Kalundborg is an old market town in Northwest Zealand in the heart of Kalundborg Fjord, where the peninsulas Røsnæs and Asnæs meet. The city has 16,295 inhabitants (2020) and is located in Kalundborg Municipality in Region Zealand. Kalundborg-Jutland is a local dialect.

The West Zealand city has previously been a traffic hub in Denmark, as Kalundborg Station is the terminus for the Northwest Line. The Port of Kalundborg has traditionally been a ferry port with different lines to Jutland, but today there is only the SamsøFærgen's connection to Ballen on Samsø. The port is the fourth most visited cruise port in the country.

Kalundborg is today a busy trade and catchment area for the westernmost part of Zealand's northwest coast area. The city is also the educational center of the area, offering two higher educations (2019) and several high school educations.

Especially the oldest part of the city, called Højbyen, is rich in medieval architecture. The city's largest and most famous landmark is the five-towered Church of Our Lady, which was built in the 13th century. Kalundborg Museum has an exhibition about the history of the area and has especially many finds from the Viking Age.



Until the 1680s, Kalundborg consisted of two districts:
The high town, which was the western part of the city, which lay within the city wall.
Nederbyen east of the castle with Skibbrogade and Kordilgade.

The city's founder is Esbern Snare. Around 1167, he built a castle, (Vestborgen), at the fishing village Cordale and the natural harbor behind Gisseløre - Hærvig, which was home to part of the management fleet. The remains of the castle can today be seen in the ruin park west of Our Lady's Church and the museum.

The Middle Ages
Kalundborg was built on one of Zealand's most important strategic locations, namely the natural harbor Hærvig, which was already a gathering place for the command fleet in the Viking Age. The great man Esbern Snare (foster brother of Valdemar the Great) built the town and castle around the year 1167. Esbern, together with his little brother, Bishop Absalon and King Valdemar, were the front figures in the Danish crusades in the Baltic Sea in the 12th century. The city was an important hub for these crusades. After Esbern Snare's death, the castle passed to his daughter, "Mrs. Ingeborg of Kalundborg", who was married to the respected drost Peder Strangesøn (died 1241), and who was later accused of joining King Valdemar's enemies, so Kalundborg was included in the crown in 1262. In the following years the castle fell into disrepair so that the Norwegian free trader, the earl "Mindre-Alf" (actually Alv Erlingsson), in 1285 easily got it in his power and plundered the whole area. Erik Menved had it fortified again and gave it to his brother Christoffer on loan. Later, the Halland lord Knud Porse got it on loan from Christoffer, when he had become king, as "County Kalundborg" together with Samsø and more. After his death in 1330, his widow Ingeborg kept the county. However, when Valdemar Atterdag came to power, he disputed her possession of the castle and began to besiege it in 1341, but she was supported by Count Gert's sons, Henrik and Claus, so that the king had to raise the siege with a loss of 2,000 men. By a settlement of 1 September 1341, however, Mrs. Ingeborg relinquished the castle for good, in exchange for keeping Halland for life.

The Holsteins suffered a great defeat at Gamborg, south of Middelfart, and in the end the Jews sought reconciliation with the king at a meeting on Zealand. On the way back, the Jutland envoys were killed at Middelfart, including Niels Bugge from Hald, and the battle threatened to break out again. But on Pentecost 24 May 1360, King Valdemar held a Dane court in Kalundborg, where a settlement was reached with Duke Valdemar of Southern Jutland and the Jutland nobility. Throughout the period up to 1560, successive kings held danehof, estate meetings and royal councils in the city. Parts of the state administration were gathered in the city, and the national archives were kept in "Folen" at Kalundborg Castle.

The town's oldest known privileges (since lost) were given by Christoffer of Bavaria in 1443. In 1482 the widow queen Dorothea Kalundborg was widowed, and here she stayed for the most part, just as she died here on November 10, 1495. Incidentally, one hears most the castle referred to in the later Middle Ages as a gathering place for meetings and as a state prison. Among the prisoners are Bishop Rudolf of Skara and Count Otto of Rupin, who were brought here after the battle of Falkøping in 1389. In 1520, Christian II had a group of Swedish noble women, widows executed during Stockholm's massacre, among others. the widow of the Swedish head of state Sten Sture, Mrs. Kirstine Gyllenstjerna, lead here as a prisoner of state, together with her mother, Mrs. Sigrid Baner, and her children. When Christian II had fled Denmark, the castle's then chief, Claus Eriksen (Ravensberg), held it for some time for Christian II, until the kingdom's court master Mogens Gøye opened negotiations with him and promised him to become King Frederik I's husband, if he would surrender the castle. Claus Eriksen then ordered his servants to guard the other side of the castle, while he himself and his chosen ones would defend the important tower "Folen". 50 of King Frederik's people were then hoisted up the tower at night, attacked the crew and took the castle. Claus Eriksen is said not long after being knighted, but all over the country he was nicknamed "Slippeslot".

