Nakskov is Lolland's largest city and market town, with 12,707 inhabitants (2020) located at the bottom of Nakskov Fjord on the west coast of the island in Lolland Municipality, Region Zealand. It was previously a significant shipyard town in Denmark, where the world-renowned sea transport company EAC (East Asian Company) was founded by the nakskovite H.N. Andersen in the late 1800s. Nakskov is an enterprising industrial town with the oatmeal factory OTA (the current Nakskov Mill Foods) and Nakskov Sukkerfabrik as the very large companies next to the maritime trade. The historic companies are complemented by modern high-tech companies such as Ortofon, Alfa Laval and MHI Vestas Offshore Vind which support the city as a green industrial city. Traditionally, Lolland-Falster, due to the favorable conditions for growing sugar beet, has been Denmark's by far the largest sugar production area; today exhibited at the Danish Sugar Museum in the city.

Despite the city's industrialization, Nakskov has preserved a number of old buildings in the cityscape, including half-timbered houses, warehouses and grocery farms as well as several small streets and alleys that give the market town a medieval-like appearance. Among the most prominent buildings are the city's largest church, Sankt Nikolai Kirke, built in the early 13th century, the old grain barn Dronningens Pakhus from the year 1600, the grocery farm Theisens Gård from 1786 and Det Gamle Apotek built in 1645 with an added baroque facade from 1777. Nakskov Tourist Office is located here today. The city has several museums that deal with the history of the city and the island.

Nakskov is today a modern trading town located near primary route 9 and Tårs Ferry Port, from where there is a ferry connection to Langeland. From the center there are just over 11 kilometers to Søllested, 27 to Maribo, just over 30 to Rødbyhavn, 55 to Nykøbing Falster and 160 kilometers to Copenhagen. The city functions as a service and trade center for the catchment area.


The name Nakskov comes from the time when the whole area 'Nakken' (Nakskov center today) was covered by forest, ie "the forest on Nakken" or "Nakkeskoven".

The Middle Ages
Nakskov is mentioned as a market town in King Valdemar's Land Register ("Nacascogh", later Nagschouf and Naschov). In 1242, a settlement was concluded in Nakskov between Erik Plovpenning and Archbishop Torkil of Reval, and in 1266 Erik Klipping was in Nakskov and bestowed on his gift certificate, which is the town's first known privilege, including the so-called "Forest" for it. In 1274 it was given equal privileges with Næstved, in 1290 and 1293 Erik Menved confirmed its privileges, in 1300 it was given the authority to put insolvent debtors in custody, "a permit which the city has used very regularly to this day", 1320 confirmed Christoffer II, in 1386 King Oluf and in 1404 Erik of Pomerania the Privileges, in 1445 it was given the right to sail, "so that peasants and others from there should be excluded", only in 1539 were they exempted by the inhabitants of Nakskov, who were born on the Crown's estate, for rod binding. A coin treasure from around the year 1400 found on Gåsetorvet in 1959 testifies to considerable trade and wealth in the city in the Middle Ages.

In 1513, Christian II confirmed its privileges. That Nakskov in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance has been a fairly significant city can be seen from the fact that in documents from the 15th and 16th centuries, among other things by tax assessment, it is mentioned as the largest on Lolland-Falster and is equated with the country's large market towns. It was not spared the usual plague of the towns: by a fire in 1420 the greater part of the town went up in flames, and in 1528 those of the inhabitants who had suffered by a fire were exempted from royal burdens and city tax for 3 years; also the plague severely plagued it, especially in 1629. The war, however, was the worst plague. In 1510 it was plundered and burned by the Lübeckers; Admiral Henrik Krummedige came to the rescue of the city too late, but the Germans added a significant defeat at Nakskov in August. The Lübeck invasion apparently gave the impetus to the city's fortification, as Engelsborg, which King Hans had shortly before built on Slotø, had not proved able to defend the city. In any case, it has been fortified in 1525, in which year the Council of State recommended that the fortification be closed.

