Since 1835, children have been taken care of in Helsingør Børneasyl (Elsinore children's Asylum) in Stengade, making the sanctuary Denmark's oldest day care building that still functions as a kindergarten. The sanctuary also provides history on social life in the city.
The 23. September 1835, 21 of the leading ladies of the city founded ”Den Kvindelige Asylforening” (Women’s sanctuary society) in Elsinore. The society was founded in order to display social responsibility by taking care of wandering children and children of worker families, whose parents worked constantly.
In 1838 the sanctuary moved into its current buildings in Stengade 29. Here they have been ever since, making Helsingør Børneasyl the country’s oldest existing day care still residing in its original building.
Today Helsingør Børneasyl functions as a municipal institution, though the sanctuary is privately owned. The day care takes care of about 23 children each day, doubtlessly giving them more elbow space than in the old days, where there occasionally were up to 110 children to watch over.
A women’s business, with natural exceptions
The female sanctuary society members chose a board of 15 people, who then decided on a female director. They also decided on a manageress in charge of the daily service.
There were room for two men, however, who were supposed to help ”conduct the business, which cannot comfortably be done by a woman… And generally conduct everything, that in the nature of things is most comfortably done by men,”. Thus it was formulated in the invitation that the 21 founding women sent out on the founding day of ”Den Kvindelige Asylforening” the 23. september 1835.
The two men were, for example, expected to handle building projects, reprioritisation and general maintenance.