Ole Kirk Kristiansen's childhood and youth

Ole Kirk Kristiansen is born April 7, 1891. His birthplace is Omvraa Mark in Filskov parish 20 kilometers northwest of Billund. He has 12 siblings, and in his memoirs Ole Kirk later recalls his childhood home: “We grew up – all of us – in a modest home but a good home, trusting in the mercy of God.”

A young Ole Kirk standing by a bicycle

A young Ole Kirk

Childhood and apprenticeship

From the age of seven, Ole Kirk is herding sheep and cows and helping in stables and fields at nearby farms to support the household. Later he becomes an apprentice carpenter and joiner to his brother; Kresten Bonde Kristiansen in Give, and in 1911 20-year-old, Ole Kirk receives his journeyman’s certificate.

Ole Kirk working in his brothers workshop

Ole Kirk (front left) in his brother’s workshop in Give

Military service and trademan’s journey.

After having finished his apprenticeship, Ole Kirk performs his military service as an infantryman at the Citadel in Copenhagen. With his certificate of completed apprenticeship in his pocket, Ole Kirk then sets out on the traditional tradesman’s journey. Ole Kirk writes in his memoirs about the period after completing his apprenticeship:

“After my apprenticeship I was called up to serve in the army with the 4th Company 1st Batt. at the Citadel, came back to Give and a trip to southern Jutland, where I worked in Haderslev and also with a master on the island of Als. Attended Haslev Technical School, and was back in Give when war broke out in 1914. I was called up but as I had a travel permit to go abroad, I was allowed to leave after six weeks. I travelled to Norway and worked in a wood products factory at Vestfossen from October until March 1915. Due to a shortage of work, I returned home to Give but was immediately called up again to the army.”