International development of Folk High Schools

The Folk High School idea developed throughout the 19th century and became established in both Norway and Sweden. In Norway the movement still holds a crucial cultural and political position. Before 1939, Poland had around 40 Folk High Schools and likewise in Russia before the Russian Revolution. They were demolished by the Nazis and Communists respectively.

Folk High Schools were also established in the United Kingdom and the United States. In particular the United States has embraced the Folk High School. From Rønshoved Folk High School, former students have been in Congress as recently as 2009. John F. Kennedy’s legendary speechwriter Ted Sorensen’s parents had both attended Folk High Schools and introduced the school to the American public. “Ask not what your country can do for you; but what you can do for your country” was written with the ideals of the Folk High School in mind.