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The Danish Customs Office in Hømlund Kro

The inn, Hømlund Kro, on Toftlundvej 82 housed a customs border office from 1865-1920. The customs office belonged under Egebæk Border Duties and Collection Office up until 1 April 1901, after which it belonged under the Customs House in Ribe.

In addition, there was a reporting post on the road between Høm and Roager from which one could export tax-free goods.

Interior design of a customs office

The customs office consisted of one room originally. But when a customs assistant wanted to marry, the innkeepers added 50 m2 to the building, and the customs service rented the extra space. There was an entrance hall, a kitchen, an office, a bedroom, a sitting-room and a small room. The owners of Hømlund Kro received 200 DKK in annual rent and the lease could not be terminated by the innkeepers as long as the customs office was required.

Hømlund Kro burned to the ground in 1972, and as a result there are no traces of the original customs building.

The border gendarmes often lived in small houses that they had built in the area. Today, locals can point out many such gendarme houses along Grænsestien, even though they do not hold any official status.

The Everyday Life of the Customs Inspectors in Hømlund

The gendarmes engaged in local life. The Head of the gendarmerie in Høm, Chief Master-at-arms Lorentz Frederiksen, became Chairman of the Parish Council in Seem Sogn. The gendarmes also participated in the local shooting club and they took part in founding a local soccer club, Høm Fodboldforening.

Each customs office entered new rules and regulations in an order book. These included rules regarding all kinds of things, from prescribed clothing to marriage licences and licences granting leave of absence, the registration of goods and increased policing.

In addition, the customs border corps kept a criminal register of gendarmes and customs officers who violated the regulations. The most frequent transgressions in Hømlund consisted of drunkenness and failure to maintain watch. For example, dismounted gendarme C.P.S. Olsen, was sentenced to 24 hours of ”dark and solitary confinement” on 20 Februar 1870 having participated in a paternity celebration in Høm. Corporal Jens Clemmensen received the same punishment, as it was his son’s baptismal celebration the gendarme had taken part in with the corporal’s permission.

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