With only 12 km to the Town Hall Square of Copenhagen, Dragør is situated close to the Danish capital. Especially the beautiful settings near Øresund, with paddocks, meadows and woods nearby makes the village unique. Furthermore, the well-preserved old villages of Dragør and Store Magleby with their cosy surroundings are exceptional. Besides the beautiful scenery, we have a busy harbour with fishing boats and yachts, good shops, excellent restaurants, fascinating museums and last but not least a very special atmosphere.
People have lived in Dragør for ages because of its ideal position. In the Middle Ages herring were plentiful in the Øresund, and Dragør was internationally recognised as an important market place for the Hanseatic merchants. But as the herring industry died out, so did the trading. Dragør’s first real harbour was built in the beginning of the 17 th century by Dutch farmers, who had settled in Store Magleby in 1521. They exported horses from here and some of them settled in Dragør and became seamen. Other people came to Dragør as well, above all many Scanians from South Sweden who did not want to be Swedes after Denmark had ceded Scania to Sweden in 1658. The village developed into a prosperous shipping town whose male population provided for their families as seamen or skippers plying the oceans, by piloting ships through the narrow fairway in Drogden, and by offering salvage assistance to ships, which ran aground outside the fairway. Dragør skippers were wealthy and well-respected people. Today, shipping is no longer important and only few fishermen are left.
In the old village of Dragør streets run East-West and allies run North-South – and with small open spaces here and there. Most of the charming yellow houses were built during the end of the 18 th century and until 1850 – and a lot of them have their own unique history. Today, 25% of the houses are protected, however, they are all comprehended by a preserving local plan, which ensures that the village maintain its special environment and atmosphere.
Store Magleby village is situated 2 km from Dragør. Here, the Dutch farmers that Christian II brought to Denmark in 1521 settled to grow vegetables and to supply the royal household. The original inhabitants had to leave their farms when the Dutchmen took over the village. The Dutch established their own well-functioning village society due to special royal privileges which the other Amager farmers did not have. They held on to their Dutch customs and language – for instance, the sermons were held in Dutch in Store Magleby church until 1811 – and their skill as gardeners soon made Amager “the vegetable garden of all Copenhagen”.
Each market day at Amagertorv, the capital’s cooks and mistresses flocked around the well-filled market wagons. All the original farms have disappeared during big fires in the 17th century and in 1809 and 1821. But the structure of the village is still very distinct, characterised by the open land with green wedges between the farms. The Amager Museum, established in two of the old farmhouses in the Main Street, has a large and very fascinating collection of old Amager costumes, interiors, paintings etc., which describe Store Magleby’s unique history.