Fattiggaarden, which means The poorhouse in English, is located in the lovely village of Bregninge in the middle of Ærø with a nice view over the sea. Fattiggaarden was built in 1873 on the outskirts of the village Bregninge. There was room for 30 residents and in addition there was a manager who also lived in the house.
It was mainly old people and people without work and without close relatives who lived in this house, but there were also orphaned children who lived in Fattiggaarden until they could take care of themselves.
In 1940, Fattiggaarden was converted into a municipal office, but a number of older people still lived here until the early 1960s. The house was inhabited until 2000, after which it has been empty and abandoned.
In 2020 Ærø Kunsthal bought the building to renovate it with respect for Fattiggaarden's very classical architecture. The architecture of the building is identical to Bregninge parsonage, which was built in 1870.
Fattiggaarden's original room division has been preserved with an aisle with rooms, kitchen, dining room and laundry room. On the 1st floor, the original room divisions were demolished in the 60s, but they will be restored in 2022.
In Denmark workhouses were established from around 1840. In 1900 there were approx. 450 workhouses with 8.000 inhabitants. They were placed outside the villages so that they did not become part of the daily life of the village. In those houses there was a duty to work and there were strict rules for living, so no one was obliged to live there because it was comfortable.
With the Social Reform in 1933 many workhouses were closed down, but at Bregninge Fattiggaard the poor lived until the beginning of the 60s, when the last ones died.
Fattiggaarden is part of the Ærø Kunsthal group, which has activities within art, culture and holiday activities on Ærø with a total of 45.000 sqm of land and space for several hundred holiday guests. Ærø Kunsthal is located in Ærøskøbing and shows Danish and international art - the art gallery had in 2020 over 25.000 guests.