The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education

About us

The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE) consists of 26 national Steiner Waldorf schools associations representing 712 schools and 159.230 pupils in 28 European countries. The organisation is funded by contributions of our members that are calculated based on pupils numbers in the member countries.


Education enabling all children to holistically unfold their unique potential throughout their lifelong personal and professional development.


Supporting genuine Steiner Waldorf education and promoting human-centred and independent education in Europe


President: Dr. Richard Landl, Germany
Secretary: Margareta Van Raemdonck, Belgium
Treasurer: Frans Ebskamp, The Netherlands
Vice-President: Iztok Kordis, Slovenia
Vice-Treasurer: Frederikke Larsson, Denmark

Role: The​ board formally administers and represents the association. The board offers guidance and steers Council activities, sets the agenda of Council meetings and hires and supervises staff. The board represents the Council towards the EU Institutions in Brussels. Board members are elected by the Council for a period of 3 years.

Brussels Office

Managing Director: Georg Jürgens
Office Assistant: Ilona De Haas

1 person full-time, 1 person 20%

Role: The Brussels office coordinates the work of the Council, organises meetings, facilitates communication with and between members, builds and maintains a network with partner organisations. On behalf of the board, the managing director can represent the Council towards the EU Institutions in Brussels.


Each of our 26 member associations is represented by its appointed representative and has one vote in the General Assembly; 6 partner organisations have permanent guest status without voting rights.

Role: The Council is a forum to report on important organisational, political and legal developments in the member countries, to exchange best practices and to coordinate joint activities and advocacy around shared goals. The Council meets 3 times per year; each time in a different member country.

Our priorities

To implement our mission, we promote freedom in education and school autonomy. The provision of genuine Steiner Waldorf education tailored to local needs is best achieved if the following conditions are met:

  • Freedom of curriculum: National associations and local schools can define and fully implement their own school curricula without state interventions;
  • The freedom of parental school choice as described in Article 14, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is granted Europe wide. Where necessary, national governments change their legislation accordingly;
  • Full public funding for independent non-profit schools is granted Europe wide to realize the right of parental school choice, irrespective of financial means;
  • Pluralism in assessment is a reality and Waldorf schools may develop and provide their own, state-recognised diploma. Standardised and centralised tests are replaced with individualised assessment;
  • Age-appropriate ICT and media pedagogy: Our schools can provide their own ICT and media pedagogy based on our development-oriented approach.


  • ET 2020 Working Group Schools: This working group is facilitated by the European Commission and brings to- gether experts from national education ministries, relevant EU bodies, internati- onal organisations, social partners and civil society to further policy development through mutual learning and the iden- tification of good practices. ECSWE is a member since February 2016;
  • Initiative for an age-appropriate media pedagogy: Together with IASWECE and ELIANT, ECSWE lobbies EU Institutions and engages in an open debate with our partners and other stakeholders;
  • Initiative for Pluralism in Assessment: In close cooperation with the Learning for Well-being Community, ECSWE collects good practices in assessment to show alternatives to standardised tests. These are also used to inform our Advocacy towards EU Institutions;
  • Lobbying for Freedom in Education: ECSWE maintains a network with other organisations promoting Freedom in Education.

Steiner Waldorf education

Steiner Waldorf education emphasizes the role of imagination in learning and integrates the intellectual, practical, and artistic development of pupils holistically. The Steiner Waldorf curriculum is non-prescriptive, in accord with developmental needs of the child and avoids an undue early specialisation or inappropriate academic pressure. The Steiner core curriculum is taught in bloc lessons. A class teacher accompanies children from school entry age for several years in succession. Our schools are co-educational, and usually both comprehensive and integrated from the age of 6/7 to 18/19. Our schools and settings aspire to a model of management and leadership which is collaborative, with responsibility and accountability defined and shared transparently throughout the organisation.

A worldwide movement

It has nearly been 100 years. Rudolf Steiner founded the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart in 1919, upon request of entrepreneur Emil Molt, who had asked him to create a school for the children of workers at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory. Today there are over 1,100 Waldorf schools and 1,700 Waldorf kindergartens in over 80 countries around the globe – and the movement is growing fast. Most of these schools are located in Europe and represented by our members:

Country Schools (2017) Pupils (2016) Country Schools (2017) Pupils (2016)
Armenia 1 407 Luxembourg 1 422
Austria 19 2.495 Netherlands 90 20.723
Belgium 28 3.280 Norway 31 5.111
Croatia 2 163 Poland 4 566
Czech Republic 18 2.665 Portugal*** 2 no data
Denmark 16 3.056 Russia 18 2.508
Estonia 10 1.033 Sweden 43 4.980
Finland 26 4.624 Switzerland 30 5.461
France 15 1.667 Slovakia 2 256
Germany 237 84.089 Slovenia 4 525
Hungary* 39 (38) (5626) Spain 11 682
Ireland** 4 see UK Ukraine 4 1.104
Italy* 30 (21) (2.422) UK**** 31 4.107
Latvia 2 729 Total 722 (712) 159.234
Lithuania 4 533
* numbers in brackets: schools/pupils represented in the national association **represented by the United Kingdom, ***represented by Spain, ****pupils numbers include Ireland

[ Download Factsheet 2017/18 ]

Back to Top ↑
  • ECSWE Newsletter 51, May 2018

    In this volume:
    • - The ELIANT Petition for age-appropriate media education;
    • - A Parliament resolution calling for educational choice;
    • - News from the ET2020 Working Group Schools;
    • - Reports of the last two Council meetings in Dornach and Cracow;
    • - Domestic reports: from Italy and the Netherlands;
    • - An update on the WOW-Day 2017;
  • Factsheet 2017/18

  • Partnerships

  • Recommended Research

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