POINT OF INTEREST
Munketoft 33, 24941 Flensburg
For a long time, the Knudsgilde (Knut’s Guild) played a prominent role in Flensburg’s economic life. Today, it meets in the “Knudsborg” restaurant at Munketoft 33. Each year, it celebrates with a procession to the Flensburg town hall to demonstrate its close ties to the city. Prince Joachim of Denmark is an honorary member.
Flensburg’s city archive contains a treasure: the statutes of the Flensburg Knudsgilde from 1200 in old Danish. In the middle ages at that time, the rich merchants combined to form 50 Knudsgilden, beginning in Schleswig with the support of the Danish king in the Scandinavian Baltic Sea region. The guild’s patron saint is Knut Lavard (1096-1131), the first Duke of Schleswig and the founding father of the subsequent Danish Valdemar monarchs. The guild members swore under oath to support each other in the case of sickness, danger and emergency. In this way, the rights and property of the single merchants were protected even in distant seaside cities and they were able to buy and sell goods from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea through an extensive trading network in the territories controlled by Danes and Scandinavians – including the Flensburg port with its connections to the western coastal towns Husum, Tønder and Ribe. The Flensburg Knudsgilde organised the local market rules, trading terms and strict jurisdiction. In effect, the early Flensburg was governed from the Knudsgildehof, which is now Holm 45 (pedestrian precinct). The competition of the Hanseatic League and the remaining citizens’ enforcement of the city’s own laws in 1284 and a council constitution eroded the significance of the Knudsgilden, most of which were dissolved after the Reformation (from the early 16th century onwards). The Flensburg guild was dissolved in the second half of the 16th century by the city’s council. Flensburg’s current Knudsgilde, a Danish marksmen’s guild (Schützengilde), emerged from the marksmen’s guild of St. Johannis in 1844. It preserves the traditional heritage and the links to Scandinavia. And every year, the guild’s members pay their respects with a ceremonial procession from their meeting place and restaurant “Knudsborg”, which was built in 1844, to Flensburg’s town hall.