The old dairy

The old dairy in winter – © F. Mohrwinkel

A dairy (or “Meierei” in German) is the name given to a milk processing plant where butter, cheese, whey, curd cheese and other dairy products are produced. The common german surname Meier, which can be spelled in various ways, is also derived from this occupation. The old Bergenhusen dairy was built and commenced operation in 1886. After this was discontinued about a hundred years later, the municipality took over the building. Today, it houses the mayor’s office as well as the station for the fire brigade.

Until the middle of the 19th century, milk was still largely processed in-house for private needs. From the 1870s on, higher productivity and larger farms, as well as innovations in milk processing technology, gave rise to collective processing and distribution in cooperatives. So, in 1886, the dairy cooperative was also founded in Bergenhusen and the dairy was built.

In the 1970s and 80s, there were numerous farm closures: While in 1907 there were still 778 farms in Schleswig-Holstein, in 1987 there were only 56. The Bergenhusen dairy was not spared.