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Ribe seen from Riberhus
Ribe seen from Riberhus
Coat of arms of Ribe
Ribe is located in Denmark
Location in Denmark
Ribe is located in Region of Southern Denmark
Ribe (Region of Southern Denmark)
Coordinates: 55°19′42″N 08°45′44″E / 55.32833°N 8.76222°E / 55.32833; 8.76222Coordinates: 55°19′42″N 08°45′44″E / 55.32833°N 8.76222°E / 55.32833; 8.76222
RegionSouthern Denmark (Syddanmark)
 • Urban
7.28 km2 (2.81 sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Urban density1,100/km2 (2,900/sq mi)
 • Gender [1]
3,948 males and 4,339 females
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
DK-6760 Ribe

Ribe (Danish pronunciation: [ˈʁiːpə]) is a Danish town in south-west Jutland, with a population of 8,287 (2021).[2] It is the seat of the Diocese of Ribe covering southwestern Jutland.

Until 1 January 2007, Ribe was the seat of both a surrounding municipality, and county. It is now part of the enlarged Esbjerg Municipality in the Region of Southern Denmark.

Ribe is the oldest extant town in Denmark and in Scandinavia, established in the early eighth century in the Germanic Iron Age.


Established in the first decade of the eighth century[3] and first attested in a document dated 854; Ribe is the oldest extant town in Denmark - and all of Scandinavia. The town celebrated its 1300th anniversary in 2010.[4]

When Ansgar the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, set out on the "Mission to bring Christianity to the North", he made a request in about 860, to King Horik II of Denmark, that the first Scandinavian church be built in Ribe. This was not coincidental, since Ribe already at that point was one of the most important trade cities in Scandinavia. However the presence of a bishop, and thus a cathedral, in Ribe can only be confirmed from the year 948. Recent archaeological excavations in Ribe have however led to the discovery of between 2,000 and 3,000 Christian graves. They have been dated to the ninth century indicating that a large Christian community was already living peacefully together with the Vikings at the time.[5] Excavations conducted between 2008 and 2012 have also revealed more details of the original church built by Ansgar.[6]

The town has many well-preserved old buildings, like the Viking center in the south of Ribe,[7] and about 110 houses are under Heritage Protection. Denmark's oldest governmental building The old town hall is found on the town's Von Støckens Plads. The building was erected in 1496, and was purchased by the city for use as a town hall in 1709.


  • Early eighth century, founding of Ribe.
  • Ribe flourished during the early medieval period as an important trading centre, or emporium, primarily connecting Western Europe and Scandinavia.
  • The Ribe Cathedral started to be built in 1150 under the current bishops reign, which was built on top of an earlier church, most probably Ansgar's Church, built in 860.[8]
Street in Ribe
  • The Treaty of Ribe was proclaimed in 1460.
  • 3 September 1580: a great fire destroys a large part of the town. 11 streets and 213 houses burn down.
  • 11–12 October 1634: a storm tide floods the city with waterlevels rising to 6.1 meters above average.
  • 1 January 2007: the Municipality of Ribe ceased to exist as it merged with the municipalities of Esbjerg and Bramming, now forming a new municipality of Esbjerg.
  • 4 June 2010: residents celebrated the city's 1300th anniversary with a town-wide party.[9]

Cultural and environmental features[edit]

There are numerous cultural and environmental features of Ribe. Among the cultural highlights are notable churches and museums. The flora and fauna, while depleted in large part from the man-made development and surrounding agricultural land conversion, retain notable aspects of the natural environment. The Ribe River flows through town[10] and hosts certain elements of riparian habitat.

Ribe stork

Certain notable birdlife is found in and near the town; the European white stork, Ciconia ciconia, is one of the historic inhabitants of the town, choosing to build nests atop chimneys. This bird has steadily declined in population throughout Western Europe due to agricultural land conversion as well as droughts in its wintering range in Africa.[11]

The following list some of the specific town features:

