Fredrik Glad Balchen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Fredrik Glad Balchen

Fredrik Glad Balchen (6 April 1815 – 24 April 1899) was a Norwegian deaf teacher.

Personal and early life[edit]

Balchen was born in Bergen, the son of chaplain Johan Peter Balchen (1783–1827) and his wife Christiane Wilhelmine Gulbrandsen (1789–1819).[1] His early childhood was marred by his mother's death when he was four years old, and his father's when he was twelve.[2] He married Benjamine Walgerda Heiberg (1845–1926) on 16 September 1869, the daughter of Caspar Cappelen Heiberg (1814–1855) and Emilie Christine Hansine Bjertnæs (1824–1865).[3]

Career and education[edit]

Upon finishing his examen artium at the University of Oslo, he started studying theology. Owing to his economic difficulties, Balchen started teaching at Ole Jacob Broch and Hartvig Nissen's Latin school.[3]

Balchen eventually applied for a concession to establish a deaf school in Christiania. The King had erstwhile announced a state stipend to a person taking an education suited for creating a deaf school in South Norway.[note 1]

The executive board at the deaf school in Trondheim was sceptical towards Balchen, apparently because of his lack of religious education. He nevertheless gained a half-year stay at the school, impressing the authorities with his command of French orthography. The Norwegian government subsequently sponsored Balchen a study trip to Germany.[3]

Balchen visited some of the most important German deaf schools, and met among others the teacher and inspector Friedrich Moritz Hill at the deaf school in Weißenfels. Balchen returned to Norway in 1847, and started teaching two deaf girls the following year.[1] In 1849, he received state support for this practice.[3]

There were in the beginning only three to five students at his school—which was named Christiania Døvstumme-Institut, but as time passed, more students came, and Balchen bought boarding rooms in the area for students hailing from the suburbs. Later on, Balchens started a class for students he considered qualified for studying. Two of the students—Lars Havstad and Halvard Aschehoug—took examen artium with good grades in 1871. Balchen's school became very popular and well-reputated, and even students from far-abroad, travelled to Norway to become taught at his school.[4]

In 1857, the school was moved from Karl Johans Street—approximately where Grand Hotel is today—to Schafteløkken at Elisenberg, Frogner.[5] The school stayed there until 1891, when it was relocated to Vibes gate at Hegdehaugen.[6] Five years later, the school was nationalised.[3]

Later life and death[edit]

In 1873, Balchen was rewarded the Order of St. Olav for his efforts for the deaf. He was also appointed member of a committee that should prepare a law granting the deaf, blind and mentally handicapped the right to compulsory education. A such law came into force for the deaf on 1 July 1883, for the blind in 1885 and for the mentally handicapped in 1891. After having stepped down from his positions at the deaf school, Balchen died, at age 84.[3]


  1. ^ The only hitherto created deaf school in Norway was located in Trondheim.


  1. ^ a b Henriksen, Petter, ed. (2007). "Fredrik Glad Balchen". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Kluge, H. (1944). "Fredrik G. Balchen". Tegn og Tale (in Norwegian). 8. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Arnesen, Knut. "Fredrik Glad Balchen". In Helle, Knut. Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Christiania Døvstumme-Institut (Skådalen)". Norsk Døvemuseum (in Norwegian). Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Tvedt, Knut Are, ed. (2000). "Schafteløkken". Oslo byleksikon (in Norwegian) (4th ed.). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. p. 380. ISBN 82-573-0815-3. 
  6. ^ "Schafteløkken, Zahlkasserer Schafts plass 1, 2 og 3". Arc! (in Norwegian). Retrieved 21 December 2010.