New Carlsberg Foundation

The New Carlsberg Foundation is a private and independent foundation for the arts. The effort to foster and benefit the arts in the founders’ fatherland forms the core of the foundation’s charter, which was signed on 20 January 1902 by brewer Carl Jacobsen and his wife, Ottilia Jacobsen.

In this context, ‘arts’ is understood not only as pictorial arts but also includes industrial art, architecture and landscape gardening ‒ and in the broadest sense, that is, also where expressions from the pictorial arts connect with related art forms and contexts.

The foundation, whose charter and activities are still shaped by Carl Jacobsen’s passion and energy, aims to promote the role of art in Danish society, based on the conviction that art has the capacity to enrich human life and our world. The foundation wishes to be a dynamo in highlighting art as a force capable of promoting critical thinking and a nuanced worldview. 

Henry Morre: Reclining sculpture (no 5), 1963/64 (Louisiana museum park) Photo: Per Bak Jensen
Donation: Henry Moore: Reclining sculpture (no 5). Louisiana. Photo: Per Bak Jensen

The board

The foundation is headed by a board, comprising three members, one of whom is chairman of the board. 

The board and its chairman are nominated by the board of the Carlsberg Foundation after prior negotiations with the current members of the board of the New Carlsberg Foundation.

The board members all have a background in the arts or art history.
Karsten Ohrt
Morten Kyndrup
Christine Buhl Andersen


In the charter, where the founders stated the purpose of the foundation in 1902, Carl Jacobsen did not impose overly tight restrictions on the work of the future caretakers of the foundation. However, there can be no changes to the main purpose of the foundation. 

Over the years, the charter has thus undergone very few adjustments. The current charter was signed by the boards for the Carlsberg Foundation and the New Carlsberg Foundation in May 2014.  
The New Carlsberg Foundation’s grants (totalling some DKK 120 million in 2015) fall into three main categories: donations of works of art to museums, decorative projects and art research, while a non-earmarked fund is available for other art-related purposes.

English charter

Our work 

The foundation rests on the fundamental belief that art plays a major role for people’s ability to engage with the world in a critical and nuanced manner. Therefore, art should be made accessible to all – regardless of age, ethnicity and educational background. In this endeavour, museums play a key role, and hence, donating works of art to be displayed on museum walls and floors is an important part of the foundation’s activities.
In addition, people should be able to encounter quality art in and around the institutions they frequent. That is why the foundation lends or donates works of art to be placed in public institutions and in the public space: churches, hospices, court buildings, hospitals and institutions of learning, including primary and secondary schools and universities. As a matter of principle, the foundation only engages in decorative projects in places with public access.
In addition to the grants, the foundation’s board also offers advice, in particular to museum leadership, and generally strives to be a forum for the arts, where experiences can be exchanged, and new initiatives emerge. 
Substantial annual donations reflect the New Carlsberg Foundation’s special obligation to the New Carlsberg Glyptotek, which was founded by Carl Jacobsen and opened in 1897. (The board members for the foundation also serve on the board of the Glyptotek, and the chairman of the foundation is also the chairman of the board of the Glyptotek).

Based on the foundation charter, the grants fall into the following categories:

1. Donations of works of art
The foundation frequently approves applications from museums seeking funds to purchase individual works of art for their collections. The initiative for the acquisition comes from the museum in question. With respect for the museums’ professional insight and knowledge, the board assesses whether the purchase matches the museum’s profile and acquisition strategy. It is a constant ambition for the foundation to enrich museums with individual high-quality works of art that exceed the museums’ budgets – to the benefit of the museums and their guests.

2. Decorative projects
Decorative projects may take one of two forms: 1) decorative projects where the foundation, in dialogue with a given institution, asks an artist to produce a new work of art (or a series of works, an installation etc.) for a given public context or 2) permanent loans where the foundation makes works of art available that were previously purchased at exhibitions or auctions by the three board members (these works are put into storage by the foundation until they are placed at the recipient institutions).
As a matter of principle, the institutions do not choose the works or the artists. Thus, the foundation takes an active role in determining what works should be put on display – and by which artists. Ultimately, it is up to the institutions to decide whether a proposed decoration is appropriate, but this decision is made in a close dialogue with the foundation. In connection with large-scale decorative projects, the normal procedure is to carry out a draft project (for which the foundation compensates the artist, regardless of the eventual decision).

3. Art research
With the purpose of stimulating the level of knowledge and innovation in the Danish art world, the foundation supports art research, in part through grants for the publishing of research-based publications and in part by grants for research trips. In addition, the foundation is currently engaged in special programmes to fund more than thirty Ph.D. and post-doc projects in Danish museums with the goal of stimulating the level of research at the museums and improving the connections between the universities, which are responsible for overseeing the research, and the museums.

4. Non-earmarked fund
Apart from the three main areas, the board has allocated funds to grant applications involving novel or innovative initiatives that seeking to improve the conditions for creating and experiencing art., within the framework of the charter. The foundation also takes a catalytic role, in the sense that the board may choose to initiate new projects that it finds relevant or take the initiative to establish partnerships to take on given challenges in a collaborative effort. 


The New Carlsberg Foundation has no specific application form or application deadlines, as the board reviews all received applications on an ongoing basis, approximately every third week. Please send your application to the foundation’s address by letter or e-mail.
The New Carlsberg Foundation has no specific requirements to the application format. As a minimum, however, the application should include:
• A comprehensive presentation of the purpose to which the application pertains.
• A clear indication of the project budget.
• A specification of what is requested of the New Carlsberg Foundation.
• Whether applications for the same purpose have been submitted to any other foundations, and if so, which.
• In case of publication grants: the publisher’s estimate and marketing plan.
• Contact information and CPR/VAT number for the applicant(s). If the grant is approved, the amount will be payable to the applicant(s) stated in the application. 


1. The application undergoes pre-qualification at the foundation office. In special cases, the office may contact the applicant to request additional information. 
2. The office submits the application for review at the first upcoming board meeting. The three members of the board each receive a copy of the application about one week prior to the meeting. 
3. Only in rare cases does it take more than a month from an application is received until it is reviewed by the board. 
4. At the meeting, the board decides whether to approve the application. In case of doubt, the board may contact the applicant for additional information.
5. Shortly after the meeting, rejection or approval letters are sent to all applicants. No explanation is provided when an application is rejected. 

Generally, rejection letters do not include an explanation. If the foundation takes an initial positive view of an application for a decorative project, the applicant will normally be notified by letter that one of three board members will make an appointment to visit the institution at a later time. At this stage, however, patience is required: It may take some time before the visit is scheduled. In part, this is due to the foundation’s need to manage the number of concurrent projects by completing ongoing cases before taking on new ones. However, once a visit has been made, the project normally proceeds without further delay ‒ unless, of course, the visit results in a decision not to approve the grant.