I’m going to Hven for a faculty excursion in a few days; and other than the information provided by the excursion organizers in my department, I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this little island off the coast of Denmark, right on the Øresund Strait. Hven is a contested territory (still is, according to my Danish colleagues), despite legally belonging to Sweden. The Swedes took control of the island in 1658 when Scania was ceded to Sweden under the Treaty of Roskilde. However, many Danes at that time claim that Hven was in fact not part of Scania but of Zealand and therefore, was still under Danish rule. On May 6, 1658, Swedish troops were sent to the island to defend it against the Danes and on 1660, the official transfer of Hven to Sweden was made under the Treaty of Copenhagen. My Danish colleagues seem to enjoy calling Hven “technically” a Swedish territory.
According to Google Maps, this small, 7.5 square km island with just 715 inhabitants is closer to Denmark than to Sweden. Other than national pride, I cannot think of any other reason why Sweden wanted it enough to send troops. Neither can I think of any other reason why Denmark wanted it enough to reject Sweden’s ownership of it after signing the Treaty of Roskilde. It makes for a good historical site though. Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, built two observatories here – Uraniborg and Stjerneborg. Many also think that Johannes Kepler spent time on the island.
SO. Being the mastermind planner that I am, I have made a list of interesting things to see and do in Hven. There won’t much personal time during this trip, but we do get a few hours in the afternoon to do whatever it is that we want to do. So, while my colleagues go for a swim on warm summer waters [ahem!], maybe I can do a mini-historical/cultural tour of my own. Here’s my list:
- Tycho Brahe Museum which houses a Rennaisance garden where Brahe’s reconstructing the garden at Brahe’s Uraniborg Castle, the Stjerneborg Observatory, and an interactive weather station from the 16th century.
- Church of Saint Ibb, a 13th century church whose front altar was designed by Tobias Gemperlin and donated by Tycho Brahe
- Spirit of Hven Backafallsbyn for food and drinks 🙂
- Beaches and the yellowish limestone cliffs the island is famous for.
I also created a Pinterest board for Hven (click here). We shall see how much I can see and do from this list, shall we? It’s not a long list, but I don’t have enough time either. And it’s a small island. I must remember though to bring sun block and withdraw a couple of Swedish crowns. Until the next update. 🙂
August 24, 2016 | Copenhagen, Denmark