Bornholm is an island in the southwestern part of the Baltic Sea belonging to Denmark

Rovdyr Dreams

Summa scientia – nihil scire. Nihil scire – omnia posse.

Summa scientia – nihil scire. Nihil scire – omnia posse.

Home ” Bonaventura ” Journey 2012 “Hamburg – Copenhagen” ” The Danish island of Borngolm – the granite jewel of the Baltic Sea

The Danish island of Borngolm – a granite jewel of the Baltic Sea

In tourist guides and leaflets, Børngolm Island is sometimes called the “pearl of the Baltic Sea”, but I do not like this definition very much. It corresponds to something luxurious, rich, magnificent – palaces, squares or cathedrals. It doesn’t apply to Borngolm Island. But I still consider it an ornament of the Baltic Sea – just not bright, even harsh. This is why I chose the word “ornament” for “granite”. Which, by the way, is quite consistent with the geological features of Borngolm. Interesting is the fact that Borngolm, once inhabited by Slavic tribes, supposedly had the famous, thanks to fairy tales, name Bujan. I will tell you about my trip to the island on August 30, 2012.


Bornholm is an island in the southwest part of the Baltic Sea, belongs to Denmark. Today in Russia it is usually called Bornholm, but I do not like this way of calling it: it does not correspond to Russian tradition and is not logical – there is Stockholm, for example, but not Stokholm. And in Soviet times, at least until 1942 (I judge by the Soviet Concise Encyclopedia), the island was called Bornholm. Why it was later “renamed” – one can only guess.

A little more about the name. The ancient Normans called Borngolm Burgundergolm, Burgendas, Burgendaland, and later, in the Middle Ages, was called Barringholm. It turns out that this toponym linked me to one of the most charismatic regions of Europe in my eyes, Burgundy.

It has a population of just over 40,000 people; at the end of the nineteenth century, it stood out as a separate sub-ethnos. It is amusing that in Andersen’s fairy tale, The Shoe of Happiness, a nineteenth-century resident of Copenhagen, caught up in the Middle Ages, said to the Copenhageners of the time, “I don’t understand your Borngolmanship!” Apparently, it was a nickname for dialect gibberish.

Before coming to Denmark, I had made some plans for my excursion program, and a visit to Borngolm was an important point in it. How important it would turn out to be in reality, I had no idea. But now I can confidently say that without it I would not have a deep affection for this small Northern European country. For here, on Borngolm, I felt a spiritual contact (beyond mere contemplation) with Denmark.

I should note right away that the weather that day was overcast and rainy at times, though sometimes there were lulls; at times the rain just drizzled, and at other times it poured like a bucket. So a lot of my pictures came out rather unglamorous. Plus, some of them were taken from the bus window. Well, I can’t help it – I don’t pretend that my pictures can fit on the pages of magazines. After all, weather can be tricky, and certainly not in the North of Europe, where cloudy skies and a lot of rain can be expected. Which was fine by me personally; I am not a fan of solar cults.

The journey from Copenhagen to Borngolm: Road from Denmark to Sweden and sailing on the Baltic

The trip consisted of several stages. First it was a bus ride from Copenhagen to Sweden. The main attraction on the way was the Øresund Bridge. It is a bridge-tunnel that includes a railroad and a four-lane highway across the Øresund Strait. The longest (7,845 meters) combined road and railway bridge in Europe, which connects Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö. The second stage – the trip through Sweden – was quite faint in my mind. The outskirts of Malmo are quite ordinary and in some places even unpleasant; then there were numerous fields with farmsteads (here, in the south, is the main breadbasket of Sweden), sometimes woods. Everything here is neat and nice-looking, but such places are not memorable from the bus window. We drove through Sweden about an hour to the town of Ystad. Here we were to take a ferry.

