Energy Island

A living demonstratorium

Kings and queens, princesses and princes, ministers and ambassadors, scientists and professors, ordinary holidaymakers and 7th grade students from Skjern. People from all walks of life are visiting Samsø Energy Academy for knowledge and inspiration for how to shape a better future.

Sustainable competencies
Likewise also associate professors, lecturers and leaders from VIA University College who have entered into a collaboration with the Energy Academy as part of a large, skill-giving course in circular economics and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The course spans all of VIA’s specialities; Health, Social and Community, Design, etc. This means that educators from, for example design, engineering, pedagogy, school teaching and nursing education are given a common framework and a common language for teaching the green transition. At VIA all programmes must relate to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and VIA will nurture students capable of competently and actively addressing the major challenges the world faces,explains Thomas Østergaard, Associate Professor at VIA University College.

There are many good examples of initiatives in sustainability and renewable energy within Denmark but for Thomas it was obvious to contact Samsø Energy Academy which, as he states has been one of Denmark’s and perhaps Europe’s leading centres for the green transition with a long and proud history of how, in close collaboration with the local community, to create major change within the energy sector and the green transition to inspire us all here at VIA. We have read and heard about the extensive green transition in the media and met with Søren Hermansen and Malene Lundén several times. The results produced by the Energy Academy are impressive and particularly since they are keen to share their knowledge and organise courses, it was obvious to contact them.

Humility and a world perspective
Samsø as a community is capable of something special, Thomas explains: Samsø is a unique island but also a unique community which can inspire others. If Samsø can do it, so should we be able to! Collaboration and the will to make change are the key words and we commend the great results achieved over the past 15-20 years on the island. It is really impressive and something we can use to create our own and local changes in our lives and education.

Part of the explanation behind the results, according to Thomas, may be found in the “Energy Academy’s humble and realistic approach which, combined with strong ambitions and experience from a locally anchored change process, is unique. In addition the Energy Academy has a large national and international network when it comes to the green transition; collaborations spanning the globe; UN, EU and visionary leaders from near and far. And so Samsø, with Ballen Badehotel, the harbour, its nature and all the local offerings and experiences, is an absolutely fantastic place to visit and from which to be inspired.

The will to change
On Samsø the 40 participants from VIA gained insight into practical solutions, processes and visions. Søren and Malene have been the driving forces in our sessions involving local excursions and visits to businesses, private citizens and Samsø Municipality. We have worked intensively in the beautiful framework of the Energy Academys stylish buildings with a focus on involvement, co-creation and creative design processes,says Thomas.

The collaboration between VIA and the Energy Academy has only just begun but Thomas certainly expects it to extend over several years, since we can learn much from Samsø Energy Academy but hopefully also contribute with our experience and knowledge from research and development across all sectors. We

already have several research and development projects in the pipeline, which could also benefit Samsø. We will of course revisit the island and develop courses with students as well as research projects to benefit everyone.

Samsø Energy Academy:

  • Is a project organisation focusing on the impact of climate change.
  • Is at the same time a meeting place for all kinds of people with an interest in sustainable

    community development and holistic collaborative processes.

  • Offers various courses, workshops and energy tours for students, businesses and schools.
  • Is visited by more than 5,000 scientists, companies, politicians, journalists, schoolchildren and energy tourists from all over the world.
  • Hosts, over the weekend 4-6 September 2020, Folkedybet where exchanges of ideas, visions and concrete plans for a sustainable world will be the focus.
  • You can read more about them at VIA University College:
  • Has almost 20,000 students in over 40 different bachelor programmes. In addition 20,000 trainees annually attend continuing professional development courses.
  • Teaches all 20,000 students on sustainability and the UNs 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • You can read more about them on

Last updated: 09/02/2021 09:42