Hvidovre has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In 1929, a 3,500-year-old sword from the Bronze Age was excavated in Hvidovre.
A farm, Ovre (Aworthe), was located in the area in about 1160 when Esbern Snare gave it to Sorø Abbey that later passed it on to Bishop Absalon. A church was built during the Romanesque period. The name Hvidovre, meaning White Ovre, refers to the colour of the church, which was built in white chalk, as opposed to the one in Rødovre, Red Ovre, which was built in red brick.
At the turn of the 20th century, Hvidovre was still a quiet rural community. In 1901, the parish still only had a population of 500.
Some of the land closest to the border with Copenhagen was converted into allotments in the 1920s. At the end of World War One, Copenhagen suffered from severe housing shortage. Many of the farmers in Hvidovre saw it as an opportunity to make a substantial profit by selling their land off in small lots. 3,226 out of the 3,899 lots that existed in Hvidovre in 1924 had been sold off since 1918. The buyers were typically workers from Copenhagen and the houses often built out of Chevrolet or Ford boxes, which had been used in the shipping of car parts from America. The boxes were cheap and delivered on the site. Others lived in already existing summer houses. The settlement was not legal but by 1923 accounted for 34% of the population in the municipality.
The city is well known for its football team, Hvidovre IF, where famous Danish football players such as Peter Schmeichel, Kenneth Brylle, and Michael Manniche have played. Stephan Andersen, with a past in Charlton, has played for the club, too. It is also the birthplace of the Liverpool defender Daniel Agger and of Thomas Kahlenberg.
A film-production camp Filmbyen (founded by Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbæk Jensen's company Zentropa) is located in Hvidovre, which has been described as "a peculiar post-industrial filmmaking hub".
- Elsaesser, Thomas. European Film Industries: Face to Face with Hollywood. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2005. ISBN 90-5356-594-9
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