Futuristic learning: A glimpse inside one of Denmark’s most innovative schools

Over 50 years after the establishment of the International Baccalaureate, participating international schools continue to deliver excellence in education.

Futuristic learning: A glimpse inside one of Denmark's most innovative schools
Students in the CIS cafeteria space, Photo: CIS

Nowhere is this more evident than at Copenhagen International School (CIS), one of the 12 founding schools of the programme. Almost 60 years since the school’s founding, and 50 years after the first Diploma Programme exams, we examine how this trailblazing school continues to innovate and help students achieve excellence. 

From small beginnings… 

With an initial cohort of just 12 students, CIS was founded in 1963 to serve international families in Copenhagen, offering US high school correspondence courses. From 1968, the school began to offer the International Baccalaureate programme – one of a handful to do so.

Over the decades, as Copenhagen became more of an international city, student numbers grew and the Early Years Programme, the Primary School, Middle School and High School at the school took shape. This required larger and better-equipped facilities. From a humble beginning, using the classrooms of existing high schools, the school enlarged through the ensuing decades to encompass two bustling campuses.

Today the school has about 900 students, with 60 languages being spoken by students – a diverse learning environment that is the natural choice for those seeking to expose their children to the wider world.  

…emerge great things

Today’s CIS is a far cry from its original small block of classrooms. Bringing together the cohorts from the school’s former campuses, today’s school is located in the city’s new Nordhavn district. Designed and built by one of Scandanavia’s leading firms, C.F. Møller Architects, the campus is both environmentally and socially sustainable – built to last and to tread lightly on the earth. 

Encompassing four towers, the campus is full of classrooms and learning environments designed specifically to engage students and meet their specific learning needs. Located on its own promontory in the busy harbour district, solar panels across the building supply its energy demands. It is, in every sense, a building designed to meet the needs of the future. 

Explore one of Europe’s most innovative learning environments, and learn more about how Copenhagen International School prepares students for the future

Early Years students play at CIS. Photo: CIS

Future-forward learning

CIS‘ futuristic campus is only one of the school’s innovative aspects. As Ida Storm Jansen, the school’s Head of Community Relations, tells us: “The CIS approach to learning is designed to foster curiousity, tolerance and an apprecation of diversity. Understanding the challenges of the modern world is something our students must be prepared for, now more than ever.”

Within each of the school’s academic programmes, students are encouraged to become the champions of a just and a sustainable world. This is assisted by engaging students with modern challenges in a hands-on manner – ‘learning by doing’. Therefore, students are meeting, talking to and working with individuals and groups from outside the school community, earning valuable ‘real life’ experience. The many and diverse backgrounds of the student body are incorporated as a powerful learning tool on a daily basis.

Growing the whole child 

Outside of traditional academic programmes, the school’s philosophy places emphasis on encouraging the ‘thriving’ of the individual, across a wide number of areas. Physical education programmes and the membership of a number of sporting associations allow students to compete and excel in the physical arena, while a long-established music and theatre programme gives them valuable performance experience. Visual arts is also highly prized at the school, with students regularly winning competitions, displaying their work and having their artwork adorn the school’s halls. 

Students from CIS have gone on to study at some of the world’s most prestigious universities, including those within the Ivy League and Russell Group clusters. Others have built successful careers in fields as diverse as business, dance, research science and biology. The school also offers a powerful alumni network, that ensures that the school positively impacts the lives of students long after they have graduated. 

A world class education 

For those seeking a world-class education for their children in a city and country that already boasts many outstanding schools, CIS is an obvious contender. It achieves this through its dedication to growing strong, internationally-minded individuals who are ready to meet the challenges of the future head-on. 

Watch the video below for a look at what parents and students can expect from Copenhagen International School. 

Interested in giving your child a world-class education in one of Denmark’s leading schools? Learn about CIS’ admissions processes and scholarship programmes today

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Copenhagen to miss 2025 zero emissions target

Copenhagen will not reach its longstanding target of becoming CO2 emissions neutral by 2025.

Cyclists on Copenhagen's
Cyclists on Copenhagen's "Lille Langebro" bridge. The Danish capital has admitted to errors in emissions calculations and says it won't be climate neutral in 2025, a long-standing target. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

A city councillor told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the city, which has long stated its aim of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital, would not meet that target as scheduled.

“I won’t need to stand there in 2025 and say ‘hurrah, we’re CO2 neutral’, because I know that CO2 will still be emitted (then),” elected representative Ninna Hedeager Olsen of the Copenhagen Municipality environment section told Jyllands-Posten.

Tourist board Visit Denmark has previously used the emissions goal to market the city, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen named the target during the C40 climate summit when it was hosted by Copenhagen in 2019.

But the municipality has included wind energy produced in other municipalities in its calculations on energy sustainability, according to the newspaper report.

This means it effectively still emits CO2 overall.

The company which supplies energy to the city, Hofor, has erected windmills in a number of municipalities outside of Copenhagen. But the electricity produced by these windmills has been used in calculations of CO2 emissions in both Copenhagen and in the municipalities in which the windmills are actually located.

The replication of the energy production in data for different locations can “rightly” be said to be “cheating the scales”, according to Hedeager Olsen.

But that is not the only problem in calculations of the city’s emissions, she also admitted.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been counted,” she said.

The goal to become climate neutral by 2025 was first set by the city in 2012 in a climate plan adopted by the city government.

Copenhagen was the following year awarded the Cities Climate Leadership award for the plan.