Sorø Academy

Sorø Academy

Sorø Academy (Danish, Sorø Akademi) in Sorø, Denmark is the second-oldest school in Denmark, and is known for its role as both a center of early Scandinavian Christianity and the cradle of many famous Danes, such as writer Ludvig Holberg, who gave his fortune to re-establish the Academy in 1750 after a devastating fire, and the Danish royalty.

Its roots date back to 1140 when Archbishop Absalon established the Cistercian monastery of Sorø amid the lakes and forests of central Zealand. It was originally the school for Danish aristocracy; today it continues to be a center of learning and religion, as a modern local and boarding secondary school, which is open to the public.

Half the monastery burnt down in the 18th century, but the main conventual church survived, and is an example of Cistercian craftsmanship. It is the third longest church in Denmark, and is one of the first Danish churches built of brick. The Reformation whitewashed the traditional decorations of the church; recently the ancient murals have been uncovered and in part restored. Holberg is buried in the church, as are King Valdemar Atterdag (1340 - 1375) and his father King Christoffer II (1276-1332).

The gatehouse is the oldest inhabited building in Denmark today. It is where Saxo Grammaticus wrote the famous chronicles 'Gesta Danorum', a medieval historical work recounting the early Christian history of Scandinavia.

Other Danes associated with the Academy include 19th century painters Frederik Vermehren and Christen Dalsgaard, writer Hans Christian Andersen, and sculptor Johannes Wiedewelt who created the monument to Holberg in the Academy chapel.

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