South Jutland against signs in German

Past wars still a sore point for Danes

You won't see the German names Tondern, Apenrade and Hadersleben on any signs driving through Tønder, Aabenraa and Haderslev in south Jutland. And that won't change in the near future.

The desire of the German minority in south Jutland to have the German names of the towns printed under the Danish names on city signs in the region has been shot down by the local politicians.

And yes, let's mention the war.

“Of course it has something to do with the occupation,” Knud-Erik Therkelsen, the secretary general of the border association Grænseforeningen, told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper.

“The south Jutlanders are not quite ready for German names on their signs. It'll take several generations for south Jutland to come to terms with the past.”

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

Old war wounds
According to Therkelsen, the wounds from the wars against the Germans in 1864 and again from 1940-45 have not completely healed enough for them to accept German names on their signs, as was the case from 1864-1920 when south Jutland was German.

Across the border in Schleswig-Holstein, the Germans seem to have been more open to their Danish minority. In 2007, the local government agreed to allow multi-language signs, although Danish has since been added to very few signs.

The mayors in Sønderborg (Erik Lauritzen) and Haderslev (HP Geil) both rejected having German names on signs, with the latter arguing that “some would think that it is not prudent in the year that is an anniversary year for the occupation and the liberation”.