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A Land of Milk and ButterHow Elites Created the Modern Danish Dairy Industry$
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Markus Lampe and Paul Sharp

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226549507

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226549644.001.0001

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The Spread of the Holstein System

The Spread of the Holstein System

(p.65) 4 The Spread of the Holstein System
A Land of Milk and Butter

Markus Lampe

Paul Sharp

University of Chicago Press

We discuss how the origins of the modern Danish dairy industry can be traced back to developments in the duchy of Holstein, where a new crop rotation system, Koppelwirtschaft, was combined with a central dairy facility, the hollænderi, together known as the Holstein System. This was first introduced to the large landed estates and gradually spread to the Kingdom of Denmark, both through the purchase of estates by landowners in Schleswig and Holstein, and through imitation. This system brought with it a number of innovations, including economies of scale, specialization, better hygiene, etc. Based on a number of contemporary sources, we explain how the system spread throughout Denmark from where it was first introduced in the 1760s by Adam Gottlob Moltke, as well as how a further impetus was made by a second wave of landowning elites after the Napoleonic Wars. We finally explain how the improvements on the estates trickled down to smaller landowners through, among other things, schooling, and scientific publications, and note that the distribution of the earliest cooperative creameries in 1890 bears a striking resemblance to the location of estates using the Holstein System a century earlier.

Keywords:   centralization of production, crop rotation, Holstein System, Koppelwirtschaft, knowledge transfer, diffusion of technology, production clusters

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