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The 1700s is a period of reconstruction in the Øresund Region. It is also the age of Enlightenment, when efforts to surveying natural and social conditions and creating rational improvements within the economy and social conditions were given pride of place. The will to reforms was great and the enlightened despotic states were sympathetic to new initiatives.

The Swedish scientist Linné made his Scanian journey in 1749 documenting the condition of parts of the Øresund Region and recommending what should be done about it.
Since the Middle Ages the relationship between Denmark and Sweden has alternated between conflict and unifications efforts. The conflicts of interests culminated with the returning wars in the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century.
At the end of the Scanian wars in 1679, when Sweden as well as Denmark felt put down by the big powers, a defence alliance was made. The Swedish king married a Danish princess and a monetary union treaty was signed in 1680. But the unification efforts were thwarted by the big powers and from the year 1700 the two countries were drawn into various international conflicts. The Great Nordic War became the last trial of strength.
The many wars in the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century brought devastation to the Sound region and it also marked the development in the urban societies. The commercial mentality of the age tried to advance self-sufficiency and the development of trade and town industry, but as in the case with Elsinore it was not until the second half of the century that the development turned.
In addition to the wars and devastations there were periods with crop failure and a more general ecological crisis with running down of the resource basis, as a consequence of increased consumption and exhaustion of the agricultural land. Scania, which before was a rich country, was in many ways destroyed and worn down and it was not better in Zealand: The forests had almost disappeared, sand drifts ravaged and derelict farms were spreading.
The 18th century was also the Age of Enlightenment and the efforts to map nature and social conditions and create rational improvements in economy and social conditions were prevalent. There was great reforming zeal and the absolute monarchies were sympathetic to new initiatives.
In the latter half of the 18th century there were a number of forestry and agricultural reforms, which all had their basis in experiments on the king´s land in North Zealand. These reforms had far-reaching consequences for the organization of society and changed the cultural landscape radically.
In Scania, where the nobility was strong and the administrative centre of the country was far away, this development came later. The botanist and enlightenment man Linné´s journey in Scania in the year 1749 attested to a great reforming zeal and in the end of the century there were clear signs of growth in the urban areas, especially in Landskrona and Malmo. Agricultural reforms in Scania did not really come before the beginning of the 19th century and contrary to North Zealand it did not come quietly, but lead to full-blown peasant rebellions.
An early industrialization took place on both sides of the Sound. In Höganäs an extensive production of coal and clay was developed, which was ahead of the later industrialization of the landscape.
In Hellebæk on the Zealand side they had made use of the local waterpower resources since the 16th century and in the 18th century they developed a production of rifles to the Danish state. Craftsman like production mostly characterized the production and the market was relatively closed – it was monopoly protected in the commercial spirit of the time.

©  Øresundstid 2009