Textile town Herning

25 fantastic



By the mid-1800s, traditional Central Jutland hosiery-making started to evolve

industrial methods. Along Silkeborgvej and Hammerum Hovedgade, popularly

known as ’factory avenue’, is a continuous built environment reflecting the growth

of the textile industry. Today, most of the Central Jutland textile industry’s production

has been outsourced and the textile boom on what was once heathland is long since

over. Herning is now known for its arts and culture, rather than for its textile industry,

which is perhaps due to the fact that in the 1950s and 1960s a number of enterprising

local manufacturers succeeded in encouraging the country’s best architects, artists,

town planners and designers to make their mark on the region.

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24 // Textile town Herning








vestergade 20

7400 herning


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The factory was established as a woollen mill in 1876. Under

changing ownership, it suffered ups and downs until the 1960s

when the business went only downhill until it finally closed

down in 1990. The factory sustained many fires, as a result of

which the buildings that remain are almost all of more recent

origin. Out of the factory’s old premises, two intermediate

buildings from 1895 and 1899 remain, together with two

management residences built just across from the factory in

the same period. In 1996, Textilforum opened the cloth factory’s

expansive 3,000 m2 premises as a museum. Textilforum

is housed in the factory’s administration building, two large

saw-toothed-roof halls and the chimney-topped boiler house.

The factory buildings date from the period 1895 to 1954 along

with a four-storey weaving building from 1948. The administration

building, the front building facing Vestergade, was built in

1901 and is a richly ornamented red-brick building with a slate

roof. A number of the cloth factory’s machines have been preserved

and form part of Textilforum’s exhibitions on themes

such as the textile industry in the Herning district.


The road between Herning, via Birk, to Hammerum is known

as fabriksalleen, ’factory avenue’. Because here, along

Silkeborgvej and Hammerum Hovedgade as in the towns of

Herning, Hammerum and Ikast, the landscape and buildings

testify to the textile manufacturing boom that once took hold

in Central Jutland. The most dominant industry, and the one

that has shaped the built environment here, was the knitwear

industry. Besides the array of factory buildings of various

sizes, it is characteristic that many of the villas and detached

houses have small outbuildings that were formerly used for

cottage-industry dress-making and knitwear production. The

road between Herning and Hammerum displays a vivid legacy

of the region’s modern and traditional textile industries.


In 1936, Niels Krøjgaard had a factory built at no. 87 Th.

Nielsensgade for his existing knitwear manufactory. The

architect was the manager of the local credit institution, J.P.

Møller, who styled the factory as a two-storey square block.

20 years later, in 1956, Niels Krøjgaard sold the premises

to Aage Damgaard who acquired it for his fourth Angli shirtmaking

factory. Under his ownership, the premises became

a canvas for what might be termed Denmark’s ’largest experiment

in social realism’, when the artist Paul Gadegaard was

given free rein to decorate the factory. The exterior was painted

black, hence the name, and all the windows and doors in bright

colours. A large park was laid out by the landscape gardener

C.Th. Sørensen. A number of Denmark’s leading artists were

involved in decoration of the factory, including Robert

Jacobsen and Svend Wiig Hansen. But as early as in 1963,

’The Black Factory’ had become too small for Angli, which

now had 300 employees and was turning out 3,000 shirts a

day. Damgaard now moved out into the new industrial estate at

Birk, where he built a new factory (see also item 05). Although

the cloth factory has since been converted into flats, it is still a

monument to Herning’s industrial history.

03 Niels Krøjsgaard’s villa

In 1939, Niels Krøjgaard, who originally owned the factory on

Th. Nielsensgade, built a grand 750 m2 villa for himself and

his family. At the time, he was one of the wealthiest men in the

town, which was all in evidence in his residence, which local

residents nicknamed „Mini Marselisborg“ in reference to the

royal residence in Aarhus. Today, the building on Kaj Munksvej

4 is occupied by a law firm, which in 2002 built the almost

2,000 m2 black extension building to the east.

04 Carpet showroom building, No. 4


In 1957, Mads Eg Damgaard built an unusual showroom for

his factory, Egetæpper’s, art carpets. Designed by the artist

Gunnar Aagaard Andersen in association with the architects

Jan and Karen Eggen, it has a quadratic ground plan, is set at

an angle on a cruciform plinth, and features a sloping floor and

roof. The location at the entrance to Herning was to ensure its

visibility, and people did look twice when they caught sight of

this unconventional building. In this way, the building fulfilled its

aim: to be an eye-catching and hence effective advertisement

for Egetæpper. The two Damgaard brothers’ association with

modern artists has been a strongly influential factor in the rich

cultural life of modern Herning.

