7 types of folk high schools

There are different types of folk high schools in Denmark that offer a wide range of courses, study tours and specialised subjects. In this section you can find out more about what you can expect at a folk high school.

There are approx. 70 folk high schools spread across the country, most of them are situated in rural areas or smaller towns, and they are typically named after the local district. Some are quite old, others more recent. Some are large and can accommodate more than a hundred students, while others have room for only 30. Some are well consolidated, others less well off. Some are architectural gems, most are  characterised by stylistic confusion. However, the most important thing about them is not their appearance but their atmosphere. As one teacher once said: "The task of the schools is to create a climate where culture is a reality".

With one single exception, all the folk high schools are residential schools. They become microcosmic societies, with students and staff living and eating together and sharing the same daily routines during the whole course. Over the past few years, an average of 40,000 people attended a folk high school course every year. In other words, every year some 2% of Denmark's entire adult population go to a folk high school. Most of them (approx. 30,000) sign up for courses lasting only a few weeks, but approx. 10,000 people attend courses lasting several months each year. Most of the students attending long term courses are in their early adulthood (20-24 years old), while the majority of the students attending short term courses are in their late adulthood (60 years old or more).

You will find the following main categories of schools:

Christian or Spiritual Schools

These are Bible schools or schools with a spiritual approach to human life.

General and Grundtvigian schools

Traditional folk high schools with many disciplines where you can either immerse yourself in a single topic or choose between multiple topics.

Gymnastics and Sports schools

These are folk high schools with special focus on physical education. About half of the course is dedicated to sports, while the other half will be more general education, where you can choose between various disciplines.

Lifestyle schools

Lifestyle schools are folk high schools with a special focus on diet, exercise and personal development. But they also offer general education, where you can choose between various disciplines.

Schools for Senior Citizens

A few Folk High Schools have a special status in the folk high school law: They target an older audience and are allowed to arrange short-term courses only throughout the whole year.

Specialised schools

Some folk high schools have chosen to focus specifically on a single discipline e.g film, design, arts. However, half of the teaching according to the school law, must be of a broad general nature, which means that you can not for example, play music or paint all day.

Youth folk high schools (16 to 19 years)

There are two schools, which have an age-related special status in the folk high school law. You must be at least 16½ years, when you commence your the stay at the school - and you must not  be over the age of 19 years.