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Ronneby's history

The Danish years

Ronneby is the oldest city in Blekinge and has belonged to Denmark for longer than it has been Swedish, which it became for the first time in 1658.

In medieval times the city was the only one of significance in Blekinge thanks to its location by the river. Blekinge's most prominent building, Heliga Kors kyrka (the Church of the Holy Cross), was built during this period.

Ronneby bloodbath

In 1564 the Swedes, under king Erik XIV, seized Ronneby. The whole city, apart from the church, was burnt down and at least two thousand people were slaughtered in what historians now call "Ronneby bloodbath". This event is considered to be the most vicious episode of human slaughter in the Nordic region.

Inside the Church of the Holy Cross there is an old church door preserved from the time before Ronneby blodbath. The church door bears the scars of axes used by the Swedish king's men as they attempted to break into the church, where many of the city's residence had sought refuge.

The trading city of Ronneby

Ronneby was gradually rebuilt and once more became one of Eastern Denmark's  leading trading cities. The Church of the Holy Cross bears witness to the city's wealth during this period.

But when the city became Swedish, Ronneby's city charter was removed. Instead it came under the jurisdiction of the newly created naval city of Karlskrona. Ronneby's position as a trading centre was weakened.

During the 18th century, trade and craftsmanship returned, and gradually the first industries started to emerge. Kockums Enamelware Factory, Kockums Ironworks, Djupafors paper mill, etc. all made Ronneby an important industrial city. The health spa, Ronneby Brunn, became the biggest, most popular spa resort in Sweden.

Ronneby is now characterised by, among other things, a strong, vibrant cultural scene, which makes use of the city's occasionally dramatic history.