When the Act of Parliament concerning “… the integration of the regions of Southern Jutland …” came into force on 9 July 1920, a whole week of festivities began. On the very day there was a national celebration at Copenhagen Stadium, attended by representatives of the royal family and the government.
In the evening, the royal family sailed from Copenhagen, arriving in Kolding the following morning. On the morning of 10 July, riding on a white horse and accompanied by a crowd of thousands, King Christian X passed from Northern Jutland into Southern Jutland, symbolising the fact that the earlier border had now been wiped off the map.
The festive procession passed beneath 18 triumphal arches before reaching Christiansfeld, where there was a special service in Tyrstrup Church. Later, in the same festive mood, the King paid official visits to Haderslev and Aabenraa, driving between towns in a car. In the evening there was a gala banquet on board the royal yacht in Aabenraa.
The next day, 11 July, a big celebration was held at the Dybbøl Redoubts – the place where Denmark had suffered a decisive defeat in 1864. The celebration was held in the same redoubt where six years earlier the German Empire had celebrated the 50th anniversary of this victory over Denmark and the conquest of Southern Jutland.
Most of the speakers emphasised that the choice of this place of defeat as a place of celebration helped to link past, present and future together. But the Prime Minister, Niels Neergaard, stressed that there were standing on the threshold of something completely new: “We speak of reunification, but the fact is that throughout our thousand years of history, Southern Jutland has never been part of Denmark. Only now in our age has this happened through the happy choice of the Southern Jutlanders themselves”. In his speech, H. P. Hanssen thanked the allied powers, whose “… wonderful victory has given us our freedom”.
About 50,000 people took part in the celebrations at Dybbøl, starting a tradition for holding Dybbøl celebrations that has continued to the present day. These celebrations were attended by both celebrities and ordinary people, and were characterised by speeches, music and communal singing.
The following day, the King was heading for the western part of Southern Jutland. On the way, he stopped in Kruså to greet Danish-minded people from Flensburg who were assembled there, bearing a placard which read: ‘We live in hope’.
The majority of the population in Tønder were German-minded, but due to the en bloc voting system of the plebiscite, the town was now part of Denmark. However, the King’s visit passed quietly and with dignity. The German Mayor, Oluf Olufsen, requested the government to support the town, which was in a difficult economic situation after the drawing of the new border.
A visit to Schackenborg and the place where the Golden Horns had been found in Gallehus rounded off the King’s journey that day. This was also the end of the official Danish celebrations, but the King remained in the region for some days and drove out to see all the newly-recovered territory.