Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783-1872)

Danish scholar, clergyman, poet, philosopher, historian and educator, founder of popular schools and supporter of lifelong learning for all.




Through Grundtvig Programme, the European Commission sponsors activities to promote European cooperation, quality, innovation and the European dimension in all areas of adult education. The Grundtvig programme addresses to every institution / organization involved in adult education (whether belonging to formal, non-formal or informal education), and to the staff and students involved in adult education.


The Grundtvig programme focuses on the teaching and study needs of learners taking adult education and ‘alternative’ education courses, as well as the organisations delivering these services. It aims to help develop the adult education sector, as well as enable more people to undertake learning experiences, notably in other European countries.


Launched in 2000, Grundtvig aims to provide adults with more ways to improve their knowledge and skills, facilitate their personal development and boost their employment prospects. It also helps to tackle problems associated with Europe’s ageing population.

It covers not only teachers, trainers, staff and organisations working in the sector, but also learners in adult education. These include relevant associations, counselling organisations, information services, policy-making bodies and others such as NGOs, enterprises, voluntary groups and research centres.

The programme funds a range of activities, including particularly those supporting adult learning staff to travel abroad for learning experiences, through exchanges and various other professional experiences. Other larger scale initiatives involve, for instance, networking and partnerships between organisations in different countries.


The specific aims of the Grundtvig programme are to:

  • increase the number of people in adult education to 25 000 by 2013, and improve the quality of their experience, whether at home or abroad
  • improve conditions for mobility so that at least 7 000 people per year by 2013 can benefit from adult education abroad; 
  • improve the quality and amount of co-operation between adult education organisations;
  • develop innovative adult education and management practices, and encourage widespread implementation; 
  • ensure that people on the margins of society have access to adult education, especially older people and those who left education without basic qualifications;
  • support innovative ICT-based educational content, services and practices.