Two hundred years ago, the farm provided people with food and clothing, and one didn't need to buy a lot of things.
Since the Middle Ages, all trade had been reserved for the market towns. If the farmer needed wood for his house,
iron for his plough or salt for his salt cellar, then he had to make the long journey to the nearest town.
And yet, there have always been tradespeople in the countryside. Here, much of the trade took place at markets.
Makers of “jydepotter” - Jutlandic pots - travelled to the market with black pots, clogmakers from Central Jutland
with their clogs and other wooden goods, people from the west coast with fish, hops sellers from Funen, cake
bakers and even bull traders from Holstein turned up now and again at the markets. A market day was also a day
In addition to this market trade, merchants travelled from home to home. The pedlar offered ribbons, scarves,
sewing goods and other fancy goods for sale, and the stocking maker went around carrying his bag of woollen
goods on his neck.
Around 1860, traders were given permission to live in the countryside. The first permits were given to small
shopkeepers. They set up a small shop where they traded in a small range of groceries.
As agriculture expanded its production and no longer had the provision of the farm’s own needs as its primary
function, grocery stores and consumer co-operatives came into being all over the countryside. They traded in
everything from groceries, hardware and clothes to feed and fertilisers.
Simultaneously, bakeries and dairies were established in rural areas, and some of them began to make trips
through the countryside for the purpose of selling bread and milk.
From 1920 to 1960, the number of tradesmen in the countryside increased. A variety of new shops such as the
hosier’s, the bicycle shop and the butcher’s came to the larger villages and to the towns along the railway lines.
Since 1960, these retailers and their shops as well as many grocers have vanished again from Danish villages.
Writer: museum keeper MA Gudrun Gormsen