Everything began in Stenum

Jørgen and Kirstine Terkelsen

Vrå Folk High School went under the name Stenum Folk High School in the beginning. Stenum is a small town 7 km South-West from Vrå. The whole adventure began here in 1872, where Kirstine and Jørgen Terkelsen built the first grundtvigical Folk High School in Vendsyssel. They met each other on Fyn, where they both were students at Chresten Kold. This meeting deeply manifested in both their minds that their lifework escaped to the adult education service. The Folk High School was situated at Kirstine’s food farm in Stenum and was inaugurated 2 November 1872.

“Light by Land – that’s what we want,” said Terkelsen in his welcome speech. The Folk High School has from the beginning been the Folk High School of the citizens in Vendsyssel and therefore, in its beginning been a distinctive school, where nearly all students came from agriculture. The Folk High School quickly got good connections to the students from Vendsyssel. In the 1870s, there was the Jutland long railroad, which went through Aalborg to Frederikshavn with stations in Brønderslev and Vrå. The thought, along with the fact that the school was growing, to move the Folk High School closer to the railroad, came about not long after.

Estrup-governance
Terkelsen was also active in political work, which especially was expressed in his resistance against the seated Right Wing with Estrup in the top. In the 1880s, Estrup was unsuccessful to get the majority of the votes for the country’s finance law, which led him to issue provisional laws, which clearly went against the kingdom’s constitution, where it is written that you can’t get taxes printed unless there is a finance law adopted. As a protest against the disfranchised conditions, Terkelsen refused, together with other Folk High School people, to pay taxes. The power of state’s answer was to deprive the state subsidies from the rebellious Folk High Schools with the expectation for them to close. The government made the bill without worth. This intervention only got the citizens of Vendsyssel to interfere more for their Folk High School, which led them to found the student union in 1888, which in the beginning granted them significant economic support for the Folk High School’s work. The Protest against the Estrup-governance got its culmination in 1886 during the annual Big Brønderslev Market, where police officers were summoned and a huge fight broke out. Afterwards, Terkelsen was arrested and was accused of being one of the ringleaders, who has incited the resistance. the Indictments had to be withdrawn though. Shortly after, the Estrup-governance removed the Folk High School from their black list and the Folk High School got its governmental support back.

Forstanderpar Terkelsen

“Light by Land – that’s what we want,” said Terkelsen in his welcome speech. The Folk High School has from the beginning been the Folk High School of the citizens in Vendsyssel and therefore, in its beginning been a distinctive school, where nearly all students came from agriculture. The Folk High School quickly got good connections to the students from Vendsyssel. In the 1870s, there was the Jutland long railroad, which went through Aalborg to Frederikshavn with stations in Brønderslev and Vrå. The thought, along with the fact that the school was growing, to move the Folk High School closer to the railroad, came about not long after.

Estrup-governance
Terkelsen was also active in political work, which especially was expressed in his resistance against the seated Right Wing with Estrup in the top. In the 1880s, Estrup was unsuccessful to get the majority of the votes for the country’s finance law, which led him to issue provisional laws, which clearly went against the kingdom’s constitution, where it is written that you can’t get taxes printed unless there is a finance law adopted. As a protest against the disfranchised conditions, Terkelsen refused, together with other Folk High School people, to pay taxes. The power of state’s answer was to deprive the state subsidies from the rebellious Folk High Schools with the expectation for them to close. The government made the bill without worth. This intervention only got the citizens of Vendsyssel to interfere more for their Folk High School, which led them to found the student union in 1888, which in the beginning granted them significant economic support for the Folk High School’s work. The Protest against the Estrup-governance got its culmination in 1886 during the annual Big Brønderslev Market, where police officers were summoned and a huge fight broke out. Afterwards, Terkelsen was arrested and was accused of being one of the ringleaders, who has incited the resistance. the Indictments had to be withdrawn though. Shortly after, the Estrup-governance removed the Folk High School from their black list and the Folk High School got its governmental support back.

Vrå

In 1890, the big decision was made to move the Folk High School to the railway town Vrå, where it was placed on open field West from the train.
The Folk High School is built like a farm with farmhouses and three wings. Built by the bricklayer Andersen from Hjørring. Free, of course! The Folk High School was a vital case for the ones that were involved and dealt with a lot more than lousy pelf. the tight building has since the beginning, given a special intimacy and proximity to the Folk High School and has it architecturally made it possible to follow the natural recognisability and feeling of home, which is essential at a boarding school.

Stationen i Vrå

Popular Culture and Professionalism
The Folk High School courses used to go over 5 months during the winter for boys and a summer school over the course of 3 months for girls, respected work in agriculture. The lessons in the Folk High School have always been based on the interaction between popular culture and professionalism. One came to Folk High Schools in order to better themselves at all times, however, Folk High Schools have never gotten the mark from the professional schools because of that.
The subjects in the many first years were ordinary school subjects such as Danish, writing and calculating as well as more agricultural offers. On the side, you have would have more traditional Folk High School subjects with presentations and life enlightening subjects.
The studens used to live in four-person rooms with two beds to begin with and had to inform at the registration which under or over covers they have brought from home!

Valgmeninghedskirken i Vrå

The known ghost
Many known figures have left their work at the Folk High School. Poet, author and priest Jakob Knudsen had an unique relationship with Vrå Folk High School. He always stayed here during his lecture tours in the province. After his divorce, he still had a sanctuary here – one of very few – which meant a lot to him. It isn’t only within the province, where the sky is high! There are stubborn rumours that he loved the place so much that he attends the school again. Many insist to have seen an older friendly man here at night time!

