Thorvald Madsen

Last updated
Thorvald Madsen
Thorvald Madsen. Photograph by Elfelt. Wellcome V0027623.jpg
BornFebruary 18, 1870
DiedApril 14, 1957 (1957-04-15) (aged 87)
Nationality Danish
Awards Buchanan Medal (1932)
Scientific career
Fields Bacteriology
Institutions Statens Serum Institut

Thorvald John Marius Madsen (February 18, 1870 in Frederiksberg – April 14, 1957 in Gjorslev) was a Danish physician and bacteriologist. Madsen was the director of Statens Serum Institut from 1910 to 1940.

Statens Serum Institut

Statens Serum Institut, or SSI for short, is a Danish sector research institute located on the island of Amager in Copenhagen. Its purpose is to combat and prevent infectious diseases, congenital disorders, and threats from weapons of mass destruction. Founded in 1902 in the barracks of the Artillerivej road, it has now expanded to much more than its original size and is now one of Denmark’s largest research institutions in the health sector. 20% of sales are used on Research and Development and Danish and International funds contribute around 100 million DKK.

He was the son of General V. H. O. Madsen.

During World War I, Thorvald Madsen in his capacity as director of Statens Serum Institut was heavily involved in humanitarian work for prisoners of war. From 1916 onwards Madsen did several inspection visits to detention centers in Russia, where conditions were highly questionable. During these travels brought Thorvald Madsen, among other things excess serum against various diseases. In addition, Madsen helped more Danish-Schleswigers, who had been in German military service and ended up a prisoner of war. Thorvald Madsen was also involved in the work of selecting sick prisoners of war who were sent to Denmark as part of the conditions of prisoner exchanges between, on the one hand, Austria-Hungary and Germany on the other hand, Russia. [1]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, excluding Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is the largest metropolitan area in Europe proper and one of the largest cities in the world; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Schleswig-Holstein State in Germany

Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the 16 states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig. Its capital city is Kiel; other notable cities are Lübeck and Flensburg.

In the years 1921-1937 was Thorvald Madsen, president of the League of Nations Health Committee. The current WHO relies heavily on the Health Commission's work.

League of Nations 20th-century intergovernmental organisation, predecessor to the United Nations

The League of Nations, abbreviated as LN or LoN, was an intergovernmental organisation founded on 10 January 1920 as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. Its primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration. Other issues in this and related treaties included labour conditions, just treatment of native inhabitants, human and drug trafficking, the arms trade, global health, prisoners of war, and protection of minorities in Europe. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members.

World Health Organization Specialised agency of the United Nations

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. Its predecessor, the Health Organisation, was an agency of the League of Nations.

Madsen was Knight of the Dannebrog in 1902, Dannebrogsmand 1918, the Commander of the 2nd degree in 1920, of 1 degree in 1927 and received the Grand Cross 1937.

He is buried in Garrison Cemetery.

Related Research Articles

Paul Ehrlich German biologist

Paul Ehrlich was a Nobel prize-winning German-Jewish physician and scientist who worked in the fields of hematology, immunology, and antimicrobial chemotherapy. He is credited with finding a cure for syphilis in 1909. He invented the precursor technique to Gram staining bacteria. The methods he developed for staining tissue made it possible to distinguish between different types of blood cells, which led to the capability to diagnose numerous blood diseases.

Prisoner of war person who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict

A prisoner of war (POW) is a person, whether combatant or non-combatant, who is held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates to 1660.

Pasteur Institute organization

The Pasteur Institute is a French non-profit private foundation dedicated to the study of biology, micro-organisms, diseases, and vaccines. It is named after Louis Pasteur, who made some of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine at the time, including pasteurization and vaccines for anthrax and rabies. The institute was founded on June 4, 1887, and inaugurated on November 14, 1888.

Incorporates information from the corresponding article in the Russian Wikipedia

Madsen machine gun light machine gun

The Madsen was a light machine gun that Julius A. Rasmussen and Theodor Schoubue designed and proposed for adoption by Colonel Vilhelm Herman Oluf Madsen, the Danish Minister of War, and that the Danish Army adopted in 1902. It was the world's first true light machine gun produced in quantity and Madsen was able to sell it in 12 calibres to over 34 countries. The gun saw extensive combat for over 100 years. The Madsen was produced by Compagnie Madsen A/S.

