Potato Germans

Memorial stone for German immigrants that came to Denmark in 1759, the socalled Potato Germans. Frederiks churchyard SW of Viborg, Denmark.

The Potato Germans was a group of families, mostly from Palatinate and Hesse in modern-day Germany, who moved to the heaths of Jutland. A total of 965 individuals (men, women, and children included), spread across 265 families, arrived during 1759. The majority settled on the Alheath (Danish: Alheden), around what is today the cities of Frederiks, Grønhøj, Havredal, and Karup, though many also moved to the Triangle Region.[1]


The Potato Germans moved to Denmark in the year 1759, when king Frederick V promised 20 years of tax freedom, soil, livestock, money, and freedom from military service, for anyone, who would cultivate the heaths. Most of the people moved back to Germany, but 59 families decided to stay.

List of families

A total of 59 families stayed on the Alheath for more than a year.

Notice, that all females got an "-in" added to their last name. This means, that for example a lady named Anne, who were married to a Johan Georg Bräuner, would bear the last name Bräunerin, and not Bräuner. Though a husband and wife under this system would have different last names, they would still be considered one family.

A number of the named brought to Denmark by the Potato Germans didn't previously exist in the country. Though still rare in the country as a whole, many people living near the Alheath still carry the names, either by being descendants of the Potato Germans, or by having married descendant.


Betzer, Bitsch, Bräuner, Bärthel,


Dickes, Dürr,



Harritz, Herbel-Schmidt, Hermann, Herold,


Krath, Kriegbaum,

Lajer, Lauth,

Marcher, Marquard, Maul, Morratz,



Schönheider (also spelled Schønheider),

Wacher, Wendel, Winkler, "Woller", Würtz



  1. Gullestrup, Hans (2006). Cultural Analysis: Towards Cross Cultural Understan. Copenhagen, Denmark: Copenhagen Business School Press. ISBN 978-8763001816.

Coordinates: 56°22′30″N 9°04′33″E / 56.375137°N 9.075851°E / 56.375137; 9.075851

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