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The picture below is a twin of the ship on which I went to the island:

And my ship was called “Leonora Christina”, which is the name of a real person, about whom I’ll tell you below. So, the ferry departed from Ystad, leaving a powerful trail of foam:

I had hoped to spend my sailing time on this very open deck. However, the sky was frowning:

The speed of the ferry turned out to be unexpectedly high (at least 30 knots, I think), which, even with a not very prominent headwind, caused such strong airflow as I had never encountered before. Faced literally. Honestly, for the first few minutes I was even afraid of falling overboard and didn’t dare go near the edge, even though I really wanted to throw a coin into the sea. I tried to walk on that platform and I was afraid too – of falling on the floor and smashing myself.

Then I just stood in the shelter behind the upper deck for a while and somehow adapted. It was not cold at all, and I wanted to get some air – to clear my lungs, airways and my head at the same time in the piercing wind. After a while the wind somewhat abated, and though the sky had not cleared, the clouds had also calmed down:

I looked out into the sea for seductive mermaids, but in vain. Apparently, they had all been frightened away. So I threw a coin into the water. But it didn’t attract anyone. Nevertheless, the tourist ritual was thus observed.

In about an hour or twenty (the distance covered was about 70 km), the ferry arrived in the harbor of the main city on Borngolm – Rønne, located on the western shore of the island:

On the occasion of my happy arrival I will give a colorful quotation from the story of N.M. Karamzin “The Island of Borngolm” (I will emphasize again: that was the pronunciation adopted at that time):

But my sleep was not at rest. It seemed to me that all the armor hanging on the wall, turned into knights, and that these knights approached me with naked swords, and with an angry face said: “Unfortunate! How dare you come to our island? Do not swimmers pale at the sight of its granite shores? How dare you enter the terrible sanctuary of the castle? Is not its terror rumbling in all its surroundings? Is not the wanderer fleeing from its formidable towers? Daring one! Die for this pernicious curiosity!” – Swords clattered over me, blows rained down on my breast,-but suddenly all was hidden,-I awoke and in a minute fell asleep again. Then a new dream stirred my spirit. It seemed to me that a terrible thunder sounded in the castle, the iron doors banged, the windows shook, the floor shook, and a terrible winged monster, which I cannot describe, was flying toward my bed with a roar and a whistle.

I dared! And it wasn’t in a bad dream, but in a beautiful reality!

Borngolm in World War II

In Rønn we stopped only to take a local female tour guide on the bus. She led the narration in Danish and English. But the beginning of the tour was quite uncomfortable for me. Embarrassing, to say the least. I suddenly heard her begin to say the word “Russians” a lot. Not that with a strongly negative connotation, but it immediately became clear to me that it was about something important and dramatic.

Here’s what happened (this is the first time I’ve heard of these facts). On Borngolm, during World War II, there was an observation post of the German Navy and, later, a transit point for the evacuation of German troops from Courland, the Bay of Danzig, and East Prussia. In the beginning of May 1945 the Soviet command decided to break the evacuation of Germans to the West and on May 7-8th the Soviet air forces bombed Börngolm. In Rönn and Näxö township more than 800 houses were completely destroyed and about 3,000 were damaged. There were civilian casualties. Borngolm was occupied by the Soviets until April 1946. The relationship between the Danes of Borngolm and the Soviets was, according to the tour guide, not bad, but the painful mark of these events may have remained. Later I went up to the guide, expressed my regret and hoped that the Danes did not hold a grudge against Russia. And they do.

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I also note that it was at Borngolm that the first field test of the German projectile plane (cruise missile) “V-1” took place. And there is also the hypothesis that the mythical Nazi atomic bomb is hidden here. But I don’t believe it.

The way to the North of Borngolm. The ruins of Gammersgus castle.