Carl Immanuel Krebs was a Danish doctor, humanitarian aid worker and explorer. He was the third child of First Lieutenant Frederik Christian Krebs (1855–1930) and Johanne Margrethe Busch (1858–1911), the brother of ceramicist Nathalie Krebs and the grandson of Dr. Frederik Christian Krebs (1814–1881) a physician, writer on political and social reforms, and editor of the Berlingske Tidende. Carl Krebs graduated from the Metropolitanskole in 1907, and completed his medical studies in 1913. He was then resident in the surgical department of St. Joseph’s Hospital. As a student he competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics as part of the Danish team that won the bronze medal in the men's free system team gymnastics event. In 1914 he joined the Danish Army, not as a medical officer but as a recruit, and was promoted to Second Lieutenant in The Royal Life Guards a year later.

Bandim Health Project

The Bandim Health Project works with population based health research in one of the world's poorest countries, Guinea-Bissau in West Africa.

Landsverk L180, L181 and L182

The Landsverk L-180, L-181 and L-182 are a family of armored cars developed by the Swedish company AB Landsverk during the interwar years. They had a good international reputation for being fast, robust and reliable and were acquired in small numbers by Denmark, Estonia, Ireland and the Netherlands, among others.

German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war

During World War II, Nazi Germany engaged in a policy of deliberate maltreatment of Soviet prisoners of war (POWs), in contrast to their treatment of British and American POWs. This resulted in some 3.3 to 3.5 million deaths.

<i>War of the Rats</i> book

War of the Rats is a World War II fiction novel written by David L. Robbins in 1999.

Pauls Stradiņš Latvian physician

Pauls Stradiņš was a Latvian professor, physician, and surgeon who founded the Museum of the History of Medicine in Riga.

Karl Madsen Danish painter, art historian and museum director

Carl Johan Wilhelm Madsen, commonly known as Karl Madsen, was a Danish painter and art historian with close connections to the Skagen Painters.

Soviet prisoners of war in Finland

Soviet prisoners of war in Finland during World War II were captured in two Soviet-Finnish conflicts of that period: the Winter War and the Continuation War. The Finns took about 5,700 POWs during the Winter War, and due to the short length of the war they survived relatively well. However, during the Continuation War the Finns took 64,000 POWs, of whom almost 30 percent died.

The Paul Ehrlich Institute is a German research institution and medical regulatory body, and is the German federal institute for vaccines and biomedicines. It is a federal agency and subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Health. It is a WHO Collaborating Centre for quality assurance of blood products and in vitro diagnostic devices. The institute is located in Langen, Hesse, near Frankfurt, and was located in Frankfurt for most of the 20th century. It is named for its founding director, the immunologist and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Ehrlich.

Biopeople - Denmark's Life Science Cluster is a publicly funded partnership and National Center established, authorised, and funded by the Ministry for Science and Higher Education to improve innovation, collaboration and education within the National Danish Innovation System. Biopeople is established as a Center at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at University of Copenhagen.

Preben Christian Alexander von Magnus was a Danish virologist who is known for his research on influenza, polio vaccination and monkeypox. He gave his name to the Von Magnus phenomenon.

Peter Aaby is trained as an anthropologist but also holds a doctoral degree in medicine. In 1978, Peter Aaby established the Bandim Health Project, a Health and Demographic Surveillance System site in Guinea-Bissau in West Africa, which he has run ever since. In 2000, Peter Aaby was awarded the Novo Nordisk Prize, the most important Danish award within health research.

Ida Ørskov Danish bacteriologist

Ida Ørskov was a Danish physician and bacteriologist whose dissertation Om Klebsiella was the first scientific study pointing to the risk of bacterial cross-infection in hospitals.

Peter Oehme is a German physician and pharmacologist. In 1977 he founded the East German Drugs Reseatch Institute, serving as its director from January 1977 till December 1991 when the institute was reconfigured in the context of German reunification.


  1. Scheldt Moller, E. (1970). Thorvald Madsen - In Science and Humanity Service. Copenhagen. ISBN   87-17-01233-3.