The Nisbeth House, a part of Kalmar’s cultural heritage

The grand house on Linnégatan 5 was built between 1905 and 1907 for Elementarskolan för flickor, previously Nisbethska Elementarskolan. Education has been a part of the building’s history for over a hundred years. That tradition is now being continued by Nordic International School Kalmar. 

Fredegunda Nisbeth was one of three sisters from a privileged family in Kalmar who lived in their family mansion on Ölandsgatan. The family was so wealthy that none of the sisters were forced to work for a living, yet that lifestyle was not meant for Fredegunda. She wanted to help the community and so she began to teach the daughter of a friend in the foundational school subjects.

Fredegunda was an excellent teacher and her pupil made great progress. When word spread of this, more and more locals wanted her to teach their daughters. In 1862 the Nisbeth School was subsequently formed, in the three sisters’ family home.

High quality education
When Fredegunda passed away in 1875 there was a growing concern that the school also would disappear. In her place her sister, Georgina Nisbeth, stepped forwards and took over as the new head. Instead of closing, the school kept growing when a nearby girls’ school shut down and its pupils moved to the Nisbeth School.

Early on learning languages was given a high priority at the school. French was taught from year 1 and onwards, German from year 3 and English from year 5. Alma Nisbeth, one of the three sisters who also taught at the school, was well known in Kalmar for her ability to speak perfect English.

In 1902 Georgina and her sister retired due to old age. The school came into ownership of Kalmar kommun and its name changed to Elementarskolan för flickor.

Maria Creutz became the new head of the school but left just one year later. Her replacement was Anna Danielsson and it was during her time as head that the construction of the new school building on Linnégatan began. A more permanent residence for a school that due to its rapid growth had been forced to move several times since its founding.

In 1967 the school, which by that time had become a mixed school, closed down. Thereafter the building has been used by Linnéuniversitet, previously Högskolan i Kalmar, and has housed the department of language and literature as well as the department of cultural studies.

In 2020 the Nisbeth House will once again become an elementary school and Nordic International School Kalmar will carry on the building’s legacy. Both in the sense of providing education with high academic expectations and prioritizing teaching languages.