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Apologies to Denmark (and to a lesser extent Sweden) • 15 March 2008 • The SnowBlog

Apologies to Denmark (and to a lesser extent Sweden)


Linking Denmark and Sweden

I don't know much history - certainly not much before about 1950. I was positively disbelieving when I first learned that Britain had taken time out from fighting Napoleon to nip over to Denmark, shell Copenhagen and steal their navy. That was 1807. The ultimate indignity is that most Brits don't even remember it as being part of our history. Anyway, as far as I know, we didn't cause Denmark any real problems for another 190 years. But then... ...I just watched a program about the incredible combination of bridge and tunnel that linked Denmark and Sweden for the first time just after the millennium. It was an absolutely extraordinary feat of engineering, made somewhat more difficult by the fact that when dredgers scooped out sea-bed for the tunnel and used it to built up an artificial island for the start of the bridge, some of what looked like chunks of mud and rock turned out to be bombs. Big ones. How did they get there? Well, apparently at the end of World War II, the R.A.F. put on a celebratory air show for the Danes, complete with live bombing runs over open water. Many of the bombs didn't detonate. Fifty years later, these huge, unstable canisters of TNT were still there, ready to disrupt progress and threaten the lives of the bridge workers. They had to painstakingly locate and remove sixteen of them. Still, the last time the British military were in the area, they blew up 30% of Copenhagen and killed two thousand people; this time all they did was cost millions in delays, imperil a few dozen lives and jeopardise the greatest engineering project the country had ever participated in - and that by accident. I wonder what we'll do for them next.


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