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History of the school told with emphasis on the buildings


Letter from bishop Peder Vagnsen donating his books to the school.

The bishop is obliged to educate priests. He does so by appointing some of his employees associated with the bishopric - ‘cathedra’ in Latin - hence the name Katedralskolen, which means ‘Cathedral School’. In Medieval times, however, the name was The School in Aarhus.

Around 1200, Bishop Vagnsen builds the first school house, 4 by 8 metres, in red brick. Remains of this house were found in the school yard during an archaeological excavation in 1994-1995 and at the erection of the current Red Building.


The archaeological excavation in 1994-1995 also uncovered remains of a larger boulder foundation along Skolegyde which could be dated back to the 14th century. It is likely that this was one of the school buildings mentioned in the old sources. Parts of this foundation were also cleared at the erection of the 1956 gate building and are still visible today.


Morten Børup studies at the school. The peasant boy from Skanderborg Meadows south of Aarhus later earned a doctorate in Roman law at the University of Cologne in Germany. Morten Børup was a principal at the school 1491-1520. His coat of arms is now the school logo. 


Ole Worm was a studies at the school. He became a renowned scholar of runic script.


Ole Rømer studies at the school. At a mature age, Ole Rømer donates four ovens heat the old school buildings at his former school.

From 1752 to 1790, Jens Olufsen Worm was principal. The school buildings were in a state of progressed decay. Worm tried to purchase the old Bishops Farm to the north, but did not succeed. He therefore placed his new school building between the church and the water.


The first White Building is erected. The architect was S. Mørup. A long building facing the cathedral and Skolegade, but built in just one storey due to financial limitations. In its original conception it was an architectural masterpiece of the late Baroque. 

Jens Worm intended to have residences for principal and vice principal on the 1st floor.


N.F.S. Grundtvig, famous pastor, poet and educationalist studies at Katedralskolen – a place he later termed the “black school”.


The Yellow building is erected by master builder A.G. Monrad. It is built in a neoclassical style inspired by the ”Copenhagen classicism” of the buildings erected after the Copenhagen fire of 1795. The front facing Mejlgade is one of the best preserved Empire houses in Aarhus. The face of the building has a distinctive middle section consisting of four pilasters with Ionian capitals and yellow Flensburg stones. The building also has a fine, curved plank gate. In 1800, the rear building in the school yard was erected. It was used as residence from 1808-1969.

Yellow Building 1917


The White Building is converted by Architect J.H. Koch into a symmetrical two-storey building. The inscription above the entrance reads “Nil non mortale tenemus pectoris exceptis ingeniique bonis.” We possess nothing that is not mortal, except the blessings of heart and mind.

The old Latin School seen from Bispetorv 1896
Skolegyde 1898


The school is worn down. The city finds the narrow Skolegyde problematic, and a new post office is needed. The leading architect S.F. Kühnel proposes to build a library, theatre, university and Latin school at Bispetoften by Vester Allé. The state wants to solve the problem by moving the school and erecting a new post office at the school site. Three possible sites are proposed: Ny Munkegade, Bispetoften and Marselisborg Strandparken. But the Minister of Culture decided otherwise; the school was to remaim where it was. 

Architect Hack Kampmann was asked to solve the problem by then principal Vaupel. 


Architect Hack Kampmann erects the Red Building between the theatre and the custom house. It is built in Jugendstil with fine details in walls and roof guttering. The rotundas are particularly beautiful and on top of the building is a rooster and owl. 

Residence for the school janitor is established in the basement. The building is not placed in symmetry with the school yard.

Pictures from 1 September 1906. The bishop delivers the inauguration speech
King Frederik VIII participated in the inauguration.
Hack Kampmann


The White Building is converted again, this time by architect Hack Kampmann. The building is shortened at Skolegyde and extended at the other end. At the same time two gyms are established. This was necessary after girls were allowed to attend the school in 1903. At the same time, Hack Kampmann adds coat of arms and reliefs.

The Red Building
Skolebakken (School Hill)
The White Building
Skolegyde now with free access to the port


The number of upper secondary students in Aarhus is growing and the city’s two existing schools, Katedralskolen and Marselisborg, cannot keep up. The city expands Marselisborg with a new wing. The state promises to build a new pre-university school and to expand Katedralskolen. But in 1937 the plans are abandoned due to a lack of space at the site. It is easier to move to new buildings. One proposed site was where Scandinavian Congress Center is today.

In 1946 Laurits Christiansen is principal. Plans conceived by architect Ejnar Packness for an expansion of the school in Mejlgade with buildings similar to the White Building lie ready, but are never realized. 


The state buys the Yellow building, which becomes residence for the Principal, Åge Berthelsen. Other rooms are let out to younger members of staff.


After numerous discussions of the future of the school, including recurrent suggestions to move the school, a plan to modernise and expand at the current site is decided upon. Not all teachers agree with the decision.

Architect C.F. Møller designs the new Assembly Hall Building, the New Building and the Gate Building, which becomes residence for the janitor. At the same time the back house in the school yard is removed. With their functionalistic design, the buildings are typical of their time. It is always controversial to combine old and new, and criticism quickly rises. But the curve of the old tower rotunda works well.

The box protruding over Skolebakken is very much in the spirit of the times, while the New Building in Mejlgade may not be that exciting.

The school was now among the largest in the country with 650 students.

The assembly hall under construction.
The finished result seen from the school yard.


The architects Kjær & Richter undertake considerable conversions to change the utilization of the buildings. Yellow Building is adopted for teaching, staff room and administration. The office is moved from the ground floor of the Red Building.


Thorough restoration of the White Building facade.


With a few exceptions the school buildings are protected by law as a unified educational environment.


The roof of the Red Building is changed. In that connection, a new 200 m2 study area is furnished in the attic.