Bringing the far ends of the globe to a corner of the city

Østerbro International School is aiming to bridge the gaps in the international community at its inaugural Language and Culture Festival

In today’s modern world, one can contact the other side of the planet in mere moments, and it takes no more than the click of a button to learn about the most remote corners of the globe. It can be surprising, then, how seldom we learn about the diversity of our own neighbourhood.

Here to bring that opportunity to Copenhagen is the Østerbro International School with its first Language and Culture Festival, which is taking place at the Axelborg exhibition centre on Saturday May 4. Intended to bring together the school’s 42 different nationalities and those of Copenhagen’s international community as well, the event aims to bridge the gaps between cultures, from Australia to Albania, in the heart of the city.

“As we’re an international school with so many different nationalities, it seemed like a natural thing for us to put on an event where we could bring all of our different cultures together,” explained Evis Qeska, the event’s main organiser. “And we also want to encourage as much of Copenhagen’s community as possible to join us as well.”

Approximately 20 different nations will be represented at next week’s event, which Qeska hopes will be the first of many fairs to come. Also organised in partnership with Sprog & Kultur Olympiade, the festival will be put on by over ten national embassies, as well as various cultural associations, parents and teachers. Each participating nation will host a booth at which they can present their country’s artistic and historical highlights, flag, traditional clothing, brochures and photos. A prize will be awarded to those who present the most elaborate booth at the end of the festival.

And even those not running a booth will have the chance to shine themselves. Each of the children in attendance (or adults, if they feel so inclined) will receive a passport to carry during the festival, which they can use to gather stamps by asking or answering questions at each nation’s booth. At the end of the afternoon, the young ‘travellers’ with the most stamps in their passports will receive a prize.

“We want to make each other aware of all of our nation’s identities and encourage each other to discuss those differences and ask questions about them,” Qeska explained.

Elsewhere, attendees can also enjoy traditional song and dance on stage from several countries participating in the festival. The festivities will kick off with an opening ceremony and drum show at 11:00 and will continue each hour. Catch traditional dances from Russia, Bosnia, Indonesia, Albania and Azerbaijan, as well as an American country music performance and one by a Turkish Ottoman military band. The programme concludes at 16:45 with a flag show and performance by local singer Gudrun Holck.

As Qeska explained, all members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend the festival, whether it is to satisfy their curiosity about other nationalities, languages and cultures, or to share their own. He hopes that the event will help forge an understanding and appreciation of the diversity found in the international community’s various cultures.

“A person is only an enemy of what he doesn’t know or understand,” he said. “So our goal is to break down those barriers, and hopefully we’ll come to appreciate and enjoy each other more.”

Østerbro International School’s Language and Culture Festival is taking place at the Axelborg exhibition centre at Axeltorv 1, just around the corner from Tivoli, on Saturday May 4 from 11:00-17:00. For more details visit and