Niels Ebbesen

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Niels Ebbesens statue in Randers (1882)

Niels Ebbesen († 1340 ) was a member of the Jutian lower nobility. He became known for killing Count Gerhard von Holstein . This happened on April 1st, 1340 in Randers . The Count of Schauenburg was the most powerful man in the kingdom at the time, as all of Jutland and Funen were pledged to him and the Duke of Schleswig was dependent on him. Whether his act was politically motivated or whether Ebbesen wanted to get rid of his tax master cannot be clarified. What is certain, however, is that the death of the Holstein count represented a turning point in Danish history. With King Valdemar Atterdag , who was enthroned shortly afterwards , a new upswing in the kingdom began. Ebbesen himself was killed in a battle near Skanderborg in December of the same year .

In the time of the national conflict between Germans and Danes from the middle of the 19th century, Niels Ebbesen was stylized as a national hero. The potions of power between the Counts of Holstein, the Danish kings and various aristocrats in the 14th century had no national character at all. During the German occupation of Denmark in World War II , Niels Ebbesen, who died 600 years earlier, was elevated to a symbolic figure in the Danish resistance against the Germans. The national-conservative poet-pastor Kaj Munk , who was later murdered by the occupying power, dedicated the play Niels Ebbesen to him , which, however, was not allowed to be performed during the occupation.


  • Lars Lassen (Ed.): Skanderborg Kommune . 6th edition. Skanderborg 2007, ISBN 87-991139-2-9 , pp. 264 (Danish).

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