Jens Bertelsen and Møller Nørgård

In 1904, Terkelsen retired and left the school to his two sons in law. Jens Bertelsen was the principal and at the same time priest in the newly constructed Congregation Church in the eastern part of the Folk High School. The other son in law Møller Nørgaard was responsible for corresponding agriculture at the Folk High School and was a significant figure within agricultural knowledge in the province. At the Folk High School, the agricultural knowledge had a central spot during the many first years at the school. Thus, it was possible, among other things, to educate yourself as a control assistent in relation to your stay at the Folk High School.

Forstanderpar Nørgaard

Wall Street-cracked and share certificates
The economic crisis in the 30s spawned by the Wall Street-crack in 1929, also got its filed performance at the school with fewer students. Thus, in the winter 1933-34, there was nor students and there was serious considerations to use the Folk High School for another purpose. This challenge got former students to get into character. With a large-scaled collected, the school was able to sell so-called shared certificates with values of 10, 25, 50 or 100 DKK for 1500 people, which made it possible to buy the Folk High School, which was till then privately owned. In NPV, one collected an amount during the agricultural crisis that corresponds to ca. 8 million DKK.

Arne Brandt Pedersen

The circuit behind the Folk High School chose to employ Arne Brandt Pedersen, who came from a position at Rødding Folk High School. Brandt continued in the school line, but also added a very important element through his art interest. In 1942, he got, in connection with the traditional fall meetings, The painter Sven Engelund from Vrå to host an exhibition in the living room of the Folk High School. This was a great success and the circuit expanded quickly and the exhibition was moved to the sports hall at the school with an exhibition in August.

Forstander Arne Brandt Pedersen

Broby Johansen and the arts
From 1955, it was possible to have courses with a shorter duration of 2 weeks. This became the beginning of a year-long cooperation with Broby Johansen, whom held his famous art courses here until his death in 1986. Here, he collected thousands of students.
The Vrå Exhibition and Broby Johansen’s art courses

Gamle elevboliger

Birthe and Frederik Christensen

In 1967, Birthe and Frederik Christensen were employed as the principle couple. They previously taught in Vallekilde and Viborg. As the normal restructuring in society, where we went from an agriculture society to an industrical society, it was also necessary to make a change in the educationals in order to continue being active in time. It has always been a challenge for the Folk High School to be placed in the tension between tradition and modernity in terms of offering correpsonding lessons based on historical values.

Forstanderpar Birthe og Frederik

Art Folk High School and exam preparational subjects
Inspired by the Vrå Exibition and the Broby-courses, the artistic courses got a unique spot. This meant simultaneously, that the Folk High School also changed from being a regional school to a nation-wide Folk High School. A development that also symbolised the other Folk High Schools, however, in Vrå we have always succeeded in continuing to be a naturall and important part of the local community in the form of a open culture place for everyone. A work that keeps developing and is highly prioritised. For many years, the Folk High School offered a special stream of subjects within exam preparational subjects for High School, which are e.g. Danish, English, German and Mathematics, where students with a shorter education history were able to upgrade themselves and simultaneously take the usual subjects at the Folk High School.

In 1979, the Folk High School implemented real study lines within arts, music, textile and social sciences. These streams have naturally been extended and altered to rhythmic music, photography, modern dance and artistic handicrafts in the form of jewellery workshops.

Eva and Eigil Nielsen

This professional stream was implemented when Eva and Eigil Nielsen were the principal couple from 1984-2004. During this period , great progress happened in the offers within the short courses, which lasted 1 – 2 weeks. A corse corporation, which became more and more significant for the Folk High School. For many years, the Folk High School was also the former Løkken – The integration offer for refugees from the Vrå commune, which emerged in these years in the local area. They lived and were taught here at the school for a few months and gained an important and good start into Danish society.

The art building and the Engelund collection
In 1992, in cooperation with the Vrå exhibition, one was able to, simultaenously, consecrate the art building – the Engelunds collection.
The rootstock was a big donation of paintings from Svend Engelund from the Vrå exhibition. With this building, which was later expanded to double its size, it is now possible to show Vrå artists all year around. At the same time, there are unique exhibition facilities for the Vrå exhibition in August.
During the inauguration in 1992, we received a grant of 1 million DKK from the former Cultural Fund  under the ministry of Culture. In his inauguraton speech, Niels Højlund said that the amount was given as a gift and a thank you for the unique cooperation between the Folk High School and the Vrå exihibition. A thank you for that it was, in the easiest way, possible to unite the professional and the popular!

 

 

Kunstbygningen i Vrå

Kasper Graarup

From 2004 to 2006, Kasper Graarup was the principal. He developed the short painting courses and realised his idea to include Argentine Tango festivals at the summer courses. Thus, the Folk High School continued the motion between tradition and modernity. Still in the changing process but yet the same through its professional and popular!

In 2005, Kasper Graarup was part of establishing the Friends of Folk High Schools, which is a supportive union for the school. The Friends of Folk High Schools originate primarily from the local community and is still very active around the Folk High School. The friends give a helping hand and  economic grants to renew and improve.

Pia Schnoor Ottzen and Søren Ottzen

With the principal couple, Pia Schnoor Ottzen and Søren Ottzen, whose began in 2007, it was necessary to reassess the position of the Folk High School in the mentioned tension range bteween traiditon and renewal. We have implemented lessons in Photography, arts and music and have reinstated Fashion & Design as a stream subject. A rang eof new subjects such as media and electronic music have been added but is in line with the creative image, the school carries. Like a mirror of the world has Danish as a second language become a part of what the school has to offer. The Folk High School today is an international school with Danish roots.

Forstanderboligen
Nye elevboliger

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