Interview with Lene and Tomas

Watch Lene Rachel Andersen and Tomas Björkman talk about The Nordic Secret with their German publisher:

The Nordic Secret in London

The room was full and people were on a waiting list when Jonathan Rowson from Perspectiva interviewed Lene and Tomas about The Nordic Secret.

As the picture indicates, the first part of the evening was rather conventional.

But then the creative Perspectiva people, not least Pippa Evans, turned the event into a game of Simon Says. We all had to work ourselves through the phases of indigenous culture, pre-modern, modern, and post-modern culture in order to eventually land in metamodernity–when Simon said so.

We were all so occupied by this exercise touching our heads and standing on one foot that we forgot taking pictures. Sorry.


Book presentation in Copenhagen

Our launch party was quite the blast! Wonderful people participated, excellent food and drinks, and a really great location: the old COOP warehouse in Copenhagen. The event was kindly sponsored by COOP; thank you so much for making this launch extra special!

You can watch our presentation on Facebook: and soon we’ll have an edited version here on the site as well.

Lene and Tomas forgot to take pictures, and the guests just took pictures of them, not of each other, so we have no pictures of the people participating–shame on us! Many thanks to Jens Østergaard and Teddy Hebo Larsen for the photos on this page.


Flemming Jørgensen from COOP who sponsored the event–and Lene.

Lene and Tomas

Lene, Schiller, Frederik IV, a progressive duke and the king’s progressive sister.


Scientific Roundtable in Copenhagen

This is it: the book is officially available, and we opened the day with our sixth roundtable, this time in the heart of Copenhagen in Vartov:

The fellow kneeling in front is pastor Niels Frederik Severin Grundtvig, the father of folk-Bildung. The beautiful old building is today the cultural center promoting his legacy.

The Grundtvig research center and the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre are both under the Vartov roof.

11 people joined our roundtable.

Per Paludan (the Danish Adult Education Association), Nadja Pass (Samtidens Akademi), Bente Meinhardt (Clavis Danish for foreigners), Peter Bendix (Danish Free School Association) (hidden behind Nadja), Lisbeth Trinskjær (chairman of the Danish Folk High School Association), Joachim Juel Vædele (CEO Vartov), Jakob Kvist (philosopher), Dan Andersen (historian), Flemming Jørgensen (COOP and Samvirke), and Teddy Hebo Larsen (CEO, entrepreneur and author), Hans Grishauge (who is not in the picture at all), Lene and Tomas.

These are not the best pictures and we particularly ought to have had a better picture of Dan (fourth from the left): he did not buy the main points of The Nordic Secret and gave us the harshest criticism we have faced so far. We thus strongly urge Dan to share his view points and open the debate here on the website.

Scientific Roundtable in Oslo

Lene went to Oslo in order to meet with Norwegian folkbilders and researchers. Participating were also two board members of the youth wing of The Nordic Association and professor Christian Welzel from Lüneburg who is one of the master minds behind the World Values Survey.

Tor Grønvik from Norway’s Christian Folk High Schools (NKF)) welcoming everybody; his secretariat kindly hosted the roundtable.

From the left: Johan Lövgren (NKF), Arild Mikkelsen (author), Marie Wiland (NKF), Sturla Bjerkaker (Bjerkaker LearningLab), Kent Johansson (chairman of the Nordic folk high school council), Tor Grønvik (NKF), Albin Ringstad (Nordic Association Youth (FNU)), Jonas Roelsgaard (FNU).

Everybody listening to Christian Welzel’s presentation of Values around the globe; in front and clockwise around the table: Øyvind Brandt, Johan Lövgren, Arild Mikkelsen, Marie Wiland (hidden), Sturla Bjerkaker, Kent Johansson, Tor Grønvik (also hidden), Albin Ringstad, Jonas Roelsgaard.

Lene in action; here exploring the connection between Bildung, personal development and the ability to maintain the democratic process in politics.

Jonas Roelsgaard (Denmark), Albin Ringstad (Sweden) from the Nordic Association Youth and Christian Welzel, Center for the Study of Democracy, Leuphana University, Germany.

After lunch, we split up in two group sessions, here Sindre’s notes in Norwegian:

Gruppesamtale – The Nordic Secret — 14.nov 2017

Lene, Tor, Øyvind B., Sindre

Empowerment – Hvorfor lyktes empowerment så godt i Norden?

Ideen om at skal kunne forandre seg?

Frem til 1700-tallet: Bildung – bildet av Gud
Senere: Bildung – å bygge mennesket

Deformation – mer informasjon, mindre forståelse
Genteknologi, digitalteknologi etc — presser menneskesynet
En verden som vil kreve en etisk standard. Fra en nærhetsetikk til en global etikk.

