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A motel from the 50s

It was not just one, but several innovations American Sallie Zimmerhackel took with her to Denmark in the middle of the 50s. She actually came to Denmark to be a teacher at the American Embassy school in Copenhagen, but then she met the Dane, Oscar Wittrup, who had been in America and was inspired by the motels he had encountered along his way. Together they decided to establish something similar in Denmark.

Oscar found the location in Albertslund and even though it was a bare field quite a way from Copenhagen, Sallie could see the potential. And so this was where it should be. They were not the first ones in Denmark to do so, but were to be just after the BP Motel in Roskilde which no longer exist. Therefore, today Wittrup Motel is Denmark’s oldest, existing motel.

Besides the innovation of the motel, a snack bar was also established with food and beverages all with inspiration from the USA . Sallie was the first person ever to serve a cheese-burger in Denmark. Many people in Albertslund and environs have told how very special it was to come to the newly established, American-inspired snack bar.

Famous race drivers from Roskilde Ring

Many American soldiers on leave and holiday from the bases in Western Germany stayed at the motel in homely surroundings. At the same time, Roskilde Ring had also just opened a racing track which attracted drivers from around the world. Many of these famous drivers found their way to Wittrup Motel. Probably because of the international style.

In the middle of the 1960's the regular customers were no longer American soldiers but but commercial travellers and craftsmen. Many became regular customers in connection with large construction projects in Copenhagen and in the area around Albertslund. For example, plenty of craftsmen stayed at the motel during construction of IKEA, City 2, Scala in Copenhagen, the construction of Høje Taastrup and, since then, the Øresund Bridge and the Metro.

The night porter took over

Sallie was the driving force through 15 years until the end of the 1960s when she died. A couple of years passed with inheritance disputes, but it all ended with the managing director, Karl Nielsen and his wife Olga, purchasing the motel. Karl had started working at the motel as a night porter and had worked his way up to managing director.

Karl and Olga carried out several modernizations, e.g. establishment of a banqueting room for 40 people and gradually, the original character changed. The motel had to keep up with the times and this was also the case after 1983 when Karl Nielsen died his daughter Inger ran the place for her mother. She did so together with her husband, Svend.

They took over ownership in 1998 when Olga died. At the same time, they took over the house which Olga and Karl had built for themselves in 1973; a house which today has been renovated into even more motel rooms.

Third generation - “old-fashioned” modernisation

In 1963 and 1967, Inger and Sven had their sons Claus and Henrik. Many years later, they ended up joining the operation of the motel and restaurant. Henrik was an educated chef and took over the restaurant in 2000 and Claus became the administrator in 2001.

In a seamless transition, the generational succession to the two brothers happened. In 2013, they came up with the idea to take the motel and restaurant back to the 1950s. It was a project that accelerated in earnest when heading towards the 60th anniversary in 2015.

Wittrup became Denmark’s second motel at the exact time more and more, cars became something everyone owned. The place quickly became a sought after, modern place for accommodation. Here is Sallie pointing into the sports car of a couple of the guests.

Original 50's Rooms on the way

Today, guests flock to the place, both children and adults think that it is very special to come to Sallie’s Restaurant & Snack Bar where it is often full of guests in the evenings.

At Sallie’s, there is often 50s concerts and other events to participate in. We have a tradition of celebrating special occasions in a very special way - of course the American ones too.

Over the years, the motel has been modernized more and more and in the coming years, several more rooms will be modernized in the “old-fashioned” way. This means that the rooms will also be transformed to the 50s look with furniture, colors and design.

We call the rooms "Original 50s Rooms" once they are rebuild. Just like in the restaurant, you will feel as if you have stepped into a time warp when you park in front of your room and step through the doorway. But you will not have to do without a good shower, just as the facilities such as TV and high-speed internet are the best of the best.

Thanks to historian, Peter Sorenius, who has helped us to find as many historical details as humanly possible. Peter has told about Wittrup Motel and, not least, Sallie Zimmerhackel, in several TV programs and has been relentless in creating an overview and interest in our exciting history.

Read also:

·​We have a unique transformation in progress

·​American inspiration from Sallie


​Roskildevej 251

2620 Albertslund

CVR: 21745847


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