My Svendborg

Like the rest of Denmark, Svendborg goes way back and was officially founded in 1229.  At least that’s when it was first mentioned in a document.

Sydfyn, which includes Svendborg, was actually given to Princess Eleonora, the wife of Valdemar the Younger, as a wedding gift.  It has changed names several times, depending on who the ruler of Denmark was.

Rumor has it that it got its name from “Svine” (= pig in English) or “Svend” (= ruler of the area) and “Borg” (= castle).

There used to be a lot of pigs in Svendborg, but not too sure that it is the reason for the name.

“Svend” is more likely, as there actually was a ruler in that region back in the old days called “Svend”, and primitively enough, he had a castle – hence the name Svendborg!  It was so much simpler back then.

Svendborg’s privileges as a merchant town are first documented in a letter written by Christoffer I in 1253, to his fiance and Svendborg celebrated its 750th anniversary in 2003.

What’s even more amazing is that it was voted town of the year in 2000, the year of the millennium.  A fantastic way to start a new millennium.

In the old days, people were named based on their relations/families.

My name would probably have been Naked Viking son of VikingRoland and my sister would have been VikingSis daughter of VikingMum.  This is still widely used in Iceland, where last names are still linked to their parents, e.g. Hamasdottir = Hamas daughter.

Anyway, I’m getting carried away with some boring details, sorry.

I’m from a small coastal town in Denmark called Svendborg.  Svendborg has less than approx. 30,000 inhabitants, but approx. 45,000 including the surrounding counties.

It is very small indeed, but we still have shops (even if they close at 12.30 on Saturdays), supermarkets, theatre, cinema, several schools, and sports clubs, and of course, harbors with plenty of opportunities for sailing.

It is actually a very beautiful spot and a place that I want to retire to.  Unfortunately, many young people leave the area to seek new adventures and fortune elsewhere, such as Copenhagen, Aarhus or abroad – I myself have moved to Ireland.

I was born on Wednesday the 7th of June 1972 in the local hospital, at 06.00ish in the morning.  My parents mentioned recently that it was a bright, sunny and warm summer morning when I was born, but that’s no surprise – I’m great.

It was a wonderful place to grow up, as it was very secure.  Not much violence, if any, and plenty of space for us kids to explore.

My parents bought their first house in 1965, the year they were married, on a street that was just being built on the outskirts of Svendborg.

It was right next to a giant forest – a forest with magical creatures, paths covered by tall pine trees, giant mythical animal stuck in a lake between the trees – a magnificent playground for us kids.

The coolest thing is that it had a tree, which had been hit by lighting and one can still see the tracks it had carved into the bark.  It was my special tree and I still go to see it as a grown-up.

If you can, then you should visit Svendborg next time you go to Denmark.

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