POINT OF INTEREST
Grenzstein Nr. 1 und Grenzbrücke
Dammweg, 24955 Harrisle
After the plebiscite in 1920, a new boundary was drawn between Denmark and Germany based on the popular vote. The acceptance of the voters’ choice overcame the earlier borders drawn purely for historical or political reasons.
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles provided for a plebiscite on the basis of the right of self-determination of peoples to determine, among other things, the boundary line between Germany and Denmark (Art. 109-114). The CIS (Commission Internationale Slesvig), an international supervisory commission chaired by the Briton Sir Charles Marling, took up quarters in today’s police headquarters (Polizeipräsidium). Together with French and English troops, it ensured that voting in the affected region was free, secret and independent. The voting took place in two zones. On 10 February 1920, the vote was held in the northern part of Schleswig “en bloc”. The turnout exceeded 90% and three-quarters voted for Denmark and one-quarter for Germany. However, there was a German majority in Hoyer/Højer, Tondern/Tønder, Sonderburg/Sønderborg and Apenrade/Aabenraa. On 14 March, voting took place in central Schleswig by municipality. The turnout was again above 90%. Four-fifths voted for Germany, one-fifth for Denmark. In Flensburg, 75% voted to remain in Germany, while 25% voted for Denmark. There was a Danish majority in three municipalities on Föhr. On the basis of the results and economic and infrastructure links, the CIS defined the new – and current – border, which was confirmed on 15 June 1920 in Paris. On the mainland, 280 boundary stones were placed by 1921. Boundary stone no. 1 was erected at the Schusterkate/Skomagerhus crossing. On the southern side, the letters “DR/P” (Deutsches Reich / Preussen – German Reich / Prussia) are marked on the stones; on the northern side, there is a “D” for Denmark. From 2001 to 2011, the border to Denmark was open thanks to the Schengen Agreement. Since then – and especially since 2016 – border controls have increased officially to prevent illegal migration. Every ten years, the boundary is inspected by the Sønderjylland government office (Statsamt) and the districts of Nordfriesland (North Frisia) and Schleswig-Flensburg. The border and changes are recorded in the border atlas.