This article is about the city in Denmark. For the convention on public participation, see Silkeborg Convention. For the meteorite, see Aarhus (meteorite).

Skyline of Silkeborg

Location in Denmark

Coordinates: 56°11′00″N 9°33′06″E / 56.18333°N 9.55167°E / 56.18333; 9.55167Coordinates: 56°11′00″N 9°33′06″E / 56.18333°N 9.55167°E / 56.18333; 9.55167
Country Denmark
Region Central Denmark (Midtjylland)
Municipality Silkeborg
  City 864.89 km2 (333.94 sq mi)
Elevation 31 m (102 ft)
Population (2014)
  City 43,158
  Density 50/km2 (130/sq mi)
  Urban 90,016
Time zone Central Europe Time (UTC+1)
Postal code 8600
Area code(s) (+45) 89
Website Silkeborg Kommune

Silkeborg (Danish pronunciation: [ˈselɡ̊əˌb̥ɒːˀ]) is a Danish city with a population of 43,158 (1 January 2014).[1] Silkeborg is the seat of the council of Silkeborg municipality with 90,016 inhabitants (2015) and is also part of the East Jutland metropolitan area, with 1.2 million inhabitants.[2]

Silkeborg is located in the middle of the Jutlandic peninsula, slightly west of the geographical centre of Denmark. The city is situated at the Gudenå River in the hilly and lush landscape of Søhøjlandet, surrounded by Denmark’s largest forest district and a great number of lakes. The lakes between Silkeborg and Ry that are linked by the Gudenå, are known collectively as Silkeborgsøerne (the Silkeborg lakes).[3]

The city is divided north and south by the lake of Silkeborg Langsø, which at the eastern side of the city, resolves into the Gudenå River.


Although Silkeborg was not formally founded until 1844, the origin of the city can be traced to the 15th century.[4] The word "Silkeborg" means "silk castle", which suggests that the city may owe its name to a castle that once stood on an islet in the lake of Silkeborg. The archaeological remains of the castle can be seen today not far from the town square.

The modern history of the city begins in 1844, when Christian and Michael Drewsen, from the company Drewsen og Sønner in Copenhagen, moved to Jutland to establish a paper mill. The brothers opened Silkeborg Papirfabrik (Silkeborg Paper mill) at a location near the Gudenå River where Silkeborg castle once stood. They chose the spot in order to exploit the river as a source of energy for the mill; as a resource for paper production; and as a transportion route. The younger of the two brothers, Michael Drewsen, regarded as the founder of the city, was responsible for the daily management of the mill. Today a statue of Michael Drewsen stands in front of the old city hall in the town square.

During the German occupation of Denmark, the Gestapo turned the Silkeborg Bad (Silkeborg Baths), which served at that time as the municipal sanatorium, into its Danish headquarters.[5] The remnants of German bunkers can still be seen today in the city proper, and in the forested city outskirts as well. One of these bunkers is now a public museum. In 1944, during the city's de facto centenary, the Gestapo executed the priest and playwright, Kaj Munk, near present-day Silkeborg.


Silkeborg is located in region known as Søhøjlandet (lit.: the lake-highland) in mid-eastern Jutland, regarded as one of the most beautiful areas in Denmark. The landscape consists mostly of lakes, extensive woodlands (such as the Silkeborg Forests) and some of the highest points in Denmark, including Himmelbjerget. It is also one of the most expensive areas in Denmark in which to reside, and the neighbouring village of Sejs is known for its large mansions and lakeside villas at Brassø.


For many years the paper mill (Silkeborg Paprfabrik) was the most prominent business in the city, but during the 1990s it suffered financial difficulties.[6] In 1993, the German corporation, Drewsen Spezialpapiere, bought the mill, but in 2000 decided to close it. A project of urban renewal turned the industrial area closest to the city centre partly into a new commercial district with a hotel, a cinema, a concert hall, restaurants and cafés; and partly into a new residential neighbourhood with modern apartment buildings.

The city has a large number of car dealerships, and is also the headquarters of Jyske Bank, Denmark's third largest bank.[7]

Main sights

Lake Ørnsø

Yearly events


Since 1899 Silkeborg has hosted an event called "Ildfestregatta", which means "fire party regatta".[20] Currently this event is held every third year, the last of which occurred on 13–16 August, 2014. During the regatta the city streets are closed to traffic in the evening, becoming temporary venues where live music is performed, merchandise is sold from stalls, and an amusement park operates. The houses next to the Gudenå River are decorated with coloured lamps, as are the many boats that enter the port at this time.

Hjejlen ("The Golden Plover") is a historic steamboat that sails from Silkeborg to Himmelbjerget. In the background can be seen the city's former paper mills, now home to the Radisson-SAS hotel and shops.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 0:00 p.m., there is an unofficial Danish fireworks championship. On each day, a different company puts on a fireworks display and the winner is announced on Saturday. On Saturday evening, the winner from three years before puts on a major firework show sponsored by Silkeborg Municipality. Today the fireworks are fired from a huge raft on the lake of Silkeborg just next to the town hall, but earlier the show was done from the roof of the old paper mill.


The two most popular sports in Silkeborg are football and handball:


Silkeborg is served by two conspicuous media; a newspaper and a radio station. The oldest of them is the daily newspaper Midtjyllands Avis founded in 1857[22] as Silkeborg Avis. It is the sixth oldest newspaper in Denmark and was founded when the town of Silkeborg had only existed for 11 years. In many years the paper had its own paper press, but today it is printing at Jyllands-Postens facilities.

Today Midtjyllands Avis is owned by the concern Silkeborg Avis A/S. This concern is also the joint owner of the radio station Radio 1 (formerly known as Radio Silkeborg), a commercial radio station broadcasting online and on airwaves in the middle of Jutland. The radio station has focus on popular music and local news. The sister station Silkeborg Guld focuses on older Danish and English music only interrupted by commercials. The newspaper and the radio station are located at Papirfabrikken.

On 16 August 2013 it was announced that Radio Silkeborg was handed over to the Radio ABC Group. As a consequence five employees were let off but the transmission would continue on the same frequency.[23]


Notable people

Friendship cities


  1. BEF44: Population 1.January by urban areas database from Statistics Denmark
  2. BLST Archived 25 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. "Silkeborgsøerne". WikiSilkeborg (in Danish). Silkeborg Arkiv. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  4. The history of Silkeborg,, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  5. , Hverdagen under besættelsen, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  6. , Silkeborg Papirfabrik, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  7. , About Jyske Bank, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  8. , Silkeborg Museum, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  9. , Hotel Dania, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  10. , Hjejlen - Oldest steam boat in the world, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  11. , Aqua - main page, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  12. , Museum Jorn - main page, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  13. , About Arnakkekilden at silkeborg bad, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  14. , Silkeborg Langsø fountains, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  15. , Story of Indelukkets minigolf, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  16. SCC official site, Silkeborg country music festival, Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  17. Riverboat Jazz Festival official site, Riverboat in Silkeborg, Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  18. Hede Rytmer 2011, Midtjyllands Avis, Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  19. Official website
  20. , Gegatta, Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  21. Skiing in Denmark, Skiurlaub-Infos, Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  22. "Other Activities". JP/Politikens Hus. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  23. Radio Silkeborg closes, Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  24. Silkeborg
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