In the spring of 1871 several members of the Danish Land and Homestead Company from Wisconsin claimed land along Oak Creek. The migrants, led by Lars Hannibal, were drawn by fertile soil and the idea that Danes from across the U.S. and the Old Country could form a colony in Howard County. Hannibal called the settlement "Dannebrog," the name of the red and white national flag of Denmark.

Construction of a water-powered grist mill on Oak Creek sparked the village’s early growth, and Dannebrog unsuccessfully sought the county seat in 1874. The town almost disappeared in the early 1880s, when businesses relocated to Nysted, but the coming of a railroad in 1885 brought new life. Dannebrog was incorporated in 1886. By 1920 the population peaked at 436.

Germans, Czechs, Poles, and Swedes also settled at Dannebrog. Although the founders’ dream of an exclusive colony of Danes was never realized, Dannebrog and the nearby towns of Nysted and Dannevirke preserve the Danish heritage. In 1989 the Nebraska Legislature proclaimed Dannebrog as Nebraska’s Danish Capital.

Columbia Hall,
Nebr. 58,
Howard County
Marker 411

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