Prior to 1864, Tønder was situated in the Duchy of Schleswig, so its history is intertwined with the contentious history of Schleswig-Holstein.
After this, Tønder was abandoned as an active airship base, and was used only as an emergency landing site.A wartime aircraft hangar survives, as do some of the ancillary buildings, but only the foundations remain of the large airship hangars.During World War I, a Zeppelin base was operated in Tønder by the Imperial German Navy.The base was attacked by the British on 19 July 1918, in what is known as the Tondern raid.Det var simpelthen kærlighed ved første blik - eller måske havde det været kærlighed ved første brev. Tak for kærligheden - vi glæder os til vores bryllup d.
The first mention of Tønder might have been in the mid-12th century, when the Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi mentioned the landmark Tu(r)ndira, which might have been a reference to either Tønder, or the nearby town of Møgeltønder.
The site now houses a museum, named the Zeppelin and Garrison Museum Tønder.
In the 1550s, Tønder's port lost direct access to the sea due to dykes being built to the west of town at the direction of Duke Hans the Elder of Schleswig-Holstein-Haderslev, the son of Frederick I of Denmark.
The town center is dominated by houses from the late 17th and early 18th century, when the town experienced rapid growth as a result of its lace industry.
Seven Sopwith Camels from the aircraft carrier HMS Furious bombed the base, hitting two of the three airship hangars.
The Zeppelins L.54 and L.60 inside one hangar were destroyed and a balloon inside the other was damaged.