Like many other cities, Nakskov also had a Holy Spirit house in the Middle Ages, probably founded in the 14th century. By the fire of 1420 it was put in ashes, but soon after rebuilt; In 1441, councilor Henrik Danielsen and his wife entered the hospital and donated all their goods to "den Hilghens Kapel". Originally it was a hospital, in which the care was well performed by a kind of clergy fraternity, but between 1474 and 1493 it seems to have been transformed into a monastery, although it is not mentioned in 1516 among the Danish Holy Spirit monasteries, which were the hospital monastery in Rome under. Over time, the Holy Spirit monastery had acquired a number of estates: in 1493, Mrs. Inger Torbensdatter Bille donated some land in the town field, a farm in Krogsbølle (Krukholm), etc .; In 1495 the gunsmith Matthis Godov got a farm in Højreby, in 1524 by Knud Gøye to Kjærstrup some properties in Vestenskov, Horslunde and Løgtofte parishes (in exchange for admitting him to the fraternity and "making him part of all the good deeds done in the Helligaands". Monasteries, all over Christianity ") and 1525 a farm in Fæbæk on Langeland. After the Reformation, it existed for another time as a hospital and poorhouse; In 1539 a priest Hr. Henrik appointed its supervisor to, among other things, entertain 6 members. When it was shut down is not known; in the early 17th century it seems to have been used for clothing store. The monastery church must have been demolished in 1689. However, the cemetery was still used at the end of the 18th century and possibly later as a burial ground for the poor.

Krogsbølle Church, which was demolished in 1539, was a church in the small village of Krogsbølle located north of Nakskov town. The plot from the church can today be seen on the town's nursery grounds on Løjtoftevej. The building materials were later used for Nakskov fortress. The village, which existed as an independent settlement and parish until 1577, was located where the park Svinglen is today and next to Løjtoftevej by Svingelsmosen.

The Renaissance

After the Count's Feud, the works were improved, as by royal letter of July 30, 1539, the citizens of the town were allowed to fortify it with ramparts, walls, tombs, and other fortifications, "that they might hold it for Violence against us and the enemies of the Kingdom, when need be ". It is known that work was done on this fortification in 1547, and in 1551 Peder Oxe was ordered to demolish Nysted Monastery and use the material for a castle, which the king intended to build here; likewise, the peasants on Lolland-Falster were ordered to take part in the work. Under Christian IV, the fortress tombs were improved in 1629; On July 28, 1653, the bourgeoisie received a royal letter to repair the fortress. The fortification began at the beach off Kongens Toftegade and went in a semicircle north of the city to end at the dam over to the ferry land, which last was also included in the fortification; the northern and north-eastern part of the inner rampart was called "Højekat". At the end of Vejle-, Tile- and Søndergade there were brick gates. The city's heyday fell in the first half of the 17th century, when Arent Berntsen in "Danmarckis oc Norgis Fructbar Herlighet" from 1656 could write: good Goods export to far-off Places: Spain, England, Holland, Germany, Norway, etc. ".

In 1658, the war between Denmark and Sweden raged. Swedish troops crossed the ice from Langeland and captured Nakskov without major problems. Many Danes mocked the Nakskovites because they left the city to the Swedes without a fight, but the foreign troops quickly moved on to Copenhagen the same year. The following year, however, they returned.

Karl X Gustav had trouble with Copenhagen and now wanted to throw himself over the capital's granary - "Smålandene" - as it was called Lolland-Falster. The king made a landing at Guldborg and then went again against Nakskov. This time, however, the Nakskovites did not intend to surrender their city without a fight, so Colonel Kørber (defense leader of Nakskov) refused when the Swedes once again tried to persuade the citizens to let the city fall without a sword blow. The king's troops therefore began to prepare an attack on Nakskov's fortress.

The Swedes started with an artillery attack, which, however, did not cause significant damage to the city, as most bullets hit either just outside the ramparts or down into the harbor. One, however, fell into St. Nicholas Church and is still lying there. When the artillery fire did not work, the Swedes led by Wrangel (a prominent general at the time) tried to storm Nakskov - but without success. The Swedish troops were pushed back with heavy losses. The Swedes tried again with the artillery and again with new thrusts, but the approx. A 2,000-strong garrison of soldiers and civilians repeatedly repelled the attacks by the professional Swedish army.

