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The Students

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Students, steamships and flags at the students´ meeting in Copenhagen in 1845. Here Scandinavism began to have a political touch, which the politicians did not like. (Painting by Jørgen Sonne from the Frederiksborg Museum in Hillerød).

Stronger Unity
In 1834 the gym teacher at the University of Lund, Gustav Johan Schartau, arranged an Olympic Game in Ramlösa outside Helsingborg. A new national feeling was to be created with a national festival and games among “The strong sons of Scandinavia”. The collaboration in the science field was strongly promoted be the Dane, Christian Molbech and most important was the natural scientist meetings, which started in 1839, at first in Gothenburg, after German model. In Denmark the physicist H.C. Ørsted personified these efforts and along the way thoughts of joint studies in Nordic universities were ripened
Nordic natural scientists´ meeting in 1847
Nordic natural scientists´ meeting in 1847

Connections on Fixed Routes
In 1838, when there happened to be a fixed route across the Sound, the ice was used in a much more friendly manner than in 1658. Now, 180 years later, students from Lund walked over to the Danish side. Contacts were made and the common origin and the common history were underlined. At the same time the volunteer fire brigade in Helsingborg walked with torches across the ice to Elsinore. A party was held at Hotel d´Öresund and a week later the fire brigade in Elsinore arranged a similar trip, which ended with a party at Hotel Mollberg. Toasts and cheers dominated the festivities.

Student Meetings
A Nordic periodical " Brage och Idun " was published in 1839 by the author Frederik Barfod, who appeared at several Scandinavian students´ meetings. In a poem he read at a meeting in Copenhagen in 1842 the thought of the unification of the North was very clear:
Tripartite is the trunk of the North
But the root is one
The foliage of the top unites
Every branch of the trunk
The next year, in 1843, a huge students´ meeting was arranged in Uppsala. Travel arrangements from Copenhagen were made and along the way stops were made in Kalmar. It was no coincidence that this city was visited; it was the union city where Denmark and Sweden were united in 1397. Students from Lund and Copenhagen spoke and in the spirit of brotherhood a new union was held forth, this time built on the ideas of liberalism. Thus Scandinavism had a new political undertone, but it was mainly a South Scandinavian movement, while Uppsala mostly focused on the relationship with Finland and Oslo was sceptical with regards to a continued affiliation with Sweden.
Three flags, but one people
Three flags, but one people

The Copenhagen Meeting
In 1845 a huge Scandinavianist meeting was held in Copenhagen, where students from Uppsala, Lund and Christiania (Oslo) arrived by steamboat. To take the steamboat had taken on a symbolic value for the Scandinavianists. The steamboat was like Scandinavism something new and revolutionizing. The steamboat created the possibilities for regular contacts and had in a concrete manner once again changed the Sound into unifying waters.
At the Copenhagen meeting in 1845 many speeches were held and the spokesman for the Danish students, Orla Lehmann, in a appraised speech in the equestrian house in Christiansborg succeeded in making the students feel deeply for the Nordic unification thought. Afterwards he was charged with revolutionary activities, but was acquitted later.
The meeting in Copenhagen lasted a week and it was ended, of course, in Tivoli, where the founder of the amusement park, Georg Carstensen, received them. During the whole week feelings about the unification thought swelled and cheers sounded in between toasts and cups. In streets and squares they flaunted their Scandinavism and went to different meetings arm in arm. It was no secret elitist group, who gathered without showing the public what they wanted, but they wanted the public to become part of the new feeling of solidarity. The gatherings in squares and in parks used the public space for propaganda purposes.
Students´ meeting in 1845
Students´ meeting in 1845
Orla Lehmann
Orla Lehmann
Frederiksborg Castle
Frederiksborg Castle
Stockholm 1856
Stockholm 1856
Copenhagen 1862
Copenhagen 1862

Political Confusion
From the beginning the mutual cultural inheritance had been emphasized, but first and foremost in Zealand and Scania it became a matter of political Scandinavism. It was this political variant, which contributed to worry in government circles. The autocratic Christian VIII as well as Karl XIV with his “one man government” had been suspicious of the movement all the way. In Denmark it was usual practice that Scandinavists were under close guard by the police.
All together the political relationship between Denmark and Sweden was poor on the official level because of the events concerning Norway, but when Oscar I succeeded his father as the king of Sweden in 1844 the relations improved considerably and the fact that the Swedish king visited Copenhagen was almost sensational. This had not happened since the visit of Gustav III 60 years earlier.

The Spokesman
In Helsingborg the Øresundsposten (The Sound Post) had begun an eager pro-Danish campaign and the newspaper became something of the official organ for Scandinavism during a couple of decades. The responsible editor, the publicist and poet, Oskar Patrik Sturzenbecker, deserves his own chapter. He had come from the literary circles in Uppsala to Stockholm, where he among other things wrote discourses in Aftonbladet under the pen name “Orvar Odd”.
In 1844 he moved to Copenhagen, participated in the student meeting in 1845 and involved himself more and more in the cause of Scandinavism. He settled in Helsingborg in 1847 and founded the Øresundsposten, whose character was radical liberalistic and Scandinavistic and therefore developed into the most noticed local paper in Sweden.
The name of the paper clearly showed the political intent. Sturzenbecker (later Sturzen-Becker) eagerly advocated Sweden’s participation in the Danish-German war in 1848 and made propaganda for a Scandinavian federation and was continuously in close contact with his Danish party colleagues. It is not wrong to claim that the strongest supporters of the Scandinavistic ideas were the academic circles in Lund and the Øresundsposten in Helsingborg.
Sturzen-Becker
Sturzen-Becker
Öresundsposten
Öresundsposten

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.

©  Øresundstid 2009