The Danish Institute in Athens

The Danish Institute in Athens

The Danish Institute at Athens was founded on 2 April 1992 with the purpose of promoting research, education and cultural exchange in relation to the archaeology, history, languages, literature, art, architecture and cultural traditions of Greece and other Mediterranean countries.

The Institute has its home in Plaka below the eastern slope of the Acropolis in a beautiful neoclassical building dating from the early 20th century. The building, a gift from the Carlsberg Foundation, opened on 2 April 1993, the anniversary of both the founding of the Institute and the birth of the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The Carlsberg Foundation and the Danish Institute at Athens continue to work closely together to this very day.

Both research institution and cultural institute

The Danish Institute at Athens is a not-for-profit independent institution under the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The Institute fulfils its purpose by hosting conferences and running PhD and further education courses. It also serves as a base for education and research, enjoying close ties with educational establishments in Denmark. Every year, the Institute offers residential and educational programmes for Danish university students, postdocs and artists, as well as receiving visits from groups on excursions and arranging access to museums and archaeological sites.

The Institute also holds open cultural events, including foreign-language lectures, films, concerts and exhibitions.

The Institute’s research library, the Nordic Library, opened in 1995 and focuses in particular on archaeology and studies of ancient culture. The library is jointly run by the institutes of the four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden). The Institute also has a number of additional assets and collections

The reading room in the Nordic Library

Neighbouring property and guesthouses

In 1995, two years after it opened, the Danish Institute at Athens expanded by incorporating the neighbouring property, Herefondos 12. This building, also gifted by the Carlsberg Foundation, was renovated as a guesthouse with two double rooms and one en suite room. In October 2000, a new building attached to the two older buildings was opened housing an auditorium and offices. The Institute also has an apartment with four small guest rooms. The apartment is located ten minutes’ walk from the Institute, south of the Acropolis and close to the Nordic Library and the other Nordic institutes.

The Institute welcomes applications to make use of its accommodation facilities from persons engaged in a project relating to the archaeology, history, languages, literature, art, architecture and cultural traditions of Greece and other Mediterranean countries, as well as from artists. There are also scholarships for authors and upper-secondary school teachers wishing to expand their knowledge of Greek culture. The Institute is happy to receive applications from researchers for long-term stays.

The courtyard at Herofondes 12 with the sculpture of Jason by Jette Wohlert

Management and administration

The Board of the Danish Institute at Athens comprises eight members appointed by various Danish universities, ministries and the National Museum of Denmark. Applications for long-term stays at the Institute are decided by the Board based on the recommendation of the Director. The day-to-day management and administration are undertaken by the Director, currently Associate Professor Mogens Pelt.