The king became discouraged and transferred Wrangel to the defense of Funen and replaced the later legendary Magnus Stenbock. Under him, the Swedes began to make needle-stick attacks that intended to find the weakest point of the fortress, and he found it at Nybro. The Swedes began to make trenches which the Nakskovites initially flooded, but the troops did not give up and built new ones. When they were finished, Stenbock attacked and although the citizens stubbornly defended themselves, the Swedish troops broke through in mid-July 1659, and Nakskov capitulated after a 2-month siege. Had Nakskov received gunpowder for the fortress' cannons in time and received the same help in the form of Dutch naval personnel as Copenhagen received, the outcome could have been different; however, it is a completely different story.


With the Swedish war, Nakskov's prosperity came to an end. The Swedish troops came to Nakskov on February 7, 1658, and the commander, François Edmondt, who believed that the whole Swedish army was approaching, handed over the city, a stain which was completely washed away the following year, when Nakskov with a small garrison , some of whom were citizens and peasants, artisans, servants, etc., endured a bombardment and a siege by a corps of 12 regiments for a period of 11 weeks May 1–15. July. Only then did the city surrender, however, so that the garrison had to withdraw with sounding games, and the lives and goods of the citizens be unharmed, which last, however, was only poorly observed. Nakskov's commander was Joachim Korber; under him stood Lieutenant Colonel David Bernbach, who fell in an outburst June 9; of the inhabitants excelled, among others, the parish priest Laur. Mortensen Widsted, mayor Niels Nielsen and the citizens' one leader, shoemaker Diderich v. Essen. The town had suffered greatly during the siege, and with the fire tax of 22,000 rigsdaler imposed on it after the capture (1658 it had had to pay 20,000 rigsdaler), and the cost of catering for the Swedish crew, the town was virtually destroyed. Many left the city, and even in 1662 it stood so desolate and abandoned that the citizens had to patrol the streets at night to prevent the abandoned houses from being demolished or doors and other things stolen. In 1657 the town's tax rate amounted to 3,040 worth of marks, in 1664 only to 650.

After the Swedish wars, the city was forced to pay large sums to Sweden, and when Marstal at the same time began to outcompete the city in maritime trade, it went back sharply for Nakskov; the number of ships decreased from 50 to 18.

Under the dictatorship
Presumably as a reward, Frederick III granted the city in 1662 the privilege that the judgments that fell on the byting should only be appealed by its mayor and council and appealed to the king and the supreme court (a starter, however, it lost again in 1683). In 1667, as compensation for the damage suffered in the war, it was given freedom for 8 years for all weights and taxes and freedom for half for the next 16 years, and the same year it was given the right of way, so that it became a warehouse for the whole of Lolland, a right, which it, however, already lost some years later. In Christian V's time it ceased to be a fortress, in 1689 the garrison was withdrawn, and in 1705 Frederik IV donated the ramparts to the citizens. The relief granted to the town in 1667 has undoubtedly aided it: in 1672 it had 1,920 inhabitants, and shipping increased considerably. But after the middle of the 18th century, it went back sharply again, especially because the inhabitants of the place Marstal gradually knew how to get the freight on Nakskov. In 1769 it had only 1,284 inhabitants, and in 1774 it is said that "the foremost advantage of the town has formerly existed in the trade, when it formerly had 50 vessels, but now only 18".

After several centuries of decline, the town experienced better times in the 19th century, not least when Nakskov Harbor was deepened and a wooden shipyard established in 1826. As a traffic hub for the rich agriculture on Vestlolland, Nakskov was by virtue of its harbor a prosperous town with a multifaceted business structure. until the development of land transport evoked a more specialized division of labor between the parts of the country.

Nakskov had a Latin school, which, however, was only small (1 principal, 2 listeners and 4 classes); it was abolished in 1838. Niels Hemmingsen has been in school for some time.

Nakskov had a civilian armament, which was abolished in 1853.

The early industrialization
Nakskov's population was increasing in the late 1800s and early 1900s: 2,955 in 1850, 3,375 in 1855, 3,687 in 1860, 4,033 in 1870, 5,278 in 1880, 6,722 in 1890, 8,310 in 1901, 8,424 in 1906 and 9,480 in 1911.


