Bryggerens bagland

Navn på bevillingshaver

Nina Koefoed


Associate Professor


Aarhus University


DKK 4,534,000




Strategic Grants


The conception of Carlsberg as a brewery, technological hub, and a scientific and cultural centre has mainly been attributed to the male founder of the brewery, Jacob Christian (J.C.) Jacobsen. This narrative has recently been revised, showing that Carlsberg was not the construction of a sole man, but the product of a complex, transnational network, which included J.C.’s wife Laura as one of its key nodes. This project will take Laura Jacobsen’s social networks as its point of departure, examining Laura Jacobsen’s role as an educator, salonnière, philanthropist, and broker. We will focus on the sociability of the Carlsberg family villa in Valby, examining the importance of the family’s social networks in the creation of this international business and large-scale philanthropic enterprise.


This project not only brings forward the women in the narrative of an international brewery business, but it also writes women into the history of nineteenth-century, bourgeois Denmark. The history of the nineteenth-century, Danish middle classes is still a history of separate spheres. However, the social events facilitated ‘at home’, at the Carlsberg Villa, also served to build the networks of the Carlsberg family across Denmark and Europe. By writing Laura Jacobsen’s sociability into the establishment of the Carlsberg Foundation, this project provides an opportunity to examine how the Foundation’s interests in the natural sciences, humanities, and the business of brewing beer connected – and it sheds light on the brewer’s wife as a central figure in scientific and political conversations.


We will draw inspiration from research on gender, social networks, and social spaces and practices. We will take the spaces and places that Laura and J.C. Jacobsen moved in as our points of departure: Moving firstly from their establishment of a home in Brolæggerstræde in Copenhagen in the 1830s, to the building of the Carlsberg Brewery in the hills of Valby outside the capital in the 1850s: and beyond, to their family connections in Northern Jutland – and secondly, exploring the cultural and scientific networks that met at ‘Friday Dinners’ in their Valby home in the 1860s and extended beyond Denmark to Europe, where the couple, and their son and daughter-in-law, traveled across Europe to visit salons and spas, world exhibitions and breweries, establishing their philanthropy up until 1902.

Tilbage til oversigtssiden