Thomas von Westen

Thomas von Westen (13 September 1682 – 9 April 1727) was a Norwegian Lutheran priest and missionary.[1] He was a driving force in the Sami mission, and founded the education institution Seminarium Scholasticum, the later Seminarium Lapponicum, in Trondheim.

Thomas von Westen
Thomas von Westen.jpg
Personal details
Born(1682-09-13)13 September 1682
Trondheim, Norway
Died9 April 1727(1727-04-09) (aged 44)
Trondheim, Norway
ParentsArnoldus von Westen (1643-1698)
Inger Marie Thomasdatter Meyer (1660-1715)
SpouseAnna Pedersdatter (ca. 1655–1746)
EducationCand.theol. in 1699
Alma materUniversity of Copenhagen

Personal lifeEdit

Von Westen was born in Trondheim in Sør-Trøndelag, Norway. He was the son of Arnoldus von Westen (1643–1698) and his second wife, Inger Marie Thomasdatter Meyer.[2] His father was a pharmacist at Løveapoteket Apothecary.[3] His grandfather had been mayor of Trondheim.


Von Westen attended Trondheim Cathedral School and was educated for the priesthood at the University of Copenhagen where he took his Artium Baccalaureus degree in 1698. He received his Cand.theol. in 1699. After completing his education, he started working as a priest in Helgeland. In 1709, he was appointed vicar of Veøy in Romsdal.[3][4]

Along with his friend and fellow priest Nils Engelhart, von Westen was an active participant of an association of priests which they named Syvstjernen. Established in 1713, Syvstjernen was an association of the seven priests in Romsdal. The group met regularly to establish mutual support and to advance the principals of Pietism (Norwegian: Pietismen).[5][6]

He was also a pioneer of Christian mission among Sami people in Norway. He undertook three trips to northern Norway between 1716 and 1723. He also educated Sami boys to become teachers. During 1717, he founded a school at his home in Trondheim which he called "Seminarium domesticum". The school closed after Westen died in 1727; however, it served as a model for the later Seminarium Lapponicum which operated between 1752–1774.[7][2][8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Thomas von Westens runebomme 1723 (Finnmark Forlag)
  2. ^ a b Grankvist, Rolf. "Thomas Von Westen". In Helle, Knut (ed.). Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Løveapoteket". WikiStrinda. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  4. ^ "Arnoldus von Westen". WikiStrinda. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  5. ^ Bjørn Jonson Dale. "Nils Engelhart". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  6. ^ "Pietismen". Norges Historie - University of Oslo. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Godal, Anne Marit (ed.). "Thomas von Westen". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norsk nettleksikon. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  8. ^ Godal, Anne Marit (ed.). "Seminarium Lapponicum". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Norsk nettleksikon. Retrieved 20 August 2012.

Other sourcesEdit

  • Sæter, Ivar (1926) Thomas von Westen (1926) Finnefolket sande ven, Læreren og videnskapsmanden (Oslo: Gyldendal)
  • Grankvist, Rolf (2003) Seminarium Lapponicum Fredericianum i Trondheims-miljoet (Trondheim: DKNVS) ISBN 8251918987