ADVENTUROUS BORNHOLMERS AND EUROPEAN COLONIALISM
Local history can in fact be global history too. Bornholmers have traveled to distant countries and brought home different local art and souvenirs, which otherwise are only expected to be found at bigger ethnographic museums.
Our ethnographic collection is like a chamber of collected art from most parts of the world.
The collection is put together from Bornholmers who lived abroad but always kept their home island in their hearts. A main part of the collection is brought back from Belgian Congo by Commander Knud Jespersen.
The Plantation Manager Thorvald Nielsen sent items from Malaysia and the sailor Peder Nygård shipped spears and weapons among others from Australia and Indonesia.
The boy from Rønne named James Oiesen never got an official education, yet he became a very successful Customs Official in China and in 1921 he became the Danish Ambassador in Peking. Oiesen shipped a lot of Chinese and Korean objects back to Bornholm.
The ethnographic collection expresses the stories of the adventurous Bornholmers. However, it also represents the darker side of European colonialism, which had terrible consequences for the local population.
Having such a diverse ethnographic collection is very rare outside Copenhagen. The collection stands as a symbol of Bornholms Museum's early mindset - to be a 'Local National Museum'.