Lahden satamassa opiskelijoita ja opettajia ryhmittyneenä suurten Lahti-kirjaiten eteen

About us

Lahti Academy of Liberal and Fine Arts (ALFA; Finnish Lahden kansanopisto and Vapaa akatemia) is an institution for adult education.

The school has its roots in the Nordic Folk High School tradition and it continues to promote the core ideas of N. F. S. Grundtvig, the Danish founder of folkehøjskole.

Established in 1893, ALFA continues to provide education non scholae sed vitae – not for school but for life.


ALFA academy (Vapaa akatemia) provides non-formal study programs in fine arts, humanities and science (education, psychology) and theatre. Besides exploring the chosen field, the studies aim at strengthening the student’s intellectual capacities, and thus enhancing their possibilities to enter higher education and eventually completing academic degrees.

The academy students are typically upper secondary school graduates, and they attend ALFA for one school year. Many students participate and earn authorized credits in extra-mural university courses. ALFA collaborates with Jyväskylä University, Uniarts Helsinki and LAB University of Applied Sciences.

In addition, various courses with culture, well-being and active citizenship perspectives are organised for third-age students.

ALFA community college (opisto) provides basic education for adults (literacy, primary and lower secondary levels), integration training and vocational training (special needs assistant, family daycare provider).

In keeping with our Grundtvigean heritage, we believe that learning happens across social positions and differences. The teacher learns from the student and vice versa, and students learn from each other through interaction. An essential part of our mission is to promote dialogue and the general well-being of both staff and students.

The majority of ALFA student body consists of young native adults whose future study and career plans are yet unclear, and non-native adults of different age groups learning Finnish as a part of their integration process. The school nurtures multiculturalism and educates towards active citizenship. Here, education is above all for life: we bring forth life-long results.

Lahti Academy of Liberal and Fine Arts is owned and maintained by a private, non-political and non-religious foundation. ALFA receives partial government funding. Study fees apply to most ALFA study programs.

In a nutshell

  • liberal adult education institution with Nordic folk high school background and traditions
  • established in 1893
  • in Lahti city centre
  • community college: basic education, integration training, vocational training
  • academy: non-formal study programs in fine arts, humanities and science, and theatre
  • multicultural, non-political, non-religious
  • owned by a private foundation

For more information, please contact

Petri Pullinen, principal

Leena Mattila, development manager

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