Teglgårdsparken Lillebælt

Cultural history of Middelfart

Middelfart was named in 1231 with its former name, Melfar. Melfar means "the water you travel between" or "the middle passage". It makes sense in relation to Middelfart, the town at Lillebælt, and from very old times, Middelfart been home to the crossing to Jutland (probably from before the 1200s). The rail crossing from Strib to Fredericia from 1872, and later in 1935, when the Old Lillebælt Bridge was inaugurated, Middelfart is still home to "the crossing". During World War II, fortifications along the coast were built, as Middelfart was hit by German occupation.

Porpoise catch in Middelfart

Lillebælt currently has a large porpoise population. From the 1500s, professional porpoise catch in Middelfart was driven. The porpoises became protected species in 1967. 

Porpoise hunt was a big part of the livelihoods of the inhabitants of Middelfart. The lard from the porpoises was sold as lamp oil. Porpoise catch was made in this way: the hunters splashed in the water with branches, and thus the porpoises were driven into Gamborg Fjord, where they were caught. Discover the history of the animals and porpoise hunt at Porpoise Day in Middelfart. 

Today, the small whales can be seen in Lillebælt, including on a Whale Watching tour aboard the vessel Aventura or tour boat Mira3, both of which depart from Middelfart Gl. Havn.

The Old Town

From the Gl Havn, up towards the church and the town’s porpoise well, the old town of Middelfart is found. A beautiful area with old houses and cobblestone, which bring a special touch to the old market town. The harbour runs parallel to the pedestrian zone and the Hanging Gardens is facing out towards the belt. 

The old town is also home to Middelfart Museum - "Henner Friisers Hus"(1575), which was restored in 2013. The museum houses temporary exhibitions. 

In the summer months there are historic guided walks (Danish language only) in the old town of Middelfart.

The large workplaces

Back in the 1880s, the famous stove factory J.S. Hess & Son started its production of stoves in Middelfart. 

In 1888 the State Hospital (Mental Hospital) was built, you can still get a feeling of the life at the time in the psychiatric museum, Psychiatric Collection, located in Teglgaardsparken. At the museum you can experience sound recordings, which is recorded from former patients who lived at the mental hospital. 

1899 was the year in which NKT-Trådværket was founded. NKT has for many years been the largest manufacturer of nails and screws. Today, the factory is still located in Middelfart, but is American-owned, and is named ITW Construction. 

In the years 1928 - 1935 was the Old Lillebælt Bridge was built. In this context, also the railway system changed, so that the railroad was laid as it is today. 

The many large manufacturing firms were instrumental in a large growth in population, and made the town a centre of traffic.

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