For those who have the desire and will to cultivate professional interests even more.
Much has changed since 1961, but our basic values have always been the same:
The continuity of our values goes hand in hand with the continuity of our mission:
To contribute to more and more teenagers preparing themselves for further education.
1961 Grenaa Gymnasium established by the municipality. Head of School Johannes Hoffmeyer
1965 The Boarding School established
1969 New upper-secondary education, HF, established at Grenaa Gymnasium
1970 County of Aarhus takes over Grenaa Gymnasium
1973 New wing doubling the area extent inaugurated.
1977 New Head of School Erling Christensen
1988 National upper-secondary school reform
1995 New Head of School Ole Fjord
2003 Grenaa Gymnasium accepted as an IB World School
2005 National upper-secondary school reform
2007 Grenaa Gymnasium becomes an independent state-owned institution. A board is established.
2014 New music and visual arts wing inaugurated
2015 The Boarding School is extended. 13 new rooms and enlarged joint facilities.
New Head of School Helene Bendorff Kristensen
A School for the Brightest
In 1961 Grenaa Gymnasium started with 65 students and 6 teachers and it was the first upper-secondary school in the area of Djursland. Until then only a few young djurslanders a year would get an upper-secondary education in Aarhus or Randers. The town council in Grenaa had a vision of them getting it in Grenaa and of many more young people doing so. This vision became reality. In 1969, after less than 10 years, Grenaa Gymnasium had 380 students and 86 of them graduated that year.
A School for the Many
During the first 20 years the number of students grew from year to year. Hereafter it fluctuated according to the sizes of the year groups of young people.
Most of us came from homes without tradition for upper-secondary education. We were indeed pattern breakers, so we didn’t really have any idea of what it would be like. The biggest difference from our previous school experiences was that we came from different kinds of schools. Some of us came from small schools in the countryside, while others came from the ”cities” of Grenaa and Ebeltoft. Back then the standards of living differed a lot more between countryside and towns than today. Jytte Rauh, celebrating her 50-year graduation anniversary in June 2014
From Grenaa Gymnasium’s earliest days until today, students have experienced a school where they would have classmates with different backgrounds and where a substantial number of them came and come from homes with no or little tradition for upper-secondary education.
However, a recurring feature of their experience is also that the atmosphere is nice and that it is not difficult to find friends.
There are so many different types of people here that there will always be someone that you get on well with. And people accept you as the one you want to be. Henriette and Lone, 1.stx 1992
We have a joint canteen where all students eat together … HF-students and STX-students will sit at the same table… in this way you get to know students from other classes than your own. Jeanette, 2.stx 2013
Only a school whose students engage in many different activities, curricular as well as extra-curricular ones, is a proper school. J. Hoffmeyer, headmaster 1961-1977
Since 1961 students and teachers have created a large variety of activities at the school. The student association Olympos was established within the first year of the school’s existence and later on activities like musicals, spring exhibitions, sport tournaments, theme events, Operation One Day’s Work, and GG Explorer have brought students and teachers together across classes, years and programmes.
My experience was that the students at Grenaa Gymnasium very enthusiastically engaged themselves in many different things, e.g. belly dancing at a theme event, a football tournament, a school magazine or the student council. I feel that my years at Grenaa Gymnasium have made me more confident in taking leaps forward…” Lasse Mønster, graduated in 2004
Students at Grenaa Gymnasium have always had the experience of going on excursions and exchange trips with students and teachers from abroad. In the 60s the destinations of excursions were limited to the local area, Randers and Aarhus and the exchange trips were with municipal twin towns in Scandinavia and Germany.
In the 70s, study trips to more distant destinations were introduced. For example the Russian class went to Moscow or Leningrad and other classes went to Helsinki, London, Paris, Budapest and Prague. During the Cold War, a study trip to one of the countries in the eastern bloc was much further away mentally than the distance measured in kilometres.
The 1980s and 1990s
During the 80s a main feature was a continuous exchange programme with a school in Poland and in the 90s the extension of international contacts became a priority. This led not only to longer exchanges for single students, but also to exchange classes that went on annual exchange trips.
