, which abolished the digraph Aa in favor of Å
Å represents various sounds in several languages. Å is part of the alphabets used for the Alemannic and the Bavarian-Austrian dialects of German...

, there was fervent resistance in Aabenraa. The town feared, among other things, to lose its status as first in international alphabetical listings. A later revision of the spelling rules allowed for retaining the Aa spelling as an option. While the municipality of Aabenraa and most local citizen use the Aa spelling, Åbenrå remains the option recommended by the Danish Language Board
Dansk Sprognævn
Dansk Sprognævn is the official regulatory body of the Danish language as a part of the Danish Ministry of Culture, and resides at the University of Copenhagen. It was established in 1955...



The town has a 7.5 meter (25-ft) deep harbour, with a significant shipping trade. There is varied industry in the city, including Marcussen's Organ Building (Marcussens Orgelbyggeri) and Callesens Machineworks (Callesens Maskinfabrik). The city is the administrative center for the county. Danmarks Radio
Danmarks Radio
DR – officially rendered into English as the Danish Broadcasting Corporation – is Denmark's national broadcasting corporation. Founded in 1925 as a public-service organization, it is today Denmark's oldest and largest electronic media enterprise...

 has an office in the city. A significant German
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 minority live in Aabenraa and they publish "Der Nordschleswiger" newspaper in German.

Some significant buildings in the town are St. Nikolai Church (St. Nikolaj kirke) from the time of King Valdemar
Valdemar II of Denmark
Valdemar II , called Valdemar the Victorious or Valdemar the Conqueror , was the King of Denmark from 1202 until his death in 1241. The nickname Sejr is a later invention and was not used during the King's own lifetime...

 with construction beginning ca. 1250. Brundlund Castle (Brundlund Slot) was erected by Queen Margaret I
Margaret I of Denmark
Margaret I was Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and founder of the Kalmar Union, which united the Scandinavian countries for over a century. Although she acted as queen regnant, the laws of contemporary Danish succession denied her formal queenship. Her title in Denmark was derived from her...

 around 1400. The town is a bathing resort, as is Elisenlund close by.

The city has several preserved neighborhoods from the 1800s including Slotsgade, Store Pottergade, Lille Pottergade, Nygade, Nybro, Skibbrogade and Gildegade.

Education in Aabenraa

A branch of University College South can be found in Aabenraa.

External links

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