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View of Dybbøl Banke and Sønderborg Castle

Facts on Sønderborg - countryside metropolis

Photo: Rune Johansen

The largest city of Southern Jutland is situated on both sides of the inlet Als Sund, surrounded by beautiful nature as well as the forest Sønderskoven.

The early history of Sønderborg
In 1169, King Valdemar the Great builds a castle at the southern entrance of the sound Als Sund as protection against the Wends. Today this castle is well known as a part of Museum Southern Jutland and as the castle where King Christian II was imprisoned, exactly – Sønderborg Castle.

There might have been a small fishing village at the sound, but the town itself is built after the castle and is first mentioned in 1256. The name Sønderborg descends from Søndreborg (Southern Castle) since there already was the castle named Alsborg on the northern part of the island Als, the name of this castle was changed into Nørreborg (Northern Castle)

The Christian part of town
Sønderborg town grows larger in the lee of the castle and achieves the status of market town. In 1856 the two parts of the town is connected through the pontoon bridge Frederik VII Bridge and because of the parish church, Sct. Marie Kirke is situated on the island Als grossing the bridge is free of charge on Sundays. Many people uses the free passage and the part of town on the mainland is named, the Christian side. Though using the free passage it is not all of the people from the Christian side who are seated in the church – the inns are also open on Sundays.

Sønderborg under German rule
During the war of 1864 the town is under great focus, the battlefield is situated on Dybbøl Banke un the other side of the small sound Als Sund and the German cannons at Gammelmark on Broagerland can reach the part of town surrounding the castle. Denmark loses the war and the Germans rule the area, as a part of Southern Jutland, until the Reunification in 1920.

In 1905, the German Reich decides to transfer a part of their growing fleet of ships to Flensburg and Sønderborg. A marine station is erected in Sønderborg; known today as the former sergeant school and large villas is built in Art Nouveau style.

Sønderborg of today
Sønderborg is still extending on both sides of the sound Als Sund.

On the mainland, you will find Alsion housing the University of Southern Denmark, the Videnspark Alsion and Erhvervsakademi Sydvest as well as a world class Alsion Concert hall, home base of the sinfonia orchestra Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester. The sports hall Broager Sparekasse Skansen is home base of the handball team of Southern Jutland SønderjyskE Håndbold.

At the other side of the sound, on the island Als, Frank Gehrys masterplan is influencing the harbor, with the house of culture Multikulturhuset providing setting for the German and Danish library as well as the Southern Jutland School of Art. At Alsik Hotel and Spa, you can enjoy a nice hotel stay, god food and lovely wellness treatments, or you can visit the platform Point of View on the 16th floor and enjoy a 360° view over the metropolis.  

Terrain model of the municipality  Sønderborg Kommune


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