Types of folk high schools
There are many different types of folk high schools in Denmark that offer a wide variety 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 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, eating, and sharing the same daily routines together for the duration of the course. Three folk high schools are especially for young people between 16½ and 19, and four others cater exclusively for senior citizens. Over the past few years, an average of 50,000 people have attended a folk high school course. In other words, every year some 2% of Denmark's entire adult population go to a folk high school. Most of them sign up for courses lasting only a few weeks, but some 21% a year attend courses lasting several months.
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 within a single area 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 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
Three Folk High Schools have a special status in the folk high school law: They target an older audience and are allowed to arrange short courses only throughout the whole year.
Some folk high schools have chosen to focus specifically on a single discipline. 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.