My 9 year old nephew had a week off for Winter Holiday and came to visit us for a couple of days in Sønderborg. It was the perfect excuse for me to go and visit the History Centre at Dybbøl Banke and the winter special they were doing during the children’s winter holiday.
My nephew and I made our way up the hill and inside the history center before the doors closed. During winter there is a specific starting time to the tour by when you have to be there. Since this is off season and the centre is really only built for summer openings the building is cold and they have a different programme. As the soldiers experienced 149 years ago when the Danes first abandoned Dannevirke and started to dig in at Dybbøl we got to feel the chills and winds of the Danish winter.
On the day we were 75 visitors and we got divided into three groups that each were led by a story teller/tour guide. Ours was Steen and he was good at grabbing the attention of the kids and getting them involved in explaining the circumstances the soldiers found themselves in, in the trenches.
We were then shown the equipment the Danes and the Prussians carried with them to war and two of the kids got dressed up as our guide told stories of how the Germans envied the Danish long shafted boots, how the German state-of-the-art rifles were four times faster than the Danish and how the two soldiers would meet in the middle of the battlefield at night, hats in hand to drink and talk only to be back fighting the politicians way when day broke again.
My nephew swore the pancakes were the best he had ever had and for the rest of his visit in Sonderborg he would often take the bullet out of his pocket and admire it.
We were shown the soldier barracks where we got more stories and then our visit to the centre ended with a bang as the guide fired off a smaller replica of a cannon.
For the rest of the winter Dybbøl Historiecenter opens on Saturdays for tours (without the pancakes and bullet making, I think) and the regular season runs from April 1st to October 31st.