The folk high school

European Film College is part of the Danish folk high school tradition. This means that the backbone of the European Film College's teaching principles is formed by the Danish folk high school principles.

At the European Film College we follow the basic principles of traditional Danish folk high schools:

  • No prior qualifications needed for admission. You just have to be over 18 and able to speak English
  • Residential course with resident teachers
  • Living with and learning from both teachers and fellow students
  • Learning by doing and evaluations

The folk high school idea was the brainchild of the Danish philosopher Grundtvig. The European Film College has adapted Grundtvig’s ideas to create a unique film foundation course:

  • You can try yourself out in ALL aspects of filmmaking
  • You will get time to explore the world of film – and yourself
  • You will be thrown into doing new things, but you will get support whenever necessary from the teachers
  • You will get to know people from other cultures and start your own international network

History of the folk high school
Danish “folkehøjskoler” (folk high schools) are world famous for their unique approach to education.

The idea originated in the early 1800s when education in Denmark was still confined to the upper classes. But the talk of democracy that was springing up all around Europe inspired a Danish theologian and philosopher, Nikolaj Fredrik Severin Grundtvig, to advocate the education of peasants, craftsmen and other “lower class” people. He even thought women should be given the opportunity to learn!

One of his arguments was that if democracy was to function, ordinary people needed insight into other things besides their own narrow sphere of work: they needed to learn about the world around them. And for that to happen the education had to be accessible – so teaching should be in Danish; a revolutionary idea in a country where all teaching up till then had been in Latin. Moreover, the education should take place at special schools where people would live and learn together over several months.

Not surprisingly, these ideas provoked controversy, but Grundtvig succeeded in getting them through, and the first folk high school was created in Rødding in Denmark in 1844. Today there are close to 69 folk high schools in Denmark. Although many folk high schools today teach subjects that didn’t exist in Grundtvig’s day (and some, like the European Film College, now teach in English), the basic democratic principles remain the same.
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Students at work
Vision and values
Students 2012-2013 (archive photo)
History of the European Film College