On 13 November, with the approval of King Christian VI, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters is founded as a “learned society” at the instigation of Privy Councillor Count J. L. Holstein, Professor, Councillor of Justice and Royal Historian Hans Gram, Professor of Theology Erik Pontoppidan and Secretary of the Danish Chancery Henrik Henrichsen (later Hielmstierne).

Hans Gram (1685-1748)



The Royal Academy publishes its first paper and has continued its publishing activities without interruption ever since.


The Royal Academy initiates a geographical and trigonometric mapping survey of Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein and publishes 24 accurate maps.


King Christian VII formally declares himself Patron of The Royal Academy.


The Royal Academy adopts its first actual charter.


Prince Christian Frederik (after 1839, King Christian VIII) becomes President of The Royal Academy.


The Royal Academy conducts its meetings in Prinsens Palais (the Prince's Mansion), which today houses part of The National Museum. Up until 1855 The Royal Academy was based in various locations – from 1774 onwards by allocation of the king.


The Royal Academy's two classes, the humanities class (originally the historical-philosophical) and the natural sciences class (originally the scientific-mathematical) are formed by merging the four classes created in 1792. The Royal Academy places emphasis on basic scientific research over applied science.



The Carlsberg Foundation is established by Brewer J. C. Jacobsen with the purpose of promoting science. The foundation's capital comes from The Carlsberg Brewery. The board of The Carlsberg Foundation consists of five scientists nominated by the national members of The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters among themselves. The board awards grants from the foundation and also sits on the board of the brewery and its affiliated companies, foundations and museums (e.g. The National History Museum at Frederiksborg Castle).


Together with The Carlsberg Foundation, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters moves to its current headquarters in the neo-renaissance building designed and built by architect Vilhelm Petersen on Dantes Plads in central Copenhagen. Royal Academy member meetings take place every second Thursday in the large meeting hall.

H.C. Andersens Boulevard 35 photographed in 1900



J. C. Jacobsen's home in Valby is bestowed as an honorary residence for a researcher of excellence appointed by The Royal Academy. As of 1997, the building houses The Carlsberg Academy, hosting small conferences and workshops, some of which are organized by The Royal Academy. Guest accommodation is also available for a foreign researcher.


Eli Fischer-Jørgensen (1911-2010) becomes the first woman to be elected as a national member of The Royal Academy. In 1920, Marie Curie (1867-1934) is elected as the first female international member.


To mark its 100th anniversary, The Carlsberg Foundation donates funds for the extensive reconstruction of Petersen's building to accommodate the growing number of members. The conversion also results in a large new meeting hall for symposiums and public lectures, the first of which is held in October of that year.


In its current form, adopted in 2006, The Royal Academy is directed by a Presidium of seven scientists appointed by its members among themselves: A President, two Vice-presidents (who are also chairpersons of each their class), a Secretary-General and treasurer (the same person), an Editor and a representative from each Academy class.

The changes to the charter in 2006 also give international members working and/or residing in Denmark the same rights, including the right to vote, as the national membership.

The Academy has approximately 250 national and 250 international members. Among the national members, about 40 % of the scientists are from the humanities and social sciences and 60 % are from the natural sciences.