Skip Navigation Links
Main page
History
Themes
Tourism
Education
Search
Temaer
Skip Navigation Links
HistoryExpand History
Skip Navigation Links
ThemesExpand Themes
TourismExpand Tourism
EducationExpand Education

Skip Navigation Links
Picture categoryExpand Picture category
Skip Navigation Links
Time lineExpand Time line

Reconciliation

*

After 1830 the contacts across the Sound were increased. Joint scientific congresses were held and a number of large students´ meetings manifested the Scandinavian sense of community for the years to come.

A Married Royal Couple
In 1766 the Swedish King Gustav III married the Danish Princess Sofie Magdalene. Gustav visited Denmark as a crown prince as early as 1770 and as Swedish King he visited briefly in 1786. July 9th King Gustav was received at Marienlyst Castle in Elsinore, where the king had arrived at 12 o´clock. He dined accompanied by Turkish chamber music from oboists of the Royal Life Guards and oboists from Kronborg. At 6 PM he went to Hellebæk to visit the rifle factory and in the evening he returned to Sweden.
Gustav III at Fredensborg
Gustav III at Fredensborg

Inoffical Visit
King Gustav came back in October 1787, this time on an unannounced visit to Copenhagen. The periodical “Minerva” wrote, that every “Scandinavian “ must feel great joy over the sense of community that this visit stood for. Thus “Scandinavian” became a household word.
But the Danes were a bit worried at this latest visit, which took the court by surprise, and they feared a hidden agenda with regards to foreign policy. At the first visit the Danish king had spat in the soup and left the meal abruptly, so they feared what the autocratic, but deranged king would do or be persuaded to do. Gustav had plans to expand in the east, but Denmark had formed an alliance with Russia and in 1788 the two parties as a result of the alliance fell out with each other.

Gustav III Murdered
However, in 1792 the Swedish king was murdered during a masked ball at Stockholm’s Castle and the threat of war blew over for the time being. That same year the Danish professor Sneedorf held a lecture in the Nordic Society in London saying how important it was that the three Nordic countries united and in 1794 another federation of neutrality was signed by Denmark and Sweden. At that occasion the Danish foreign minister Bernsdorff said: “Everything that brings Denmark and Sweden closer to each other is natural; all that separates them in unjust and unnatural”.

The Napoleon War
In spite of the federation of neutrality Sweden and Denmark took different sides during the Napoleonic war and it came to minor incidents between the two parties in 1808-09 and later in 1813. After the dethroning of the Swedish King Gustav IV Adolf a Danish Prince Christian August was elected heir to the throne, but after his sudden death a former French general Bernadotte took the throne. Bernadotte converted to the Protestantism on the Swedish consulate in Elsinore and then travelled across the Sound.
The outcome of the Napoleonic wars meant that Sweden lost Finland in 1809 and Denmark lost Norway, which instead was united with Sweden in 1814. Norway’s transition to Sweden entailed that the mutual relationship was cooled down, but in the course of a few decades the contact was increased considerably among other things because of the improvement of the means of communication.
Monument in memory of  Christian August
Monument in memory of  Christian August
The Swedish consulate in Elsinore
The Swedish consulate in Elsinore
The Swedish consulate in Elsinore
The Swedish consulate in Elsinore
Bernadotte disembarks in Helsingborg
Bernadotte disembarks in Helsingborg
The Bernadotte Monument in Helsingborg
The Bernadotte Monument in Helsingborg

Revolution and Civil War 1848
When the absolute monarchy fell in Denmark in the revolution year of 1848 the possibilities of Scandinavism increased and the new king of Denmark Frederik VII, had, like his Swedish colleague, quite a different view of Scandinavism than that of their fathers. The political Scandinavism now went as far as to help with troops in the Danish-German war in 1848.
This resulted in great enthusiasm around the Sound. One example of this is that several hundred citizens from Elsinore went to Helsingborg one Sunday in May in 1848 to celebrate that Swedish troops were to land in Denmark. A great party was held with citizens of Helsingborg at the Hotel Mollberg.
The Swedish soldiers were placed in Funen, but were never actively used in the war, which ended with armistice negotiations in Malmo in the late summer of 1848. Until the end of the war Swedish troops were on guard in the winter of 1849-50.

