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HØJHUSET Cultural Hotel

HØJHUSET is a remarkable piece of cultural heritage that has been transformed into Denmark’s very first cultural hotel

From folk high school to Denmark’s first cultural hotel

September 2023

This year, Denmark’s first cultural hotel opened in Herning, Jutland in the raw, modernistic buildings that used to be Herning folk high school. At the hotel you can stay in the old student rooms decorated with designer furniture in 60s aesthetics. This unique establishment invites you to step back in time and experience the charm of the ’60s. Roam the hallways for artwork, feel the presence of history and engage in a wide range of cultural events.

A historical building
“The milk carton”, “The grater”, “The shag silo”, and “The student tower”. These are just a few of the affectionate local monikers for the building. HØJHUSETS fifteen floors high tower that rises high above the flat countryside of the Herning region. And the architecture of the tower is like a picture of the nature of the place. It dares to stand out, to show the way and make a difference.

HØJHUSET is a remarkable piece of cultural heritage that has been transformed into Denmark’s very first cultural hotel. Both architecturally and historically, the buildings play a pivotal role in the area’s DNA and identity. Thus, the Johannes Jensen and Helle Maus Foundation that also owns Dansk Wilton, describes it as a natural decision to purchase the buildings in 2017. Their vision was to transform the place into a socially beneficial house, that promotes cultural interests in direct extension of the original purpose of the place.

In its earlier incarnation, HØJHUSET served as a folk high school dedicated to the disciplines of art. It was built and founded in 1961 by Aage Damgaard and home for debates, communities, and creativity for the next 46 years, until it shut down in 2007 due to financial reasons. Like other Danish folk high schools – an institution that originated in the mid-1800s and is still flourishing today – it played an important role in spreading culture in Denmark and was a place young people from all walks of life could stay full time for months, to acquire and exchange knowledge.

As something unique and due to Aage Damgaards personal passion for architecture and art, Herning folk high school was a mecca for art and beauty. Not only is the high tower considered to be a modernist masterpiece, but its upper floor was also designed as two studio apartments, available as a refuge for upcoming artists and writers. And not only could the grand view beyond the open expanses of central Jutland be a rich muse for many artists, the buzzing creativity of the top floor would also be an eternal source of inspiration for the folk high school.

The architects Tyge Arnfred and Viggo Møller-Jensen designed the folk high school as a sturdy structure with clean lines, constructed from robust materials such as tiles, wood, and concrete – adding a raw and natural feeling to the place. A hexagonal hall with exposed beams was designed as a centre for concerts and gatherings. The interior design was minimalistic, and artwork was ever present at the school. For instance, Paul Gadegaard’s art became an integral part of the folk high school as he designed the wall and ceiling decorations in the foyer.

Achieving heritage status
In recognition of its integrated artwork and the distinctive architectural style, the building received heritage status in 2018. And after a thorough renovation with deep respect for the original style of the place, the cultural hotel HØJHUSET opened in April 2023. Here, overnight guests can stay in the 88 student rooms decorated with designer furniture in perfect 60s aesthetics. They can hang out in the common areas on every floor of the building to recharge, have a cup of coffee or engage in discussions – or just sense the atmosphere of being in a room where thousands of young inquisitive people have been doing the exact same thing for the last half a century.

As a guest, you will have the privilege of wandering through the building, encountering artworks by renowned artists like HuskMitNavn, Næblerød, Behncke, Gadegaard and Sviatchenko, or engage in the many cultural events taking place in the house.

A social economic enterprise
Although much has changed, HØJHUSET is still driven by the same values as when it was a folk high school. HØJHUSET is a social-economic place with the aim of creating positive societal changes through business development and social initiatives. The building serves as a creative and inclusive environment where various stakeholders collaborate to promote socially responsible business models to support vulnerable community groups.

HØJHUSET is organizing free or low-priced events such as concerts, lectures, conversation salons, communal dining, choir, knitting and much more. Besides this, it offers the perfect base for spontaneous activities with the presence of a library, table football free to use – or why not visit the garden behind the hotel, where a flock of sheep and a vegetable garden keeps the kitchen supplied with local produce. In time, it is also the intention that the penthouse should again be offered as refuge for upcoming artists.

Overall, HØJHUSET is an example of how a hotel and a community center can have a social-economic dimension by supporting social goals and economic sustainability through collaboration, education, and creative prospects.

In essence, Herning Folk High School lives on within the vibrant corridors of HØJHUSET, now resurrected as a mecca for art and culture, appealing to all who seek inspiration and community.

Art project with Sviatchenko
In collaboration with our amazing designers, Sergei Sviatchenko, one of today’s most influential collage artists, has created beautiful area rugs for both the floors and the walls of the 10th floor.

The designs are based on some of his world famous collages decorating the walls all around the building.

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