Swedish immigration, 1840 - 1920
Between 1840 and 1920, there was an influx of Swedish immigrants to Allinge-Sandvig seeking work in Bornholm’s quarrying industry, fisheries and farms.
The population of Allinge-Sandvig grew from 1,000 to 3,000 in the years 1850 to 1900. In the period 1850-1870, Allinge-Sandvig was a stagnant community with a population of around 1,000.
By 1880, it had risen to 1,400, and over the course of the following two decades it more than doubled to 3,000.
The most important reason of this positive population growth was the influx of Swedish immigrants seeking work in the booming granite industry of northern Bornholm.
The quarries were in need of many more workers, far more than the local population of Bornholm could supply.
And the arrival of these Swedes to the island has been an enrichment in every respect.
The local expression “hammersvenskere” (Hammer Swedes) stems from this period, and the dialect of northern Bornholm is generally heavily influenced by the Swedish language.
The Swedes have also left their mark on the local culture and traditions.
Some figures may help illustrate the population trend during that period:
Swedish adult labourers in Allinge-Sandvig, 1880 and 1901
|Day tenants, workers and servants||11||28|
|Poor relief/elderly relief||2||4|
If you would like to learn more about this period, a good book on the subject is “Pelle the Conqueror” by Martin Andersen Nexø.
It is a tale of how a middle-aged man and his son travel from Sweden to Bornholm in the latter half of the 1800s and their struggle for a better life.