Christian Barnholdt in Memoriam
It was a sad and unexpected surprise to learn today that Christian Barnholdt passed away sometimes last week, the exact time of death unknown. He was found in his home on Thursday the 16th of April, and the cause of death is believed to be heart failure. Recently, Christian had been geared up for the preparations for his upcoming 70 year aniversary party, due to have been held on June 13 at his home. He let us know that he was looking forward to gifts related to events, happenings and new experiences – he mentioned bungeejumping and other similarly exciting events! This was clearly not an old man turning 70 years – Christian retained the heart and spirit of a much younger man, eager to try out news things, eager to experience new aspects of life, full of energy and passion.
Christian had a degree in economics 1973 from the University of Copenhagen and as from 1988 until his death he ran a private free-lance business in IT and communication issues, combining it with popular science journalism. Christian’s interest were many and diverse: travels, environmental issues, local politics, IT, communication, history, science and technology, inventions and – in particular – everything related to Rasmus Malling-Hansen.
As far back as the mid 1980s, when very few people knew about Malling-Hansen and his achievements, Christian started his research into the various writing ball models and the other inventions pioneered by Malling-Hansen. He did research in archives, libraries and museums, contacted collectors of antique typewriters and published numerous articles about Malling-Hansen, his life and achievements. For 20 years he persisted, almost alone, in his pursuit of uncovering documentation and understanding the towering figure of Rasmus Malling-Hansen, and along the way he fortunately found some soul-mates who shared his interest.
This led to the formation, on May 6, 2006 of the International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society, Christian Barnholdt serving as the first president of the society for three consecutive biennial periods until May 2012. At our meeting in 2012 Christian reverted to be board member and was honoured with only the second honorary membership distinction in the society’s history – the first such being awarded to one of the other founders of our society, Sir Adam Josef Wilhelm Josef Count Knuth of the Knutenborg Manor, who passed away in December 2013.
Christian was also for many years deeply involved in local environmental work in his hometown area, Hørsholm, and he was keen to write letters to the newspapers on this and many other local issues. Christian was also very much invoved in historical research related to the period between 1750 and 1800, particularly the events around the Danish King Christian 7, the queen Caroline Mathilde and the German physician and political strongman Johan Friedrich Struesee, and Christian enjoyed serving as a tourist and museum guide, plying the visitors with historical anecdotes.
We, members of the International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society, owe Christian Barnholdt our greatest respect and gratitude for his pioneering work and persistent initiatives to establish and develop the society. Honoured be his memory, peace be with his soul. May he rest in peace.
Christian Barnholdt leaves behind three daughters, Sara born 1983, Eva born 1987 and Helene, born 1993. The funeral service will be at Hørsholm Chapel, Friday April 24 at 13H00.
April 22, 2015
Jørgen Malling Christensen
President of The International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society