Koldau Case

The trilogy is based on the so-called “Koldau Case” (Koldau-sagen) that caused a major media debate in Denmark in 2012, concerning

  • the right of university staff to freedom of speech
  • the mismanagement of and totalitarian structures within Danish universities,
  • the low standards of university education,
  • the disastrous consequences of the Danish University Law of 2003.

The Koldau Case was triggered by professor Dr. Linda Maria Koldau, at that time professor in musicology at Aarhus University, criticizing publicly the low standards of humanistic university education. Her criticism caused a first large-scale debate about decline of humanistic education in Denmark (June / July 2011). In February 2012, Koldau was menaced with dismissal by her dean with her “writings in the media” being the explicit reason for the sanctions against her.
This infringement of her right to freedom of speech caused a two-month media storm in Denmark, focussing on mismanagement, oppression of necessary criticism, low educational standards, and the disastrous consequences of the University Law of 2003.
On 23 February, 2012, the Ombudsman of the Danish Parliament, Jørgen Steen Sørensen, decided upon own initiative to examine if the university’s actions go against Koldau’s right to freedom of speech. On 25 March, 2012, Koldau resigned from her position due to massive chicaneries by the university management. On 16 May, 2012, the Ombudsman – who as honorary professor is affiliated to Aarhus University – put the case down without examining the university’s infringement of the professor’s rights, misleadingly stating that Koldau’s resignation from her position as professor were “a mutual agreement” between the university and the professor regarding her case. The Ombudsman no longer deemed it necessary to examine in how far Aarhus University had infringed upon Koldau’s right to freedom of speech and several other of her fundamental human rights, such as fair and just working conditions.
Since the public debate on the Koldau Case numerous articles criticizing the university mismanagement, the low educational standards and the subjection of staff to bullying and sanctions have been published in leading Danish newspapers and online media.
The Koldau Case has also become known internationally as writing on the wall for current university development under the so-called New Public Management.

  • Danish coverage: click here.
  • The Danish Ombudsmand – A Problematic Institution in a Democratic State: click here.
  • A German presentation of the case on the web site of the Federation of German Scientists (Vereinigung deutscher Wissenschaftler)
    with an introduction by Dipl.-Pol. Annegret Falter and ample documentation in German translation
  • International coverage: click here.
  • Koldau’s articles: click here.
  • Expertise on Koldau’s qualification (or German translation).



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