Aalborghus Gymnasium is a Danish upper secondary school. We are devoted to preparing our graduates to excel in their future studies, career, and community.
Aalborghus Gymnasium is one of the largest high schools or “upper secondary schools” in the Northern region of Denmark. It is located in the eastern district of Aalborg which is Denmark’s fourth-largest city.
At Aalborghus Gymnasium we are devoted to preparing our graduates to excel in their future studies, career, and community. As a school we are founded on pillars of diversity, democracy, openness and respect, and a founding belief that anyone who is both curious to learn and willing to make the effort should be awarded the best opportunities to do so.
As such we are dedicated to creating a “happy and healthy” study environment where both students and staff have a voice in how we continue to develop and grow an intellectually, creatively and socially stimulating school.
We believe that each student has a unique set of talents, and it is our number one task to inspire, challenge and stimulate intellectual curiosity and to create equal opportunities for all students to discover and fulfill their own academic potential, ambition and dreams.
Aalborghus at a glance
Established in 1958, Aalborghus was able to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2008. The school’s first principal Carl Willum Hansen called it “a place for children from all backgrounds, so long as they have the skills and the desire to learn“.
With approximately 1100 students in 45 classes, Aalborghus Gymnasium is one the largest high schools in the Northern region of Denmark. Each year in August, the school welcomes approximately sixteen new classes who attend one of two overall study programmes.
In the Danish education system, students attending high school/upper secondary education are typically between 16 and 19 years old. However, Aalborghus also has a small number of students in their 20s, who have had a break from school.
As is tradition for Danish schools, many students live locally in the school’s city district. However, an increasing number of students also sign up from other districts in Aalborg, and a minor number of students even commute from Aalborg’s smaller surrounding cities to attend the school. Each year Aalborghus Gymnasium also welcomes a number of international students from around the world, who attend the school for everything from a few months to a full year: Learn more about the school’s International Outlook.
Apart from the desire to learn, there is no one word or sentence describing the typical student at Aalborghus Gymnasium. The student body is very diverse, and that in itself is part of the school’s broad appeal.
Teachers and Support Staff
Approximately 120 teachers and a number of caring support staffers (from guidance councellors to mentors in health, study techniques and life skills) are dedicated to educating and supporting the school’s students.
There are four upper secondary education programmes in Denmark: STX, HHX, HTX and HF. Aalborghus Gymnasium offers two of them: STX and HF.
STX is a fulltime, three-year programme with a broad number of various compulsory subjects (and levels) from the Faculty of Humanities, Natural Science and Social Science. It focuses on general education and general study preparation, enabling students to enter and complete higher education.
Within the overall general programme, STX-students will have to choose from a number of specialised study programmes, dedicating more time and focus to their favorite subjects. At Aalborghus Gymnasium students may choose between 11 different specialised programmes ranging diverse interests and combining subjects such as Music, Biotechnology, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Social Studies, German, French, Spanish and English.
HF is a fulltime, two-year programme which also has a broad number of various compulsory subjects (and levels) from the Faculty of Humanities, Natural science and Social science. However, as well as theoretical studies, it also offers a more practical approach with elements of vocational training depending on the chosen HF-programme.
At Aalborghus Gymnasium, HF-students must choose between 3 different specialised programmes. A programme aimed at further studies within teaching and child care, a second programme aimed at further studies within health care and security (e.g. nurse, physiotherapist or police officer), and finally a third programme, more similar to STX, aimed at further studies at university level.
Aalborghus Gymnasium also offers a unique, flexible STX-programme for top athletes who are balancing a sports career with getting their high school diploma. The programme is well-reputed in the Danish sports community and has been a popular choice for many talented athletes, including pro swimmer and recent Olympic medalist Mie Østergaard Nielsen.
The students uphold the motto: “We make each other better“. (Vi gør hinanden bedre).
Buildings and facilities
The school was built in the late 1950s, but was extensively renovated and modernised for the school’s anniversary in 2008. A brand new science wing with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, a music wing with its own recording studio and a no less than 1400 square metre sports centre was added in 2011. Soon after that followed a new wing for the language department, and with a series of continual “installations and updates” (among other things to the School Library and Fitness & Weights Room), it is now a very modern hub for teaching and learning.
As part of the school’s aim to create an inspiring framework for learning, and greatly supported by The Danish Arts Foundation, Aalborghus exhibits an impressive arts collection of both well-reputed Danish and international artists.
The school is environmentally conscious and spanning the entire 1400 square metre roof of the sports centre is one of Denmark’s largest solar cell systems. Naturally, the system and its data centre is a popular destination for “field trips” when students investigate related topics in physics.