Fra det føydale til demokratiske samfunnet — prosjektet pågår fortsatt

Det du allerede kjenner skal vi ikke ta fra deg, men det er ikke nok..
Ikke nok til å ta tak i dagens og de kommende utfordringene..

Etiske kapasitet kom i utakt med den teknologiske utvikling?

Forskjell mellom verdier og personlig utvikling – Forskjell mellom artikulerte verdier og etterlevde verdier

Transformasjon til level 5
Dersom danning er perspektivering, refleksjon så er jo også en bok

Å vite vs Å lære
Man må ha et kart å navigere etter
Det vil alltid være en balansegang mellom det å vite og å lære

Bildungakademiet i Amsterdam
Følte at det manglet noe for dem i deres utdannelse.
Ønsket mer dannelse

Det liberale dilemmaet – Hans Skjervheim

Er demokratiet den eneste rette form for samfunnssystem?

Ønsker alle mennesker frihet?

Hva vil Bildung 3.0 være?

Folkehøgskole / kostskole – å være en del av noe som er større enn seg selv.

Fag & internat – samvirke er gullet

Bildung 3.0
Hva var Bildung 1.0 og Bildung 2.0?
hva blir Bildung 3.0?

Selve samtalen om Bildung 3.0 er i seg selv opplysende.


Norway copied the folk high schools from Denmark and gave them their own twist. On the one hand they were started to promote Norwegian identity as Norway had been liberated from Denmark and was still in a union with Sweden, on the other hand, from the very beginning, they faced harsh competition from free, state-run adult education. Traditionally, folk high schools in Norway have thus had both the strong Norwegian bent and a strong focus on academic performance.


Lene Rachel Andersen, The Nordic Secret

Systems Thinking Symposium in Leiden

The day after the scientific roundtable, on October 27th, both Lene Rachel Andersen and Tomas Björkman were invited to give individual speeches at the farewell symposium of Professor Jos van den Broek in Leiden. To the audience’s delight, both Lene and Tomas had some sensorial surprises to illustrate their topics regarding Nationalism and The Finance System; Lene brought licorice for everybody, Tomas brought money (he did not hand it out, though).

The overarching theme of the symposium was Systems Thinking: Breaching the Boundaries, which is highly related to the theories presented in The Nordic Secret.

The diversity of excellent speaches ranging from astronomy, systems biology to health communication together with the lovely Yellow Submarine choir, contributed to a wonderful day highlighting the best science can offer to benefit our societies and a brighter future.

Roundtable The Nordic Secret Haarlem

Scientific roundtable in Haarlem

We travelled to the Netherlands, starting with picturesque Haarlem, on October 26th, to hold our fourth scientific roundtable. This time to present the now finalized content of The Nordic Secret for researchers, representatives from the De Bildung Academie, adult educators and philosophers.

Our unique venue, the former panopticon style prison De Koepel, offered a stimulating environment for the discussions of topics such as rethinking nationalism and the practical implementation of the Bildung models.

Lene compressing two years of research into 30 minutes:

  • Bildung vs. developmental psychology / ego-development
  • 5 layers of personality development + 3 stages of Bildung
  • Kohlberg’s moral stages
  • 10 circles of belonging – including a new take on the nation state as an important level of system complexity
  • Cultural codes
  • Bringing the elements together; ”the model”
  • The Nordic Secret

Tomas Björkman further developing and explaining some of the ideas presented.


Ad Verbrugge, Michiel Tolman, Jan Visser, Mark Helfrich (in the background), Henk Wesseling, Henk Hijink, Durk Gardenier, and Jumbo Klercq (with his back to the camera).

Michiel Tolman, Mark Helfrich and Durk Gardenier are from De Bildung Academie, Henk Hijink and Jumbo Klercq are experienced adult educators and involved in Learn for Life, Henk Wesseling is chairman of the Andragology network in Amsterdam, Ad Verbrugge is a professor of philosophy and the host of Human (which is a really fantastic TV programme if you understand Dutch), and Jan Visser has worked in the development of education for years, including for the UNESCO.

After the presentation, the participants were divided into three groups to reflect deeper on selected topics and their possible implementations:

  • Vocabulary & applying the findings
  • Implementing the findings
  • What to do about nationalism

After lively and engaged discussions, each group summarized their conclusions.

Jan Visser, Henk Hijink, Paul Oomen, Truus Ophuysen, and Ad Verbrugge. Both Paul Oomen and Truus Ophuysen are active in the Amsterdam andragology network.


Ad Verbrugge and Truus Ophuysen.

Ynte Bakhuizen and Henk Wesseling. Ynte Bakhuizen is one of the co-founders of De Bildung Academie and now works to develop De Koepel and turn in into a palace of Bildung.


Our host Michiel Tolman from De Bildung Academie summarizing the day.