Ringsted is a town in Central Zealand with 22,898 inhabitants (2020) in Ringsted Municipality under Region Zealand. It is one of Zealand's oldest cities; its landmark, St. Bendt's Church, testifies to the town's age. The church is Denmark's first brick church and was completed in the year 1170. Ringsted town can most likely be dated to the Viking Age. Coins were minted on the spot when Knud the Great (1018-35) made Ringsted a mint. On the square are some flat stones, Tingstenene, which is the only remnant of the courthouse. The last royal tribute here took place on July 8, 1584, when Christian IV received the oath of allegiance of the estates.

Despite its age, Ringsted does not appear architecturally like any old town. It looks like a modern commercial and cultural city with a congress center, music house and theater and with the huge Danish Crown Slagteri as the city's by far the largest workplace. The city is also intersected by a motorway, E20, which separates the central and southern Ringsted from the northern district Benløse. Ringsted has central railway and motorway connections to Copenhagen, the Great Belt Bridge and several other places on Zealand.

There are 60 kilometers to Copenhagen, 16 to Sorø, 24 to Næstved, 26 to Køge, 32 to Roskilde, 34 to Holbæk and 45 kilometers to Korsør.

In Iowa in the USA is the village Ringsted with 440 inhabitants.



Viking Age and older Middle Ages
In Viking times, Ringsted was a gathering place for the worship of the gods, and sacrifices were made. The city was the capital of the whole of Zealand and could be compared to what Viborg was for North Jutland and Urnehoved for Southern Jutland. Together with the two other county council towns (Viborg in Jutland and Lund in Scania), as well as Helsingborg and the minting sites Slagelse and Randers, Ringsted was one of the most important Danish cities of the 1000s; and in 1080 a stone church was built in Ringsted on the idea of ​​Roskilde Bishop Svend Nordmand. 50 years later, a large Benedictine monastery was founded.

In 1131, the king's son Knud Lavard was murdered in a forest near the village of Haraldsted, and his son Valdemar the Great started the Romanesque town church Sankt Bendts Kirke as a tribute to the father, and it was completed approx. 40 years later. Knud Lavard now received saint status and was buried in the church in front of the main altar. Sankt Bendt's Church was from then on a royal funeral church, and due to Knud's canonization, it did not take long before Ringsted became a place of pilgrimage for pilgrims who brought gifts and prosperity to the city. Valdemar's son Knud VI was crowned king in the church in 1170.

From then on and through most of the Middle Ages, Ringsted was by far the most important town on Zealand, as county councils were now held on the site. At this Sjællandsfar Landsting, all free men could have disputes settled that could not be decided in their own local area. Regents were also honored at the county council, both Margrete 1st and Christian 4th, and several royals were buried in the monastery church and remain there. Notable events at the county council include Christoffer II's exile settlement with Johan den Milde in 1329, and Valdemar Atterdag's order on national use of tax revenues in 1349.

Late Middle Ages and Renaissance
In the 16th century, the town was hit by several violent fires both in 1534 and 1551. Christian III therefore ordered that the area's abbots should assist the population with timber from the monastery's forests in the area to rebuild the town. From 1584, Sjællandsfar Landsting was moved away from its original location and was now held in the church.

There was a St. Hans Church in the market town in the 16th century, which was demolished after the parishioners in a royal letter had been referred to the monastery church in 1571. The church's furniture was moved to St. Bendt's Church. From the 13th century, a Sankt Jørgensgård was found for lepers, but gradually it fell into disrepair, and they therefore complained to Ringsted Kloster's commander, who had it repaired at the end of the 16th century. From the Reformation there was also room for the disabled who could not cope with begging; until its dissolution in 1631 it could house four poor sick women. After that, an agreement had been entered into with the Vartov Foundation in Copenhagen, which, in exchange for taking over Sankt Jørgensgården's income, undertook to make 4 places available for Ringsted.

Under the dictatorship
In general, the 17th and 18th centuries were a hard time for Ringsted. The Swedish wars ravaged the city, and the foreign soldiers plundered the area and stole the monastery library's invaluable collection of 30,000 books and Icelandic manuscripts. In 1693 a great fire ravaged the town's slums, and in 1747 a very large part of the rest burned. In 1769, Ringsted had only 703 inhabitants, and that went back to the Central Zealand market town. In 1796, in Sct. Hans Gade founded a patisserie, which is now Denmark's oldest.

In 1808, a royal post office was built, Postgaarden, which still functioned under Christian 8. Later, it became a hotel and until 2011 contained a Nordea branch. Ringsted Mill dates from 1804 and is now located by Ringsted Museum, which is one part of the House of History. The other part, Ringsted Arkiv, is located in Skolegade 9. The amusement park at Dagmarsgade was built in 1898, and the park's first trees were donated by the landowners from the nearby manors. The park got a pavilion in 1907, which has since functioned as a cultural gathering place in the Ringsted area with exhibitions, meetings, animal shows, etc.

The early industrialization
Like a number of other Danish cities, the advent of the railway meant that Ringsted met better times. In 1856 the railway came to the market town, and in the 20th century there were railway connections to other Zealand towns. From 1917 to 1963 there was a connection to Køge (Køge-Ringsted Railway), while Næstved-Ringsted opened in 1924 and was extended to Frederikssund via Hvalsø the following year. The Ringsted-Hvalsø-Frederikssund section only existed until 1936 and with its eleven years of life became Denmark's shortest existing railway connection.


In the second half of the 19th century, Ringsted experienced significant industrial development. In 1855, Ringsted had 9 spirits distilleries, 1 weaving mill, 1 printing house, 1 tannery, 1 pottery and 1 windmill. In 1872, in Ringsted, there were 4 distilleries, 1 book printing company that published "Sjællandsposten", 2 tanneries, 1 tobacco factory, 2 weaving mills, 1 Portland cement factory ("Hertha", established 1869), 1 iron foundry (established 1868) united with a machine factory. Around the turn of the century, there was 1 beer brewery (Bavarian and white beer) with brandy distillery (a total of 30 workers), 1 white beer brewery (annual production approximately 2,000 tdr.), 1 steam mill (annual grinding of 37,500 td. Grain, 15 workers), 1 iron foundry. machine factory (20 workers), 1 cooperative pig slaughterhouse (25,000 pigs, 20 workers are slaughtered annually), 1 steam saw and planing mill (15 workers), 1 steam wool spinning mill, 1 pottery, 1 dyehouse, 1 tannery and 3 book printing works. In Ringsted, 3 newspapers were now published: "Sjællandsposten", "Ringsted Folketidende" and "Venstres Folkeblad".

Ringsted's population was increasing in the late 1800s and early 1900s: 1,380 in 1850, 1,477 in 1855, 1,653 in 1860, 1,869 in 1870, 2,127 in 1880, 2,464 in 1890, 3,320 in 1901, 3,696 in 1906 and 4,045 in 1911.

By industry, the population in Ringsted in 1890 was divided into the following groups, comprising both dependents and dependents: 320 lived by intangible business, 1,012 by industry, 641 by trade and turnover, 100 by agriculture, 13 by horticulture, while 246 were distributed by other industries, 115 lived by their means, 14 "enjoyed alms" and 3 were in prison. According to a 1906 census, the population was 3,696, of which 391 subsisted on intangible activities, 128 on agriculture, forestry and dairy farming, none on fishing, 1,727 on crafts and industry, 846 on trade and more, 247 on transportation, 184 were retired, 94 lived by public support and 79 by other or undisclosed business.