The International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women Le Droit Humain

Scandinavian Federation


At all times people have been gathering in groups trying to understand the meaning of life. Through rituals and symbols they found help to get in touch with spiritual principles and a path to understanding.

What makes Freemasonry truly unique is that it builds on the ancient mystery traditions and recognizes the special value of learning through rituals and symbols.

Freemasonry first split off as an independent organization in 1717, when the English Grand Lodge was founded in London by English lodges. It arose from the many lodges of operative masons from masons’ guilds, which since the 12th century traveled around Europe and built the Gothic cathedrals. Precisely because they were not bound, but free to travel around, they were called free masons, and therefore the name of the organization became Freemasonry.

On their travels around Europe they encountered many of the contemporary philosophical and spiritual ideas. A fusion of that and the basis of thought in the mystery traditions became the origin of the rituals of Freemasonry, where many of the symbols are taken from the tools of architecture. The builders became speculative and opened their lodges to a wider circle.

This work, “Way to Enlightenment” is a lithograph by the French artist Mercereau Charles (1867 AD – 1938 AD). We can see people of all nations coming at the altar of the Queen of Heaven in search of enlightenment.

After the foundation of the Grand Lodge in London in 1717, Freemasonry spread throughout Europe by forming new lodges, and in 1732 it came to France. These were lodges founded by men, for men, which was not remarkable considering the role of women at that time and the fact that Freemasonry arose from the free masons, who were all men.

Our order — The International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women “LE DROIT HUMAIN” — was formed in 1899 as an independent order in which men and women participated on equal footing. This is still the case, even if the view that only men can be Freemasons is still widespread.

The origin of our order was that the lodge “The Free Thinkers”, which was part of an order that split off from the French Grand Lodge in 1882, admitted a woman named Maria Deraismes. She became the first female Freemason in this lodge. The “free thinkers” did it to honor her for a great humanitarian effort and had not imagined the trouble it would cause. “The free thinkers” were outright excluded!

Maria Deraismes’ brothers of the lodge, however, became increasingly convinced of the injustice committed by not allowing women access to Freemasonry. They stuck together, and on March 14, 1893, they admitted 13 more women.

On April 4th of the same year, the new group established the lodge “LE DROIT HUMAIN” — the name means “Human Rights” and emphasizes their view that it is a human right for both men and women to become Freemasons. In 1899 they then formed our order with the Supreme Council in Paris. Since then, many new lodges have sprung up around the world, and today our order is worldwide and recognized as a regular Masonic order in most countries.

The International Order of Freemasonry for Men and Women “LE DROIT HUMAIN” founded its first lodge in Scandinavia, in what was then known as Christiania (now Oslo) in 1912, in Copenhagen in 1917 and in Stockholm in 1918. These are the lodges that the Scandinavian Federation continues to build upon today.

“LE DROIT HUMAIN” — the name means “Human Rights”


In Scandinavia, the lodges of our order in Norway, Sweden and Denmark are organized under the Scandinavian Federation, which every five years elects a representative to the Supreme Council in Paris, the highest authority of the order.