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Exactly 150 years after the Schleswig War, does southern Jutland want to be German?

A small-scale Crimean Crisis may be looming in the south, where a local author wants Jutland to vote if it should secede from Denmark and join Germany


Southern Jutland soldiers hold the fort (Photo: Scanpix)

April 25, 2014
17:36

by Andreas Jakobsen


While most of Denmark bemoans the humiliating defeat of the 1864 Second Schleswig War, the southern Jutlanders themselves may have quite a different view on the matter.

In an interview in Jyllands-Posten, local author Erling Jepsen said the real tragedy was when southern Jutland in 1920 became part of Denmark again.

"The 1864 war is seen as a scar on Denmark's soul. But the death toll aside, it wasn't a tragedy that southern Jutland was ceded to the Prussians in 1864. It was a tragedy that it became Danish in 1920," Jepsen told Jyllands-Posten.

This year marks 150 years since Denmark suffered the devastating defeat in the 1864 Second Schleswig War and lost the southern Schleswig-Holstein province to Prussia.

More German than Danish
Jepsen is the author of bestsellers like 'Kunsten at græde i kor' (The art of crying together) and 'Frygtelig Lykkelig' (Terribly happy). Both novels take place in southern Jutland and have been made into successful films.

He claimed that the area to this day is more German than Danish and should vote for what country the province should belong to.

"I don't think you'll find anyone in southern Jutland who has any ties to Copenhagen. We never see them. Germans, on the other hand, are massively present," he said.

He said he was sure that his southern countrymen would vote for a German annexation, although they in 1920 voted to join Denmark again.

Bloody 150-year anniversary
The Second Schleswig War was the bloodiest war in Danish history with more than 3,000 casualties. The anniversary has been marked in countless ways, from re-enactments of famous battles to Politiken's all-day live reporting from the Battle of Dybbøl last Friday.

An upcoming TV series ‘1864’ premiering this fall will be the most expensive drama series ever produced in Denmark.

PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt even did a speech in memory of 1864 last week, in which she revealed that her great-grandfather had served in the war.

Is Schleswig the new Crimea?
Southern Jutlanders are famous for a very distinct dialect that is heavily influenced by German, which is also widely spoken in the area.

There hasn’t been an official call for independence though, so it's still too early to say if there's a small-scale Crimean Crisis looming in southern Denmark.



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