Of factories and industrial plants in 1856, the town had: 1 printing house, 1 shipbuilding, 2 cotton weaving mills, 4 dyehouses, 1 stamp factory and garment factory, 3 tanneries, 1 candle foundry, 1 playing card and wallpaper factory, 1 tobacco factory, 1 steam mill, 1 iron foundry, and machine factory 3 lime distilleries, 4 breweries, 2 spirits distilleries. Of factories and industrial plants, the town had in 1873: 2 book printing houses, 1 shipbuilding, 3 dyehouses connected to stamping plant and garment factory, 2 tanneries, 1 tallow candle foundry, 2 tobacco factories, 2 steam flour mills, 4 weather mills, 2 iron foundries and machine factories, , 5 breweries, several malting plants. Of factories and industrial plants around the turn of the century had 3 iron foundries and machine factories, one of which: joint stock company Tuxen & Hammerich (before the factory "Godthaab") employed about 250 workers and especially manufactures gas and refrigeration machines, 1 sugar factory with 6 juice stations in Majbølle, Græshave, Stokkemarke, Vesterborg, Horslunde and Nakskov, which together in the campaign employed approximately 450 men and 40 women and produced DKK 22 million. pounds of sugar annually and at the same time in the campaign 1898 set aside 15 million. pounds of intermediate feed; 1 pneumatic malt factory, 2 tanneries, 1 wagon factory, 1 brickworks, 3 limeworks; 2 wool spinning mills, 2 steam-flour mills, 2 beer breweries, 1 export slaughterhouse, 2 coffee distilleries, 2 tobacco factories, 3 book printing houses.

At the turn of the century, three newspapers were published in Nakskov: Vestlollands Avis (formerly Nakskov Avis), Nakskov Tidende and Nakskov Folkeblad.

In the 18th century the harbor had only little depth, and the inflow through the fjord was so bad that slightly larger ships had to unload and leave ¼ miles from the town; at the end of the eighteenth century the harbor began to be dredged, but it was not until 1847-50 that the inlet was seriously widened to a depth of 13 feet; In 1875-76, the inlet and the harbor were deepened to 14 feet, and at the same time 1,010 acres of new bulwark was added, whereby a considerable area of ​​harbor space was gained, on which buildings such as the customs house, steamship warehouse, waiting pavilion, cattle shed, weighing shed, etc. Simultaneously with the dredging, a narrow, approximately 450 acre long private harbor was formed up to Marienlyst Steam Mill with earth dam and pier on one side and bulwark on the other side.

The economic composition of the population was in 1890: 593 lived by intangible enterprise, 3,076 by craft and industry, 1,359 by trade and turnover, 295 by shipping, 96 were fishermen, 244 by agriculture, 46 by horticulture, 687 by other occupations, 243 by their means , 79 enjoyed alms and 4 sat in jail. According to a 1906 census, the population was 8,424, of which 499 were engaged in intangible activities, 257 in agriculture, forestry and dairy farming, 119 in fishing, 4,120 in handicrafts and industry, 1,821 in trade and more, 978 in transport, 374 were retired people, 206 lived by public support and 50 by other or unspecified business.

A railway connection to Nykøbing Falster and Maribo was created in 1874 and from Falster to Zealand and thus Copenhagen over the Storstrømsbroen bridge in 1937. Several large factories gradually came to the city, including the Sugar Factory in 1882, and in 1916 Nakskov Shipyard was built. This steel shipyard was the city's lifeline and by far the largest workplace for the next 70 years, creating the breeding ground for the province's largest labor movement.

The editor Sophus Bresemann was appointed Denmark's first social democratic mayor in 1914 and the foundation was thus laid for many years of social democratic rule in the shipyard town.

The interwar period
In connection with the economic crisis of the 1930s in the western world, Nakskov as a working - class town was affected completely differently negatively than most other towns in the country. 1-2. May 1931, the industrial city experienced the closest one has been to a revolution in Denmark, namely the Nakskov affair. Unemployed people showed their dissatisfaction and had organized themselves and made concrete demands on the local authorities. In a demonstration organized by DKP, the unemployed and communists demonstrated in front of Nakskov Police Station. There were clashes with the police, and units from other police districts and armed soldiers were involved for that reason.

During the interwar period, Nakskov's population grew, but at the same time there was a growth in the suburbs Sæby Huse in Halsted Parish and Svingelsallé in Branderslev Parish, where a number of people settled and worked in Nakskov.