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Interpreting the diversity of Danish manors and country houses

The Danish Research Centre for Manorial Studies seeks to develop an innovative interpretation of the diverse landscape of manors and country house for the general public. In cooperation with regional authorities and the Aarhus 2017 – European Capital of Culture a new website will address the manorial heritage in the region of central Jutland.

Denmark has more than 700 manors and country houses. They range from the great houses of power and elegance set in the centre of a large estate to the less noticeable buildings with comparatively modest landholdings. For centuries they were key elements in the rural landscape, in the 18th century claiming ownership of more than 2/3 of all arable land.

The small manor Kjeldgård is a typical representative of the architectural style in Western Jutland in the 18th century. The estate was dissolved in 1810, when a wave of financial speculation swept aside 90 % of the estates in western and northern Jutland. (Photo: Bent Olsen)

The county at Brattingsborg was established in 1677, when the Danish king gave the island of Samsø to his mistress together with the title of countess. The counts, the house and the estate held a dominating influence over the islands inhabitants for the following 250 years. (Photo: Brattingsborg)













A four-year project comprising a mapping of all Danish manors and country houses was released to a website in 2014 with short descriptions of house and estate. With this new project the focus of attention will be on the region of central Jutland. Carefully selected case studies will each identify a central theme presenting different aspects of the historical role played by manors and country houses from 1500-1900. Themes include such various topics as:

The royal estates in the 16th and 17th centuries
Architectural styles and European inspiration
Décor and taste in the 18th century
Nobilities, peasants and estate administration
The dissolution of estates in Western Denmark 1790-1810
Leisure and elite culture 19th century
The aim is to offer an accessible introduction to the general public of the many-sided and diverse cultural heritage in the rural landscape. The project is The Danish Research Centre for Manorial Studies contribution to the Aarhus 2017 – European Capital of Culture celebration, which also involves a number of activities dedicated to the common European heritage of manors and country houses such as the ENCOUNTER network.