Ribe Cathedral
  • Churches
    • Ribe Cathedral (Ribe Domkirke) [1] — The bells of Ribe Cathedral [2] playing the folk song about Queen Dagmar called Dronning Dagmar ligger i Ribe syg ("Queen Dagmar lies in Ribe sick").
    • Saint Catharinæ Church and Monastery.
  • Museums
    • Ribe Viking Museum [12] (Museet Ribes Vikinger) [3]
    • Ribe Art Museum[13] (Ribe Kunstmuseum) [4]
    • Ribe Viking Centre [14] (Ribe Vikingecenter) [5]
    • Denmark's oldest province museum (Antikvarisk Samling)
  • The Night Watchman in Ribe [6]. Every evening from 1 May until 15 September you may accompany the night watchman in Ribe on his route through the old town, while he is singing to alert citizens about bedtime approaching.
  • Wadden Sea Center [15] (Vadehavscentret) [7]
  • Mandø Mill (Mandø Mølle)
  • The Mandø House (Mandøhuset)
  • Mandø Island nature reserve, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) southwest

Notable people[edit]

Anders Bording, 1645
Rued Langgaard, 1917
HK Nielsen, 2012

The Arts[edit]

Public thinking[edit]

Science & Business[edit]


Official Honorary Citizens[edit]

The following have been declared Honorary Citizens of Ribe: (By year)

  • (1911) Stiftsfysikus – J.J. Kiær
  • (1934) Town Archivist – C.N. Termansen
  • (1946) Editor – C. Willemoes
  • (2005) Chairman of the Ny Carlsbergfondet – H.E. Nørregård-Nielsen


The town of Ribe has a long history as a center of learning. The cathedral school of Ribe Katedralskole has its roots in the Latin School of Ribe, dating back to at least 1145, when the bishop officially handed over the chapter's school.[19] The school provided religious education of priests and clergymen up until 1805 and is nowadays a gymnasium (Danish high school). Ribe Katedralskole celebrated its 850th anniversary in 1995, and is the oldest continuously existing school in Scandinavia.[citation needed]


  • Ribe Katedralskole.[20]
  • The State College of Education in Ribe (Teacher Training College),[21] part of The University College of West Jutland.[22]
  • Ribe Business College.[23]
  • VUC (Adult Education Center).[24]


The following table shows the population of Ribe. Data from before the eighteenth century are estimates, the rest are taken from the official census.

Year Population
1500 ~5,000
1591 ~4,500
1641 ~3,500
1672 ~2,000
Year Population
1769 1,827
1801 1,994
1850 2,984
1901 4,243
Year Population
1976 7,452
1981 7,646
1986 7,709
1990 7,636
Year Population
1996 8,105
2000 7,984
2001 8,031
2002 8,033
Year Population
2003 8,006
2004 7,990
2006 8,081


Dancake[25] has a factory in Ribe.

Twin cities and towns[edit]

(alphabetic list)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BY1: Population 1. January by urban areas, age and sex The Mobile Statbank from Statistics Denmark
  2. ^ BY3: Population 1. January by urban areas, area and population density The Mobile Statbank from Statistics Denmark
  3. ^ The New Cambridge Medieval History. 1995. Page 205
  4. ^ "Ribes 1300 års jubilæum". ribe1300.dk (in Danish). Esbjerg Municipality. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  5. ^ Lisbeth Quass (24 July 2014). "Danskere var kristne længe før Harald Blåtand´". Berlingske (in Danish).
  6. ^ "Danskere var kristne længe før Harald Blåtand". Kristeligt Dagblad (in Danish). 23 July 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
  7. ^ https://www.ribevikingecenter.dk/en/home.aspx
  8. ^ Medieval Sourcebook: Rimbert: Life of Anskar, the Apostle of the North, 801–865: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/anskar.asp
  9. ^ Celebration site
  10. ^ Tom Buk-Swienty. 2008
  11. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009
  12. ^ Ribe Viking Museum retrieved 23 March 2018
  13. ^ Ribe Art Museum retrieved 23 March 2018
  14. ^ Ribe Vikinge Center retrieved 23 March 2018
  15. ^ Wadden Sea Centre retrieved 23 March 2018
  16. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 21 April 2020
  17. ^ Vers, Per (13 January 2016). "En brobygger-bromance". Per Vers (in Danish). Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Tausen, Hans" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). 1911.
  19. ^ "Ribe Katedralskole" (in Danish). The Danish National Archives. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  20. ^ http://www.ribekatedralskole.dk
  21. ^ http://www.ribesem.dk
  22. ^ http://cvu-vest.dk
  23. ^ http://www.ribehs.dk (in Danish)
  24. ^ http://www.vuc-ribeamt.dk
  25. ^ http://www.dancake.dk/


https://www.ribevikingecenter.dk/en/home.aspx https://www.vadehavskysten.com/ribe-esbjerg-fano/ribe-esbjerg-fano/old-town-hall-ribe-gdk610602

External links[edit]