To illustrate the geography of the tour, here is a fun map of Borngolm:

It does a good job of showing the location of the island’s major population centers and attractions. Our way was to the North. The geography of Borngolm differs in the northern and southern parts: in the north there are granites and rocks (that’s why I called Borngolm a granite jewel), and in the south there are sandstones, beaches and dunes. The tour only included a visit to the northern part. Granites are mined here as building material:

Much of the area is occupied by farmland (crops – probably barley, rye, wheat); these were already harvested:

The climate here is somewhat different from mainstream Denmark: spring arrives later, and fall is also later. Coniferous trees mainly grow, deciduous forests predominate near the coast. There are few settlements, but often saw individual homesteads:

The first important sight in Borngolm on our route are the ruins of Hammershus Castle, the largest medieval defensive structure in Northern Europe:

The fortress stands at a height of 74 meters. The name means something like “Hammer House”. The fortress was built in 1250 by Archbishop Anders Sunesen of Lund (South of present-day Sweden; at that time this town in the province of Skåne belonged to Denmark). In the XIII century, Danish knights marched from here to the Eastern Baltic.

Nearby is a memorial stone – Stele of Freedom (left on photo), erected in 1908 to commemorate the fact that in April 1658 (during another Danish-Swedish war) in Borgholm rebelled against the Swedes; by December, the island was under Danish control. The war ended in victory for Denmark; Sweden officially returned Borngolm to her.

To the south, the castle is approached by a densely forested deep plain with hollows filled with water:

From the castle there is a beautiful view of the coast and the Baltic Sea:

The premises in the castle are surrounded by several rings of fortifications. Each ring was an additional defense against invaders. Two natural ponds were located on the side, supplying the fortress with drinking water. On the perimeter Hammersgus is surrounded by a 750-meter wall with a large tower.

The castle fell into decay and was destroyed in the XVIII century, after which part of the fortress was restored. For example, the bridge to the castle was rebuilt:

There is an intention to rebuild the castle completely – it will be interesting to see it, although I don’t know how much this replica will convey the authentic spirit of the castle.

The best preserved one is the dungeon-dungeon:

Symbolic? At any rate, it is clear that it is the one that was built most thoroughly. Here in 1660-1661 Leonora Christine Ullfeldt and her husband, the former royal chamberlain, were imprisoned. It is in her honor that the ferry is named. This woman – the daughter (side, though) of the beloved King Christian IV of Denmark – became the personification of various romantic legends in Denmark and the heroine of H.H. Andersen’s story “The Godfather’s Album”. In it she is described as follows: “She outshines everyone by her beauty and intelligence!” And in the fairy tale “Holger the Dane,” Andersen calls Leonora the best, noblest daughter in Denmark and places her heart on the coat of arms of the Kingdom. Unfortunately, Leonora married poorly – the name of her husband Corfitts Ulfeldt is synonymous in Danish history with the word “traitor” (he went over to serve the Swedes). After their imprisonment in Hammersgus, from which they were released on pardon, the couple went abroad. But in 1663 Leonora was extradited by England to Denmark and imprisoned without trial in Copenhagen Castle. This was because she was hated by her daughter-in-law (the wife of King Frederick III – son of Christian IV), Sophia-Amalia. Here in prison, suffering all kinds of deprivations, not being able to see her children, she spent 22 years. She was freed by the new King Christian V after the death of his mother Sophia Amalia, who apparently could not forgive.

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Goodgem Village

The next major stop is the village of Gudhjem. The name is translated as “House of God. The population is about 740 people. On the way we saw the largest windmill in Denmark (1893):

Gudhjem’s residential development is naturally quite squat:

Although there are buildings of three stories. Here we were given about 40 minutes of free time. I looked around and chose the church as my walking direction. It stands on an elevation, and from there it would be convenient to view the village. The church is rather peculiar, with a Norman cross on the main tower and a weather vane on a small tower in the shape of either a wolf or a dragon’s head:

Next are a few general views of Goodgem:

A courtyard by one of the houses (an unusual tree for such northern parts):

View of the church from afar:

Some slight halo of mysticism I picked up in this landscape. I’m sure the English writer Montague Rhodes James, the maestro of gothic stories with a story set in ancient villages, would have pulled some unusual story from this photo…

Goodgem Harbor is a very important place; fishing is still a significant industry here.

