Following the First World War there was a movement across the world which asked for the people of the world to be able to decide which country should rule them. This resulted in the reshuffling of the borders of Europe particularly in the eastern part. But other parts of Europe were also changing their borders.
For Denmark this was relevant since following the devastating loss in the second war of Schleswig in 1864 Denmark lost almost 40 percent of its former territory. As part of the peace agreement it was written there should one day be a referendum in the area where the people could decide if they wanted to belong to Denmark or Germany. The referendum never came – but finally after 56 year there was a change for a referendum.
As part of the peace agreement following the First World War it was decided there should be two referendums in the northern part of Schleswig. The first one would be an up and down referendum where the majority would decide if they should belong to Denmark or Germany. The second referendum were further south than the first and here the result would decide district by district if this district should be Danish or German. The first referendum gave a clear majority for Denmark while the second referendum gave a German majority pretty much everywhere. This way the new border was decided with only a relative small Danish minority south of the border and an even smaller German minority north of the border.
The reunification of northern Schleswig with the rest of Denmark officially took place on June 15 1920. But the major celebration came later with the king finally riding on a white horse across the old border. This happened and the small village of Taps between the bigger towns of Christiansfeld and Kolding.
At this location is an old inn which is called Den Gamle Grænse Kro – or the old border inn. And across the road from the inn you find a museum which tells the story of the time between the Danish loss at Dybbøl Mølle in 1864 till the reunification of 1920. The museum also tells the story of how the relations ship between the Danes and the Germans has improved – especially with the Bonn agreement of 1955 where the two countries recognized the minorities on both sides of the border had special rights to preserve their own culture.
Unfortunately the museum was closed when we went by so we only saw the old inn and the museum from the outside.