Tanum is located in Bærum, which then was a part of Asker parish. The seminary was established in 1834 to educate teachers that conformed with the School Act of 1827. The education spanned two years and was free of charge. Manager of the seminary was Knud Gislesen from 1834 to 1855, later bishop. Several of the seminary's alumni became clergymen, politicians, academics or artists.
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