Vandmøllens indtog i det middelalderlige Danmark

Mai Due-Aundal

Studenteropgave: Speciale


During the Middle Ages the use of water power technology spreads from its place of origin, the Mediterranean world, to nearly every corner of Europe – including Denmark. Many medieval scientists link the widespread growth in the number of watermills to the foundation of monasteries throughout Europe. Especially the Cistercian Order embraced the new technology. The Cistercian monasteries were in many ways innovators, both in their spiritual life and in their application of waterpower to industrial activities. They built magnificent water systems all over Europe and incorporated the watermill in their everyday life – making it a central element in their economic activities. The thesis examines how the monasteries' use of water power in Denmark changed the physical and social landscape and how the impacts where handled. The technology had a great impact on the medieval society; freeing people from the time-consuming task of grinding grain by hand and permitting significant increase in production in various industries. It even led to new industries such as deep-level mining. The vertical water wheel was relatively expensive hence reserved the social and economic elite. However, despite great expenditures building and owning a watermill it yield a good profit. Conflicts among mill owners emerge because of the increased competition. Moreover, because mills often were located in near proximity to one another, it caused disturbance in the water flow that resulted in irregular production. Conflicts between mill owners and landowners also became a problem given that meadows and fields was being damaged by floods caused by mill owners changing the natural flow and water height in the streams. The building of dams, canals and sluice gates worked like barriers and interfered with people, animals and the water's free movement through the landscape. In time, the many changes in the physical and social landscape because of milling resulted in the making of regulations in the provincial laws.

UddannelserHistorie, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato5 jan. 2015
VejledereKim Esmark


  • Cistercienser
  • Middelalder
  • Teknologi
  • Vandmølle