The first public gathering in the countryside

The first public gathering in the countryside

 

The hill of Himmelbjerget became a famed and beloved excursion spot primarily due to the Danish pastor and poet Steen Steensen Blicher. On August 1, 1839, Blicher convened a public gathering at Himmelbjerget for the first time. He wanted to contribute to the ”Rebirth of our Beloved Fatherland”, and close to 600 people appeared at the gathering.Unfortunately, the owner of Himmelbjerget closed public access to Himmelbjerget in 1840, and thereby Blicher’s second public gathering was at risk of being cancelled.

 

But King Christian VIII was on a royal journey of Jutland in 1840, and at Blicher’s request, he demanded that ”for all Time, there should be free Access to Himmelbjerget for All and Sundry”. Consequently, he simply bought the hilltop.

Public gatherings in the open spread across the country, but after tough negotiations, an agreement was finally reached to approve the Constitution, which King Frederick VII signed on June 5, 1849.

The June Constitution gave the Danish people freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, among other things.

 

In 1854, the founder of the Silkeborg Paper Mill, Michael Drewsen (1804-1874), took the initiative to organise the first Constitution Day festival on Himmelbjerget. He wished to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Constitution and secure the Jutlandic population’s support of the free Constitution.

Since then, it has become an established tradition to arrange Constitution Day festivals and democracy meetings at Himmelbjerget.