Bybrønde in Kalundborg is first mentioned in 1493. It stood on the triangular square in the middle of Højbyen. The list from 1653/54 mentions four wells: the one on Torvet, one in Kordilgade, one by Tinget and one in Møllestræde.


During the Count's Feud, the castle was conquered and given by Count Christoffer on 1 January 1535 in grant to the Oldenburg nobleman "lange" Hermann, but already in January 1536 he had to hand it over to Mogens Gøye. In the same year, Knud Pedersen Gyldenstierne was granted it, and he was thus guarded by his old enemy, Christian II, when he was taken to Kalundborg in 1549, where he had quite a lot of freedom during his stay here until his death in 1559. After the Count's Feud, the castle fell into disrepair. Finally, it was taken by the Swedes in 1658, who let the citizens of the city pay 400 lots of silver and 50 rigsdaler in ready money, so that the enemy would not set it on fire. Still, it was torn down.

Towards the end of the 13th century, the city was fortified to the east, and during Valdemar Atterdag, the fortifications were further strengthened when the castle was built and the city wall strengthened. The fortifications formed about a circle and consisted of ramparts, walls and towers with tombs about; they also stood in connection with the town's own walls, and within the inner ring wall lay the castle itself or the main building, which was in several storeys, constituted 5 lengths and enclosed a castle courtyard with a well in the middle; one long must have had at each end a tower, one of which was used for the chapel, the other for the prison tower. In the outer ring wall there were 4, presumably free-standing towers, namely "Farshat"; The "foal," which was the highest, and in which the dressel (archive) of the kingdom was kept; The malt tower and the bakery tower.

In the Middle Ages, Kalundborg had only one monastery, a Gråbrødrekloster, founded in 1239 by the eager Countess Ingerd of Regenstein, who was so eager for monasticism; however, its church was not consecrated until 1279. The monastery was located on the later Kalundborg Ladegård square, immediately north of the castle square. The permission that Valdemar Atterdag 1361 obtained from the pope to have to move it, because it was too close to the castle, can thus not be used. In the monastery several chapters of the order took place, and partly here, partly under a linden tree in the monastery's cemetery, the kings occasionally held retreats. In 1517 the stricter rule of order, the observant, was introduced. The last guardian, Melchior Jensen, himself hastened the abolition of the monastery; influenced by Luther's teachings, he allowed the sheriff at Kalundborg Castle by Mogens Gøye's order to chase the monks away in 1532 and became the first evangelical priest at Kalundborg Vor Frue Kirke (from 1540 at Raklev Parish). Shortly afterwards, the monastery was converted into a barn for the castle, and after this was demolished, the farm was in 1664 donated to the rich Dutchman Gabriel Marselis.

In addition to Our Lady's Church, the town had another church in the Middle Ages, St. Olai Church, which was located on the northwestern outskirts of the city, where later the cemetery of the same name came to be located. It has probably been the town's actual parish church, while Our Lady was a castle church. Raklev Parish belonged to it, but when this got its own church, Skt. Olai's significance, and as the Upper and Lower Towns merged, it ceased to be used. However, it stood until the beginning of the 19th century, but was used only as a beacon and as a burial chapel. The church's richly gilded altarpiece must have previously stood in the castle chapel.

To the east, just outside Kalundborg, on the later Sankt Jørgensbjerg, was a Sankt Jørgens Hospital for lepers, which is already mentioned in the early Middle Ages, and to which probably the Chapel of the Holy Cross was attached, as in a letter of 1495 (the year when it was annexed to Our Lady's Church) is mentioned as standing between Sankt Jørgensgård and the castle's brick barn. In 1631, the hospital's estates and income were transferred to Vartov in Copenhagen, in exchange for the city of Kalundborg always having 6 beds in it.

