Nebraska January 15, 2017
Most People Have No Idea Just How Unique This Village In Nebraska Truly Is
Nebraskans tend to have strong connections to their cultural roots, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the handful of communities which base their identities around a shared heritage. Dannebrog, a little village of around 300 in Howard County, is the Danish Capital of Nebraska, and they put their roots on display every day of the year.
Dannebrog was settled by Danish immigrants in the 1870s.
The settlers brought their cultural identity and customs with them, and they named their town after the Danish flag. Dannebrog is ensconced in a valley full of majestic oak trees, right on Oak Creek and just a short distance from the Middle Loup River.
The town has melded an old-world European aesthetic with a decidedly Nebraskan small-town identity.
Walking through the town you'll see paintings, business signs, flags, benches, and other public displays of Dannebrog's heritage.
This public mural is a tribute to Dannebrog's cultural heritage.
You can see the Pioneer Grist Mill and the Union Pacific Depot at the center, both of which were essential parts of the town's early days. The surrounding rivers, livestock grazing in fields, and a display of guns representing the wars that have been fought since the founding of the town. All of it is contained in the outline of a Danish Viking ship.
Dannebrog was officially named the Danish Capital of Nebraska in 1989.
People come from miles around to visit the
in Dannebrog, particularly on pizza night. One magical night a week you can get some of the best pizza in the state right here in this tiny village.
But there's so much more to the town than just excellent food and great people.
Grundlovsfest is held the first weekend in June every year. The festival celebrates the anniversary of Denmark's freedom in 1849. The town population swells to more than three times its size with visitors who come to enjoy the art displays, musical performances, Danish food, parade, and street dance.
The town is also home to some amenities you might not expect to find in such a small place.
The village park is a truly beautiful place to spend a day with your family, and there are even RV sites there. A three-mile hard surface hike/bike trail encircles the town; a nature trail through Hannibal Woods provides even more opportunities for exploration.
Acknowledging the village's historical significance, a historical marker sits outside of Columbia Hall.
The text reads:
In the spring of 1871 several members of the Danish Land and Homestead Company from Wisconsin claimed land along Oak Creek. The migrants, led by Lars Hannibal, were drawn by fertile soil and the idea that Danes from across the U.S. and the Old Country could form a colony in Howard County. Hannibal called the settlement "Dannebrog," the name of the red and white national flag of Denmark. Construction of a water-powered grist mill on Oak Creek sparked the village's early growth, and Dannebrog unsuccessfully sought the county seat in 1874. The town almost disappeared in the early 1880s, when businesses relocated to Nysted, but the coming of a railroad in 1885 brought new life. Dannebrog was incorporated in 1886. By 1920 the population peaked at 436. Germans, Czechs, Poles, and Swedes also settled at Dannebrog. Although the founders' dream of an exclusive colony of Danes was never realized, Dannebrog and the nearby towns of Nysted and Dannevirke preserve the Danish heritage. In 1989 the Nebraska Legislature proclaimed Dannebrog as Nebraska's Danish Capital.
The friendly village welcomes visitors at all times of the year, but particularly during Grundlovsfest in June and the Old-Fashioned Danish Christmas festival in December. Whether you stop by for a pizza or just want to take a stroll around the trail and take in the sights of this quaint town, you’ll find that Dannebrog is a quintessential small Nebraskan town…with an enchanting European flair.