Oeland - My place of birth
Right from the beginning Oeland was an island in the northern part
of Limfjorden in North Jutland, Denmark (not to be mistaken with
the very large island in the Baltic Sea which belongs to Sweden).
Like so many other landscapes in Denmark Oeland was created when
the Ice Age ended 15,000 years ago.
For as long ago as 4-5,000 years there have been people living on
Oeland. This is prooven by several findings of flint tools and
several thousand year old settlements in this area. Local history
records tells about a poor, but very active community which through
hundreds of years have made their living from farmery and
In this little community I was born as the youngest son of merchant
Valdemar Nielsen who had everything from grocery to animal feeding
stuffs and tools for farming in his store.
I love this area. I have always been fascinated by the nature and
the sea and have enjoyed both ever since I was a little boy helping
my father to bring out the groceries to his customers.
All my life Oeland has been connected to the main land and has in
many ways an interesting past that historically is a part of
In the years 1160 - 75 a benedictine convent was built on the
island by the bishop Thyge - who was born on Oeland - he had the
convent built so a mother superior and other sisters could serve
"The Allmighty" in a regular lifestyle. To be honest the real
reason for the bishop´s deed was the concern for his own
soul and salvation, and that he with this good deed would change
the earthly with the heavenly and the perishable with the eternal.
Anyhow he gave his fatherly belongings on the island to the convent
shortly before his death.
Later in the year 1500 the Oe convent with a nearby church was
built - today this convent and church serve as Oeland church.
Before that time the convent had its premises in wooden
buildings. Oe convent became richer and richer and as time went on
it owned almost the whole island. At that time it was almost common
practice that the farmers ascribed their properties to the convent
which in return provided them with necessities and food for the
rest of their lives. Of course they had to work hard but they
remained copyholders until they died.
At the Reformation in 1536 Oe convent went to the Crown. For the
next 25 years the convent was managed by Knud Gyldenstjerne (known
from Denmark's history) who was one of Chr. II´s eyeservants.
In 1573 Oe convent was taken over by Frans Banner who was married
to Anna Oxe who again was sister to national butler Peder Oxe.
Frans Branner was so courteus to his wife that he renamed Oe
convent to Oxholm Estate due to the dimensions of its belongings
with landownership outside Oeland.
A statement of ownership outside the estate in 1568, meaning
outside of Oeland was as follows:
Since then the estate has had many wellknown owners noble of birth
and well respected - amongst them the founder of The East Asian
Company, councellor of state H.N. Andersen who bought it for his
A gold finding
The community on Oeland was not totally isolated prooven by an
event in 1857. A farm-hand from the area on his way to visit his
girlfriend went - to cut off the distance - across "Vejlerne"
surrounding Oeland which he knew very well. Suddenly he got
something heavy around his one foot, he picked it up and
it turned out to be a neck ring of 2 pounds of pure gold.
Later investigations has shown that such rings were worn by
chiefs as a necklace in the years 10-1100 to show their status. How
the ring - now in possession by The National Museum - ended up in
"Vejlerne" will probably forever remain a mystery. The best
part of this story is that the farm-hand who handed over the ring
to right place got himself a reward so large that he could marry
his girlfriend and buy a farm on Oeland. Here he lived with his
wife and children to the end of their lives. The farm is still
there and is inhabbited even today by descendants to the
A witch was to be burned
On November 23rd in 1616 Kirsten Thomasdatter from Oesterby (East
Village) on Oeland was put on trial when 12 churchgoers had sworn
fidelity for her having witchcraft. Now The Middle Age, with its
brutal sense of justice for independent women with their own minds,
had also reached Oeland. Whether the sentence ever was executed or
not there is no proof but let us hope that Kirsten made it. All
this is past time, but exciting to think back on.
The connection to the main land
In the year 1803 Oeland was connected with Brovst and the island
mentality was rapidly changing. The harbour of the island was
fading and all trade and traffic was now sent via road. Later on in
1919 the dam between Oeland and Gjoel was built and in 1921 they
finished the work with the Oeland - Attrup dam. Now great areas in
the northern part of Limfjorden was diked so the area could be
drained and cultivated and the society changed the way of life and
The country side
To live next to an inlet gives you some relations to sea, inlet,
and forrest, and marks you in your everyday lifestyle for the rest
of your life. In the summer it was a natural thing to go for a
daily swim with your family or go catch some fish for the
household in the rich fish stock of the Limfjord.
Basically all of Denmark is represented here in these few square
miles in nature as well as in landscape. My joy of being out door
has been passed on to my whole family. A great passion for my son
and I is playing golf on the lovely golf course on Oeland
which was founded by ARBOGA A/S.
The industry of Oeland - The Fience factory
Naturally in a community this isolated with a poor farm- and
fishing population there is no foundation for great industrial
development. Therefore it is remarkable that as early as in the
year 1814 a fience factory was founded on Oeland. A production with
10 employees could produce up to 40.000 pieces of pots and
other fience a year. It was the owner of Oxholm together with a
master of pottery from Bornholm who started the production to make
economic improvement in the area. A month after the start the owner
of Oxholm died, so the pottery maker went along on his own and got
himself a good market for his pots on the markets in the northern
part of Jutland.
The fience was shipped for Copenhagen and other big cityes directly
from Oeland. Thereby the fience from Oeland was known all over the
country, even in The West Indies there was later on found some
items which probably has been exported directly from
Oeland fience factory ended its production for unknown reasons in
1840. Oeland fience is today a valuable collecting object. The most
valuable examples are though placed in museums in Hjørring, Aalborg
To make full use of the corn-growing on Oeland for food for men and
beasts, it was necessary to have mills. As early as in 1662
the first mill was ready and since then 5 more was built, and
through times they have produced flour and grits to the population
on the island. In accordance to nature law the mills were placed
very high in the landscape and at the same time they became
landmarkw for the fishermen doing their occupation on Limfjorden.
One mill has survived until today and in 1985 some local
citizens ended a rebuilding and restoreration of the Oxholm
Mill so today it makes the settings for a local historical
Fishing has always ment a great deal to the life on Oeland. It gave
the extra money for living to the people for things farming could
not give. Herrings were at times caught in big numbers in the
inlet. A more or less systematic salting of the herrings in barrels
could in some times of the year look tend a production. They
were sold on markets in Northern Jutland and at the herring market
in Nibe. The eels were also in big numbers especially in the
wintertime and people walked out on the icecovered inlet, made a
hole and caught this highly appreciated meal with an
My place of birth
As the busy merchant my father was he lived up to the necessary
competitiveness in the local community that influenced our daily
life. He adjusted himself to the demands of the time and he ran his
business until his death in the middle of the 1970's. Luckily I was
able to take over my home of birth and then I was ready to start up
my business producing wet grinders. This was the foundation of
Scantool´s future activity. Later on the production was moved
to Brovst and my place of birth became our present head
My family has always been a very important part of my life -
without them nothing works for me. That is why my
family is an integrated part of my business. My wife, two
of my children and two of my sons in law have their daily activity
here, and two of my children are also living on Oeland. I have
three children and seven granchildren already. In this way, the
change of generations is already ensured, and I can confirdently
look forward to my "third" age with an inner peace.
A childhood dream
My childhood dream has come true. I have succeded in building a
business where I was born. This can form the basis of our active
life also for my descendants so they can remain in this beautiful
part of Denmark.
A united family of quality grinding, polishing drilling and metal working machines
Industrivej 3-9 DK-9460 Brovst.
Tlf: +45 98 23 60 88 Fax: +45 98 23 61 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tlf: +45 98 23 60 email@example.com