University Post
University of Copenhagen
Uafhængig af ledelsen

Student life

Dorms Disclosed: Valkendorfs Kollegium has a garden in the city. And chickens

Dorms Disclosed — What you pay in rent is a secret, as it is supposed to be more than just the dream of a cheap place to live that attracts new residents to Valkendorfs Kollegium. Garden days, mushroom-picking trips, and a strong sense of community is the spirit of this college.

VALKENDORF

Skt. Peder Stræde 14, DK-1453 Copenhagen K​

www.valkendorf.dk

Rent: A secret (but said to be quite low).

Average age: 26 years-old

Application process: Keep an eye out on social media, kunet.ku.dk or Valkendorfs website for any news on when they are looking for new residents from your faculty. Submit an application, and maybe you will be called in for an interview. You must have passed 90 ECTS credits.

 

When the University Post drops by at Valkendorfs dormitory, the residents have just had a garden day, and the rose beds are the central ornaments of the garden. It is the Copenhagen inner city’s largest garden, and with a plot of land that has belonged to the Valkendorf since 1589, the residence hall is also one of the oldest in the Nordic countries.

Back then, it was a monastery for Carmelite monks, and it is still the old monastery walls that surround the large garden in the dormitory. You don’t live in the old monks’ cells however, as after 276 years, after the old monastery had survived incoming incendiaries from the Napoleonic Wars and the Great Copenhagen Fire, a new and more modern brick building was erected.

SEE THE FULL ‘DORMS DISCLOSED’ UNIVERSITY POST SERIES: Reviews by student residents of dorms and residence halls in Copenhagen

Valkendorfians live in something resembling a larger manor house, and even though the kitchens are a bit small, the residents don’t suffer. The story of this ancient residence is being proudly presented by Ditte S. Jelsbak-Rasmussen, who has lived in the dormitory for two years and studies history.

Secret rent and obligating community

At Valkendorfs Kollegium, you call yourself an ‘alumni’ even while you live there. 22 students do. Three of them live with their boyfriends/girlfriends, who are allowed to move in as a so-called ‘gris [=pig, ed.]’. The word is a modification of a word meaning ‘gratist’, or free rider, but it has never been free to live there, not even for lovers. As a ‘gris’, you did not have the same rights for many years as the ordinary residents. But today there is almost no difference, according to Ditte S. Jelsbak-Rasmussen.

image: Rasmus Buhl Kristensen / Uniavisen

The rent is a secret, but »it is not high« Ditte S. Jelsdbak-Rasmussen assures me. But you are expected to spend a lot of time in the dormitory. »It is not just a room you rent,« says Ditte S. Jelsbak-Rasmussen.

The rent is kept a secret because the residence hall does not want to compete on price. Future residents should not be attracted by low rent, but by a desire to commit to student life.

You feel that you become part of something bigger when you move in.

Ditte S. Jelsbak-Rasmussen, alumna

There is a food club twice a week for the whole of the dormitory, and more spontaneous food clubs emerge during the week in each of the corridors which house between three and nine alumni.

In addition to the traditional mushroom-picking tour, which the alumni do every year, as well as various large parties, there is also a shared responsibility for keeping the residence hall running in the best way possible. Responsibility is apportioned according to specific roles, where some people are responsible for the house’s finances, the gardens, or for external communication, while others make sure that the dormitory looks nice and homely.

The old building from the 19th century is beautiful, both from the outside and from the inside. The kitchens are small and cosy and may be a little cramped if all eight people have to cook at the same time, which is why it is normal to take turns to cook for the entire corridor.

image: Rasmus Buhl Kristensen / Uniavisen
image: Rasmus Buhl Kristensen / Uniavisen

From house meeting to chicken coop

It is the residents themselves who make decisions on what it should be like living together, and every month a house meeting is held for the whole of the dormitory. Here, the residents talk about this and that, and discuss proposals for new dormitory procedures.

Dorms disclosed

There are loads of dormitories, kollegiums, and student residences in Copenhagen, yet most of the information available is in Danish.

Some are small, old houses with pretty gardens, others are giant concrete buildings with tiny windows.

This is a review by a student reporter. But in the Dorms Disclosed series, it is the residents themselves that review the dorms that they live in.

Here is an overview with links to all of the dormitory and student accommodation reviews we have published so far, written by the people who know them the best.

If you want to write an English-language review of your dorm write to uni-avis@adm.ku.dk with ‘Dorms Disclosed’ in the subject header.

At one house meeting, it was once suggested that the dormitory should have its own chicken coop. A resident gave a presentation on why this would be a good idea, and after the chicken coop was voted through, a small chicken coop guild was set up among residents to be responsible for their care. Over the course of a weekend, the chicken coop guild had built their chicken coop, and so now a brood of hens shuffle around the front garden of the dormitory.

Ditte S. Jelsbak-Rasmussen warmly recommends applying for the dormitory.

»You feel you are a part of something bigger when you move in. One of the best things I’ve done for myself is to apply here, « she says.

The places at the old residence hall are distributed in a way so that each faculty of the University of Copenhagen is represented. So keep an eye out on their website, where the residence hall writes when they are seeking a student from your faculty. You must be a student at the University of Copenhagen and have been studying for at least one and a half years (that is, have earned 90 ECTS credits).

You are allowed to live in the dormitory for five years, and most residents live there for the whole period.

[This review has been written by a student reporter at the University Post.  If you want to write an English-language review of your dorm write to uni-avis@adm.ku.dk and mark it ‘Dorms Disclosed’]

READ ABOUT OTHER RESIDENCE HALLS AND DORMS HERE: Student housing reviews: Dorms and residences in Copenhagen

Seneste