Ribe (Danish pronunciation: ['?i:b?]; German: Ripen) is a Danish town in south-west Jutland, with a population of 8,168 (1 January 2014). It is the seat of the Diocese of Ribe covering southwestern Jutland.
Until 1 January 2007, Ribe was the seat of both a surrounding municipality, and county. It is now part of the enlarged Esbjerg Municipality in the Region of Southern Denmark.
Ribe is the oldest extant town in Denmark, established in the early eighth century in the Germanic Iron Age.
Established in the first decade of the eighth century and first attested in a document dated 854; Ribe is the oldest extant town in Denmark (and in Scandinavia). The town celebrated its 1300th anniversary in 2010.
When Ansgar the Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, set out on the "Mission to bring Christianity to the North", he made a request in about 860, to King Horik II of Denmark, that the first Scandinavian church be built in Ribe. This was not coincidental, since Ribe already at that point was one of the most important trade cities in Scandinavia. However the presence of a bishop, and thus a cathedral, in Ribe can only be confirmed from the year 948. Recent archaeological excavations in Ribe have however led to the discovery of between 2,000 and 3,000 Christian graves. They have been dated to the ninth century indicating that a large Christian community was already living peacefully together with the Vikings at the time. Excavations conducted between 2008 and 2012 have also revealed more details of the original church built by Ansgar.
The town has many well-preserved old buildings, Ribe Cathedral, and about 110 houses are under Heritage Protection. Denmark's oldest town hall is found on the town's Von Støckens Plads. The building was erected in 1496, and was purchased by the city for use as a town hall in 1709.
- Early eighth century, founding of Ribe.
- Ribe flourished during the early medieval period as an important trading centre, or emporium, primarily connecting Western Europe and Scandinavia.
- The Ribe Cathedral started to be built in 1150 under the current bishops reign, which was built on top of an earlier church, most probably Ansgar's Church, built in 860.
- The Treaty of Ribe was proclaimed in 1460.
- 3 September 1580: a great fire destroys a large part of the town. 11 streets and 213 houses burn down.
- 11-12 October 1634: a storm tide floods the city with waterlevels rising to 6.1 meters above average.
- 1 January 2007: the Municipality of Ribe ceased to exist as it merged with the municipalities of Esbjerg and Bramming, now forming a new municipality of Esbjerg.
- 4 June 2010: residents celebrated the city's 1300th anniversary with a town-wide party
Cultural and environmental features
There are numerous cultural and environmental features of Ribe. Among the cultural highlights are notable churches and museums. The flora and fauna, while depleted in large part from the man-made development and surrounding agricultural land conversion, retain notable aspects of the natural environment. The Ribe River flows through town and hosts certain elements of riparian habitat. Certain notable birdlife is found in and near the town; the European white stork, Ciconia ciconia, is one of the historic inhabitants of the town, choosing to build nests atop chimneys. This bird has steadily declined in population throughout Western Europe due to agricultural land conversion as well as droughts in its wintering range in Africa.
The following list some of the specific town features:
- Ribe Cathedral (Ribe Domkirke)  -- The bells of Ribe Cathedral  playing the folk song about Queen Dagmar called Dronning Dagmar ligger i Ribe syg ("Queen Dagmar lies in Ribe sick").
- Saint Catharinæ Church and Monastery.
- Ribe Viking Museum  (Museet Ribes Vikinger) 
- Ribe Art Museum  (Ribe Kunstmuseum) 
- Ribe Viking Centre  (Ribe Vikingecenter) 
- Denmark's oldest province museum (Antikvarisk Samling)
- The Night Watchman in Ribe . Every evening from 1 May until 15 September you may accompany the night watchman in Ribe on his route through the old town, while he is singing to alert citizens about bedtime approaching.
- Wadden Sea Center  (Vadehavscentret) 
- Mandø Mill (Mandø Mølle)
- The Mandø House (Mandøhuset)
- Mandø Island nature reserve, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) southwest
- Anders Bording (1619-1677) poet, noted for his epigrams, ballads and epistles
- Kristen Feilberg (1839 in Vester Vedsted - 1919) a Danish photographer of the peoples and landscapes of Sumatra and Singapore
- Jacob Riis (1849-1914) an American immigrant photographer, wrote How the Other Half Lives, a pioneering work of photojournalism
- Bodil Hauschildt (1861-1951) an early Danish photographer, ran her own studio in Ribe from 1880
- J. Bodewalt Lampe (1869-1929) American composer, arranger, performer and band leader of ragtime and syncopated dance music
- Jens Olsen (1872-1945) a clockmaker and locksmith, built the clock at Copenhagen City Hall
- Astrid Noack (1888-1954) a Danish sculptor who specialized in the human figure
- Rued Langgaard (1893-1952) a late-Romantic, unrecognised composer, organist at Ribe Cathedral
- Kjeld Abell (1901-1961) a Danish playwright, screenwriter and theatrical designer
- Annemette Kure Andersen (born 1969) is a Danish symbolist poet and literary editor
Official Honorary Citizens
The following have been declared Honorary Citizens of Ribe: (By year)
- (1911) Stiftsfysikus - J.J. Kiær
- (1934) Town Archivist - C.N. Termansen
- (1946) Editor - C. Willemoes
- (2005) Chairman of the Ny Carlsbergfondet - H.E. Nørregård-Nielsen
The town of Ribe has a long history as a center of learning. The cathedral school of Ribe Katedralskole has its roots in the Latin School of Ribe, dating back to at least 1145, when the bishop officially handed over the chapter's school. The school provided religious education of priests and clergymen up until 1805 and is nowadays a gymnasium (Danish high school). Ribe Katedralskole celebrated its 850th anniversary in 1995, and is the oldest continuously existing school in Scandinavia.
- Ribe Katedralskole. 
- The State College of Education in Ribe (Teacher Training College) , part of The University College of West Jutland 
- Ribe Business College.  (in Danish)
- VUC (Adult Education Center). 
The following table shows the population of Ribe. Data from before the eighteenth century are estimates, the rest are taken from the official census.
Dancake  has a factory in Ribe.
Twin cities and towns
- Balleroy, Normandy, France
- Ely, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.
- Güstrow, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.
- Krems, Lower Austria, Austria.
- Leikanger, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
- Ratzeburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
- Strängnäs, Södermanland, Sweden.