10 photos of Denmark in the 1950s and 1960s – and the same spots today

We've scoured the archives to find 10 historical photos of Denmark taken at locations now found on Google Maps.

10 photos of Denmark in the 1950s and 1960s – and the same spots today
Copenhagen's Rådhuspladsen then and now. Composite: Erik Gleie, Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix

City Hall Square (Rådhuspladsen), Copenhagen, 1954

Photo: Erik Gleie / Ritzau Scanpix

Store Torv, Aarhus

We're probably going back to an earlier period than the 1950s with this undated photo, which shows a tram travelling towards the Skt. Clemens Kirke cathedral on Aarhus' central square Store Torv.

Photo: Ritzau Scanpix

Nyhavn 13, Copenhagen, 1966

What was once a clothes store that attracted queues of 1960s teenagers is now one of the many restaurants and cafes at tourist hotspot Nyhavn.

Photo: Lars Hansen/Ritzau Scanpix

Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen, 1963

Photo: Ebbe Andersen / Ritzau Scanpix

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, 1969

A model poses for a photo at Nyhavn, now the setting for hundreds of selfies daily.

Photo: Erik Gleie / Ritzau Scanpix

Ferry to Sweden, 1964

People queue to take the ferry from Copenhagen to Malmö — and enjoy duty-free shopping — in 1964. The ferry was replaced by the Øresund Bridge in 2000.

Photo: Lars Hansen / Ritzau Scanpix

Roskilde Cathedral, 1968

A devastating 1968 fire destroyed the original Margrete Spire at Roskilde's medieval cathedral.

Photo: Lars Hansen / Ritzau Scanpix

Dronning Louises Bro, Copenhagen, 1964

Photo: Sven Gjørling / Ritzau Scanpix

Amagerbrogade, Copenhagen, 1964

Photo: Per Pejstrup / Ritzau Scanpix

First motorway, 1956

Denmark's first stretch of motorway was opened near Jægersborg in 1956. The Google image shows the area as it looks today.

Photo: Svend Gjørling / Ritzau Scanpix

READ ALSO: Ten historic pictures that show life in Denmark decades ago

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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.