Danish Adult Education Association was established during the second world war to ensure close cooperation between the different non-formal adult education associations in order to prevent restraints of freedom of association and the right of assembly under the German occupation of Denmark
The initiative was taken by Mr. Oluf Bertolt, secretary-general of the non-formal adult education association AOF (Arbejdernes OplysningsForbund = the Workers' Educational Association in Denmark).
Oluf Bertolt took the view that it was important to organise the associations in case the Germans should impede the free involvement in association activities. So, if possible, it would be an advantage to form a broadly based organisation to represent and brand non-formal adult education if necessary.
Of course the underlying motives could not be put forward openly. The content of the objects clause of the new organisation had to be objective and impartial.
March 8, 1941 - the starting day
Om this date, a number of organisations met at a statutory general meeting at Christiansborg (the Danish parliamentary building), and after hour-long discussions the assembly unanimously decided to establish the Danish Adult Education Association. Its primary function was to "promote independent non-formal adult education activities within the Danish population and support all efforts in the dissemination of knowledge of the Danish Language, Danish nature, Danish culture and distinctive characteristics".
The founders of DAEA were: AOF (Arbejdernes Oplysningsforbund = Workers' Educational Association in Denmark), The Danish Library Association, The Danish Union of Teachers, the Danish association of evening schools, Danish Women's Society, the committee of the Danish University Extension, The Association of Folk High Schools and Agricultural Colleges and the federation of agricultural education.
Even though the liberation of Denmark on May 4, 1945 removed the background of the establishment of DAEA, the member organisations agreed that it was sensible to continue the co-operation both as regards the Ministry of Education but also regarding all the new educational initiatives which had to be taken during the post-war years.
Since then, DAEA has grown into an umbrella organisation consisting of 34 national organisations which, because of their ideological broadness, have become an important forum of dialogue and negotiation in the field of adult education.
Danish Adult Education Association has delivered solutions to a lot of social tasks ranging from ordinary educational work to big national educational campaigns and international co-operation. And the efforts still continue.
Lars Bækhøj, principal at Ollerup Folk High School, was DAEA's first chair man 1941-44