Union Plans
The unification thoughts also blossomed at the Danish and Swedish court in the 1850´s and here they as far as to discuss a union under a Swedish king. Frederik VII was childless and thus it would be opportune with one king ruling Sweden-Norway and Denmark. This union would then play a greater part in European high politics. The great powers of Europe had opinions in this matter and they felt that the integrity of the Danish monarchy should be preserved. This was stated clearly at conferences held in London in 1850 and 1852.

A New Danish King
The succession in Denmark was then moved to Prince Christian of Slesvig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and his heirs. Perhaps this time – with the problems concerning Denmark’s southern border and the uncertain succession after the childless Frederik VII – was decisive when it came to a more extensive Scandinavian union. But it was missed with the passing of the Danish succession law of 1852, according to which the Glücksburger Christian IX was to succeed Frederik VII.
But many Danes had doubts about this Christian, who was to be their new king and that Frederik preferred a Swedish successor to the Danish Christian was quite clear. Oscar I as well as Frederik had planned for a union. Lively propaganda was carried through in Europe in order to make the great powers to approve of a union between the Nordic states. Many (among them Sturzen-Becker) wrote pamphlets in order to influence the European press. When Oscar I fell ill and died in 1859 the throne and the union plans were taken over by the son Karl XV.

Jovial Friendship
There was an even better personal chemistry between the new Swedish king Karl XV and Frederik VII. They met on several occasions, for instance in Ljungbyhed in 1860 and in connection with the student meeting in Copenhagen in 1862 and at a great meeting in Skodsborg in 1863 and the same year also at Bäckeskog in Scania. They formed a jovial friendship and the conditions for a union seemed good. Karl, with his unassuming style was popular in Denmark as well as Sweden. He was also very generous with his promises to the Danes and gave, in connection with the meeting in Skodsborg a verbal promise that Swedish troops would support the Danish defence of its southern border, which once again was threatened by the Germans.
Karl XV and Frederik VII
Karl XV and Frederik VII
Karl XV and Frederik VII
Karl XV and Frederik VII
Karl XV in Elsinore
Karl XV in Elsinore
Fredensborg Castle´s Park in 1862
Fredensborg Castle´s Park in 1862

Broken promises
But the promises were broken, when the Danish-German war started in 1863. At first the king was supported by foreign minister Mandelstrøm and the Swedish envoy in Copenhagen, Hamilton, but was later overruled by the ministers of the state. The Swedish government explained that they were not going to send any troops, a decision, which went against the wishes of Karl XV. In connection with this political turbulence Frederik VII died and Christian IX became king of Denmark. The union ideas began to fade away because of the broken Swedish promises, the distrust of the Swedish government and the new Danish king’s negative attitude and Scandinavism lost ground.

Utopia or Reality?
Scandinavism was not a political program, which was to be carried through. The Scandinavists met from time to time and successively new ideas, sympathizers and symbols evolved. It started as a cultural statement in the literary circles, developed into a real sense of community with plenty of toasts and cheers among students and the middle classes. Then it evolved into a political unification idea, where the kings had far reaching union plans, which finally went to pieces because of the reality of the European higher politics.
It is open to discussion how strong the mutual will and solidarity really was. If one compares it with other contemporary unification efforts in Germany and Italy – which succeeded – it was not because the political, religious and linguistic differences were greater – on the contrary. Another question was the surrounding world, particularly the attitude of the European great powers.
Russia and Prussia did not look mildly on a united command of the Sound and thus the entrance to the Baltic – in other words the classic problem in European higher politics concerning the Sound and Baltic region. But would the European great powers have gone against the will of the people in the time of dawning liberalism?

©  Øresundstid 2009