Norwegian Society

The Norwegian Society (Norske Selskab) was a literary society for Norwegian students in Copenhagen active from 1772 to 1813. Its members included authors, poets and philosophers. The Norwegian Society was formed in 1772 by Ove Gjerløw Meyer. Their meeting place was Madame Juel's Coffeehouse (madame Juels Kaffehus) in the Læderstræde.[1][2][3]

It was a gentlemen's club, with the exception of the waitress Karen Bach and the poet Magdalene Sophie Buchholm,[4] and the meetings were lively with speakers, song and discussion, poetry recitation improvisations and relatively significant intakes of punch. The club considered itself culturally conservative and devoted to the rationalistic empirical style of Ludvig Holberg.[5]

The members of the Norwegian Society are often viewed as playing a central role in the wakening of Norwegian patriotic awareness at the close of the 18th century. Many of the poems and plays had patriotic themes. The society was discontinued in 1813 after the battle was won to establish the first Norwegian university, but a new gentlemen's club with the same name started in 1818.[6]

Central membersEdit

Painted by Eilif Peterssen in 1892: An evening at the Norwegian Society (En aften i Det norske Selskab). The man with the raised glass in the foreground is Johan Herman Wessel; the man with the red jacket is Johan Nordahl Brun. Behind Wessel is the hostess, Madam Juehl.


  1. ^ "Norske Selskab". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  2. ^ The Drama; Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization: Alfred Bates, James Penny Boyd, John Porter Lamberton – 1903 "Wessel's name is inseparably connected with the so-called Norwegian Society, of which he was the most prominent member. Founded in 1772, this society was at first intended simply for bringing together the Norwegians who resided in ..."
  3. ^ Niels Henrik Abel and his times: called too soon by flames afar – Page 52 Arild Stubhaug "Since 1772, The Norwegian Society had been a strong and lively opposition force in the cultural life of Copenhagen. But when the Dane, Johannes Ewald and the Norwegian, Johan Hermann Wessel, the two foremost poets in Denmark-Norway who ..."
  4. ^ "Magdalene Buchholm". 25 February 2020.
  5. ^ Øye, Solveig (2000-01-01). "Norske Selskab var ikke norsk-nasjonalt" (in Norwegian). University of Oslo. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  6. ^ Norske Selskab history

External linksEdit