Datasprint 2020

To get a good data sprint, we need to be extra careful

We take a number of initiatives to reduce the risk of spreading the covid-19 virus. It is a special situation that requires that we must take extra good care of each other. At the library, we must as a minimum wear a facemask when we move around the library and as a minimum keep at least one meter space between us when we sit down.

The Danish Borderland

Mining political opinions in 19th century newspapers

The Datasprint 2020 will explore the political rhetoric in Denmark

We invite students and staff from Danish universities to join staff from Det Kgl. Bibliotek | Royal Danish Library to look into the historical Danish newspapers between 1830 – 1870, and examine the kind of language writers have used to express a political opinion that might be qualified as belonging to certain political currents.

We will trace the political opinion by applying digital methods to the extensive newspaper collection at the library.

Sign up

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Open the registration form and sign up

The number of participants is limited in both Aarhus and Copenhagen.


In the middle of the 19th century the political opinion orbited around several concepts. One of them was the concept of ‘nation’.

Nationalism divided the people and was used in power battles between different politicians and leading groups in the community.

The duke, Christian August, and the prince of Nør, Friedrich Emil August, were both proponents of the German nationalism to improve their political influence. Similarly the jurist Orla Lehmann strengthened his political position by supporting Danish nationalism and a liberal movement there desired a free constitution.

‘Language’ was another important and intertwined concept in the political debate between the national movements. One third of the people who lived in the border region only spoke Danish and could not understand the German language. Still many of the Danish speakers were bilingual and understood and talked German to some extent. Beside speaking Danish and/or German the majority of the people living in the border area understood one or several regional dialects, which were a mix of Danish and German.

In the 1840’s the language got additional attention in the newspapers. This attention peaked around 1844, where the word ‘language’ (sprog) occurs with the highest relative frequency ever in the Danish newspapers.

‘Nation’, ‘constitution’ and ‘language’ are all examples of concepts linked to the political rhetoric in the middle of the 19th century.

What can we learn about the political use of history, language and culture through text- and data-mining of historical newspaper data?

Sign up and join the datasprint and attempt to answer this questions by solving one of the following tasks.


1.How was the duke, Christian August, and the Prince of Nør, Friedrich Emil August, mentioned in selected newspapers from both Copenhagen and Schleswig? Can you see any similarities or differences? How come? Try with another key actor and try again.

2.How did the newspapers cover the “independence movement of Schleswig-Holstein” and the “danish movement in Southern Jutland”? Can you find similarities or differences between the newspapers and the regions? What is the reason for the similarities or differences?

3.Which influence did the Danish language have for the national identity in the danish border land? Focus on the political struggles where the languages was used as a weapon.

4.How was the rhetoric of the National Liberal Movement characterized? How did they use the danish movement and the events in Southern Jutland to promote their cause about abolition of the absolute monarchy and a “Denmark to Ejderen”?

5.Be creative and formulate your own assignment.

The number of participants is limited in both Aarhus and Copenhagen, so sign up now!!!

Datasprint poster

Click here to open the poster in full screen. The background image is Priors great map of South Jutland from “Kongeåen” to “Ejderen”. The map is digitized and available in high resolution in the digital collection.

Datasprint 2020 The Danish Borderland mining political opinoins in 19th century newspapers