Sir Adam Wilhelm Josef count Knuth in Memoriam

The first honorary member of the Society, the Count of Knuthenborg, Sir Adam Knuth, descendant of Malling-Hansens economic benefactor. To the right, the next Count, his son Christoffer Knuth. Photo from the Founding Meeting of The Malling-Hansen Society in Copenhagen, 2006: Dieter Eberwein

Sir Adam Knuth passed away peacefully at the age of 80 on December 4, 2013, after en long period of ill health. Adam Knuth was one of the founding members of the International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society in May 2006, and he was the first one to be named Honorary Member of our society.


Adam Knuth was also very active at our bi-annual general assembly in May 2008, unveiling the memory plaque erected outside the house at Hunseby Strandvej no 20, where Rasmus Malling-Hansen was born and raised. On that same day count Knuth and his wife gracefully received the entire general assembly group at the Knuthenborg manor house and provided us with a fascinating account of former counts of Knuthenborg – three of which had provided immensely valuable support to Rasmus Malling-Hansen (and his two brothers), starting with Frederik Marcus Knuth. The financial support for Rasmus Malling-Hansen’s education, first at Jonstrup teacher training college and later on at the University of Copenhagen, was of crucial importance for Malling-Hansen’s career and options in life.


Count Adam Knuth was well-known to the Danish public for having started the Knuthenborg Safari Park and developed it into one of the most visited tourist attractions in Denmark. Among the diabetic society he was also a well-known and much respected figure. He, himself a diabetic, was an important ambassador and pro-motor in the context of arrangements of the Danish Diabetes Society.


Count Knuth will be buried from Hunseby Church – the same church which was so important to Malling-Hansen and his ancestors and family – on December 14, 2013. The International Rasmus Malling-Hansen will honour him with a wreath. We will cherish his memory as a great supporter of our society – a true guardian of a very long historic family tradition -  and remember him with gratitude and deep respect.


On behalf of the International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society,

9th December 2013

Jørgen Malling Christensen

PS: I have indicated his title as “Sir” which is an approximation; his actual title, apart from “count” was, in Danish: “Kammerherre”. That title has no direct equivalent in English, “Chamberlain” being much more vague and ambiguous than the Danish title, which is one of a very high rank.



The Count and Countess of Knuthenborg and the President of The Malling-Hansen Society, Christian Barnholdt, performed the unveiling of a memory plate outside the childhood home of Malling-Hansen at the first bi-annual General Assembly of the Malling-Hansen Society in 2008. Photo: Sverre Avnskog