At some distance, birds, among them swans, have taken a fancy to the rocks:

The village of Svaneke

Continuing in a southeasterly direction, we came to the village of Svaneke. There, by the way, they brew beer of the same name, which I liked much better than the well-known Danish brands (Tuborg and Carlsberg). The name roughly translates as “Swan Bay”. The population is just over a thousand people. At the entrance of the guests are welcomed cannons:

They are not aimed at visitors from the land, but at uninvited strangers from the sea. From the East, by the way. Although Denmark has almost always had very good relations with Russia, except during the Napoleonic wars, when Denmark was allied with France. But there were no armed clashes with our country.

Svaneke in 1975 received the European Gold Medal for the preservation of architectural heritage. And in general, this village is the least modernized on the Borngolm, because the locals resisted it. Here you can see many wooden buildings from the 19th and 18th centuries, or maybe older:

The red church of Svaneke (modern appearance of 1881) has a corresponding bird on the spire as a weathervane:

A characteristic feature of the local landscape is that there are many fences made of stones.

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It must be nice to have roofs of bright, warm colors in such an overcast climate. Another interesting detail of Svaneke is the local art of glassblowers and ceramics makers. I read that collectors even from America come here and buy for thousands of dollars. True, I only had time to look at these pieces through the windows.

Then, as I strolled through the narrow streets without pedestrian sidewalks, I came upon an unfenced clearing with blackberries, my favorite berry. Since there was no sign that the bush was privately owned, I decided to enjoy the gifts of Danish nature:

Another Svanecke landmark is the oldest surviving mill in Denmark:

Named after the owner Hans Bentzen Bech; it was built in 1629. A specific design feature of this type of mill is the presence of a pole, a vertical axis along which the entire structure can be turned to suit a favorable wind direction.

Esterlars church and Alminningen forest

It was time to return to Rønne and leave the wonderful island of Borngolm. The bus took the road through its central part. In particular, past the very original Esterlars Church (Østerlars Kirke):

It is the oldest church on Borngolm and one of the oldest in Denmark, built in 1160. There have been some changes since then, but the round shape has remained unchanged. The name Lars is the Danish version of the name Lawrence. There are 4 such round churches on the island, and they have a legend linking them to the Order of the Templars. It is based on the fact that the round churches of Borngolm are similar to the French Templar churches in Rennes-le-Château. Geophysical research has shown that there are cavities beneath the Borngole temples. The Danish adventure film Treasures of the Templars is based on the hypothesis that the Templar Order hid its library and the Ark of the Covenant in one of the round churches of Borngolm.

And behind the Esterlars church stretches the Alminningen forest of 25 hectares. It is the third largest forest in Denmark and very picturesque: deep ravines alternate here with lakes and ponds. Even from the bus window the forest made an impression (maybe deceptive) of a dense…


Børnholm (Danish Bornholm ) is an island in the southwestern part of the Baltic Sea. Belongs to Denmark. Population 41,802 (2011). The island and several smaller nearby islands make up the municipality of Bornholm, part of the Capital Region. The main city and port – Rønne. It is located 169 km east of Copenhagen and 35 km southeast of Sweden.



Was a stronghold of the Vikings, then part of the province of Skåne. In the old Russian legends supposedly this island is called Bujan. For the right of possession of the island for a long time there was a struggle between the Archbishopric of Lund and the Danish kings. In 1150 the Danish king built the fortress of Lilleborg, and a century later, the Archbishop built a fortress Hammershus. By 1259, control of the island passed to the archbishopric. In 1525 the island was laid to Lübeck (German city in the Hansa).

During the Danish-Swedish war, the Swedes captured the island in 1645, but in the same year returned it to Denmark after the conclusion of the Peace of Bromsebrune. In 1658 the Roskilde Peace Treaty was ceded to Sweden along with other territories, and in 1660 under the terms of the Treaty of Copenhagen it was given back to Denmark.

At the beginning of World War II it was occupied by Germany and used as an observation post and listening station. On May 12, 1945 it was liberated by the Soviet troops (Bornholm landing), who were on the island until April 5, 1946.


