The history of the EGV Foundation (Social Inclusion of Older Adults)


For more than 100 years, the EGV Foundation (Social Inclusion of Older Adults) has been fighting loneliness in old age by focusing on ways to enhance relations and communities. We prioritize projects that improve the living conditions for persons with few resources, socially and financially.

When Hermann Koch, a Copenhagen pastor, set up Ensomme Gamles Værn (EGV) in 1910, he was among the first to speak about old people living in poverty and raise questions about their needs. He did so at a time when conditions were very difficult for old women and men who had no relatives to support and care for them. The first of his many initiatives came about with the aid of students. 

Until the Second World War, EGV organized and hosted weekly gatherings with more than 3,000 people, the so-called winter parlours, which mainly focused on socializing, singing and entertainment. In 1911, EGV built a nursing home in Christianshavn, Copenhagen – the first of many around the country. Later on, properties were purchased to make it possible for old people living in poverty in Copenhagen to spend holidays in the countryside.

Throughout the 1970s and '80s, numerous day care centres, nursing homes and communal living schemes around the country were built and run. Local municipalities later took over.

In 1986, EGV founded the DaneAge Association, which has become the largest membership organization in Denmark and a political voice in matters related to the elderly. At this point, EGV became a foundation. Monetary gifts, grants and investments constitute the financial basis for the funding of research, projects, social events, and personal grants.

The EGV Foundation in brief

1910 – Hermann Koch establishes Ensomme Gamles Værn (a voluntary organisation)

1910-1940 – Ensomme Gamles Værn runs social gatherings during winter and facilitates holidays in the countryside

1911 – Builds first nursing home in Denmark

1919 – First EGV national fundraising (DKK 82,449 was raised)

1931-1942 – Thorvald Stauning, Prime Minister, becomes a member of the board

1960-1980 – EGV builds and runs day care centres, nursing homes and communal living schemes in Denmark

1986 – EGV establishes Ældre Sagen (DaneAge Association) and the EGV Foundation is established

2006 – Christine E. Swane is appointed director and head of research at the EGV Foundation

2010 – Happy 100th anniversary!