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( German Tondern )
Tønder's coat of arms
Tønder (Denmark)
Basic data
State : DenmarkDenmark Denmark
Region : Syddanmark
(since 2007) :
Coordinates : 54 ° 57 ′  N , 8 ° 52 ′  E Coordinates: 54 ° 57 ′  N , 8 ° 52 ′  E
Population :
Postal code : 6270
Sister cities : FinlandFinland Narpes

IcelandIceland Akranes Bamble Vastervik

Website: toender.dk
Template: Infobox location in Denmark / maintenance / area missing
Template: Infobox location in Denmark / maintenance / height is missing
“Ground plan of the city and Tonderen Castle. Anno 1651 “by Johannes Mejer
In downtown
Pedestrian zone
Town Hall (2007)
The Christ Church at Tønder
Water tower
Traditional lace from Tønder (Tønderknipling)

Tønder ( German  Tondern ; South Jutian : Tynne; North Frisian Tuner ) is a small Danish town on the Vidå (German: Wiedau ) near the German-Danish border . It forms the center of the municipality of Tønder in the Syddanmark region and belongs to the parish of Tønder Sogn . The 7581 inhabitants (January 1, 2020) are called Tonderaner.

The city is known beyond the country's borders for the international Tønder Festival , which presents folk and roots musicians every August .


The city was called Thundern (as much as "fenced beach") before 1800, and Tunder, Tundær in the 13th century .

Tønder is one of the oldest towns on the land bridge between the North and Baltic Seas. It was already known as a port in Flensburg in 1017. In 1227 the Dominicans and in 1238 the Franciscans came to Tønder and founded monasteries. In 1243 the place received Lübisches town charter and is therefore Denmark's oldest town today . In the Middle Ages it was one of the few ports on Schleswig's west coast. The ship in the city ​​coat of arms still bears witness to this today . Because of its low location, the city was repeatedly hit by storm surges, including 1532 and 1593. In 1615 the water reached the windows of the castle, in 1634 it was three feet high in the church. There have been numerous fire disasters in Tønder. The plague ravaged the city five times in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The cattle trade was of great importance until the 20th century, as the city was located on the western Ochsenweg . The castle, located on the edge of the trading town, developed into the administrative center of a large office. When the country was divided in 1544, Johann II , known as Johann (Hans) the Elder, became sovereign, after his death in 1581 the Duke of Gottorf until the division was lifted in 1713/21.

With land reclamation on the west coast, the city lost its access to the sea and with it a considerable part of its economic importance. In the 17th century, lace- making flourished as an important industry. In 1788 the city became the location of the first teachers' college in the country.

In the 19th century, the city got sucked into the German-Danish conflict. The majority of the citizenship was German-minded and joined the Schleswig-Holstein side in the Schleswig-Holstein War (1848-1851), while the northern area around the city in particular remained Danish. After the rest of the state under the Danish crown, Tønder retained its administrative functions. However, the language scripts introduced in 1851 met with resistance. In order to stop the language change to German, they introduced Danish as the general language of instruction with four weekly German lessons in the mixed-language areas of Schleswig (from Tondern to the surrounding areas of Husum and Kappeln). The church language should alternate between German and Danish. However, Tondern (like the southern leak) was exempt from the restriction to four weekly German lessons.

After the German-Danish War in 1864, the city came to Prussia and from 1871 to the German Empire . It was the seat of the district of Tondern , but lost its economic importance. The Danish language was pushed back during this period. In 1888, German became the sole language of instruction in the Schleswig region. Exceptions were four hours of religion per week. From around 1914 to 1918 Tondern was a base for military airships and zeppelins . From 1868 it was connected to the main line Hamburg - Fredericia via a branch line to Tinglev . In 1887 it became a junction on the march railway from Hamburg to the then Danish border and to Esbjerg and became a transfer point for travelers to Sylt via the branch line to Højer Sluse, which was built soon afterwards .

