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Arndts Travel


In 1804 Ernst Moritz (1769-1860)from Rügen described a journey in Scania and along the Sound coast, a journey, which he found fascinating.
The impression was a changing landscape: Agricultural reforms ushered in a new age, but in the cities there had not been any significant changes since Linné´s famous journey in 1749.
In the beginning of the 19th century it became popular to read travelogues. Many authors depicted their experiences from foreign countries. Ernst Moritz Arndt was one of these travellers and he explored the exotic Sweden. He was born in Rügen, which at that time was part of Sweden, which may explain his interest in this Nordic country. Arndt made an academic career for himself and became a professor in history in Greifwald as well as Bonn. However he fell into disfavour with the authorities because of his liberal views. He fought serfdom and advocated the union of Germany. His hatred towards France and Napoleon was evident and his attitude towards absolute powers.
Enterprising manufacturers and landowner did more for the evolution of society than conservative kings, priests and farmers, and this was a view that did not go down well with the establishment. Eventually he was rehabilitated and today the university in Greifswald is called “Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität and several other schools and institutions in Germany have been named after him.
Ernst Moritz Arndt
Ernst Moritz Arndt
The Ferryman
The Ferryman

To travel is to learn
It was this man, who travelled across Sweden and collected his impressions in his famous travelogue: “Reise durch Schweden im Jahr 1804”.
Arndt´s travelogue is a goldmine for those interested in cultural history. It has been said that this book taught the Swedes about their country. The travelogue ends with the tour in Scania and through this we are also treated to a glimpse of the Sound coast fifty years after Linné´s Scanian journey. Here is a mosaic of some Arndt´s impressions.
Arndt came to Lund via Åhus-Yngsjö-Sjöbo and Dalby. And his first view of the Sound he described from Romeleklint in this charming manner:
“I stopped for a few minutes in lovely clear sunshine to enjoy the wide open view of Lund, Malmo, the ocean and the towers of Copenhagen”.

Visiting Lund
Lund as a city did not impress Arndt, not even the cathedral made an impact on him: “Lund is and open, irregular and in no way well-built town, which isn´t well-reputed through any kind of trade, but is nourished from farming and the university. The only old and strange building is the cathedral, but in contrast to many others, I don´t see it as an architectural marvel.
The activities in the Botanical Garden and the Academic Plantation seemed to point to a certain affinity to Linné´s views that the mild climate had certain advantages for Scania:
“In this Nordic country they wanted to grow plants, which isn´t even successful in any of Germany´s provinces, and they thought that Scania, as it is the most southern situated province, should have particularly good growing conditions for southern countries´ plants. They started all sorts of different colour plants and planted a multitude of mulberry trees, so they didn’t have to buy raw silk from Italians and Frenchmen. According to the Lund magistrate’s records about 100.000 mulberry trees where grown from seeds, and these endured several winters”.
When it came to the university Arndt seemed to mostly interested in the economical conditions of the professors. He left Lund and the Lund plains, “the best agricultural mould in the world”, and went to northwestern Scania, where Ängeltofta, the Kullen peninsula and Helsingborg beckoned.
Lund´s Cathedral
Lund´s Cathedral

Exemplary Farming
Ängeltofta estate, situated in Barkåkra outside Ängelholm, had become known for the rationalizations, which captain Karl Georg Stjernsvärd had carried through in the beginning of the 19th century. In his time the estate’s yield had doubled ten times since he changed it, abolished the day’s work obligation and had new farming equipment made. Arndt was very impressed with the activities on the estate, an admiration, which was surpassed later, when he visited Svaneholm. He described Stjersvärd´s rationalization work:
“Now he made an altogether new and very enterprising decision, namely to use Scottish labour and to run the farming according to Scottish and English methods. Scottish blacksmiths made new equipment and above all Arndt praised the Scottish plough which doesn’t overturn the furrows, but line them up against each other, so that, according to the Scotsmen, the earth will mould much better.”
A new rotation of crops had been introduced with a six-fold circulation without fallow and new fine bulls of Dutch and English origin had been provided. According to Arndt Ängeltofta was genuine model agriculture.
Ängeltofta farm
Ängeltofta farm
Munument in Ägeltofta
Munument in Ägeltofta

