Farm-house and residence of Grand duchess Olga

The 1940 official census naming all residents at Knudsminde: the five members of the Kulikovsky´s , four Russian maids ( Xenia Moschaeva, Maria Ivanovna, Emilie Tenso, Tatiana Gromova) a Danish gardener and six employees. The Kulikovsky household were not the only Russians living in Ballerup in 1940, since several farm-workers working at Knudsminde were staying elsewhere in town. Some Russian and Polish immigrants also stayed in town, listed as unemployed

Olga Aleksandrovna (1882 – 1960) was born in regal splendour at Peterhof Palace in Sct. Petersburg as the youngest of Emperor Aleksander III and Empress Maria Feodorovnas´5 children. She lived trough a protected childhood in various palaces, very much “the small one” being guarded and yet strangely alone. In 1901 she married her 33-year-old second cousin, Prince Peter of Oldenburg, a marriage arranged by her imperious mother and the Princess of Oldenburg. In 1916 the marriage was dissolved, largely through Olgas own strong-will. She had actually at this time lived for many years with her husbands´adjudant, Colonel Nikolai Kulikovsky, in secrecy.

During the Russian Revolution, the Kulikovsky family, now with two smaller children, had lived with the Dowager Empress at the Crimean Peninsula, then had chosen to flee. They lived for some time at Novo Minskaya, the home-town of the Empress´Cosack Yaschik´s family. They fled to Denmark in 1920 and occupied rooms at Hvidøre. Then, at the Dowagers´death in 1928, moved to a farm Rygaard and then to Knudsminde, another farm at the town of Ballerup.

Grand duchess Olga and her family lived in Ballerup from 1930-1948, occupied largely by farming. With a household full of hens and chickens, gardening was a great, newfound pleasure. In her sparetime, and as a dedicated painter, she took-up watercoloring and painting, having spent her childhood as pupil with the court painters Stanislav Zhukovsky, Vladimir Makovsky and Sergei Vinogradov. The family made themselves at home in Ballerup and many friendships were formed in the local community. Sometimes, when money was scarce, Olga payed her bills in paintings.

Visiting the Emperor Nicholas´ Imperial headquarters/train. Olga was a trained and skilled nurse and is wearing her Red-Cross uniform © Ballerup Museum
Knudsminde, plan and layout dating from 1924. Municipality of Ballerup, buildings archives
The farm Knudsminde, Olga´s residence from 1930 – 1948 © Ballerup Museum
Olga in her garden at Knudsminde © Ballerup Museum
The Winter-parlor at Knudsminde, here at a springtime family luncheon in 1946 © Ballerup Museum
Olga and her family at Knudsminde 1947 © Ballerup Museum
Family gathering at Rygaard, interior 1929/30 © Ballerup Museum
Article in the Danish magazine Billed-Bladet from 25th November 1941 featuring the silver-wedding anniversary of Grand duchess Olga and Colonel Nicolai Kulikovsky. Private collection

The grand duchess donated paintings to charity bazaars, the Cpenhagen art dealer Richard Petersen arranged her frist exhibition in 1934 and remained her art dealer for the rest of her life. In 1936, Olga sent more than 50 paintings to Agnew´s, Bond Street in London, for a huge Russian Refugee Benefit auction. She also illustrated books and painted porcelain. Several of her mothers´companions were presented with porcelain cups, saucers, butterjars and plates decorate in flowers. During her lifetime, Olga painted a number of icons. They were newer sold, always given away “in the name of Christ”. Illustration: The farm-yard at Knudsminde © Ballerup Museum

Ballerup Museum is part of the charming village community in Pederstrup.The museum consists of several buildings, the farms of Pederstrupgaard, Lindbjerggaard, Lynsmedenshus (the House of the Lightning Blacksmith) and Skomagerhuset (the Shoemaker’s House). At Pederstrupgaard you will find two permanent exhibitions. The first one presents the history and development of the town of Ballerup. The exhibition “Destined for Ballerup” reveals the story about Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, who escaped the Russian Revolution and later settled down in Ballerup © Ballerup Museum

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