Archean granites compose most of the northern part of the island. Paleozoic and Mesozoic sandstones, shales, and limestones are common in the south. There are dunes to the southeast and west along the coast, and cliffs to the north. Relief is hilly (moraine and water-glacial plain), the highest height – 162 m. Vegetation: mainly coniferous trees, deciduous forests occupy about 17% of the area.

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Balkan archipelago, 18 km to the north-east, is a small Ertholmene archipelago.


An important role in the economy of the island plays tourism. Agriculture: plant growing (grain crops), cattle breeding (dairy and pig farms), fishery (herring, salmon, cod); industry: mining (granite mining), porcelain and other pottery. Part of production is exported.

Attractions .

On the island there are 15 churches, 4 of which are round (12th century). At one time they were fortresses.

The remains of Hammershus Castle (1250) is a historical monument.

There are also the remains of a Viking building.

The island in the culture.

  • The main action of Nikolai Karamzin’s story “The Island of Borngolm” takes place on the island.
  • The Danish adventure film The Templar Treasure (Danish Tempelriddernes skat ) is based on the hypothesis that the Templar Order hid their library and the Ark of the Covenant in one of the round churches on Bornholm.


  • This article is based on the English Wikipedia.
  • “Bornholm. Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite (2007).
  • “Bornholm.” TSB. 3rd edition.


  • Islands by alphabetical order
  • Danish Islands
  • Baltic Sea Islands
  • Bornholm (commune)

Wikimedia Foundation . 2010 .


See what “Bornholm” is in other dictionaries:

Bornholm is an island in the South-West Baltic Sea; Denmark. In ancient times the island was inhabited by the Germanic tribe Burgundians, hence its other Danish name Burgundenholm Burgundian island (holm Danish island). Today’s Danish name is Bornholm, Russian. Bornholm. See also Burgundy …. … Geographical Encyclopedia

Bornholm, an island in the southwestern Baltic Sea, part of Denmark. 588 km2. Population 45,200 (1993). The altitude is up to 162 m. Dunes. Coniferous and deciduous forests, meadows. Port of Rhönne. * BORNHOLM BORNHOLM (Bornholm), an island in southwestern … Encyclopedic Dictionary

Bornholm is an island in the southwestern part of the Baltic Sea; Denmark. In ancient times the island was inhabited by the Germanic tribe Burgundians, hence its other Danish name Burgundenholm island of the Burgundians (holm Danish island). Today’s Danish name is Bornholm, Russian. Bornholm. See also Burgundy.

Bornholm (commune) – Bornholm Bornholm Country Denmark Part of the Capital Region Administrative center Rønne Burgomaster … Wikipedia

Bornholm (island) – Bornholm Location Baltic Sea Coordinates 55.133333, 14.916667 … Wikipedia

BORNHOLM (Bornholm) is an island in the southwestern Baltic Sea, part of Denmark. 588 km&sup2. Population 45.2 thousand (1993). Height up to 162 m. Dunes. Coniferous and deciduous forests, meadows. Port of Rennes… Great Encyclopedic Dictionary.

Bornholm is an island in the southwestern part of the Baltic Sea. Belongs to Denmark. Area 588 sq. km. Population about 49,000 (1968). Killed in the northern part by Archean granites, in the southern part by Palaeozoic and Mesozoic sandstones, shales,….

Bornholm The site of a battle in 1676 between the Swedish fleet of King Charles XI and a joint Dutch-Danish squadron. The Swedes were defeated, followed by the capture of Helsingborg, Landskrona and other forts. See Kjoge … Encyclopedia of World History Battles

Bornholm, island, isolated Danish island in the Baltic Sea, south-east of Sweden; area 588 sq. km., 46,100 inhabitants (1990); main town and ferry port Rønne. Main areas of employment of the inhabitants are fishery,… …Countries of the World. Dictionary

THE VOICE OF BORNHOLM ISLAND – (Gone With the Fish), Sweden, 1999, 114 min. Drama, comedy. The film is set on the Swedish island of Bornholm. The main occupation of its inhabitants is fishing in the Baltic Sea. But because of the exhaustion of fish reserves in 1982 the Swedish… Encyclopedia of Cinema

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