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'The cheapest in Europe': A guide to international schools in Denmark

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
'The cheapest in Europe': A guide to international schools in Denmark
There are 26 international schools to choose from in Denmark. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

International schools in Denmark are renowned for being some of the cheapest in Europe. Here's a guide to the options available.


In Denmark both public and private schools, including international schools are all subsidised by the state.

The average price in 2022 for an international school in Copenhagen was 4,138 euros a year (30,874 kroner), according to the International Schools Database, with one exception costing 17,468 euros per year. Their study also ranked Copenhagen as the cheapest city in Europe for international schools for the third time in 2023.

Free international schools

There are two free international schools in Denmark which are run by the local municipality. 

Lolland International School in Maribo is bilingual with Danish and English. The European School in Copenhagen is trilingual with Danish, English and French. Kalundborg Kommune plans to open an international school in the near future. There are no fees in these schools.



The first thing to decide is what curriculum you want your child to follow. The options are: International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate, International Primary Curriculum (Viking International), British, French (Lycée Français Prins Henrik) or German (Sankt Petri Schule) curriculum.

With International Baccalaureate, Danish can be taught as a second or first language but no other subjects are taught in Danish. 

Bilingual schools, such as Institut Sankt Joseph in Copenhagen are friskoler, so the school decides which subjects to teach in Danish and which in English/another language. Institut Sankt Joseph for example follows the British Cambridge International curriculum, as well as the “dansk fællesmål”;  and offers both IGCSE examinations and the Danish school leavers' test in the final year. But some bilingual friskoler can be test-free.

If you want an international school that's predominantly Danish, you can choose the Danish department of a bilingual or international school. International and Danish departments often mix together at the after school club (SFO). At Øresund Internationale Skole, the teaching language is Danish and offers two hours of mother tongue lessons per week if there are enough students with the same mother tongue.

International school age

Many international programmes run for 11 years, (roughly aged 5-16). The final year of international school is the equivalent of the Danish 9th or 10th grade. This is when pupils have tests to determine their next stage of education at gymnasium/high school. In some bilingual schools, these exams are offered in Danish too.


After this, students can go on to choose a gymnasium/high school for three years. If they have taken the Danish school leavers' test, they can go on to a Danish gymnasium. 

Most international high schools in Denmark offer the IB Diploma Programme but there are also two Danish/German schools, one Danish/French school and one European Baccauleate. Some of these are fee-paying and others are free.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How does the school system work in Denmark?


Some pupils in Denmark choose to spend a year at a boarding school called efterskole, before starting high school, which is often specialised in certain subjects. There is an international efterskole in Vedersø and bilingual programmes at Odsherreds, Ranum or Skals.

Signing up

The earlier you sign your child up the better, as some schools have waiting lists of 2 - 4 years. There is usually a fee to join the waiting list. If a place becomes available, you are often invited for an interview, to see if the school is the right fit for your family. It is worth signing up to more than one school to keep your options open. You then pay a deposit when you accept your school place.

Examples of international schools in Denmark

There are 26 International Schools in Denmark according to the Danish Ministry of Children and Education. The international schools database lists them all, along with information about fees, class sizes, school bus availability.


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