All this together with the mention of two guilds, Skt. Knuds and Skt. Gertruds, testifies that Kalundborg has been a fairly significant city in the Middle Ages. From a list of the towns' taxes from 1270, Kalundborg is mentioned as the fourth in a row (after Roskilde, Copenhagen and Næstved) according to the size of the tax. The first privileges were granted to the city by King Hans at Antvorskov Monastery on March 10, 1485 (when it received the same privileges as Roskilde and Copenhagen), and these privileges were later confirmed several times, thus by Christian III, Christian IV and Frederik III. In the Middle Ages, the upper town was the actual town and as such fortified, as it was surrounded by a rampart or rather wall, which here and there was reinforced with towers. Even long after settlements had taken place both to the south down to the fjord and to the east, Øvrebyen retained its reputation as the most important part; but severe fires, such as one under King Hans and one in 1617, as well as wars, ravaged it. The Count's Feud took on it, but even worse were the Karl Gustav Wars of 1658–60; and when the castle lay in rubble, the role of Øvrebyen was played out. Nedrebyen became the actual town, although it too had suffered greatly from the enemy's fire estimates: in 1645 Kalundborg had 1,139, in 1672 1,058 inhabitants. The trade helped Nedrebyen to its feet, because it was the city's main business.


Under the dictatorship
In the last half of the 17th century, money was made by foreign trade, especially in Western and Southern Europe, and this lasted until the middle of the 18th century, when it was replaced by a significant trade in Norway (the city had 1732: 1,232, 1769: 1,267 and 1787: 1,375 inhabitants). After the loss of Norway, the grain trade took the road to England and Holland. Large trading houses in Copenhagen founded shops in Kalundborg, and the city gained its heyday, which was short-lived, however, because the grain trade slowed down when exports to England ceased and competitors in Slagelse and Holbæk took over.

From around 1677, you have Resen's map, where seven turbines tower on Møllebakken. On later maps from 1753 and 1790 only six are seen.

The place name Møllebakken is known back to 1442, although the place was previously called Rugbanken or Rugbjerget. The first mill probably came up between 1250 and 1300. In the basic tariff from 1682, the seven mills are specified with owner names. At the time, everyone was pretty dilapidated. Three belonged to Peder Bagge, a fourth to Ole Skrædder; it was probably the best as it was valued at 70 rigsdaler. Otherwise, the assessments were 48-65 rdl. The smallest mill was operated by Niels Sadelmager and belonged to the school and the poor. At the fire assessment in 1736, manager Niels Lind at Ladegården (owned by John de Thornton in Hamburg) offered to let the estate's mill insure for 100 rdl, but the other mill owners would not contribute to that. Today it is not known where Ladegården's mill was located; but possibly it was the northern mill at Nyvangs skel that was deleted from the basic tariff in 1740. In the fire assessment from 1761, the six turbines are valued at 600-900 rdl. (The one for 900 rdl was newly built.) 1,200 rdl, and 50 years later, with a background in the state bankruptcy of 1813, increased to 3,600-4,000 rdl. Møller Chresten Hillerup from Lemvig took citizenship in Kalundborg in 1784 as a brandy burner. In 1786 he bought from mill Jens Pedersen and his wife's estate their mill, then called "Hillerup's mill". This blew down around 1792 in a storm, so Hillerup went bankrupt. Merchant Mülertz subsequently took over Hillerup's property in Kordilgade. The mill was never rebuilt, and in 1803 the mill land was transferred to other mills. In those years, the Dutch mill began to gain ground at the expense of the stump mill, but it is not known when the last one was demolished. The first of the Dutch mills on Møllebakken was "Ulstrup's mill", built by merchant Niels Jensen and named after miller Ulstrup. It burned down on March 6, 1891. Of the mills themselves, only Ulstrup lived on the hill in the miller's dwelling, which still stands there.

"Gregersen's mill" was the westernmost of Møllebakken's mills, and was replaced with a Dutch mill in 1851. Gregersen lived in Skibbrogade 53 and had married the mill, which in 1891 was moved towards Copenhagen and burned down there. In 1838, Chr. Boisen, living in Kordilgade 37 and later in Pedersminde, owner of "Boisen's mill", known from J.Th. Lundbye's sketch from Møllebakken around 1846. On the sketch, the stubble mill has been replaced by a Dutch mill, which in 1868 was moved to the north side of Holbækvej, where it burned down in 1902. Horse mills - mills pulled by horses - were found in Præstegade, Kordilgade, Skibbilade, Møllestræde. The last one was closed down in 1876 and gave its name to Hestemøllestræde, which ran from Lindemannsstræde up to Volden.

The early industrialization
In the second half of the 19th century, Kalundborg experienced a new period of prosperity. Contributing to this were the improved traffic conditions (the construction of the railway, the port's significance for the ferry service to Aarhus and elsewhere) as well as the incipient industrialization.

