The Nansen Humanistic Academy, in Lillehammer, Norway, was founded in 1938 as a protest against the totalitarian ideologies in Europe.

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 peace- and security politics and art history in addition to their chosen programme. We believe in the importance of  engaging the students both intellectually, creatively, socially and politically. The students stay in dormitories on campus.

The Academy is named after Fridtjof Nansen, the great polar explorer, scientist, author and humanist, who’s great work embodied essential elements of humanism: active love of one’s neighbour and freedom of thought.

We understand humanism as values that unite people across religious, political and cultural divides. Humanism is based on the unique value of each human being. Human rights, freedom of expression and democracy continue to be the core values of the Nansen Academy.

The language of instruction is Norwegian. Therefore, good knowledge of Norwegian language is a condition for being admitted as a Nansen Academy student.



  • Philosophy – Literature and Politics seeks to encourage independent, critical thinking and active involvement in society. The programme includes a wide variety of subjects, such as economy, ecology, political theory, literature, Russian language, East Africa, etc. Number of students: 45.
  • Creative Writing offers training in creative writing. The different professors are all authors who write in different modes. The method of teaching is independent writing, workshops and tutoring. The group process plays an important part in the writing process. Number of students: 15.
  • Creative Arts offers training in different artistic techniques. An important aim is to investigate the place of art in society. The professors are professional artists. Our method of teaching is based on workshops, tutoring and group discussions, as well as independent work with various teachers/artists as supervisors. Number of students: 15.


The Nansen Academy is located in beautiful surroundings near the centre of Lillehammer, a town of 25 000 inhabitants, approximately 2,5 hours from Oslo. The town has a rich cultural scene with renowned museums such as the Maihaugen Outdoor Museum and Lillehammer Art Museum, as well as the Norwegian Literature Festival. The surroundings include forests, rivers, lakes and mountains. There are good opportunities for various sports and leisure activities, and the town hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1994.


The Nansen Academy received the «Free Word Prize» in 1987 for its work for humanism, tolerance and the free word, and Honourable Mention of the “UNESCO Prize for Peace Education” in 1998. Senior Advisor Steinar Bryn at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue received “Amalie Laksow’s Human Rights Prize” and the “Bridge-builder Prize”, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Nansen center for peace and dialogue

The Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue (NCPD) was established as a separate part of The Nansen Academy Foundation in 2010, and has office facilities in the Nansen Academy. The center provides experience-based knowledge of ongoing conflicts and practical dialogue and reconciliation. The center’s draws its experience from peace education for diaspora groups (refugees) in Norway and dialogue work internationally, with particular focus on Afghanistan the Western Balkans.

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