Copenhagen to host first European School in Denmark

Construction of the European School Copenhagen is about to get underway in the new Carlsberg City District.

Copenhagen to host first European School in Denmark
The European School Copenhagen is expected to be ready for move in by the 2018/2019 school year. Photo: Carlsberg Byen

As Copenhagen’s population continues to grow, so do the city's international educational opportunities. Citing increasing demand from expat parents, the European School Copenhagen will begin construction of its new building on Thursday.

Schools and other educational institutions are key at Carlsberg City District. Photo: Carlsberg Byen.
Schools and other educational institutions are key at Carlsberg City District. Photo: Carlsberg Byen.

The construction marks an important period as Copenhagen looks to woo and retain international talent – and their accompanying family members.

“In Copenhagen, we compete really hard against other international cities to recruit and retain talented, international employees. Industry spokespeople consistently point out that for international employees, the ability to get children into an international school is critical when it comes to choosing where to work”, Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen said in a press release.

The European School Copenhagen welcomed its first students in 2014, but it was based out of a temporary location in Skolen i Sydhaven (South Harbour School), which itself was recently declared the best school building in the world.

The European School's new location within the coming Carlsberg City District should be ready to host students by the 2018/2019 school year. Since its opening, the school has seen steady growth with a current 150 students expected to expand to 975 by 2021.

“We are experiencing a growing demand for international schools. With the European School Copenhagen, we are significantly increasing the number of places available,” Jensen said.

The school will be five stories high and merge with the surrounding architecture. Photo: Carlsberg Byen

The school will be five stories high and merge with the surrounding architecture. Photo: Carlsberg Byen.

The school building will have an innovative design with a transparent and open façade, something that designers hope will help ‘merge’ the indoor and outdoor life of the Carlsberg City District. Apart from promoting architectural modernism, the school is also the first of its kind in all of Denmark. There are only 14 other schools in Europe that are the so–called type II European School.

The Danish capital is also host to a series of other international schools including a new eco-friendly headquarters for the Copenhagen International School that is expected to be completed by 2017.

The European School Copenhagen's new building, which has a total cost of 450 million kroner, was funded in part by the City of Copenhagen and private organizations including the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The location for the school was far from coincidental. City officials said that placing the school at the Carlsberg City District goes along with the vision for the new urban region.

“During the next eight to ten years, the historic former brewery – centrally located between Vesterbro, Valby and Frederiksberg – is being developed into a vibrant and diverse new city district defined by a unique mixture of modern architecture and beautiful historical buildings,” a press release from Carlsberg Byen stated.

“Vast” bicycle networks and a brand new S-tog station, which is slated to open in July, will be the main connection point for the new city district.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


English-language programmes at Danish universities face cuts

Denmark's government has agreed on a plan to significantly reduce the number of courses offered in English in the country's universities.

English-language programmes at Danish universities face cuts
Life sciences faculty hold an open house at Copenhagen University. The university is now expected to reduce admissions as part of a plan to decentralise higher education in Denmark. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt / Ritzau Scanpix

At the end of June, the plan aims to reduce the number of English-language higher education programmes while also expanding educational opportunities outside of Denmark’s major cities.

The exact number of courses to be cut – and where they will be cut – depends on the future employment of graduates.

Cuts to English-language programmes

The reduction of English-language programmes at institutions of higher education is rooted in an effort to reduce rising costs of state educational grants (SU) in Denmark. Despite attempts to reduce SU expenses, the cost is expected to rise to 570 million kroner by 2025, far above the cap of 449 million kroner set in 2013. 

There are a number of cases in which non-Danish citizens are entitled to SU, from moving to Denmark with one’s parents, marrying a Danish citizen, residing in Denmark for more than 5 years, status as a worker in Denmark, and more.

The reduction is targeted at English-language programmes where few English-speaking students find employment in Denmark after graduation, according to Denmark’s Ministry of Education and Research. 