The harbor (then classified as a summer harbor of 4th class) had good conditions, located by the deep and easily accessible Kalundborg Fjord and protected by the peninsula Gisseløre, and it was also in ancient times considered Zealand's best harbor after Copenhagen. However, it was not until the 19th century that anything serious was done about it. The old shipping bridge, which was divided into a western arm, which was used by the ferry crews, and an eastern one, for the use of the merchant ships, was considerably expanded, thus the ferry bridge in 1836, so that there could be room for steamship, and the eastern arm in 1846. In 1853 –54 a stone pier and more were built, and later new extensions were made. Kalundborg got a daily steamship connection with Aarhus via Samsø. In addition, it had twice a week direct damship connection with Copenhagen via Sejrø and once a week with Vejle.


The construction of the Northwest Line was (after long negotiations on various proposals, such as leading the line over Frederikssund and on a fixed bridge over Roskilde Fjord) according to law of 26 February 1869 transferred to the Zealand Railway Company by concession of 2 October 1871. The 79 km . long line from Roskilde over Holbæk to Kalundborg, which was built by Privatbanken, is assumed to have cost approximately DKK 9.6 million in total. DKK, but only the company stood at 71/3 million; it was opened for operation on 30 December 1874, but for the time being only for a reduced operation until 1 May 1875. With the purchase of the Zealand Railways in accordance with the law of 2 July 1880, it was transferred to the state together with the company's other lines.

Of factories and industrial plants, the town had around the middle of the 19th century: 7 spirits distilleries, 1 tobacco factory, 1 beer brewery, 1 pottery, 1 lime distillery, 3 tanneries, 1 ship and boat building. In addition, 4 wind turbines and 1 horse turbine. Of factories and industries, the town had in 1869: several distilleries, 1 machine factory, 1 tobacco factory, 2 beer breweries, 1 clothing factory and wool spinning mill, 1 iron foundry, 3 lime distilleries, 1 ship and boat building 1 book printing plant, 4 windmills and 1 horse mill. Of factories and industrial plants, the town had around the turn of the century: 1 Bavarian and white beer brewery (joint stock company, established 27 May 1881), 2 machine factories, 1 cooperative pig slaughterhouse, 1 clothing factory and wool spinning mill, 1 lime distillery, 1 ship and boat building, 2 book printing works, 2 book printing works , 2 wind turbines, 1 steam turbine, 1 sawmill and planer.

In Kalundborg, 2 newspapers were published, namely Kalundborg Avis (same magazine published on Samsø as Samsø Dagblad) and Kalundborg Dagblad. In 1907, the publication of Kalundborg Folkeblad began, which gradually became dominant and today is called Nordvestnyt.

Kalundborg's population was increasing at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century: 2,490 in 1850, 2,420 in 1855, 2,587 in 1860, 2,673 in 1870, 3,167 in 1880, 3,566 in 1890, 4,322 in 1901, 4,628 in 1906 and 4,732 in 1911.

By trade, in 1890 the population was divided into the following groups, comprising both dependents and dependents: 443 lived by intangible activity, 1,311 by trade and industry, 815 by trade and turnover, 69 by shipping, 212 by fishing, 178 by agriculture, while 440 were distributed by other occupations, 73 lived on their means, 17 received alms, 4 were in prison, and 4 were insane. According to the 1906 census, the population was 4,628, of which 298 subsisted on intangible activities, 198 on agriculture, forestry and dairy farming, 147 on fishing, 2,077 on trade and industry, 998 on trade and more, 608 on transport, 152 were retired people, 96 lived of public support and 54 of other or unspecified business.

Kallundborg Telephonselskab
"Telephonselskabet" was founded in the summer of 1884 by a circle of citizens who signed a contract with blacksmith J.M.Chr. Larsen in Aarhus to make a facility for 30 subscribers at a price of DKK 6,000. The board consisted of V. Buch, dr. Frigast, hardware store Lunning, grocer L.C. Hansen and merchant Bussenius. On 4 December 1884, it was stated in Kallundborg Avis that Hotel Postgården's telephone was for the guests' free use. Other cities, such as Holbæk, received offers from the company Otzen and Thorstensen in Copenhagen, while Kalundobrg's telephone system was a local initiative. Holbæk's city council rejected the offer as being of no practical significance, but had shown interest if one could have called the capital and other provincial towns. There was one telephone exchange in Kalundborg, with 38 subscribers. Maintenance of the 7 km above-ground lines was provided by "Mekanicus" P. Jensen. The switchboard was operated by two men in turn. The number of conversations in 1885 was estimated at about 25,000, and the income from that was DKK 2,180. January 1, 1887, the length of above-ground wires was 18 km; but the number of subscribers dropped to 33, while the number of calls in 1886 had dropped to 19,200. It was not until 1 January 1889 that Kalundborg got a wired connection to Copenhagen via Roskilde, and in the telephone directory for 1889 the subscribers in Kalundborg who could be called from Copenhagen or even called there were included for the first time. It required a special subscription. Later, local subscribers were given the same opportunity, in exchange for paying 35 øre for a 3-minute call. On 18 February 1896, the Copenhagen Telephone Company bought the Kalundborg "Telephonselskab" for DKK 14,000.


