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Lolland set to open Denmark's first public international school

Having quite a few private schools around the country established for internationals,

Denmark is now making history with its first-ever international school open to all, free of charge.

Photographs: iStock / Femern A/S

Text: Jakob Weizman

Located in one of the southernmost points of Denmark, Lolland is ready to put its name on the map with the opening of the new school and the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel which will connect Sealand with Germany. The International spoke with Espen Fossar Andersen, who is at the head of the education sector for the Lolland Municipality, to learn more about the new school.

For decades, Lolland has been somewhat secluded from the rest of Denmark, at the very bottom of Sealand being an hour and a half drive from Copenhagen. Now, all that will change due to the construction of the world's longest road and rail tunnel between Lolland and Fehmarn, Germany which is right across the Fehmarn Belt, 18 kilometres away.

"The tunnel changes the geography of Lolland, where we are no longer isolated, but rather a central hub between Hamburg and Copenhagen," said Andersen.

"Lolland is going through a transformation," he added.

Due to the construction of the tunnel, thousands of workers will be moving and living in the area. This calls for the need for a school to be established in the area. Andersen points out that the school will also be beneficial for both locals and internationals alike.

"By creating international public schools in Denmark, both international and Danish families are given a wider array of school choice," said Andersen. "Not all international families have the means to afford private international schools, but they still need programmes that have a focus on English and cultivating a global perspective."

Gearing up for next year

The school plans to open its doors for the 2021-22 school year and has already kick-started the process. Lolland Municipality has put out the call to those in the education sector to apply and join the exciting project. Countless hours of planning and execution fall into the creation of a school, including securing legal permissions, becoming certified by an international body, recruitment, marketing, finding the right premises, and stakeholder engagement.

Fortunately, Andersen is confident the municipality is on the right track.

"With regards to obstacles, we are currently exactly where we want to be, so far, so good! The school has already begun the recruitment process of the new school head and a project consultant," revealed Andersen.

"By creating international public schools in Denmark, both international and Danish families are given a wider array of school choice." - Espen Fosar Andersen, Lolland Municipality

Once these two positions are filled, Lolland will go ahead and begin searching for teachers who enable the school's pioneering spirit and are ready to make history in Denmark's education system. The curriculum set to be in place for the students will be bilingual, both English and Danish through both the Danish national curriculum and the Cambridge Assessment International Educational Programme.

Andersen firmly believes that this school is the start of something immense and wonderful that will make a lasting impact on the area for the future, offering an exceptional education for families looking to move to this area. Lolland's focus on internationalisation will serve as a buffer for internationals moving there.

"Lolland is a beautiful area, full of nature and space. If you are a lover of the outdoors, seek affordable living and want to be part of a community that is going through a major transformation, then it's a wonderful place to raise a family," concluded Andersen.

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