05 Egetæpper (Carpets)

Mads Eg Damgaard, the founder of the Egetæpper carpet

empire, took at giant leap in 1953 when he wound up his textile

production, sacked all 150 employees except 15 and instead

bought machinery for weaving high-quality Axminster carpets.

But his strategy was successful. Initially, Damgaard’s new factory

had 3 Axminster looms but soon after no fewer than 44,

all in uninterrupted, three-shift operation. The early 1960s saw

the advent of the next technological revolution in the carpet

industry: the tufting loom. Egetæpper went from strength to

strength, moving from a small factory by the original showroom

on Silkeborgvej to this vast, 35,000 m2 complex on

Industrivej. The new premises had space for the large tufting

looms and by 1971, production at the new address was in

full swing. This large factory, which surpassed everything

in the Herning region, was designed by the architect Kaj

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Boeck-Hansen, but underwent extensive alteration in 1982

when it was given a new facade and a showroom and reception

building designed by the Aarhus architect C.F. Møller .

In 1984, a showroom and administration building was added,

also designed by Møller. During this period the architect

created a large number of screening frontages around industrial

plants. The frontage at Egetæpper is around 300 metres long

and is intersected by the large showroom and Søren Georg

Jensen sculptures. The showroom interior is decorated with

wall carpets by the artists Pierre Wermaëre and Asger Jorn

and the atrium garden contains Rudolf Tegner’s sculpture

„Leda and the Swan“. The business is still in operation, but is

today known solely as ’Ege’.


When Angli, the shirt-maker’s, outgrew ’The Black Factory’,

Aage Damgaard acquired a large property at Birk. Based on

a concept created by C.Th. Sørensen, ’the Round Factory’

was built in 1965, and the architect was C.F. Møller. C.Th.

Sørensen’s original sketch consisted of two off-centre circles

giving onto a circular courtyard. The sculptures and artworks

from the Black Factory were moved to Birk and C. Th.

Sørensen designed the circular sculpture park. Hereford cattle

were purchased to graze on the circular turf in the park, which

subsequently inspired the idea for the next venture, what is

now a chain of restaurants called Hereford Beefstouw, and


Herning Cloth Factory / Textilforum

Vestergade 20

7400 Herning


Herning museum of art – heart

Birk Centerpark 8

7400 Herning









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new artists were contracted to decorate the factory, including

Piero Manzoni, famed for his tin can work containing „Artist’s

shit“. In 1968, Carl-Henning Pedersen’s ceramic frieze was

unveiled in the courtyard: „Picture cycle. The book of imagination

about the wheel of life“. But by 1974, the shirt-making

boom had petered out, and Aage Damgaard shut up shop . The

factory was sold to an arts and education foundation, Midtjysk

Skole- og Kulturfond, set up in 1973. The large art collection

was donated to Herning local authority for the purpose of

establishing a museum of art. Part of the Angli factory was

fitted out for a garment design school, while other parts were

used by Herning Museum of Art from its establishment in 1977

until 2009 when the new museum of art in Herning, HEART,

was completed further along Birk Centerpark at no. 8.

07 Niels Larsen knitwear factory

In 1872, the wool shop keeper Niels Larsen purchased a

rotary power framework machine and he and his wife stepped

up their production of woollen garments. Their business was

soon ready for expansion. In 1883, Larsen acquired the

Hammerumholm estate, where the manufactory gradually

expanded. In 1917, following the death of Niels Larsen, his

widow and son Otto Larsen had the factory building on

Vestergade built. The factory was in operation at this location

until it closed down in 1986. In the late 1990s, Niels Larsen’s

1,500-m2 factory was converted into flats, while the original

factory front facing the road was preserved. Herning Museum

contains a collection of products from the factory including

men’s and women’s underwear, blouses and gym slips.

08 Jensen & Stampe

In the town of Hammerum, Iver Nielsen established a knitwear

factory as early as in 1870, A few years later he moved his

business to what is now no. 95A Hammerum Hovedgade. Not

until later was the factory given the name Jensen & Stampe.

The oldest factory building, two storeys high and facing the

main street, dates from circa 1890. This building is not only

the oldest from this factory, but the oldest textile building in the

district of Hammerum. In 1917-18, a new, larger building was

established at right angles to the main street. This was built

to house a modern knitwear factory, with state-of-the-art

machines. Jensen & Stampe was one of the first businesses

to switch from steam power to electricity in 1906 after

Hammerum gained its own electricity works in 1905. Holger

Jensen, one of the factory’s owners, also happened to be the

electricity works’ chairman. The business did well for many

years, but in 1994, the factory closed down and the premises

were converted into flats. The original exterior of the oldest

building was preserved, however, as a monument to the

district’s oldest knitwear factory.

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