The School Cafeteria, where both students and staff may buy their lunch, strives to serve well-balanced meals with plenty of greens and vegetables. Up to 60% of ingredients in meals handed over the busy counter are produced in an eco-friendly manner.
The school has numerous study and hang-out areas with either work stations or more comfortable chair sets and sofas where students enjoy their spare time between lessons. The common room in front of the cafeteria is a very popular place for students to hang out, as it offers the opportunity for a fun game of table football.
The City of Aalborg
As its name suggests, Aalborghus Gymnasium is located in the city of Aalborg which is Denmark’s fourth-largest city. As “the capital of Northern Denmark”, it offers many of the classic opportunities of big-city-life such as great shopping and culinary experiences. Located at the Limfjord, the city Waterfront offers a fantastic atmosphere, and beautiful forrests and fields are only a bike ride away surrounding the city outskirts.
As such Aalborg also offers many opportunities for educational field trips and excursions. The city has a densely packed calendar of concerts, plays, and sporting events, and it is often possible for teachers to find a fitting event in relation to a litterary or cultural topic. The city also offers a variety of arts and history museums, including a fascinating, well-kept Viking Burial Site with more than a hundred graves. Aalborg also flaunts both classic and highly modern architectureal pearls which are sometimes examined in arts class. Recent urban planning has also seen the decorative arrival of a lot of fascinating Street Art on end walls around the city, and it is now possible to attend a guided Street Art tour.
The students at Aalborghus Gymnasium are particularly pleased about the city’s more festive offers such as the street “Jomfru Ane Gade” – which is the longest street packed with restaurants and bars in Denmark. Each year Aalborg also hosts Northern Europe’s largest carnival with up to 60,000 carnivalists in the Grand Parade and more than 100,000 spectators.
Sources on life and studies in Aalborg
Learn about studying in Aalborg
Studyaalborg.com is Aalborg Municipality’s official website for current and coming international students. An official student handbook for international students has also been created by Aalborg Municipality.
Get on top of everything practical
Lifeindenmark.dk is an official and purely practical guide when staying in Denmark – whether you are here to work or study.
Visit Denmark.dk provides you with everything you need to plan, book and experience the perfect holiday or excursion in Denmark, should you wish to travel around while visiting or attending Aalborghus Gymnasium.
The Aalborghus Study Experience
School structure and setting
A typical school day starts at 8:15 am and ends at 3:30 pm.
A full day of studies will have four seperate lessons of various subjects, lasting an hour and 35 minutes. In between lessons are small 10-15 minute breaks, and at mid day (11:40 am) students and staff will have a 30 minute lunch break. In Denmark, students attend school Monday through Friday.
Every student is part of a core class of about 28 other students who have chosen the same specialised study programme. They primarily attend the same lessons, and therefore they will all spend the entire school day together. Over the span of 2-3 years, students in a core class will therefore often experience a strong bond of connection and have many lasting friendships.
In some schools, a core class will also have a fixed class room. At Aalborghus Gymnasium, however, classes change rooms, touring the school so they may benefit from the best equipment. Without surprise or novelty, a class’ lesson schedule will show that they have to be in the School Laboratory for chemistry and in the School Music Hall for music lessons. What may be new, however, is that this is also the norm for less equipment-heavy subjects, such as English for instance, where students take their seats in a dedicated language room with available dictionaries and posters with quotes by Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde decorating the walls. This is yet again part of the school’s aim to create an inspiring and stimulating framework for learning.
In Denmark, the teacher-student relationship is generally very casual, and independent thought is viewed as something to strive for in an academic context. The constant expressions of opinion and the informal tone of voice between students and teachers will often be a surprise to international students used to more traditional education systems in which they may even be graded on manners. However, the informal tone of voice (and sometimes light banter) should not be confused with a sign of disrespect. In denmark, students are still expected to show respect, pay attention in class, and do their homework.
As part of encouraging and practicing independent and critical thinking, students are often asked to do assignments requiring problem solving or even innovation. In project work, this also extends to interdisciplinary problem solving where students are required to combine methods from different faculties and subjects in finding a solution.
In Denmark, students are also often paired in various work groups, and the ability to work in teams is highly valued. Apart from creating better academic results based on the combination of skills from multiple contributers, team work is also seen to improve debate skills and social skills such as empathy towards others and an understanding of different view points.
There is no golden rule when it comes to the amount of time students spend on homework as it naturally depends on many individual variables such as study skills, home life, focus and level of dedication. However, some homework every day is to be expected and many subjects also have written assignments. Here, the general rule is around 2-3 assignments per week.