After the First World War , Tønder fell to Denmark in the referendum because of the en bloc rule for Zone I , although 77 percent of those eligible had voted to remain with the German Reich (details in the article North Schleswig ). In the following years, the German parties had a majority in the city council. Until 1945 the city was signposted in two languages. Shortly after the Danish administration was established, Tønder became the site of a garrison. From April 9, 1940 ( Operation Weser Exercise ) until the end of the war , Denmark was occupied by the Wehrmacht; afterwards the political importance of the German part of the population waned considerably. The border location hampered the development of the city. Nevertheless, some companies settled there. The importance of tourism increased. Despite the improvement in cross-border traffic, Tønder's situation became increasingly difficult towards the end of the 20th century. The teachers' seminar closed its doors in 1989, the barracks in 2002 and the hospital in 2003, which has since been expanded as a private clinic.

Territorial reforms

Tønder belonged to Harde Tønder, Højer og Lø Herred in Tønder Amt until 1970 , then to Tønder Kommune in Sønderjyllands Amt . In the course of the municipal reform on January 1, 2007 , the new Tønder municipality was formed.

In 1970, the surrounding communities of Møgeltønder , Abild , Hostrup and the rural parish Tønder, which consisted of Lille Emmerske (German: Klein Emmerschede), Store Emmerske (German: Groß Emmerschede) and Tved (German: Twedt), were incorporated.


The Kaakmann on the market square
  • In the old town there are numerous well-preserved patrician houses , mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries
  • Christ Church (1592), late Gothic, numerous epitaphs
  • Museum Sønderjylland Cultural History Tønder : City history collection and an important art museum
  • Sønderjylland Museum - Water Tower: Exhibition about the furniture designer Hans J. Wegner
  • Museum Sønderjylland - lace museum in the pedestrian zone Vestergade
  • Zeppelin and Garrison Museum Tondern , one of the largest airship ports in Germany was located here until 1920
  • "Kaakmann" on the market square. Kaakmann was the name of the town bailiff and Kaak was the stake
  • Drøhses Haus, town house from 1672 with an exhibition on the history of bobbin lace in Tønder since the late 16th century, plus a collection of glasses

More sights in the neighboring village of Møgeltønder .


In Tønder there is a high school with a Danish-German "European class" attended by students from the nearby Friedrich Paulsen School in Niebüll , the German Ludwig Andresen School, a German kindergarten, a municipal library and a German library. A German pastor works for the German part of the Evangelical Lutheran parish.

Music festival

The city's annual cultural highlight is the Tønder Festival , the international folk and roots music festival that takes place on the last weekend in August . It is one of the largest festivals of its kind in Europe.


At the border south of Tønder the federal road B 5 ends , which is continued in Denmark as Primærrute 11 . Other important highways are the A 8 to Sønderborg with a connection to Flensburg in Kruså and the roads to Kolding and Aabenraa .

The station Tønder (Tønder station) is located on the march web and is used by the Regional line operated 66 of Niebüll according Esbjerg wrong, and also serves the station Tønder Nord. This line is operated by Arriva Danmark.

The cross-connection to the Hamburg – Fredericia Eastern Railway to Tinglev , opened in 1868, was discontinued in 1974 and then only served as a museum railway. At Tønder station, the switch connections have been expanded and the line is closed. From the Tønder – Højer Sluse railway line , which was the main connection from the mainland to Sylt until the Hindenburg dam was built, only dams are visible today.

The following bus routes operate in Tønder:

line Line route
116 Aabenraa - Hjordkær - Tinglev - Tønder
136 Haderslev - Vojens - Toftlund - Løgumkloster - Tønder
266 Tønder  - Møgeltønder - Højer - Hjerpsted
771 Solderup - Jejsing - Rørkær - Tønder
772 Sæd - Lydersholm - Grøngaard  - Jejsing - Tønder
774 Abild - Tyvse - Sølsted - Tønder
777 Højer - Østerby - Møgeltønder - Tønder

Marriage paradise

Similar to the Scottish Gretna Green , Tønder, close to the border, has been a marriage paradise since the mid-1960s. Here between 2500 and 3000 marriages (as of 2008) are concluded annually , including same-sex marriages . Marriage with foreign partners involves fewer formalities than in Germany and is recognized across the EU . In 2007 there were only around 150 couples from the region compared to the 2,366 foreign wedding couples. Various documents and a registration fee of 855 Danish kroner (or 115 euros; as of 2017) are required . An estimated 8,000 additional overnight guests brought the local economy in 2007 additional income of over 17 million crowns .


