Krogerup Folkehøjskole Founded by Hal Koch in the wake of World War II to promote democracy, Krogerup Højskole is a residential non-formal education college. The aim of Krogerup is to provide a unique learning environment to adult students from all sections of society.
The college offers both long and short courses throughout the year. The long courses comprise a spring semester from mid January to mid June and autumn semester from mid August to mid December. Duration the spring and autumn semesters, the college offers the following major study programmes:
- Crossing Borders Global Studies programme designed mainly for international students and activists who want to make a positive difference in their communities.
- the World on Fire (Verden Brænder), mainly for politically active and committed youth who want to make the world a better place for all. this course is offered in Danish only
- Free Style study programme designed for youth with interest in media, arts and citizenship- this course is offered in Danish only
- Film studies for young people with interests in becoming actors and directors.
Although the Krogerup students come from various social and cultural backgrounds, the majority of the students are young who socially and globally minded. The minimum age is 18 and the aver age for the Danish students is about 22 while the international students are often older.
The college situated in a protected green area 35 km north of Copenhagen in beautiful nature and only 10 minutes from the sea and the renowned Louisiana Modern arts Museum. It is 12 km away from the famous Hamlet Castle of Kronborg and 20 ferry ride across the sea to Sweden.
The Dano-Swedish and Napoleonic Wars
It was on the grounds of Krogerup that vassal Hans Rostgaard lived and fought against the Swedes in the middle of the 17th century. His bibliognostic son Frederik Rostgaard withdrew to Krogerup when he was banished from the absolute Court in 1724 due to accusations of corruption. On the grounds of Krogerup, the noble family van der Maase erected the first known Krogerup building in 1776. Merchant Constantin Brun made a highly profitable living during the Napoleonic Wars, and in 1812 he bought Krogerup for his sons who were farmers. The sons of merchant Brun planted rare trees and added an extra floor to the main building. The Brun family owned Krogerup for 127 years, however, when the last of the Bruns died in 1939, the farm was deep in debt, and none of the heirs wished to inherit the estate.
From Nazi to Communist nest?
The Danish state took over Krogerup, and during World War II, the Danish police force moved in and established a police academy. When the Nazis took control of the Danish police force in 1944, Hitler’s Danish collaborators, the HIPO Corps, overtook and ravaged the building. Following the liberation, the building was left vacant for more than a year.
In November 1946, Hal Koch and five enthusiastic teachers had established the school with the arrival of 30 curious students. The students were to live in some barracks of great fire risk and helped begin Krogerup Folk High School.
Hal Koch’s school was not warmly welcomed by the folk high school movement and other national romantic Grundtvigian circles. It was accused of everything from lacking identity to being a Communist nest. It was neither lacking identity nor housing Communists, but it dealt with such ‘odd’ academic elements as European humanism, human rights, democracy and politics. These were unfamiliar elements for the folk high school movement which since 1834 had focused on the history of Denmark and the North and national identity as manifested in the countryside.
How the mission succeeded despite much barracking and strong resistance is still a wonder, but the solution was most likely – as it has always been for folk high schools – the students.
The students brought life to the school and made it sustainable. The beautiful manor house from 1776 – which is the apple of our eye – has been listed, but new buildings have been erected in 1958, 1970, 1988 and 1999. Much has changed since Hal Koch and his colleagues first made an attempt to establish a completely new type of folk high school, however, we can still reclaim the objects clause from 1946:
‘The school is to serve Danish public educational work by offering interested young people a wide and diverse education. The school must be a place for young people from political, religious and public convictions to meet and experience that cultural and political educational work walk hand in hand.’