Christiansfeld and the Royal Court

The relation between Christiansfeld and the Danish Royal Court dates back a long time.
After King Christian VII took over the throne in 1766, the King and his physician-in-ordinary J. F. Struensee went on a journey visiting some of Denmark’s neighbouring countries including Holland. Here the King and especially Struensee was very impressed by the Moravian town of Zeist, where the proficient Moravian artisans and businessmen had created a beautiful and well-functioning town.

On 10 December 1771, the King signed a permission for the Moravians to establish a community settlement. The Moravians named this town "Christiansfeld" in gratitude over the goodness of the King.

Grev Nicolaus Zinzendorf. Photo: Christiansfeld Centret

Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700 - 1760) was an imperial count from a lineage belonging to high nobility in Saxony and he also had relatives at the Danish Royal Court. He was occupied with religion and especially with liberty of conscience. This was one of the reasons why he gave a group of refugees from the community of "Unitas Fratum" – the community of brothers – asylum in 1722 and allowed them to build a settlement on the fields belonging to his estate. Together with Zinzendorf, they built the very first Moravian town called Herrnhut.

In 1728, the Danish Crown Prince Christian and Crown Princess Sofie Magdalene visited Herrnhut in order to see this special town for themselves, and they were so enthusiastic that they invited Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf to the coronation ceremony of Christian VI in Copenhagen in 1731.
Even though Count Zinzendorf was a popular figure in Copenhagen, he fell into disgrace with the Danish Royal Court and therefore, Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians were put in cold storage for the rest of the reign of King Christian VI.

Count Zinzendorf had a life-long dream of founding a Moravian colony in Denmark, but 13 years before this dream became a reality, he died in 1760, at the age of 59.

Carl August Struensee

In April 1771, Johann Friedrich Struensee called his older brother to Copenhagen. Here, Carl August Struensee was appointed Counsellor and employed in the new Financial Department in Copenhagen, which he administered with great success.

On the initiative of Carl August Struensee, contact was made with the Moravian Church. On behalf of the King, he invited the Moravians to Denmark, because they were skilled and diligent artisans, manufacturers and businessmen.

The year after, at the palace coup on the night between 16 and 17 January 1772, Carl August was arrested together with his brother and brought to the Citadel, where he was chained until May 1772. Unlike his brother, Carl August avoided a prosecution, but he was dismissed from his post as Counsellor and returned to Germany.

Carl August Struensee. Photo: Christiansfeld Centret

Honey cakes for the Royal Court

In 1783, the tradition of baking honey cakes in Christiansfeld began. At this time, half of the building of the pharmacy used to be a bakery. Ever since these honey cakes have been so popular that only scarcity in relation to the supply of honey has been able to cease the production for a short while.

Throughout the ages, the recipe and the bakeries have changed many times as to look and ownership. In 1969 the Moravian bakery, (in Danish: Brødremenighedens Bageri) got new owners, namely Aage and Aase Schmidt. They renewed the selection of honey cakes and started selling the cakes all over the country. Unofficially, they even had the status of being purveyor to the Royal Court.

Quite often, a Royal car has been parked outside when honey cakes were to be bought for the afternoon tea. For the Royal weddings, honey cakes from Christiansfeld were ordered. It is said that Queen Ingrid went to Christiansfeld herself to buy honey cakes when she was gathering her grandchildren at Gråsten Castle.

Previously it used to be a tradition, that the minister brought a honey cake heart to the engagement ceremony of a young couple.

During this ceremony, he broke it into two halves – one for each as a symbol of a heartily union.
After Christiansfeld had become part of Kolding municipality in 2007, the mayor chose to serve honey cakes when receiving official guests.

Honey cakes. Photo: Xocolatl, Raisfoto

The Reunification 1920

After the loss of the war in 1864, the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg were surrendered to a Prussian-Austrian common government. This had a great influence especially on Northern Schleswig (Southern Jutland – in Danish: Sønderjylland), where a large part of the population were Danish-minded. Over the following decades, the Danish-minded population struggled to maintain its national sympathy and Danish culture.

The Moravian community was split in relation to national sympathy. The colony had been built by Germans, but now the community also had many Danish-minded members. In spite of disagreements, the community succeeded in maintaining a strong community in defiance of the different national sympathies.
When the First World War broke out on 1 August 1914, young men from Southern Jutland were drafted to serve in the army. Only a few chose to flee across the border, which was right to the north of Christiansfeld. They hoped that by doing their duty they would be able to claim their right, namely the right to be Danish.

Christiansfeld felt the horrors of the war a good deal. In 1917, the Moravians had to surrender one of the church bells to the war industry that intended to remelt it and turn it into cannons. Luckily, they did not manage to remelt it and it was returned to the church in 1919.

By the end of the war, Germany had to surrender parts of Northern Schleswig to Denmark. There were referendums in two zones. Zone 1, which covered the northernmost part of Schleswig, where the majority was Danish-minded and Zone 2, where people had more German sympathy.

On 10 February 1920, the population in Zone 1 had the opportunity to vote on, whether this area was to belong to Denmark or to Germany. There was a great majority in favour of Denmark. In Christiansfeld, 67 % voted Danish, while 93% of the population in Tyrstrup, the surrounding area around Christiansfeld, voted Danish.

On 10 July, King Christian X could ride across the old border slightly to the north of Christiansfeld. On his way, the King picked up a little girl to join him, while he was riding the white horse, and since then this picture has become an iconic symbol of the Reunification.

Christian X, July 10, 1920. Photo: Christiansfeld Local History Archive

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