Time: Wednesday August 7.th  kl. 10-16

Place: Vartov, Farvergade 27, 1463 Copenhagen


Foto of Vartov. Belongs to Grundtvigs Forum, VARTOV. Fotograf: Søren Kjeldgaard.


Vartov is a beautiful historic building. N.F.S. Grundtvig was the priest in Vartov church (1839-72). Vartov still provides venues and platforms for a lot of events – all in Grundtvig’s spirit.

Grundtvig (1783-1871) was a pastor, a theologian, a teacher, a writer, a politician. He lived in Copenhagen at the same time as Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kirkegaard. Although Grundtvig is relatively unknown internationally, he is one of the most influential people in Danish history. Grundtvig’s ideas have had a lasting impact in many areas of Danish culture, such as education, politics and the church.


NB. The language on the additional program is english.

10.00 – 12.00: The history of the Danish school system

By Ning de Coninck-Smith, professor of the history of education at the Department of Education, Aarhus University. Ning de Coninck-Smith has worked extensively with the history of children and education. Together with associate professor Charlotte Appel she co-edited a five volume history of Danish schools [Dansk skolehistorie. Hverdag, vilkår og visioner gennem 500 år] 2013-2015.

This presentation gives a introduction to the history of the Danish basic education system, which has its roots in the first education law of 1814. All the education tools used in basic education have been available, free since the 1937 education law, and since 1953 free education has been the right of all children of school age. Today high school education, vocational and youth education and most further education is also free.

12.00 – 14.00: Break with possibility for a walk on your own in the cosy old streets in the center of Copenhagen. 

14.00 – 16.00: The Danish folk high school – from 1844 to 2019

By Sara Skovborg Mortensen og Thor West Nielsen, The Association of Folk High Schools in Denmark

Since the middle of the 18th century, the The Danish folk high schools have played an important role in Danish society. Today, the principles guiding the schools are still based on clergyman N.F.S. Grundvig’s ideas of educating all citizens to a life as engaged members of a democratic society. With the motto “we learn for life” Grundvig wanted to enlighten the uneducated peasant classes on core values such as Danish history, the Danish language and Danish society.

There are round 70 high schools in Denmark today. The Folk high schools have changed somewhat since the 18th century, but many of Grundvig’s original ideas still form the core of today’s high school tradition.

The high schools offer courses to everyone – from potential students and salaried workers to the unemployed and pensioners. Each high school has its own profile, with special themes, values and subjects. The participants live at the school for the duration of a course. There are no exams, but participation in a high school course is valuable with regard to application for further education or employment.