Holstebro is a town in northern West Jutland, located 39 km southwest of Skive, 35 km north of Herning and 50 km north of Skjern and with its 36,643 inhabitants (2020) is the largest town in Holstebro Municipality. The town is located by Storå and is a significant trading town with a network of pedestrian streets, including Denmark's oldest permanent pedestrian street (built in 1963), which is the stretch from Store Torv to Brotorvet. The city has a significant industry in the manufacture of food, hardware and machinery, wood and furniture as well as the chemical industry. In the city is the Holstebro Regional Hospital, which belongs to the Central Jutland Region, and a barracks with the Jutland Dragon Regiment. The city is also home to the Court in Holstebro and the headquarters of the Central and West Jutland Police. The local news newspaper is Dagbladet Holstebro-Struer. Holstebro is a cultural city, known for i.a. Odin Theater, and the street scene is characterized by a number of modern sculptures and works of art.

The town is first mentioned on 6 February 1274 in a letter issued by Bishop Tyge in Ribe. Then the city is called Holstatbro. in 1287 the town is referred to as Hvolstathbroo, in 1340: Holzstathbroo, 1350: Holstethbro, 1373: Holstetbro, 1403: Holthzbro, etc.


The city has emerged as a ford over the Storåen. Later, the place has become a bridge place, of which the last part of the name. The first part of the name probably derives from the term "hollow" place or "hollow" or lowering by the river. The oldest traces of the city come from fragments of medieval pots and jugs, dating to the 12th century, which were found during excavations in the city center.

The Middle Ages
As a traffic hub in Hardsyssel, which stretches from the Limfjord to the Skjern River and from the North Sea to the Jutland ridge, Holstebro has long been important as a market and trading town. Until approx. in 1500, Holstebro was home to Hardsyssel things.

The town has only had one church (south of the river, however, there was on "Kapelmark" a chapel in Catholic times) and never any monastery or any mild foundation in the Middle Ages. That the town in the Middle Ages had a vicarage is seen by a letter from 1510, in which is mentioned Præstegildegaard, which was originally called Fuglsang and was located north of the river, south of the later Vestergade. To the north outside the town, Ribe Bispestol had a farm, where the bishops resided when they resided in the area, with adjoining lands and peasant estates; several letters issued from here have the signature "Ex curia nostra episcopali in Holstebro". Perhaps the kings also lived here when they visited the city. Christian Is' privileges for Nykøbing on Mors from 1460 are thus issued from Holstebro; this king is known to have stayed in Holstebro several times, just as King Hans visited it in 1513, among other places.

The Renaissance
When the city became a market town is not known. Its oldest known privileges are given to that of Christian III on May 21, 1552, when they had previously been burned the same year by a great fire in the city; they have later been confirmed, inter alia, in 1604. Christian III visited the city in 1542; a royal letter of 16 September 1560 is also dated from here. Bispegaarden, by which there was a bar peace and which lay on Skolegade, (the name "Bisgaardsjorderne" reminds of it), fell to the crown after the Reformation and was under the name of "Holstebrogaard", "Kongens Gaard" and "Biskopsgaard" given away and from 1599 laid under Lundenæs; in 1618 the Crown deeded the farm of Christen Hansen (Baden) to Nørgaard, on 23 November 1630 the king donated it to the town, and 4 years later it received permission to demolish the buildings. Later, a new farm was built on its lands, "Holstebro-Bisgaard", which was located on Nørregade and burned in 1734.

The fishing in the river, which has later been insignificant, has probably had some significance, but the town's most important occupation has been trade, although it was previously damaged by the provision that axes were to be exported over Ribe, just as trade on the Limfjord both in the 16th and the 17th century suffered under atrocities from Aalborg. The heyday of trade was in the 16th and first half of the 17th century; it was mainly driven over Hjerting with Holland, with exports especially of hides and imports of colonial goods and cloth, over Ribe with Hamburg and Lübeck, with exports especially of wool, for which goods Holstebro was particularly known, and over Aalborg, with exports especially of cereal. The two largest merchant families around 1600 were Lægaard and Solgaard. The wars in the 17th century have probably done the city a lot of damage, especially in the war 1657-60 it was occupied by the enemy for a long time, but it is especially the ravaging fires that set it back. In addition to the above-mentioned fire of 1552, fires of 1576 are mentioned, which did so much damage that the citizens, "who were to be very impoverished," by royal letter of June 11, 1577, were hitherto free from tax and all other burdens; 1603, which also had the effect that the fire victims by letter of 5 October 1604 were exempted from tax for some years, 1 July 1651.