Hoganas and Helsingborg
The pit coal mines in Höganäs and the pit coal factories in Helsingborg was run by Count Eric Ruuth, who had become a respected figure in the Scanian business life and he received much credit for his way of concentrating on the industry in his factories. “Count Ruuth should rightly be remembered in his native country’s cultural history, but then – shouldn’t he be there in even greater glory than he who has made a sacrifice on the altar of his homeland? For he has invested a large part of his considerable fortune in a risky enterprise”.
Arndt came from Rügen, where a view of land and sea was natural and at every place, which offered something similar, he became nostalgic. Even in Helsingborg:
“In front of the city of Helsingborg is a hill with an old tower called Kärnan; here I stopped for a few minutes. The Sound with its hundred ships, Elsinore, Kronborg, the beautiful beaches of Zealand, the glimpse of Copenhagen’s towers in the distance – everything lay before me and seemed to flow away at the edge of the horizon. Oh, the pictures and desires it awoke in me. All the fabulous dreams of my youth, to sail off to India and Otaheiti, became alive at the sight of these countless flags and pennants. How easily I could have been on the other side. In a few hours I could be on the Danish beaches and a few hours later I could have walked the streets of Copenhagen”.
The beauty of the city made a far greater impact on him than the size of it. Arndt went down from the castle to a house with the inscription “English Tavern”, which was a nice, but very expensive inn. But “that is only natural in a place, where the number of travellers and foreigners from many nations is so great. I had dinner with several Danes and Germans, I even met some fellow countrymen from Pomerania and had the pleasure of speaking the language of the place I come from”.
His impression of Helsingborg as a meeting place grew stronger in his depiction of Ramlösa, who beckoned visitors from far and near and especially from Denmark.

Landskrona and Malmo
The new city of Landskrona made an agreeable impression on Arndt
“for during the past century everything has been laid out according to a new plan and the old city has been moved to its present place... The city is now regularly laid out with a beautiful town square, broad, straight streets and fine houses.”
In the areas of Landskrona tobacco was grown and the city had, according to Arndt, five tobacco factories. Of course he did not overlook Hven as the famous island where Tycho Brahe had performed his scientific calling.
To Arndt Malmo was the only city in Scania that could be compared to the German cities.
“The countryside of the city has mostly a pre-Frankish look, it is dark and densely built, but the more beautiful is the part, which is close to the castle and the harbour and in particular the town square. This is one of the most beautiful in the world; it consists of a square with many ornamental houses, among which the town hall and the mayor’s house is particularly fine”.
That the man from Rügen valued the broad horizon of the sea is evident from his visit to the waters and the harbour of Malmo:
“Many take a stroll on the green banks and the meadows around the town and along the sea and the harbour, which is west and there you can enjoy the evening in all its beauty. From here there is a view of Copenhagen with its towers reflected in the water and an infinite number of pennants.”

But what made the greatest impression on Arndt in Scania was Rutger MacLean´s activities in Svaneholm:
“Some twenty years ago he made a plan to liberate his many farmers, who were estate day-labourers and poor peasants with a scarce livelihood, from all this service obligation and turn them into independent human beings. What a battle on all sides against stupidity and prejudice! But he succeeded with resolution and without bitterness. For many years he was then occupied with setting up boundaries between his own and his neighbours´ estates.... Every farmer now should take care of his own field and meadow, live in the middle of his land in what he was able to maintain reasonably and comfortably. Before the farmers had their fields in 53 different places and more often than not fields situated three miles away from the farm, which they were not able to cultivate properly; in short, they were in a sorry state.”
Arndt did not overlook the peasants´ dissatisfaction with MacLean’s reforms:
“Mot became dissatisfied and objected when he presented them with his new household plans and the lease, which had very favourable terms. Their dissatisfaction forced him to go ahead with it all, for those who had been cut off could easily find employment elsewhere, which could have meant that he, with all his humane and patriotic views, could have gotten into difficulties through lack of people. Twenty households abandoned him and were taken in on the nearby estates.”
In his depictions of MacLean and Svaneholm the economical changes dominated, but Arndt also wanted to draw a picture of the enlightened man’s care for his peasants: “His incessant goal is to educate his peasants and their children – for he puts his faith in a future generation of sensible, considerate and capable people... For this purpose he has built schools for the peasants´children and built two schoolhouses, one in Skurup by the church, which is under his patronage, and the other one east of there in the middle of his area, so that the children will not have to take a long and difficult way.”
Thus Arndt hoped that the Scanian landlords would follow the example of Svaneholm so that the neglected and miserable farming which still dominated the landscape would not exist too lang. When he left the estate to travel back to Germany from Ystad he wrote down the following hope:
“Oh, my poor country! When will your MacLean show himself? When will we learn that it is as shameful as it is stupid, a sin in the face of God, earth and mankind to treat human beings as slaves.”?
LargeFriedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832)
LargeFriedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832)

©  Øresundstid 2009