Success through failure? Four centuries of searching for Danish coal

Kristin Ranestad, Paul Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural resources, especially energy resources, are often considered vital to the process of economic development, with the availability of coal considered central for the nineteenth century. Clearly, however, although coal might have spurred economic development, development might also have spurred the discovery and use of coal. To shed light on this, we suggest that the case of resource-poor Denmark, which spent centuries looking for coal, is illuminating. Specifically, we emphasise that the process of looking for coal and the creation of a natural resource industry in itself is important beyond the obvious dichotomy of haves and have-nots. We seek to understand this process and find that prices proved an important stimulus to coal surveys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1341-1365
JournalBusiness History
Issue number8
Early online date2021 Feb 15
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Economic History

Free keywords

  • coal
  • Denmark
  • natural resources
  • mining
  • N53


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