The town has had a Latin school established by Christian III, to which he donated in 1542 the royal tithe of Maabjerg Parish and on 30 October 1553 the land guild of the Crown's land "Ladegaardsjord" outside Varde. The building on the corner of Skolegade and Skolegyde was restored in 1716 and 1739 given to the Danish school when the Latin school was abolished.

Under the dictatorship
On 28 July 1697 46 farms burned and only the smallest part of the town remained standing, new fires occurred in 1698, 8 April 1720, 22 July 1733, when Øster- and Vester- and some of Nørregade went up in flames, in 1734, when the fire raged again in Nørregade, in 1784 and 7 July 1794, when the whole of Østergade burned. In the second half of the 18th century, the city was in turmoil. In 1769 it had 679 inhabitants (1672: 500 inhabitants).

At the beginning of the 19th century, Ringkøbing attracted part of the trade, but this changed when sailing on the Limfjord came to life at the opening of the Agger Canal and the Løgstør Canal's facility, and the town came into good standing, especially after the construction of a harbor in Struer.


The early industrialization
Holstebro's population was increasing in the late 1800s and early 1900s: 1,305 in 1850, 1,526 in 1855, 1,662 in 1860, 2,047 in 1870, 2,559 in 1880, 3,863 in 1890, 4,978 in 1901, 5,968 in 1906 and 6,861 in 1911.

From the middle of the 19th century, a wave of industrialization began in the city. Holstebro harbor at Struer was built in 1854-1855 and the railway connection to Struer in 1866, which meant good transport options to and from the city.

Of factories and industrial plants, the city had at the turn of the century: Holstebro Aktiebryggeri (joint stock company, established in 1882, share capital DKK 200,000, employs about 50 men and women, annual production: about 12,000 td. Taxable and 3,000 td. Tax-free beer); Holstebro Iron Foundry and Machine Factory (limited liability company from 1897, share capital DKK 80,000; approx. 35 workers), 1 iron foundry, 2 machine factories, R. Færchs Tobacco Factory (built in 1869, employed approx. 75 men and women); 1 knitwear factory (126 workers); 1 potato flour factory (approx. 20 workers, annual production, approx. 1 million pd. Flour; the factory belonged to the main farm Krogsdal in Nørre-Felding Parish); 1 pig slaughterhouse (limited company, established in 1893, share capital DKK 180,000, approx. 20 workers), 2 dyehouses and garment factories (each approx. 12 workers), 1 planing plant (with steam power), 1 sawmill (hydropower); in addition, 2 book printing companies.

In Holstebro, 4 newspapers were published: "Holstebro Avis", "Holstebro Dagblad", "Holstebro Folkeblad" and "Vestjyllands Socialdemokrat" (only the first was printed here).

In Holstebro, 10 markets were held annually: 1 in January with horses and cattle, 1 in February with horses, 1 in February, 1 in April, 1 in May, 1 in June, 1 in July, 1 in September, 1 in October and 1 in November with horses and cattle. The cattle markets in particular were important to the city; the so-called "Big-Monday Market" in October was highlighted. Market day was every Tuesday and Saturday and every other Tuesday from the second Tuesday after the October market until Christmas with cattle; every Thursday was market day for trade in piglets.

The composition of the population by industry was in 1890: 381 lived by intangible enterprise, 1,518 by craft and industry, 805 by trade and turnover, 200 by agriculture, 52 by horticulture, 720 by various day-care enterprises, 115 by their means, 67 enjoyed alms and 5 sat in prison. According to a 1906 census, the population was 5,968, of which 406 subsisted on intangible activities, 539 on agriculture, forestry and dairy farming, none on fishing, 2,847 on crafts and industry, 1,179 on trade and more, 369 on transportation, 225 were retired, 240 lived by public support and 163 by other or unspecified business.