Renewal and a 120-year tradition
When the popular, religious movements inundated Herning at the end of the 19th century the town was not particularly big. Herning did not become an independent municipality until 1882 and became a market town in 1913. Consequently, the movement left a significant mark on the city’s development. In the same way as the followers of Grundtvig could be seen to meet in village halls and the Danish Christian movement Indre Mission in mission halls, the competition for the favour of the citizens of Herning could be seen in the choices of newspaper, priest, restaurant and hotel.
Aktieselskabet Herning Missionshotel – a joint stock company – was established in 1896, making it one of Herning’s oldest businesses. Initially, the aim was not to establish a hotel but to offer quiet and peaceful accommodation in the town, sheltered from some of the temptations such a town could offer.
However, the plans resulted in an actual temperance hotel and it was run as such for the first few years. Since then, the hotel has changed its profile and its name to Herning City Hotel. In a town with more than 20 restaurants within easy walking distance, it makes no sense to run a hotel restaurant. Consequently, the hotel is run today as a private hotel with breakfast restaurant.
The Herning Missionshotel company initially looked at a number of different locations in Herning, among others the town square (Torvet). However, they ended up buying Lawyer Valeur’s property on the corner of Bredgade and Skolegade. It was remodelled and converted into a hotel, so there has been a hotel on this corner for over 120 years.
The purchase of the lawyer’s property was also given a sprinkling of royal stardust, since it was here that King Christian IX – father-in-law of Europe – stayed when he visited Herning with the Crown Prince in 1875. The Danish Land Development Service had invited them to view the many activities around Herning.
The county held a banquet at the Vestjylland Inn, and His Majesty returned with his servants to his lodgings at Valeur’s at about 11.00 pm. He was up again at 6.00 am, took a tour of the gardens and town, held an audience and drove on with fresh horses to Silkeborg.
By 1901, the original building had become too small for purpose and the current hotel was built on the corner. Developments were then rapid, with conversions and extensions to meet the requirements of the day – the old protocols tell of numerous initiatives such as district heating, hot water in the first five rooms, conversion of the stables to garages and fans in the dining room. In 1955, the wing along Skolegade was erected and, today, houses the reception area.
The shares of the company behind the hotel have been traded over the generations or handed down, primarily to inhabitants of Herning. However, in 2006, this idyllic situation was jeopardised when the company was the target of a hostile take-over bid that could have threatened the hotel’s existence. Since then, ownership is through a foundation whose principal aim is to ensure the future of the hotel. The foundation owns the buildings, including in addition to the hotel a number of retail stores.
Even before the hotel was established, it was clear that the running of the hotel should be leased out. Operations were actually shared from the very beginning between leaseholder Olsen, who ran the hotel itself, and the hostler, Nielsen, who ran the stables. Since 2015, Poul Müller has run Herning City Hotel and he was responsible for the most recent refurbishment in 2016.