An Introduction

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. S. V. Grundtvig, the Danish founder of folkehøjskole.

Following our Grundtvigean heritage, we believe that learning happens across social positions and differences. The teacher learns from the student and vice versa in a living exchange and mutual teaching. We cherish multiculturalism and educate our students towards active citizenship. For us, education is above all for life: we bring forth life-long results.

ALFA academy (Vapaa akatemia) provides non-formal study programs in fine arts, humanities and science (education, psychology, health, physical education and nutrition) 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. Most students participate and earn authorized credits in extra-mural university courses. ALFA collaborates with Jyväskylä University, Turku University, UEF University of Eastern Finland and LAB University of Applied Sciences.

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).

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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