sons and daughters of the town

Town twinning


  • Carsten Erich Carstens: The city of Tondern. A historical-statistical monograph. F. Dröhse, Tondern 1861 ( PDF ).
  • Ludwig Andresen: History of the city of Tondern up to the Thirty Years War. Home and Heritage, Flensburg 1939.
  • Ludwig Andresen: Contributions to the new history of the city of Tondern. Home and Heritage, Flensburg 1943.
  • Local history study group for North Schleswig: 750 years of the city of Tondern 1243–1993. HAG, Aabenraa 1993, ISBN 87-87301-00-8 .
  • Britta Bargfeldt: The German ethnic group and National Socialism - using the example of the city of Tondern in the thirties. In: Writings of the local history study group for North Schleswig. Booklet 78. HAG, Apenrade 2003, ISSN  0108-4313 , pp. 9-109.
  • Hans Bock: The march from Altona to Westerland. Boyens, Heide 1989, ISBN 3-8042-0458-9 .
  • Hågen Kiil: The Christ Church in Tondern. Tønder Menighedsråd / Lokalhistorisk Arkiv, Tondern 1992.
  • Günter Weitling: German church life in North Schleswig since the referendum in 1920. Published by the Bund Deutscher Nordschleswiger and archive / historical research center of the German ethnic group, Aabenraa 2007, ISBN 978-87-991948-0-3 .
  • Claus Eskildsen: Tønder 1243–1943. Guldhorn, Tønder 1943.
  • W. Christiansen, Ingolf Haase: Nystaden. Billeder fra det gamle Tønder. Forlaget Neffen, Tondern 1986, ISBN 87-88995-04-6 .
  • Henrik Becker-Christensen : Byen ved grænsen. Tønder 1920–1970. Institut for Grænseregionsforskning, Apenrade 1993, ISBN 87-87637-85-5 (Danish).
  • Ingolf Haase, Tønder Menighedsråd: Kristkirken 1592–1992. Christo Salvatori Sacrum. Tondern 1992, ISBN 87-981088-8-3 (Danish).
  • Hans Christian Christensen, Magnus Lorentzen: Dengang i Tønder. Sorgefri Tryk, Tondern 1997, ISBN 87-90476-03-4 (Danish).

Web links

Commons : Tønder  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Tønder  - travel guide
Wikisource: Tønder  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. a b Statistics Banks -> Befolkning og valg -> BY1: Folketal January 1st efter byområde, alder og køn (Danish)
  2. Nudansk Ordbog. 13th edition. Politics Forlag.
  3. Carsten Stern: Blacksmith Steffen in Tondern / Steffen smedjen i Tønder . In: Hans-Jürgen Goertz (Ed.): The Mennonites . Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2011, ISBN 978-3-8423-1950-9 , pp. 25 .
  4. North Schleswig 1840–1920. Society for Schleswig-Holstein History, accessed on January 7, 2020 .
  5. ^ Zeppelin and Garrison Museum Tondern. In: zeppelin-museum.dk, accessed on June 13, 2019.
  6. ^ Zeppelin and Garrison Museum Tondern. History of the airship port. (No longer available online.) In: zeppelin-museum.dk. Zeppelin Group Tondern, January 2003, archived from the original on April 26, 2018 ; accessed on April 25, 2018 .
  7. Bus timetables from Tønder Municipality (Danish).
  8. HK: Getting married is made easy in Tønder. Hundreds of couples from Germany have already been married here. In: Hamburger Abendblatt . July 19, 1966. Retrieved May 18, 2017 .
  9. Knut Diers: The prince wedding brings life to the village. (No longer available online.) In: Hamburger Abendblatt. May 17, 2008, archived from the original on January 27, 2016 ; accessed on May 18, 2017 .
  10. a b Sara Zankel: Udlændinge strømmer til Tønder for at blive gift. In: avisen.dk. April 22, 2008, accessed May 18, 2017 (Danish).
  11. ^ Sara Zankel: Tønder er Europe's Las Vegas. In: avisen.dk. April 22, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2017 .
  12. Getting married. Get married in romantic surroundings in Tønder. Tønder municipality. Registry office, accessed on May 18, 2017 .
  13. New tenant in the Schlosskrug. AHGZ print edition No. 2001/42, October 20, 2001, accessed on December 23, 2012 .