The Gymnastics Site

Section of reverend Nicolai Ramph's drawing of the gymnastics site by Gjerrild School 1826. The Danish National Archives. Danish Chancellery, 1st Department. Photo: Thorkild Jensen.

 

In the Open-Air Museum's historic playground, you can try out some of the gymnastics exercises that schoolboys were taught at Langet School after the introduction of the Schools Acts in 1814.

 

The exercises aimed at improving the boys' physical condition in general. They had to climb high up via ladders and ropes, and be able to balance and lift themselves up by their arms. They also had to practice running, jumping and handling of dummy guns with bayonets. The intention was to prepare the boys for the drills they would later have to go through as soldiers, enabling them to defend their mother country. It was not the intention that schoolgirls should participate in the gymnastics, as the girls were not going to be soldiers, and besides, it was thought that the exercises would be too challenging for them.

 

In the years after 1819, gymnastics sites were established at all schools within Christian Ditlev Frederik, Count Reventlow's Lolland estate, Christianssæde. C. D. F. Reventlow made sure to equip the schools with oak timber and paid the workers' wages so that the sites could be set up with the necessary equipment. He also paid compensation to the teacher for the loss of school land that was assigned to the gymnastics site.

 

The historic playground was created in 2014 with support from Shipowner Carsten Brebøl's Non-profit Foundation.