From the Middle Ages to Industrialisation
The town has had its ups and downs. Outside events, such as the European wars in the 1600s, have played a role, and several severe fires have taken place, particularly in the 1700s. A constant thorn in the side for traders in Holstebro was the absence of their own harbour. The harbours that they used on the west coast were controlled by Ringkøbing and Ribe. Holstebro did in fact have its own “harbour” with the right to load and unload cargo on the beach at Struer, but there was no actual harbour or town here, just a beach with a few houses and farms. Another problem was that Aalborg businessmen controlled all trade in Limfjord. This resulted in widespread illegal traffic and dealing.
Conditions at Struer improved in the early 1800s when Holstebro businessmen were granted the right to trade and could become established at a coastal location. When the isthmus at Agger was breached in 1825 it was possible to sail into the North Sea by a vastly shorter route and traders in Holsterbro purchased cargo ships that were based at Struer. Favourable conditions for trade meant that warehouses were built and shipping companies developed when the state built a harbour at Struer in 1856. This was followed by the arrival of the railway in 1865 that was a further great advantage to the trading possibilities. This is dealt with further under site N27 (Struer Market Town). Industrialisation of the area increased considerably when the railway system was extended from Struer to Holstebro in 1866. Many new factories developed in the late 1800s and at this time the population quadrupled. The dynamic growth into a modern town with thriving industrial, trading, educational and cultural activities fits into the centuries-long tradition of the town to adjust to the times.