The town's first telephone exchange was located on the twig in jeweler Lander's property, Kordilgade 9. In 1897, the telephone line was completely rebuilt, and wires replaced from steel wire to the new bronze wire 1.25 mm. A new telephone stand with 220 seats was set up on Kordilgade 9, from where the wires were branched out to the subscribers by means of telephone poles and corner irons on the chimneys. The exchange moved from the attic down to the ground floor, where the new telephone exchange with standard tables was put into use on October 7, 1897. In 1905, there were over 200 subscribers. In 1907, the conditions again became too small, so the center moved to Frantz Ditlevsen's property in Kordilgade 36 with room for 600 subscribers. It was not until 1924 that a further expansion of 100 subscriber numbers took place. In 1927, the company bought Kordilgade 53 and furnished a modern exchange. In 1955, 1,460 subscribers and 44 telephone operators were employed. An automatic telephone exchange was maintained from 1967 until in Sct. Jørgensbjerg 3.

The fire in 1901
Kalundborg sawmill was located right by the railway area. On 23 September 1901, the sawmill's logs ignited, and a hurricane-like south-easterly wind caused the fire to spread to Kordilgade, where the house row 34-42 burned down. The fire was so violent that it was mentioned in an Italian newspaper: "The island of Zealand in Denmark is on fire as a result of a violent fire that has occurred in a wooden warehouse in the Kaljundborg Company. The islanders are fleeing." With the fire, Kordilgade 36, which was a rococo house, also disappeared. The current No. 36 was designed by architect Kristoffer Varming. Here is also a memorial plaque about the fire on the facade:

By the power of the hat sank into the gravel
the hundred-year-old house.
I wish now the new one we have built here,
must stand at distant times safely.

Kordilgade 38 is built in beautiful wood, just like the frieze in the gate, attributed to Niels Termansen, who has also left a drawing in Kalundborg's local archive. Under Kordilgade 42 was a vaulted cellar (4 ribbed cross vaults around a central pillar) that was demolished when the current building was erected in 1901. The grounds with back buildings then continued down to the railway, but the street breakthrough around 1970 has cut them to make room for parking. The original appearance and functions of the rear buildings have thus disappeared.

The interwar period
During the interwar period, Kalundborg's population was growing: in 1921 6,833, in 1925 6,549, in 1930 6,926, in 1935 7,620, in 1940 7,751 inhabitants. But at the same time, there was growth in the suburbs in the rural district of Kalundborg market town and in Årby Municipality, where a number of people with work settled in Kalundborg. On 1 April 1933, the rural district of Kalundborg market town was incorporated into the market town.

At the census in 1930, Kalundborg had 6,926, of which 372 subsisted on intangible activities, 2,818 on crafts and industry, 1,210 on trade etc., 966 on transport, 268 on agriculture, forestry and fishing, 523 on housework, 603 were out of business and 166 had not stated source of income.

World War II
In Kalundborg, the Grand Hotel became the German headquarters. Upon liberation in May 1945, German city commander Jost Brökelmann saw himself forced to protect his headquarters from the locals, who mocked his men with shouts and fireworks. SMG-armed patrols were sent out to clear the streets, and people fled from Vestre Havneplads, including the 23-year-old student and FDF division leader Jørgen Manniche and some of his comrades who ran up through Skibbrogade. Manniche ran in through the bicycle dealer's gate in No. 17 and hid by the smokehouse in the yard, while his comrades ran into the stairwell next door. The Germans fired some random volleys of gunfire up the street and into the courtyards before retreating again. Manniche was hit by a brief ointment and died the next day at the hospital. Several were injured. When the streets were cleared, the German soldiers hid in niches and gates in Skibbrogade, where the signs that hung from the facades of the shops were pierced by shots. Kalundborg's German consul, manufacturer Christian Valentin, and representatives of the resistance movement, met with city commander Brökelmann at the Grand Hotel in the hope of making the surrender take place without further clashes. Manniche was buried at the family burial site at Sct. Olai cemetery, where his comrades also had a memorial stone erected. On the façade of Skibbrogade 17, a memorial plaque commemorating Manniche's death for German bullets on 4 May 1945 has been hung.