Hans Christian Andersen and the matches
The fairy tale " The little match girl " was written on 18th of November 1845 , while Hans Christian Andersen stayed at Gråsten Palace ahead of one of his long trips abroad . The occasion for the adventure was a call from the editor of the Danish People's Calendar , Andreas Flinch , to write a story based on a drawing of J.Th. Lundbye depicting a little girl with some sticks in her hand and with the tagline : Do well when you give . Hans Christian Andersen had not been given notice of the letter in a while , but now he felt that he had to get this out of the way before he set out on his journey.

Besides the drawing there have been many theories about what has inspired him to the fairy tale - thoughts about his mother and his childhood etc. .

But there is little evidence to suggest a much more earthy inspiration for the fairy tale. For the period up to the departure Hans Christian Andersen lived, as many times before, at the Hotel d' Angleterre, which was next door to the first matchstick factory in Denmark , namely Rohmell & Schüerers factory in the small street "Bag Hovedvagten" (Behind the Main Gate") . It is indisputable from some of Hans Christian Andersen's letters that his tailor and shoemaker lived in the same building as the factory was located and that his benefactor Jonas Collins son, Gottlieb Collin also lived in this building, on the second floor . Hans Christian Andersen corresponded cordially with Gottlieb and were many times on visits , and he welcomed that the Collin family was gathered at Gottlieb during the cholera epidemic , which avoided the area behind the Main Gate .

At the same time  Jonas Collin stayed at the Collin residens in Bredgade (Broad Street) , why HC Andersen often must have passed through Bag Hovedvagten, to avoid the rather dark Kongens Nytorv and can not have failed to encounter the children who came to and from the factory.

In 1845 , there were behind the main guard building an extension , rather a kind of garage for the local fire engine , "head guard fire engine". If you study old pictures of the Main Gate , you can see the expansion at d' Angleterre-side , but of correspondence from P. Rohmell it appears this the expansion , which was a urinal , first performed later.

The extension behind the main guard , may well have served as the hook at the house where the little girl is sitting with her match sticks .

It is therefore obvious that Hans Christian Andersen 's fairy tale actually have one of the first descriptions of the poor children who work on the match factories.

H.C. Andersen in the narrow street  Bag Hovedvagten (Main gate buiding at the right) with Rohmells building to the left. In the background to the right you see the fire engine building and the corner, where the little girl was sitting.
(Poul Low Møllers illustration from the book, Svovlstikkerne)
Before the sulphur match
The first sulphur match
Childrens labor
Womens fight for their rights
Work invironment
The laws
The swedish match industry
The match king, Ivar Kreuger
Was Ivar Kreuger assassinated?
H.C. Andersen and the matches
Drachmann and the matches