Skrave Forsamlingshus (Skrave Meeting Hall)
South Jutland's first meeting hall was built in Skrave parish in 1892. The pro-Danish residents of Skodborg and Skrave parishes came together to build the building that was centrally placed at a road intersection.
The meeting hall became the framework for many Danish associations. The hall quickly became too small. Already by 1906, Skodborg established their own meeting hall, and in 1923 a meeting hall in Københoved was built. Skrave meeting hall burned down in 1940 and was not rebuilt.
Lecture and domestic industry
The Danish associations union flourished in Southern Jutland in the 1880s. Lecture associations, domestic industry associations and gymnastics associations were all established locally. On a regional level, all the pro-Danish Jutlanders gathered together in Sprogforeningen (Language Association) founded in 1880, North Schleswig Vælgerforening (Voter Association) created in 1888 and North Schleswig Skoleforening (School Association) from 1892.
The German authorities were not happy about these Danish meetings. They began to threaten the inn owners with their livlihoods if they laid house to Danish meetings. The inn owners were forced to refuse to rent out their rooms to the pro-Danish associations.
A political weapon
The meeting halls in Jutland should be seen as a response to the struggle in relation to the German authorities' pressure. The halls had a pronounced political purpose and were an essential part of the national struggle.
As the first in Southern Jutland, 77 pro-Danish citizens in Skrave and Skodborg came together to build a meeting hall. The building was modest and contained a hallway, cloakroom, kitchen, board room and hall. To keep the costs down, the house was built in split granite boulders, donated by the guarantors.
Subjected to police supervision
The Prussian law regulated life in the meeting hall. Meeting freedom did not exist in the same way as in Denmark. All meetings had be notified in advance, member lists needed to be continuously updated and submitted to the authorities and all association meetings that discussed public affairs or matters of a political nature were subjected to police supervision.
It was not permitted for women to participate in political meetings. A more liberal law took effect in 1908.
The meeting houses in Denmark were also used for lectures, meetings, singing, gymnastics, domestic industries, dilettante, folk dancing, parties and gatherings. Unlike the inns, the meeting halls could not get a license. Instead the coffee traditions practised in private homes were transferred to the meeting hall.
Forsamlingshuset på landet, en redegørelse fra kulturministeriets forsamlingshusudvalg, 1979.
Københoved Bysamfund. Bidrag til Skrave Sogns Historie I, Kolding 1950, genoptrykt 2012, p. 285-294.
Gotved, Thorleif Rytz: Forsamlingshuse på Røddingegnen. I Historisk årbog for Røddingegnen 2002.
Author: Linda Klitmøller, museum curator, Sønderskov Museum
Where Skrave Kirkevej crosses Skodborgvej between Skrave Kirkevej no. 1 and no. 3.