Published 21 March 2023

Jan-Henrik Björck 1931-2023

On Tuesday 21 March we fly the flags at half-mast at school to honour our alumnus Jan-Henrik Björck, during his funeral and memorial service in Stockholm.

Jan-Henrik Björck, a great friend and benefactor of our school, sadly passed away on 10 January, 2023 in France where he had been residing since 1993. As the son of the Mayor of Enköping he came to Sigtunaskolan in 1947 as a boarding student at Kvarnbacken. His years at the school were of great significance to Jan-Henrik and Headmaster Harry Cullberg became an inspirational mentor thanks to his great commitment to the students.

After his golden years in Sigtuna Jan-Henrik studied law in Uppsala, and in addition he was a very active student representative in the student unions. In his following professional career he mainly worked as a federal lawyer within different Saco Associations, e g the Swedish Teachers’ Union. In the mid 1980s he founded his own business focusing on labour law, and after a few years his professional career led him to Brussels. France was nearby and already as a young man Jan-Henrik had fallen in love with the Loire Valley during a holiday. After a few years in search of a place to settle he finally found La Chevalerie, a small castle in need of renovation, a project in which the Lord of the Manor himself enthusiastically took a very active part.

Jan-Henrik Björck 1931-2023

Jan-Henrik Björck 1931-2023. 

Jan-Henrik had a vision: La Chevalerie would be used as a place for study, serving as an academic resource to the school in Sigtuna where the objective would be ‘ to enhance the learning of  the French language, history and culture, European civics and history including the German language’. Groups of SSHL teachers and students have enjoyed Jan-Henrik’s hospitality during study trips to La Chevalerie, a beautiful and stimulating learning environment.  Via the Harry Cullberg Fund, Jan-Henrik also sponsored annual scholarships enabling two SSHL students to attend a summer course run by the prestigious Institut de Touraine in Tours.

During the process of the merging of the two boarding schools, Sigtunastiftelsens Humanistiska Läroverk (SHL)  and Sigtunaskolan (SS), in 1980, into the present SSHL, Jan-Henrik played an instrumental role in forming the new alumni association for the three schools. As a newly elected chairman of the Sigtunaskolan Alumni Association in 1984, Jan-Henrik, with joint efforts from all parties involved, managed to row the schooner ashore and Förbundet Sigtunafördettingar (The Sigtuna Alumni Association) was finally founded in 1989.

We will always remember Jan-Henrik with much gratitude and joy, for his passionate commitment and love for his old school, Sigtunaskolan, and for his great generosity towards SSHL through his donations and scholarships.