2nd World Jamboree
Ermelunden, Denmark, 1924

From William Hillcourt with Olave Baden-Powell, Baden-Powell: The Two Lives of a Hero, 1964

After the big summer events in England, the Baden-Powells went to Denmark for the Second International Jamboree, taking their Wolf Cub son along for Peter’s first trip abroad.

The Jamboree camp, organized by the Danish Scout leaders, met with Baden-Powell’s highest approval. It was pitched on a grassy plain surrounded by ancient beech trees in Ermelunden, a forest a few miles north of Copenhagen. Unlike the first Jamboree at which Scouts had been quartered in dormitories at Olympia or in military bell tents at Richmond and fed by a catering firm, the Danish leaders had based the second Jamboree in Denmark squarely on B-P’s own kind of scouting, as expounded in Scouting for Boys. The boys, organized in troops and patrols, had brought their own equipment, had pitched their own camp, were cooking their own meals, were taking part in special scoutcraft events. Close to five thousand Scouts from twenty-four nations and a large number of British colonies were living together through sun and rain in a genuine Boy Scout camp, mingling with each other, making friends with each other, using ‘jamboreese’ for communication when they didn’t know each other’s language. The pattern established in Denmark became the pattern for all future world Jamborees.

On the day of Baden-Powell’s arrival, the whole Jamboree gathered at the Copenhagen stadium for a parade to honour their Chief and for a public exhibition of the world’s scoutcraft activities. In spite of a drenching downpour, an enthusiastic crowd of Copenhageners filled every seat of the vast open-air structure and remained faithfully until the last country had put on its part of the display. The Scouts, soaked to the skin, marched back to camp through the streets of Copenhagen, singing in the rain.

The weather was no better on the closing day when Denmark’s King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine, accompanied by B-P and Olave, reviewed all the Scouts at a Royal parade. ‘I have seen great numbers of Scouts in my life,’ B-P said in his speech, "but I have never seen any as wet as you!"

From Laszlo Nagy, 250 Million Scouts, World Scout Foundation, 1985

As has been mentioned, 1923 was also the year when "Beige" was hired to direct Gilwell, which under his guidance increasingly developed into an International Centre. Two major events took place in the summer of 1924 – the second world Jamboree followed by the third International Conference, both held in Denmark. The second Jamboree was attended by more than 5,000 Scouts from 34 countries and British colonies. Contrary to the first one at Olympia in London which resembled a gigantic funfair, the second was closer to the pattern set by B.P. at the Brownsea camp long before. In essence, the Ermelunden Jamboree, near Copenhagen, was a return to the original source of Scouting and thus established a model for future national and world Jamborees. Among the ingenious events arranged by the Danish organizers was the world Scout Championship, pitting Scouts of different nationalities against each other in various disciplines. The Americans emerged as the winners with the British and Hungarians in second and third places respectively, but despite the impeccable fairplay shown by the competitors, it was decided at the 1926 International Conference in Kandersteg not to repeat the experiment for fear that competition between nations might damage Scouting fraternity.

As at the London Jamboree four years before, the weather was not kind. Heavy rains caused flooding and a part of the camp had to be temporarily evacuated. At the closing ceremony which lasted for six hours under pelting rain, B.P. told his enthusiastic listeners: "I have seen great numbers of Scouts in my life, but I have never seen any as wet as you." He was always able to see the funny side of a situation and it was his sense of humour which saved him from the sin of pride.


Baden-Powell with King Christian X of Denmark at the Second World Jamboree
The Opening of the 2nd World Jamboree, at Ermelunden, outside Copenhagen, 1924
link-wj2-1924-parade.jpg (9008 bytes) The American Contingent salutes B-P as they pass in review at the opening parade of the 2nd World Jamboree.  B-P (in the stands on the left) returns the salute.
Baden-Powell presenting Merit badges to Chicago Scouts at the 2nd World Jamboree
link-wj2-1924-camp.jpg (11994 bytes) Aerial view of the Camp at the 2nd World Jamboree.
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Baden-Powell Photo Gallery
The 2nd World Jamboree, 1924
Photo Gallery from "Jamboree Denmark, 1924, Det Danske Spejderkorps, Danish Scouting’s souvenir book of the 2nd World Jamboree.
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Baden-Powell Photo Gallery
Baden-Powell at the World Jamborees
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Last Modified: 12:41 PM on 12-14-96