At the time, Esbjerg consisted of only a few farms.Developed under royal decree from 1868 until 1874, the harbour was officially opened in 1874, with rail connections to Varde and to Fredericia, an important hub on the east coast of Jutland.It is home to the Danish football club Esbjerg f B, who play their home matches at Blue Water Arena, and also has an ice hockey division called Esbjerg Elite Ishockey, which plays at the Granly Hockey Arena.which had previously been Denmark's most important North Sea port but came under German control after the Second Schleswig War in 1864.
In 1893, Esbjerg became a municipality in its own right (initially known as Esbjerg Ladeplads), receiving the status and privileges of a market town in 1899 and incorporating the parish of Jerne (east of the centre) in 1945.Ultimately, it handled produce from 140 dairies spread across the whole of Jutland.After the Second World War, the town developed several agricultural industries, especially meat processing and packaging with a plant employing over 300.With an urban population of 71,618 (as of 1 January 2016 it is the fifth-largest city in Denmark, and the largest in west Jutland.Before a decision was made to establish a harbour (now the second largest in Denmark) at Esbjerg in 1868, the area consisted of only a few farms.
Before World War II, there was a large butter factory, Dansk Andels Smørpakkeri, employing some 150 workers while after the war the town developed agricultural industries, especially for meat processing and packaging with a plant employing over 300.The town holds an annual music festival spanning two weekends (nine days) in mid-August.In order to cope with enormous future increases in Danish offshore wind power, 12 companies, including DONG Energy and Bluewater Energy Services are already planning the establishment of a Green Offshore Centre in Esbjerg.Historically, in addition to its success as a fishing port, Esbjerg established its position as one of the country's major export centres.The Esbjerg Performing Arts Centre was completed in 1997 to designs by Jan and Jørn Utzon.
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When approached by sea, the Man Meets the Sea is one of the prominent monuments, consisting of four 9-metre-tall (27 feet) white-coloured men, overlooking Sædding Beach.The slaughterhouse and meat packaging facility, Esbjerg Andels-Slagteri, established in 1887, became Denmark's sixth largest by 1962.It later became part of Vestjyske Slagterier in 1986, and in 2001, it was acquired by Danish Crown.Initial planning of the town was conducted by chartered surveyor H.Wilkens in 1870 with streets laid out in the form of a rectangular grid.