Being the largest and oldest port on the island of Bornholm with fine access and natural port conditions, the Port of Roenne is a natural pivotal location in the history of Bornholm and Roenne.

The Port of Roenne has always served as the gate to Bornholm and as a major driver of growth and development on the island in the Baltic Sea. As such, the Port has served as income generator to the benefit of the entire island and its population.

Since the thirteenth century, Roenne has been the 'capital' of Bornholm. From the twelfth to the thirteenth century, Rønne formed around a natural harbour, which offered favourable conditions for its inhabitants and ships, which were allowed easy and safe anchoring between the two reefs that extend to the sea from the North side and South side of Roenne. The oldest part of the Port is the very idyllic Southern Boat Harbour.

In 1275, the foundation stone of the Church of Rønne was laid. The church consisted of a chapel (similar to the Salomon Chapel,) as the main church was St Canute's Church (Sct. Knuds Kirke). The church was built on a cliff overlooking the sea and the best seaward access points of the island. At that time, the church served as a landmark for the many ships putting into harbour.

Herring fishery in the Middle Ages led to extensive trade with Northern Germany. From there, the harbour expanded and formed and became a primary source of income for the island.

In the fourteenth and fifteenth century, Hanseatic ships, in particular, from the area of Greifwald in Germany, often called at the harbour. From the sixteenth century, German merchants played a dominant role for trade across the island, and at that time, Rønne had turned into the most important town on the island of Bornholm.

As with the rest of Denmark, agriculture, trade and shipping were essential sources of income. Many ships called at the island to take in supplies and to trade in goods. The number of local ships grew during the eighteenth and the nineteenth century, in particular.

Local ships primarily traded in local goods, such as agricultural products, pottery and home-made articles. Growing trade brought wealth to the small island and a sound environment for growth and construction of buildings, which we can still enjoy today.

Especially in the nineteenth and the twentieth century, the harbour was expanded and today, it has turned into the most important port of the island of Bornholm. Already in 1866, a permanent shipping service was established between Bornholm and Copenhagen. Until the second half of the twentieth century, the production of sandstone, granite, clay, kaolin and cement, among other things, which were shipped from the Port of Roenne, contributed to the wealth of the society of Bornholm.

After then twentieth century, fishing grew in importance; however, by the year 2000, the industry for primary products and fishing had vanished, leaving behind the economic drivers of agriculture, tourism and various niche products.

In the 1980s, the Port was expanded to prepare it for the new requirements posed by the shipping traffic. As part of the expansion, the two outer breakwaters were established, which can be seen in the Port today.

The cruise industry, in particular, has grown and developed at rapid speed, and today, the Port of Roenne is the second-largest cruise port in Denmark. In order to meet the requirements posed by the cruise industry, the existing Cruise Quay was established in 1993.

Throughout the years, the importance of the Port has been steadily increasing.

Year No. of ships Tonnage
1670 5 46½ lasts
1681 7 80 lasts
1700 5 51½ lasts
1760 8 68½ lasts
1780 15 119½ lasts
1800 26 273 lasts

 

Today, the Port of Roenne handles more than 3,000 arriving ships a year with the amount of cargo totalling more than 1.4 tonnes. More than 1.5 million passengers and just under 345,000 cars passed through the Port in 2014.

Today, the Port of Roenne is a private limited company and may be characterized as one of the large workplaces on the island of Bornholm.

For centuries, the Port of Roenne has been the key access point to the community of Bornholm, and its importance to the society of Bornholm is now clearly evident from a recent independent analysis.

The analysis shows that around 1,850 people earn their living directly or indirectly from the Port of Roenne. Overall, the Port's activities contribute an impressive DKK 4.1 billion to Bornholm's national income accounts, or 20% of Bornholm's GDP.

Being a private limited company, the Port of Roenne enjoys a high degree of flexibility necessary to ensure professional operations of the company and the further development of the Port, thereby preparing the Port for its future task of providing high-quality service to passenger traffic operators, carriers of cargo and the fishing industry.