Grenaa Gymnasium became an IB World School in 2003 and has since had students from many parts of the world. It is now an everyday experience to hear students talking English in the breaks and as most of the IB-students live at the Boarding School, English has become the main language there.
In 2010 Grenaa Gymnasium joined the network of Global High Schools which has been of major inspiration and motivation for a well-running partnership of exchange with Nairobi Academy in Kenya.
In the same context our Global Study Line was established. Global Study Line students exchange with Shanghai no.8 Senior High School,
Between Elitism and Comprehensiveness
When Grenaa Gymnasium was established in 1961, upper-secondary education was still for the brightest and most promising students only. The town council’s decision to establish a gymnasium was quite in line with the national government policy to fully exploit the educational potential for the long-term benefit of the welfare state that was being built up. Or put into more idealistic terms: Any young person with academic potential should, indifferent of social background, be offered the possibility of further education.
In 1969 HF was established in order to ”sweep” even greater numbers of young people into upper-secondary education and during the 70s and the 80s, Grenaa Gymnasium, like most gymnasiums in the country, became a school for much broader sections of young people than previously.
In recent years, this development has led to a growing number of programmes for the especially talented and motivated students that might benefit from extra challenges and networking with like-minded students from other schools. Also, it is still the case that many of our students have only vague ideas of what it would be like to study at a university. Therefore, several of Grenaa Gymnasium’s brightest students have been admitted to Akademiet for Talentfulde Unge (The Academy for Talented Youth) and Subuniversity.
However, it is not so that only the very bright students are curious and keen to learn. Therefore, Grenaa Gymnasium has established its very own talent development programme. It is called GG Explorer and is open to all students at the school.
Løvenholm Kollegium 1965-1978
Grenaa Gymnasium’s Boarding School dates back from 1965 where it was established as Løvenholm Kollegium. It was funded by the Løvenholm Foundation that had been established in 1947 by the owner of the Løvenholm Estate. He envisioned the main building of his estate transformed into a public school for boys like Herlufsholm on Zealand. But eventually, the board of the foundation decided to fund a college opposite the newly established Grenaa Gymnasium.
Right from the start it proved difficult to attract enough students as new gymnasiums were established all over the country during the 60s and 70s.
Grenaa Gymnasium’s Boarding Department 1978-2003
The first bid for rescue came when the state agreed to take over in 1978 and in that manoeuver changed the boys-only clause. Also the name changed.
But this still didn’t fill up all the rooms. Therefore, in 1980, Grenaa Gymnasium established an HF-class for students from Greenland and in 1986, after Aarhus County had taken over the overall administration of upper-secondary education in the county, also students from the island of Samsø came to Grenaa Gymnasium and stayed at the boarding department.
Grenaa Gymnasium’s Boarding School, since 2003
In 2003 yet another change of name was due, as Grenaa Gymnasium had become an IB World School and it was thought that boarding school was more in line with Anglo-Saxon usage than “boarding department”.
The IB Diploma programme at Grenaa Gymnasium attracted many foreign students to the Boarding School and at the same time, Danish students, too, found boarding life attractive. As a result, in 2015, all capacity was exhausted and the school board decided on a 500 m2 extension, including 13 new rooms and enlarged and improved facilities.
Grenaa Gymnasium is designed by the firm of architects Gravers & Richter (from 1971 Kjær & Richter). Its three main wings each reflect a time spirit. The ”old wing” from 1963 with the assembly hall, the solemn peristyle and the Latin motto over the entrance, signals that this is a school for the elite. And that was what a gymnasium was in the early 60s.
The ’new wing’ from 1973 clearly contrasts this with its much more open spaces where the students meet during breaks and do group work during lessons. This seems to reflect that gymnasiums were now schools for a broad section of young people and that popular and democratic ideals had gained ground in Danish school culture.
This trend continues to be reflected in the new wing for music and visual arts from 2014 where high quality equipment for sound and vision and student practice rooms facilitate students’ pursuit of reaching their full potential.
Thus, the changes to upper-secondary education in Denmark are reflected in the architecture, but Kjær & Richter have maintained architectural coherence through a marked language of form accentuated by materials and colours that appear in all three wings.