Danish Language Blog

Denmark and the Bluetooth Connection Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

256px-Bluetooth.svgDid you know that each time you turn on Bluetooth on your computer or mobil [mohBEEL] (cellphone), you’re actually calling the name of a Viking konge (king)? For some reason, the Bluetooth inventors decided to use the øgenavn (nickname) of Harald Blåtand (Harold Bluetooth), who ruled Denmark at the end of the 900s. The Bluetooth icon even looks like the rune [ROOneh] (rune = Viking letter) for B: ᛒ

For history geeks på ferie (on holiday) in Danmark, a visit to Jelling is a must. The little town lies really close to Vejle in Jutland (easy to reach by car if you take the highway bridge from the H.C. Andersen island of Fyn). Okay, the reason Jelling is so famous is … two sten (stones)!

You see, Jelling was a kind of capital for Harald Blåtand and his father Gorm Den Gamle (Gorm The Old) back in the raging 900s. This was before Facebook, so in order to secure some buzz long after their død (death), they each raised a runesten (runic stone). The two Jellingsten are world-famous in Denmark (and beyond). There’s a picture of them in every Danish pas (passport). They have also created a lot of spin-off, such as a really nice museum that you can visit after you’ve enjoyed the beauty of the stones!


The Jelling stones. Photo by David Huang at Flickr (CC License).

Both Jellingsten are standing next to the local kirke (church). The little one was made by Gorm to commemorate his wife Thyra. (Let’s hope she was not too offended when he called her: Danmarks pryd – Denmark’s adornment…) The bigger Jellingsten was made by Harald to commemorate his parents and himself. Unlike his parents who believed in old Viking gods like Thor and Odin, he decided to become a kristen (Christian). So, there’s a huge picture of Jesus on the stone.

Den store Jellingsten (the big Jelling stone) is often called Danmarks dåbsattest (Denmark’s birth certificate). I’ve heard that it mentions Denmark for the very first time in writing. This happens when Harald describes himself as den Harald som vandt sig hele Danmark og Norge og gjorde danerne kristne (that Harald who conquered the whole of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christians – please note that the Danish texts have been modernized!)

Why would someone be called ”Bluetooth”? Well, in a time when there were no tandlæger (dentists) and a lot of fighting with sværd (swords) and økser (axes), your guess is as good as mine! 🙂


Wanna give runes a try? Here you can see the real thing…

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


  1. Renu:

    Helping page to understand.