Ten historic pictures that show life in Denmark decades ago

These historic images give a glimpse into life in Denmark in decades past.

Ten historic pictures that show life in Denmark decades ago
Christiania in the 1970s. Photo: Steen Jacobsen/Ritzau Scanpix

1. Miss Denmark, 1930

In 1930, Miss Esther Petersen was named Miss Denmark and took part in the Miss Europa competition in Paris, which records show was won by Miss Greece. Denmark first chose a national beauty queen in 1926 and the competition still exists today.

Photo: Ritzau Scanpix

2. Workers in radio factory, Copenhagen, 1966

This photo shows assembly workers in the factory of Danish radio maker TO-R. The factory closed that year after the company became insolvent.

Photo: Svend Aage Mortensen/Ritzau Scanpix

3. Copenhagen City Square, approx. 1937

Copenhagen City Square (Rådhuspladsen), one of the most recognisable and busiest spots in the Danish capital, as it once looked in a photo thought to be from 1937. 

Photo: Unknown/Ritzau Scanpix

4. Memorials at Nyhavn, 1950

Another of Copenhagen's most famous sights is Nyhavn, with its brightly-coloured harbourside houses and tourist-friendly cafes and restaurants. Here it is in 1950 with two memorial crosses erected at the end of the harbour.

Photo: Unknown/Ritzau Scanpix

5. Stop for aircraft, 1959

A road and a runway cross at Karup in Jutland.

Photo: Willy Lund/Ritzau Scanpix

6. Christiania, 1970s

Christiania, the subversive 'freetown' in Copenhagen, started life as a hippie squat in 1971. Here it is in its early years.

Photo: Steen Jacobsen/Ritzau Scanpix

7. Before the Metro

Before the Copenhagen Metro or Aarhus Light Rail, Denmark had trams. Here a tourist tram takes visitors to Copenhagen's sights in 1966 or 1967.

Photo: Bjarne Lütchke/Ritzau Scanpix

8. Kødbyen, 1960s

Copenhagen's Meatpacking District is today one of the city's trendiest areas, with a host of enticing bars, restaurants and cafes. This 1960s photo shows cows being brought to market to be slaughtered.

Photo: Per Pejstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

9. Øresund Bridge, 1998

The Øresund Bridge connecting Copenhagen with the Swedish city of Malmö opened in 2000. Here it is two years earlier.

Photo: Martin Dam Kristensen/Ritzau Scanpix

10. European champions, 1992

100,000 fans turned out at the City Hall Square in Copenhagen on June 27th, 1992 as the Denmark football team returned home with the European Championships trophy.

Photo: Thomas Sjørup/Ritzau Scanpix

SEE ALSO: IN PICTURES: 2018 Copenhagen Marathon


How a Viking king inspired one of our best-known modern technologies

A Swede and American tell the story of how they hatched the idea for the moniker 'Bluetooth' over beers.

A Danish 16th-century paining of Viking king Harald Bluetooth
A Danish 16th-century paining of Viking king Harald Bluetooth. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

At the end of the 1990s, Sven Mattisson, a Swedish engineer working at telecom group Ericsson, and Jim Kardach, an American employed by Intel, were among those developing the revolutionary technology.

In 1998, at the dawn of the “wireless” era, the two men were part of an international consortium that created a universal standard for the technology first developed by Ericsson in 1994.

But prior to that, they had struggled to pitch their wireless products. Intel had its Biz-RF wireless programme, Ericsson had MC-Link, while Nokia had its Low Power RF. Kardach, Mattisson and others presented their ideas at a seminar in Toronto in late 1997.

“Jim and I said that people did not appreciate what we presented,” Mattisson, now 65 and winding down his career at Ericsson, recalled in a recent interview with AFP.

The engineer, who had travelled all the way to Canada from Sweden for the one-hour pitch, decided to hang out with Kardach for the evening before flying home.

“We received a lukewarm reception of our confusing proposal, and it was at this time I realised we needed a codename for the project which everyone could use,” Kardach explained in a long account on his webpage.

‘Chauvinistic story’

To drown their sorrows, the two men headed for a local Toronto bar and ended up talking about history, one of Kardach’s passions. “We had some beers… and Jim is interested in history so he asked me about Vikings, so we talked at length about that,” said Mattisson, admitting that his recollection of that historic night is now somewhat foggy.

Kardach said all he knew about Vikings was that they ran “around with horned helmets raiding and looting places, and that they were crazy chiefs.”

Mattisson recommended Kardach read a well-known Swedish historical novel about the Vikings, entitled “The Long Ships”.

Set in the 10th century – “a chauvinistic story” about a boy taken hostage by Vikings, says Mattisson – one name in the book caught Kardach’s attention: that of the king of Denmark, Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson.

A Bluetooth adapter from 2004. Photo: Stefan Gustavsson/SvD/TT


An important historic figure in Scandinavia in the 10th century, the king of Denmark’s nickname is said to refer to a dead tooth, or, as other tales have it, to his liking for blueberries or even a simple translation error.

During his reign, Denmark turned its back on its pagan beliefs and Norse gods, gradually converting to Christianity.

But he is best known for having united Norway and Denmark in a union that lasted until 1814.

A king who unified Scandinavian rivals – the parallel delighted those seeking to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.

And the reference to the king goes beyond the name: the Bluetooth logo, which at first glance resembles a geometric squiggle, is in fact a superimposition of the runes for the letters “H” and “B”, the king’s initials.

Low-cost and with low power consumption, Bluetooth was finally launched in May 1998, using technology allowing computer devices to communicate with each other in short range without fixed cables.

The first consumer device equipped with the technology hit the market in 1999, and its name, which was initially meant to be temporary until something better was devised, became permanent.