The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences

Founded in 1742

The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters (Kongelige danske videnskabernes selskab) was founded in Copenhagen on 13 November 1742 by King Christian VI when the King gathered together a group of experts to sort out his collection of medals. The Royal Academy covered the subjects of mathematics, physics and natural history.

In 1745 the Academy produced its first publication, and it has continued publishing uninterrupted since that time. The Academy began conducting surveys of Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein by the method of triangulation in 1761 and it eventually produced 24 accurate maps of the region. The Academy, which at this time met in buildings provided by the King, produced its first bylaws in 1776. From 1838 it met in the buildings in Copenhagen which presently house the National Museum of Denmark. The Academy split into two classes, namely science and humanities, in 1866 and this split remains to the present day. Ten years later:-
... the brewer I C Jacobsen founded the Carlsberg Foundation to support research; 51% of the shares of the Carlsberg Brewery must be owned by the Foundation at all times, and the Board of Directors of the Foundation consists of five scholars, elected by and from the Danish members of the academy. The Board not only decides on donations by the Foundation but also sits on the board of directors of the brewery and associated companies, foundations and museums.
The Academy and the Carlsberg Foundation moved into shared accommodation in 1899. This was the neo-renaissance palace designed by Vilhelm Petersen in Dante's Square in the centre of Copenhagen. I C Jacobsen's mansion house became part of the property of the Academy in 1914 and, now named the Carlsberg Academy, small conferences and workshops organised by the Danish Academy are held there. Today the Academy has 143 members of the science class, and 93 members of the humanities class. There are also 265 foreign members.

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Last Updated August 2004