The Moravian church in Christiansfeld.
In 1773, the Moravian church founded the free town of Christiansfeld in South Jutland. The Herrnhuter were granted permission to do missionary work in Denmark and the Danish king secured the establishment of a number of commercial and industrial enterprises in the country.
The Herrnhuters, also known as the Moravians, had already in 1739 been granted permission to create the “Brüdergemeine” (Brethren Society) in Copenhagen, and had colonies in several European cities. They were known among the princes of Europe for their skills in trade and industry. In 1768 King Christian VII visited the brother’s colony in the Dutch town of Zeist.
The Herrnhuter bought the royal breeding farm Tyrstrupgård in the Duchy of Schleswig and built a town. It became one of the first planned cities in Denmark. The town was named Christiansfeld, after the Danish king at that time.
On the 10th of December 1771, the Danish king and the Moravian Brüdergemeine entered into an agreement – a concession. The Moravians wanted a town, within the borders of Denmark, from which they could manage their missionary work. According to the agreement, the Herrnhuters were granted a number of special benefits and rights. During the first 10 years they were exempted from tax. Their products could be sold in Denmark and Norway without tax and they could export to foreign countries without paying duty. Moreover, the king paid a subsidy of 10% of the cost of the Herrnhuters construction of houses within the first 10 years.
The Moravian Brüdergemeine was given equal status to the Danish state church, which meant that Danes could become members of the church, and the fraternity was given permission to build a church with bells in Christiansfeld, which emphasized their right to preach the Gospel.
CHRISTIANSFELD – THE CRAFT AND COMMERCIAL TOWN
Christiansfeld grew rapidly. In 1806, 756 people lived in the town. Until the middle of the 1800’s only members of the Moravians were allowed to stay in the town. Guests were accommodated in the so-called “Gemeinlogi”, a guesthouse on the outskirts of town. The landlord notified the pastor of who stayed in the guesthouse, so that the Moravians had control over entry and exit.
Within the first ten years, the Moravians had already founded a series of trade and craft industries, such as a tobacco and cigar factory, a pottery, a pitcher foundry, a glass cutting works, a stove factory, a starch factory, two herb factories, a soap boilery, a lock media, a tannery, a coach builder workshop, a dyeworks, a paint factory and a cotton weaving mill in addition to the ordinary trades such as bakery, carpentry and slaughterhouse.
The Herrnhuters eventually had branches all over the world helping each other. This was why the fraternity could build a stove factory, which manufactured stoves of high quality. In 1777 the Herrnhuters sent for the experienced maker of stoves, Abraham Goll, from the Hernnhut colony in Neuwied on the Rhine, who had a thorough knowledge of the production of energy-saving stoves. Goll constructed the factory in Christiansfeld so it was largely a copy of the factory in Neuwied. The factory closed in 1898 but as recently as in the 1970`s, the elegant stoves were in many homes as ornamental items.
Today, the work of the Moravian Brüdergemeine is led from their secretariat in Christiansfeld.