Solvang was founded in 1911 by Danish-American educators on 9,000 acres of land surrounding Old Mission Santa Ines purchased for $75,000.
Solvang, California Fun Facts
- The Spanish-style Old Mission Santa Ines is in the middle of Danish-style Solvang because the Mission came first—it was founded in 1804 (19th in the chain of 21 Spanish Missions by Franciscan padres in California).
- Solvang was founded in 1911 by Danish-American educators on 9,000 acres of land surrounding Old Mission Santa Ines purchased for approximately $75,000.
- Solvang’s Centennial was celebrated throughout 2011 including a Royal visit by Henrik, Prince of Denmark on June 11, 2011, which also happened to be the Prince’s own 77th birthday.
- Solvang has also welcomed Danish Royalty on three other occasions: On April 7, 1939, Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Ingrid visited. On June 5, 1960, Princess Margrethe of Denmark visited and returned on May 23, 1976, as Queen of Denmark together with her husband, Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark.
- Solvang’s 1/2 bronze replica of Denmark’s famous “Little Mermaid” statue (located in the fountain at the corner of Mission Drive & Alisal Road) since 1976, is the only one authorized by heirs of sculptor Edvard Eriksen, who created the original in 1913 that still graces Copenhagen Harbor today.
- Solvang’s Hans Christian Andersen Museum is the only one in the USA celebrating the Danish author of such classics as “The Little Mermaid,””The Snow Queen, “The Ugly Duckling,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
- Known as “Father of the Fairytale,” Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday of April 2nd is celebrated as International Children’s Book Day with a free party each year at the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Solvang. Andersen is also immortalized with a massive bronze bust in Solvang Park.
- Solvang has four wooden windmills within four blocks and five authentic Danish bakeries within five blocks.
- A 1/3 replica of Copenhagen’s famous Rundetårn (Round Tower) can be seen at 436 Alisal Road in Solvang.
- In 1974, dedicated community members built the 700-seat outdoor Solvang Festival Theater in 58 days.
- 40th US President Ronald Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo, which served as the “Western White House” during his administration (1981–89), is located six miles from downtown Solvang. President Reagan would cast his vote during elections at Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall located at 1745 Mission Drive.
- Solvang hosted the prestigious Individual Time Trial Stage of the Amgen Tour of California professional bike race in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
- “The Simpsons” TV show episode #406 “Little Orphan Millie” (first aired 11/11/07) features Solvang and reveals that Milhouse’s Uncle Norbert “Zack” Van Houten is a Solvang resident proud of his Danish heritage.
- “The Great Food Truck Race” a Food Network TV show episode was filmed in Solvang and aired 9/11/16.
- Many key scenes in the 2004 Oscar-winning movie “Sideways” were filmed in Solvang.
The Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1986 to promote the City of Solvang, its Northern European culture, cuisine, arts and attractions of the village known as “California’s Denmark.”