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Many Swedes as well as Danes emigrated overseas, mainly to America, but also the Copenhagen area attracted the population surplus from rural areas on both sides of the Sound. Gradually the urbanization increased also in the smaller towns in the Sound region in line with the industrialization.
The Scanian towns from the Middle Ages had not developed significantly in population to the year of 1800. An exception is Malmo, which had a boom in the 1600th century, but after the war and the plague it receded significantly. Even Landskrona had an expansion period, but that took place in the 1800th century. The city that had suffered the most in connection with the war was Helsingborg.
This is the population in the cities around the Sound in 1800, arranged after size:
Malmo: 3.962
Landskrona: 3.827
Lund: 3.086
Ystad: 2.460
Kristianstad: 2.369
Helsingborg: 1.741
Ängelholm: 697
Simrishamn: 644
Skanö: 526
Falsterbo: 156
In comparison Lund in the 1200th century had around 3000-4000 inhabitants. The Scanian towns were small and often parishes were larger than towns when it came to population. There was no Scanian city that could equal any of the three largest cities in Sweden (Stockholm with 75.517 inhabitants, Gothenburg with 12.804 and Karlskrona with 10.166). But one hundred years were to change the picture completely and in the year 1900 the population number in the Scanian cities, arranged after size:
Malmo: 60.857
Helsingborg: 24.670
Lund: 16.621
Landskrona: 14.399
Kristianstad: 10.318
Ystad: 9.862
Ängelhom: 2.784
Simrishamn: 2.062
Skanör: 667
Falsterbo: 266
After having stood still for several hundred years the development exploded in a number of Scanian cities during the 19th century. The causes for this development are to be found in the industrialization and the efforts to expand the infrastructure together with the general population increase, which took place during this century, a population increase, which according to Tegnér was caused by “peace, vaccine and potatoes”. In Sweden the abolishment of the compulsory guild and the introduction of freedom of trade in 1864 a stimulating effect on everything. Malmo and Helsingborg were the cities that grew the most east of the Sound.

The Development of Copenhagen
In the period 1800 to 1900 the population of Copenhagen increased from 100.000 to 500.000. This was a gigantic urbanization process, which took place in connection with the industrial breakthrough in the Copenhagen area from around the middle of the 1900th century, where the machine industry began to play an important part. But just as important was the building industry, which arose around the capital, when they began to expand the limits of the Middle Age city and began huge construction works in connection with the expansion of the infrastructure, the laying out of residential areas, industrial areas, railways and expansion of the harbour.
Copenhagen Central Station in 1870
Copenhagen Central Station in 1870

The forgotten migration
The city’s population growth was primarily a result of an increasing population deficit in the rural areas. People sought better living conditions in the metropolitan area and many emigrated, mostly to America.
This process took place all over Denmark, but to a large extent also on the other side of the Sound. The Swedish emigration to America was significantly larger than the Danish and was largely from the tight-fisted landscapes in Småland, but a substantial part also came from Scania and emigrants from here also went to the more dynamic development centre around Copenhagen. It is still discussed precisely how many, because a major part, especially in the rural areas only came as seasonal workers. Also changing market condition played a part, but a total Swedish emigration of around 80.000 is not completely off the mark.
There are good explanations of this development. The dynamic development process in the Copenhagen area went beyond the national border, Scania is not far from Zealand, the infrastructure was enlarged substantially and in southern Sweden the industrial development process apparently less substantial and it came later. In other words there was a clear need for labour and there was work to be found in the metropolitan region. One very significant difference was the wage rate, which is said to have been from one third up to twice as high than in south Sweden. The immigration came largely from rural areas in south Sweden and mostly from southwestern Scania.
A so-called Backstuge
A so-called Backstuge
Swedish immigration in Denmark
Swedish immigration in Denmark

The Working-power Moves
A great deal of the immigrants, mainly men and young people, found work in the two metropolitan municipalities (Copenhagen and Frederiksberg). The women to a large extent found work in the textile industry, but they also worked as domestic servants. In the surrounding municipalities there were larger workplaces, for instance tile works with large groups of Swedish workers. Labour also went to rural municipalities like Tårnby in Amager, partly to replace Danish labour, which went to the cities, but also to labour intensive gardening and beet growing, the latter also outside the metropolitan area.

Swedes in Denmark
Around the turn of the century it is estimated that there were approximately 16.000 Swedes, which corresponded to one third of the entire population. In the county as a whole the Swedes constituted approximately 4%, but there were variations, highest in Tårnby in Amager, where they contributed more than 5%.
With the building of the shipyard in Elsinore 700 workers were employed and the number of registered Swedes in the area is quadrupled in 1883, where there were 592 Swedish workers. 189 in the shipyard and in the textile factory in the nearby Hellebæk most of the women workers came from Scania.
At the end of the 19th century changes were made in the poverty legislation, which meant a hollowing out of the right of foreigners to provide in Denmark, partly as a result of a changed view of foreigners from 1875, partly because of changes in poverty legislation in 1891, which demanded Danish birthright in order to obtain provision rights.
From the end of the 1890´s immigration dropped heavily, which was largely due to an increasing industrialization in Malmo and Helsingborg and also in the farming industry in connection with the sugar beet growing in southwestern Scania. In time Scania was able to maintain the surplus labour also as a result of increasing wages.
Hellebæk Textile Factory
Hellebæk Textile Factory
Frederiksholm´s Tile Works
Frederiksholm´s Tile Works

Swedish church in Copenhagen
Some of the roughly 16.000 Swedish immigrants found comfort aginst homesickness - and the often tough work conditions - in the church. On the initiative of the local Swedish priests and married couple, Niels and Ruth Widner,considerable amounts of money were raised for the building of a Swedish church in Copenhagen.
However, it was not until 1910 that the Svenska Gustafskyrkan was opened with a celebratory servce. It was Theodor Wählin, the architect behind the restoration of Lund Cathedral, who realized the final design in the Art Nouveau style of the period.

A remarkable gift at the opening was the oil sketch for ”Blinda Brita i bodadräkt” from the world-famous Swedish painter, Carl Larssons (1853 – 1919). One of the few paintings by this artist on Danish soil!
The Swedish Gustaf Church in Copenhagen
The Swedish Gustaf Church in Copenhagen

©  Øresundstid 2009