The history of Silkeborg Vandkuranstalt

Silkeborg Bad opened as a health-resort in 1883, marking the beginning of the health-resort era for Silkeborg. Guests arrived from all over the country. The location offered them a few weeks in competent hands and relaxing surroundings. 

Health-resort for a hundred years

Paper manufacturer Michael Drewsen was first to realize the opportunities of establishing a hydropathic establishment on this location. After his death, the idea was taken up by others who managed to open the Silkeborg Vandkuranstalt in 1883. The name was later changed to Silkeborg Bad. The health-resort was an instant success, and several expansions were called for. The water from the Arnakkekilden springs was instrumental to the health treatments that the guests could subject themselves to. Guests with "lifestyle diseases" were welcomed along with guests with more benign ailments as well as convalescents. The health-resort was active for a hundred years before it finally closed in 1983. 

There are several opportunities of experiencing the history of the location: 

View the documentary exhibition

In Skovvilla (The Forest Villa) there is a large, permanent exhibition about the history of the health-resort. Texts and photographs tell of subjects such as physicians, guests, staff, the use of the buildings, and the water. Danish and English text versions are available. 

Walk around and discover the area 

The five buildings, Søvilla (Lake Villa), Societetsbygningen (The Society Building), Kurbygningen (The Spa Building), Skovvilla (The Forest Villa), and the Villa Granly are situated in a shared park area. The park was a central element during the health-resort era too. Today the buildings have been renovated to present themselves in all their health-resort era glory. One only needs to walk around and look at the buildings to sense the history of the location. The spring Arnakkekilden is also worth a visit, being one of the reasons why the health-resort was built here in the first place. 

Read more about the history of the health-resort

Visitors may borrow informational sheets on the history of Silkeborg Bad, the architects, Anton Rosen, the park, etc. 

A time of war 

During the years from 1943-1947, the health-resort was not in operation. At first, the German occupational forces seized the area to use it as military headquarters. When the war was over, the facility housed German civilian refugees for a few years. Then the health-resort was renovated and re-opened to guests in 1951. You can learn more about the periode at Silkeborg Bunker Museum, which has been established in a personnel bunker from the Second World War. It is run by a private interest group and is open on Sundays between the hours of 13:00-16:00 or by special agreement.

You can hear more about the individual exhibits in the exhibition about the history of the Silkeborg Vandkuranstalt in our audio guide, which you can borrow at the reception.

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