Carsten Kolby Kristiansen, the principal of the Silkeborg Højskole folk high school, has met folk high school pupils and course members from all parts of Denmark and many foreign countries. They come to Silkeborg, study for a while and leave the city again. What appeals to the many guests in the city? What should we focus?
“We must of course focus on the things that make us unique. If we just follow in the footsteps of others, we will never take the lead. However, we have the lead in some areas and these are the areas we must develop further,” says Carsten Kolby Kristiansen.
“It’s always easiest to think along the lines others have already thought. But we must think for ourselves and find our own lines. Our neighbouring towns might very well attract huge crowds for big concerts with international stars but do they have the countryside to match ours? And do they have the same cultural gems we do?”
Through his many years, Carsten Kolby Kristiansen has seen how the students and the folk high school have embraced the countryside and the culture. These are the weapons available to Silkeborg. This will attract both companies and people, he believes:
Cultural power houses
“The countryside is here and it can be put to further use with activities and experiences in the open, possibly combined with the spa offers which are part of the city’s history. We could take a much more radical approach with offers in the countryside which simply are not available anywhere else. Then there’s culture. We have the Museum Jorn and the KunstCenter Silkeborg Bad which should attract investments rather than savings. We can create cultural power houses but it requires investments; not in bricks and mortar but in art. Silkeborg was home to one of last century’s leading artists, Asger Jorn. This gives us some options which we must use even better in the spirit of Asger Jorn, which means focusing on a creativity that furthers a humane society.”
The folk high school principal would like us to take a fresh eyes approach to future prospects. We shouldn’t copy what everyone else is doing. Culture and the countryside combined with the capacity and the will to dare imagine creating what will become a good community and a good Municipality. The important thing is to dare to be true to oneself.