There are many opportunities for students to receive help with troublesome homework or assignments. A few times a week after school, various subject teachers have “open lessons” where they answer questions and give personalised homework assistance to the students attending. (For students who might have trouble reading or have dyslexia, the school also offers special guidance, dedicated reading courses and a care package with assistive technology for studying).
A subject’s lesson plan and curriculum is defined by each individual teacher based on a set of requirements defined by law by the Danish Ministry of Education. The law ensures a certain national educuational homogeneity, while leaving wiggle room for teachers to influence topics and teaching methods enabling them to adapt to student needs and interests. This has proven fruitful to the motivation for all parties.
As it is the individual teacher who plans each lesson, a school day might offer everything from traditional class teaching to group work to various games and/or excursions outside the school.
Grades and Exams
The Danish grading system is a 7-point grading scale where the top grade “12” is equivalent of an A, awarded for an excellent performance. At the other end of the scale, the grade “-3” is equivalent of an F which is defined as an unacceptable performance.
Students from the STX study programme are graded on their daily performance in class, as well as on select exams at the end of each school year.
Students from the HF study programme are graded exclusively on exams. In return, however, they have to attend exams in every subject.
The possibilities for after school and extracurricular activities are vast. Some students enjoy voluntary extra lessons in arts and crafts or learn to play a musical instrument in the after hours Music School. Some form their own band and use every opportunity to rehearse together and play at school events. Others jump at the chance when gym teachers arrange various extra lessons in football, swimming or crossfit, or they participate in the Runners’ Club where early birds get together once a week to start the day off well with 30 minutes of joint run before class. Some students devote all their time and energy to political work, being active in the student council, in a political party or by doing volunteer work.
The list of possibilities is long, and new and interesting activities from Photography Clubs to LAN (gaming) Nights constantly appear, as a result of the initiatives of both teachers and students.
The Aalborghus Talent Programme
Aalborghus Gymnasium also expands an elaborate extracurricular talent programme for students who show a particularly keen interest in or talent for subjects within natural science, social science or the humanities.
The talent programme caters to many different topics of interest, depending on the on-going initiatives of dedicated and passsionate subject teachers. To name but a few it contains The School Debate Club, The School Vocal Group, A Litterary Reading Society, A Chemistry Club and a group of History Adventure Travellers.
As a corner stone in the talent programme, the school also keeps an International Outlook and collaborates with a number of schools and institutions abroad.
School parties and social activities
Four times a year, Aalborghus Gymnasium hosts a party for the entire school. The parties are welcomed breaks from the daily academic focus, and are also a great opportunity for students to meet in a more social setting and bond with people from outside their own core class.
The parties all have different themes and include a costume party and a large Galla with traditional dancing and a concert with a popular Danish musician or band from the top of the charts.
In Denmark, the official age limit for serving or buying alcohol is 18. However, at these private school parties, all students may legally buy alcohol. The bars are always manned by teachers and together with a team of experienced security guards, they ensure that students do not get too intoxicated and that everything runs smoothly.
The school also prioritises making other social activities that enables students to bond between classes and secures and upholds the overall school spirit. A school year will therefore also see plenty of joint sports tournaments and various types of events such as its own Aalborghus Festival where school bands and artists perform on different stages around school.
Once a month, Friday afternoons are a time for festive social gatherings as the Great Hall (Also known as “Sys Hindsbo Salen”) transforms into a café where students enjoy a beer while playing board games, listening to music and celebrating the arrival of the weekend.
Keeping track of school life
Students get their primary information on what is going on at the school, both in and outside of class, from the School Intranet “Lectio“. Here they log in and see updates to their week schedule, their homework and even also their grades.
Apart from the school’s official website and news section, The school also keeps a very active Facebook page where students, parents and other interested parties may keep track of events and news happening at the school. As part of the first lesson of the day, once a month, the entire school gathers in the Great Hall (“Sys Hindsbo Salen”) or in the Sports Centre. The morning assembly gives the principal, teachers and students the opportunity to inform about important school matters or advertise for extracurricular activities and events. The assembly is often a joyous affair with talented students performing songs or acts from music or drama class. The assembly is also used as an opportunity to celebrate and honour students for their accomplishments, for instance when a team or class wins a school sports match or tournament.
Some students are very active and get involved in a wide array of activities, participating in the Friday afternoon cafés, becoming members of the student council, or members of a sports team or a band. Others prefer to stick with a small social circle or may not be able to manage too many activities, if they have to keep focus on their studies, and that is okay too. Diversity is truly a keyword at Aalborghus Gymnasium, and the Aalborghus Study Experience is as diverse as the student body itself.