Bornholm – The Picturesque And Mesmerising Danish Island In The Baltic

Bornholm is one of the most captivating natural, historical, and cultural gems of the Kingdom of Denmark. Located to a considerable extent eastward and relatively remote from the rest of continental Denmark (namely in the Baltic Sea), one would often find the closest way to reach Jutland or Zealand from Bornholm by voyaging with the ferry via Sweden first.

As a matter of fact, most ferry routes link Bornholm to either Scania in southern Sweden or to northern Poland, with only one assuring direct passage from Rønne, the largest town of the island, to Zealand, close to the capital Copenhagen.

With its rather rugged and cliffy coastline, Bornholm is quite untypical from the rest of Denmark in terms of its elevation level. Its weather is also much more milder and sunnier than in the rest of the Danish islands or in Jutland, hence being called ‘solskinsøen’ (i.e. the sunshine island in Danish).

In Old Norse, the language of the Norsemen, the island was known as ‘Borghand’, being at the same time, according to many historians, the place of origin of the Burgundians, an ancient Germanic people which subsequently migrated southward to what is now Burgundy in central-western France, giving the name of the origin in the process.

Hammershus castle, the largest medieval stronghold in Northern Europe. Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

Beginning in the 10th century, along with the internal process of consolidation and administration of the Kingdom of Denmark, Bornholm fell under the jurisdiction of the land of Scania, in the east of the royal Danish realm.

The Hammershus stronghold, the most imposing on the island and the largest of its kind in Northern Europe, was built by the local archbishop at the round of the 13th century. Its well preserved ruins can still be visited today. Bornholm also boasts of a series of other medieval architectural structures such as the four round churches: Ny Church, Nylars Church, Saint Ols Church, and Østerlars Church.

Østerlars medieval round church from Bornholm. Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

Additionally, the older generations of Bornholmers speak the local Bornholmsk dialect, which is regarded by many other Danes a little bit peculiar in that it has more commonalities with Swedish rather than with standard Danish.

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