Tradition, Culture and Crafts on Bornholm


Bornholm is the first region in Europe and the first island community in the world to be awarded the title of "World Craft Region". The strong community spirit of the island is evident in the vibrant crafts, museums, biennales, and international educational opportunities, all of which place Bornholm firmly on the international stage. With a centuries-old tradition of craftsmanship and well-preserved techniques, the island still represents innovative artists and craftsmen who work with ceramics, glass, textiles, metal and wood.

There are many amateur musical and theatrical groups here, successful in many competitions. The island's greatest pride is the famous Danish painter Oluf Høst, whose atmospheric paintings can be admired at the Rø Art Museum, and the writer Martin Andersen, whose family home in Nexø is open to the public. Many other museums on Bornholm are also open to the public.

In the summer, the island is vibrant with music, with many festivals and concerts of classical music (many of them in the historic rotunda churches) and jazz, all featuring leading Danish and foreign musicians.

World Craft Region Bornholm

Bornholm - the Island of Artists

Bornholm is the first island in the world to be awarded the title A World Craft Region - the highest accolade in the world of arts and crafts. Bornholm is the first island in the world and the first region in Europe to become a World Craft Region. On Bornholm you will find outstanding art and craft artists, museums, biennales and an international educational institution. Historical traditions and well-preserved techniques go hand in hand with today's innovative craftsmen.

KADK Bornholm is one of Europe's leading educational institutions for glass and ceramics. The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, Bornholm (KADK Bornholm) is one of Europe's leading educational institutions for glass and ceramics. KADK offers a dynamic and international high-quality program in education as well as scientific and artistic research.
The Bachelor of Crafts in Glass and Ceramics is an artistic undergraduate education based on 3 and a half years of study. The program is rooted in the strong tradition of Danish crafts and is taught in English.

Bornholm represents the highest number of craftsmen per square meter in Denmark. Bornholm is well known for its many skilled craftsmen, who create an image of an island where quality and aesthetics are paramount. Here the artists are inspired and can work freely, but at the same time draw on a strong dependency.
Bornholm's craftsmen are different - not only in temperament, expression, and choice of materials but also in their basic working conditions, inspirations, and presentations. The special atmosphere, the unusual landscapes, the excellent light and, last but not least, the abundance of raw materials that can be worked on, have attracted crowds of artists here, also from abroad. There are few places in Europe where you can find as many artists - sculptors, jewelry, ceramics, and glass designers - as on Bornholm.

For more than 100 years the island has attracted creative souls, with numerous art and craft museums, galleries, exhibition spaces, and open workshops where you can watch artists in the creative process. Numerous studios for painting, sculpting, carpentry, textiles, and jewelry are scattered around the island.

The main centres for arts and crafts are Gudhjem, Ronne, Svaneke and Allinge-Sandvig. Today, there are about one hundred different art studios.

Ceramics and art glass

Ceramics studios (keramik) are prevalent on Bornholm, working with the local clay deposits. The largest of these is the working museum at the Hjorths Fabryk ceramics factory in Ronne.

At Gronbechs Gard in Hasle you will see the best of Bornholm's ceramics. Paradis Keramik in Bodlisker near Nexo, Helle Lund-Hansen (HEKA Stentoj) in Nexo, Jans Keramik in Dueodde or Eva Brandt in Ronne are all worth a visit.

It is not difficult to marvel at the creative power of the artists and the small masterpieces created in the numerous art glass workshops, where glass is formed using the traditional method - by human breath. Many artists open their workshops to visitors so that they can see and experience how the combination of sand and heat, creative imagination, and the strength of human lungs produce exquisite bowls, decanters, glasses, candlesticks, jewelry, and unusual ornaments.

An important place on the artistic map of the island is occupied by schools of artistic glass (glashytte). These small but modernly equipped studios are well known in Europe and beyond its borders. A visit to one of the glassworks, where you can watch the process of melting and shaping glass, is an undoubted tourist attraction.

Bornholm's traditions

Midsummer night

Bornholm has an old tradition, especially in Scandinavia, of burning bonfires on the shortest summer night. Large bonfires are lit on the coast near most towns. This tradition goes back deep into pagan times.

Midsummer night

Smokehouses on Bornholm

The second carefully cultivated tradition is the ritual of smoking herring. Only on Bornholm do so many smokehouses - røgeri - survive. In several of the restaurants located at the smokehouses, you can order something like a buffet (Fiskebuffet). The sum of 120-180 DK gives you the opportunity for an unlimited amount of food, composed of dozens of different dishes and snacks.

Røger - smokehouses on Bornholm
Krølle Bølle

Krølle Bølle

According to local lore, the island's guardian spirit is a small and good-looking troll called Krølle Bølle. He lives with his family in Langebjerg forest, near the ruins of Hammershus castle. He and his family are a mischievous little troll who plays tricks on the farmers of Bornholm under the cover of darkness, but he is also a loyal defender of the island. According to local legend, when the Swedes invaded the island, the brave troll scared them so badly that they ran back to Sweden in panic.

Today Krølle Bølle has become a symbol of the island and a favourite with the youngest visitors to Bornholm (there is even a delicious ice cream named Krølle Bølle, although according to legend the troll himself prefers blackberry jelly).

Crafts On Bornholm

Crafts on Bornholm began with the production of Bornholm clocks, a collection of which can be seen at the Bornholm Museum in Rønne. Today the artisan tradition is maintained by the many potteries, glass, and textile makers who live here. They run workshops where the production of products is combined with their sale.

In several villages of the island, historic workshops and manufactories have survived, where old technologies are cultivated and unique products are produced. "Specialities of the house" are small preciosities made of local granite or wood.

tovbanen on Bornholm
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