English Summary

The Open School 21

The Project

Since 1996  Open School has developed an extensive programme for global learning for schools in the city of Hamburg, in order to promote an understanding of  justice, peace and sustainable development. Open School draws on the experience and knowledge of people who are experts and activists in their fields. The project cooperates closely with around 40 freelancing tutors,  artists, academics, members of non-governmental organisations, journalists, or entrepreneurs. Many tutors come from outside of Germany or have sought refuge here. Their experience of a globalised world and their struggle for social justice, peace and sustainable development is an invaluable  resource for school students attending workshops at Open School.

Aims and Objectives

The project wants to offer pupils the chance to understand global dependencies and encourage them to take an active part in the challenge to create a fair and secure future for all. Learning about living and working conditions of people elsewhere provides a new perspective on common responsibilities. This can be a challenging and exciting learning experience. Hence, Open School’s programme includes historical perspectives, questions around identity, migration, racism, peace, justice, and human rights. Further topics focus on the city’s colonial past , world-trade, fair-trade, responsible use of resources and care for the environment. Open School tries to encourage teachers and pupils to reflect on their own value systems, cultures, legacies and  lifestyles and their role as consumers. It hopes to encourage them to become important activists for global sustainable development.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Education for sustainable development requires a high level of active participation by everyone involved, in order to achieve long lasting results. Thus teaching methods include a wide range of illustrative materials, audio-visual aids and creative incentives for the participants to express their own points of view. Wherever possible the courses are held at locations that are relevant for the particular topics e.g. on a boat-tour through the harbour, while visiting a fair-trade shop, on a guided tour through the city, or various organisations working towards equal rights, anti-racism and access to participation..
Open School ensures a high level of teaching by providing regular support and training for tutors. They are briefed on new developments in the area of education and are offered specially designed courses which enable them to meet the challenges that education for sustainable development holds.


Around 5000 pupils and their teachers attend workshops every year.  The programme is designed for all ages groups and types of schools. It is published in the form of  a booklet once a year and distributed to all schools in Hamburg, as well as 1 500 individuals. Currently around 40 freelance tutors are offering more than 30 different workshops, walks, boat trips, and projects, which are offered on request. The duration and price of each event is indicated below each course description in the ‘Programm’ section.

Non-German workshops

At the moment some Open School events are available in languages other than German. Please contact us for more information.


The Open School would not be able to fulfil any of its tasks without continuously cooperating with qualified individuals and organisations in the field of education for sustainable development. Networking is essential for participating in current debates. It is equally important to gain insights into the present interests and concerns of pupils. Therefore Open School works closely with various environmental and cultural education projects in Hamburg, with the city’s education department, with migrant and refugee organisations, with schools, colleges and churches. Besides that it is a qualified partner organisation and has become a role-model for ESD projects throughout Germany.

Public Awards

The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development sought to promote public understanding for the principles of sustainability. The German UNESCO Committee awarded Open School 21 the title of “Official Project of the UN Decade” for the years 2005 to 2014.
Open School 21 is open to all questions, suggestions and partnerships concerning education for sustainable development!

You are welcome to contact us.