Among the targeted programmes are business academies and professional bachelor programmes, where 72 percent of students are English-speaking and only 21 percent find work in Denmark after completing their education. 

However, programmes where higher proportions of English students enter the Danish workforce, and those that have a unique significance on the regional labour market, will be exempt from the reduction. This amounts to 650 education institutions around the country. 

In 2016, students demonstrated against cuts in SU. Photo: Emil Hougaard / Ritzau Scanpix

The agreement also establishes a financial incentive for institutions that graduate English-speaking students who remain to work in Denmark.

According to a June 10 analysis from consulting firm Deloitte, EU students who receive higher education in Denmark contribute an average of nearly 650,000 kroner to Denmark’s public coffers over a lifetime. 

However, the report notes, a student’s positive or negative contribution depends on how long they stay in Denmark. Although students who leave Denmark shortly after graduating constitute a cost to the Danish state, the analysis found that the contribution of students who stay in Denmark to work offsets the cost of those who leave.

The analysis expressed concern that reducing opportunities for English-language higher education could “have a number of unintended negative consequences,” including deterring students who might stay in Denmark to work from moving in the first place. There’s also the risk that it will become more difficult to recruit foreign researchers to Danish universities, which could impact education quality, the analysis claims.

The UCN professional school in Thisted is expected to open one new training program as a result of the decentralisation plan. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Decentralisation of Danish education

The plan to decentralise higher education in Denmark not only expands educational opportunities outside of Denmark’s major cities, but it also aims to reduce enrollment in higher education within major cities by 10 percent by 2030 (but not more than 20 percent).

For example, a law programme will be established in Esbjerg, a medical programme in Køge and a veterinary programme in Foulum.

Minister of Education and Research Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen said the goal was to offer students educational opportunities regardless of where they live within Denmark and strengthen the economy outside of major cities. 

However, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, Dansk Erhverv, expressed concern that the decentralisation plan doesn’t factor in labour demands within Denmark’s major cities.

Mads Eriksen, head of education and research policy at Dansk Erhverv, said it was “unwise” for programmes to reduce acceptance rates to in-demand fields in that particular city. 

“They are trying to solve a problem with labour in the countryside, but at the same time they are creating labour problems in the cities,” Eriksen said. “The English-language programme cuts are far more aligned with the demands of the labour market.”

Denmark has utilised unemployment-based admission for higher education since 2015. Programmes whose graduates experience unemployment consistently 2 percent higher than average are subject to a 30 percent admission cut.

Eriksen thinks it shouldn’t be a matter of reducing admissions across several universities by

“For example, we have five philosophy education programmes in Denmark, each of which have high unemployment rates among graduates,” Eriksen said, referencing a recent Dansk Erhverv analysis

He would prefer to see resources concentrated into making a couple of those programmes the best they can be and closing the rest, versus reducing admissions in all five programmes. “We have to be ready to close programmes that continue to have high unemployment, not just reduce them.”

In 2018, the University of Southern Denmark closed one English-language program and converted two from English to Danish. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen / Ritzau Scanpix

Opposite impacts on provincial institutions

Gitte Sommer Harrits, vice chancellor at VIA University College, shared concern that although the decentralised education aspect of the plan aims to increase the number of students at provincial universities, the reduction of English-language programmes is likely to have the opposite effect.

A report from the organisation Akademikerne in early June found that international students have played a significant role filling educational institutions outside of Danish cities. Nine of the 10 educational institutions with the largest proportion of English-speaking students are outside the country’s largest cities. 

The University of Southern Denmark in Sønderborg has the highest proportion of international students; 40 percent of its 628 students are not affiliated with Denmark or other Nordic countries. 

While significantly larger with nearly 37,000 students, Copenhagen University has 5.2 percent international students.

Already in 2018, the University of Southern Denmark closed one English-language programme and converted two others from English to Danish after the Danish government ordered universities to reduce the number of international students.

Harrits said she found the possible closure of English-language programmes drawing international students to provincial areas to be puzzling when paired with the intention to decentralise education.