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History of DNS

40 years’ history and more

Tvind was the name of a farm with sandy soil way out on the countryside near Ulfborg, in Western Jutland, Denmark, 12 km from the North Sea. It was situated where a little creek “twine”, in Danish “tvinder”, through the landscape, that's the reason behind the name.

Today the farm buildings are not there any longer. Instead, there is a school centre with a modern complex of buildings and institutions, home for hundreds of people having their living and education, a vibrant environment of life and energy, humanistic perspective and always on the move for something even better. A never ending story started in 1970.

Below are mentioned some of the more important events and experiences during this period in the attempt to briefly describe the developments in this story. The description takes its basis in the years where the development took a new step.

1970 The start of the Traveling Folk High School - DRH

A group of 5 teachers had in the 1960´s travelled around the world in an old bus for a year and realized how much you can learn from this experience– about the world, about other people and about yourself. It was a valuable adventure worth sharing with many more people.

Denmark has a long tradition for having Folk High Schools with many different programs for adults who want to educate themselves – not for a degree, but for inspiration in their life. Following this tradition, the group of teachers consequently started the Travelling Folk High School with the program: 2 months’ preparation for a 4 months’ study tour by bus through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and India, followed by 3 months conclusion and spreading information about the world they had seen.

The program at the High School was practical and theoretical, meaning that using your brain and your hands had equal importance, and teachers and students together took care of all the practicalities, like maintaining buildings, building the buses, cooking, gardening, etc. The school started in a rented hotel in a little island in western Denmark, and it was a success. It grew rapidly and they carried out many courses, were also social work in Denmark became a part.

Soon, the number of teachers grew, and the teacher group decided also to start a Teacher Training College based on the same pedagogical principles. The rented hotel became too small. They needed more space and more buildings. Two people travelled up through Jutland, having meetings with the municipalities, asking if they would be interested in hosting a school centre consisting of a travelling high school and a teacher training college, with the potential of creating more schools in the future.

Ulfborg - Vemb Municipality, a small municipality in Western Jutland agreed, and the teachers started looking for land for the school buildings. They found 2 small farms close to each other, one of them was Tvind, and they bought them for their commonly saved money.

1972 The beginning of the schools in Tvind

In the summer 1972, the area was prepared by students and teachers together. The fundament for the buildings were made, sewage systems, dug, etc. and in the end of August, the buildings came – premade sections from a company, just to assemble.

On the 1st of September 1972, the first team at DNS, the Necessary Teacher Training College, started. They were 100 people in all: 90 students and 10 teachers. The team started with building up the college, assemble the furniture, require the necessary equipment and repair and outfit 10 buses to be used for their study travel. It was a lot of work for un-professionals, and the practical-theoretical approach stood its test. Though the buildings were simple, they were built with the purpose of supporting the school life and program of DNS and DRH with common hall, kitchen facilities etc. in the middle of the complex of the buildings with the individual rooms. There have been reparations and renewals during the years, but all later teams in DNS have enjoyed from the use of these first wooden buildings, which since then, they have been improved and maintained.

1975 The big windmill - Tvindkraft

During the sixties and beginning of the seventies, there was a discussion going on in Denmark, whether we should have nuclear power or not. The teachers group at Tvind decided on that context to make a manifest that could be understood and used by the many and become forceful no-nukes, argument. They decided to build the biggest windmill in the world at that time, 54m tall and with wings of 27m long.

The building of the windmill became an action for and with the public in many ways. Volunteers could join and contribute to the team of windmill-builders, and many did. It was a challenging, making-the-way task, because a windmill with these dimensions had not been built before, everything had to be done from scratch. During the building period, and still today, there was all the time many guests passing to see this manifestation, as a public attraction, and also as a target for delegations of professionals who would study the windmill and its construction.

The windmill was finished in 1978. The teacher group decided not to take patent on all the inventions made via the building, but instead to put everything at disposal for whoever wanted to work with windmills.

Together with many other initiatives in experimenting with wind power in this area of Denmark, the windmill in Tvind has contributed to a new agenda for energy production in Denmark as well as the attitudes towards this question and renewable energy in general.  Furthermore, the wind mill has won an international recognition. Denmark never got atom power, and it became instead one of the leading wind mill producers in the world.