Nansen Academy

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Nansen Academy
Nansenskolen – Norsk Humanistisk Akademi  (Norwegian)
Nansenskolen logo.svg
Logo of Nansenskolen
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnsonsgate 2
Lillehammer, Norway
Coordinates 61°6′28″N 10°27′55″E / 61.10778°N 10.46528°E / 61.10778; 10.46528
Founded 1938
Status Folk High School
Headteacher Unn Irene Aasdalen
Age 19 to 82

The Nansen Academy – Norwegian Humanistic Academy (Norwegian: Nansenskolen – Norsk Humanistisk Akademi) is a folk high school in Lillehammer, Norway.

It was named after Fridtjof Nansen, the polar explorer, scientist, author and humanist whose work embodied essential elements of humanism: active love of one’s neighbour and freedom of thought. The school was established in 1938 by Kristian Vilhelm Koren Schjelderup, Jr., Anders Platou Wyller and Henriette Bie Lorentzen.[1] Founded as a humanist and anti-totalitarian institution, it was closed and dissolved during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, after only one year of existence (its first school year started in 1939). It resurfaced after the occupation, in 1946.[2]

The Nansen Academy offers a one-year study founded on the Scandinavian Folk High School tradition. The interdisciplinary programme is mainly based on social and humanistic sciences. Historical, holistic and ethical perspectives are encouraged. The main aim is to inspire independent thinking and reflection, as well as creativity, as a basis for active participation in society. All students attend classes in philosophy, international security politics and cultural history (art, literature, music) as well as their chosen programme. The students stay in dormitories on campus.

The Nansen Academy initiated the Norwegian Festival of Literature and the first national dialogues between religions in Norway. It organizes the yearly Olympic academies in cooperation with the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of sports. The Nansen Academy also organises a center working on dialogue in warzones and for peace education, Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue. The academy received the Fritt Ord Award in 1987 and an UNESCO award in 1998.[2]

The present director is Unn Irene Aasdalen (from 2013).

Panorama photograph of the complex of buildings


  1. ^ Pål Repstad, Teologisk profilering i sosial kontekst. Kristian Schjelderups liv, tid og teologi, Kristiansand 1994, pp. 436–437
  2. ^ a b Henriksen, Petter, ed. (2007). "Nansenskolen". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
Preceded by
Magli Elster and
Torolf Elster
Recipient of the Fritt Ord Award
Succeeded by
Leo Eitinger