Sorø Akademi

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Sorø Akademi
founding 1586

Academic rounds 8

place Soro
region Zealand
Country Denmark
Coordinates 55 ° 25 '47 "  N , 11 ° 33' 24"  E Coordinates: 55 ° 25 '47 "  N , 11 ° 33' 24"  E
carrier private foundation
student 620
Website (Danish)
Sorø Akademi in the 19th century
New construction of the Sorø Akademi

Sorø Akademi (Latin Academia Sorana ) in Sorø on the island of Zealand is one of the oldest schools in Denmark .


Latin school

The Cistercian monastery Sorø , founded in 1146 by Bishop Absalon von Lund , was dissolved during the Reformation . The monks were granted the right to stay for life. At the same time, the premises were used to train Lutheran preachers. The last monk died in 1580.

In 1586 King Friedrich II founded a Latin school with boarding school for 30 aristocratic and middle-class boys each and provided it with income from the former monastery land.

Knight Academy

In 1623 Christian IV. Had this school, which he had attended himself, supplemented by a kind of upper school at the suggestion of Holger Rosenkrantz , which was to save the young nobles from traveling abroad , and thus converted into a knight academy for the aristocracy of Denmark. There was a chair for a professor juris consultus , who also had to give lectures on ethics, and a professor historiarum et politices . In the founding deed of November 30, 1623, it was determined that jurisprudence, with which the emphasis was on Roman law, was to be combined with the subject of ethics. The history professor should be the royal historiographer and teach political science at the same time. There was also a chair for rhetoric. The duration of the study was three years. The training was broad and also included theology, medicine, physics and philology. But other subjects that were important for a nobleman were also taught: horse riding, fencing, music, drawing and dance. On May 10, 1643, the academy received the rank of university . This made it possible to complete the entire course in Sorø instead of the University of Copenhagen .

At the head of the academy was a court master who was responsible only to the king and the imperial council . This office was held successively by Just Høg, Henrik Rammel, Falk Gjøe and Jørgen Rosenkranz. The academy's privileges also included its own jurisdiction .

Many important scientists and politicians emerged from the academy. The most important teachers from 1623 included the theologian Johannes Clüver and the writer Johann Wilhelm Lauremberg , and from 1625 the classical philologist and historian Johannes van Meurs (Jan de Moeurs). Among other things, the later King Friedrich III was here . educated.

In 1665 the academy was closed in the course of the introduction of absolutism and the disempowerment of the nobility by the royal law . The school continued to exist until 1737.

Second academy

From 1740 Friedrich V had the buildings renovated by Laurids de Thurah and supplemented with new buildings. The reopening of the school was supported by the Danish poet Ludvig Holberg not only immaterially, but also with all his personal fortune, as he himself had no descendants or heirs. On July 7, 1747, King Friedrich V ordered the reopening of the Knight Academy largely in accordance with the regulations of the first academy and awarded it a seal . In addition to the sciences, language and riding should be taught, as well as fencing, music, dancing, art and various handicrafts, as far as there are teachers. The main emphasis was placed on legal studies and rhetoric. Knowledge of law firms and foreign policy should also be imparted. Theological instruction was the responsibility of the city preacher of Sorø, the other professors were to be chosen by the chief steward. The first chief steward was Heinrich VI. (Reuss-Köstritz) . The lectures were also open to other paying interested parties, but not the “noble exercises”. The compulsory trip abroad was only allowed to the young nobles after completing a three-year training course. Unlike at the university, the language of instruction was not only Latin, but the students were also supposed to practice German, French and Danish. So that they could get used to courtly rules, they had access to the festivals at the royal court.

This new academy existed until 1793 and was committed to promoting the Enlightenment . The teachers included the philosopher and mathematician Jens Krafft , the writer Johann Elias Schlegel , the didactic and pedagogue Johann Bernhard Basedow (1753–1761), and from 1761 the historian and later head of the Danish cabinet, Ove Høegh-Guldberg . The second academy, like the first, ultimately failed due to competition from the nearby university in Copenhagen. As early as 1747, the foundation of the Knightly Academie zu Soröe stipulated that the university should not have any disadvantages from the academy. Except for nobles, a prerequisite for an office in the kingdom was still attending the university and only there an academic degree could be obtained.

The medieval monastery buildings used by the school fell victim to a large fire in 1813, so that of the medieval buildings of the monastery only the former Sorø monastery church and the gatehouse have survived. The latter is one of the oldest still inhabited houses in Denmark. Saxo Grammaticus wrote his famous Chronicle Gesta Danorum here in the Middle Ages . In addition, the former ballroom of the first academy, today's library, was preserved.

Sorø Akademi, drawing by Ole Jørgen Rawert in August 1820

Third academy

After the new building, the academy again became the cultural center of romanticism in the so-called Golden Age . Bernhard Severin Ingemann , who himself had been a student at the 2nd Academy, became a teacher here in 1822 and headed the Academy from 1846 to 1849. Bertel Thorvaldsen , Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig and Hans Christian Andersen were frequent guests. The third academy closed in 1849.


Even after the academies closed, the school continued to operate. Today it is owned by a foundation and has an attached boarding school, which is attended by around 140 of the total of 620 students. Girls have been attending school since 1910.

Important teachers at the academy

Important students of the academy


  • Norbert Conrads: Knight academies of the early modern times . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1982, ISBN 3-525-35918-7 , pp. 143-148 .
  • John O. Evjen: The upheaval in Denmark in 1660 . Leipzig 1903.
  • Knud Fabricius: Kongeloven. Dens tilblivelse and plads i samtidens Natur- and different udvikling. En historisk undersøgelse . Copenhagen 1920. Reprographic reprint 1971. ISBN 87 7500 810 6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fabricius pp. 86-87.
  2. Evjen p. 140.
  3. ^ Foundation of the Knightly Academie at Soroe . The seal is shown on p. 38.
  4. Foundation of the Ritterlichen Academie zu Soröe , p. 12
  5. Foundation of the Ritterlichen Academie zu Soröe , p. 25
  6. Foundation of the Ritterlichen Academie zu Soröe , p. 6f.