People who visit Billund for the first time nearly always say the same thing: “Wow, it is all so new!”. And there is some truth in that: it is a very new town.
Billund is a rare example of a Danish town that has grown and developed because of a single company: the LEGO Group. When local carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen first began producing wooden toys from his workshop in 1932, no one could have predicted how big his dream would become. Not only has LEGO created thousands of jobs in the region, but it has allowed Billund to flourish into the tourist destination that it is today.
Billund began its expansion with the opening of an airport in the 1960s, the construction of a library and church in the 1970s, and by the opening of a horse track, hotels and various shops over the last two decades. Today, LEGO is not as important to the survival of the town as it once was. Several smaller companies have been established or moved into town and Billund now has many strings to its bow.
However, the toymaker remains the heartbeat of the town, by far the largest manufacturer and employer in town.
Since the opening of LEGOLAND in 1968 tourists have flocked to Billund in their tens of thousands every year and the establishment of the town as a tourist destination has allowed other attractions, such as Lalandia, to become popular too.
With the second largest airport in the country, Billund is not just a holiday destination for Danes, but for a host of nationalities arriving from all corners of Europe and the world.
And while Billund is built of the twin pillars of tourism and manufacturing, more and more facilities are being built for children and young people, driven in no small part by the initiative to make the town ‘the Children’s Capital’. There’s no doubt that Billund is a young town with a very exciting future.