A sanctuary for green design and floral expertise

Vea, Norway’s State school for gardeners and horticulturists (Norges grønne fagskole – Vea), has clearly carved out its position as the leading institution within floristry, horticulture and green design in Norway. It not only attracts future leaders within the field, it has also received national and international acclaim.

A green sanctuary

Situated on the rolling banks of Norway’s largest lake Mjøsa, Vea has a long history that stretches back to 1923 when it was established as a horticultural school for women. More recently, in 2007, the school received accreditation as a tertiary training institution and, in 2012, it received approval for presenting degrees and certificates of apprenticeship within the discipline green design and environmental studies.

The name Vea is presumed to derive from the Old Norse word "Ve", meaning sanctuary, as it is located just 100 metres north of Tolvsteinsringen, the historic Twelve Stones Ring made up of 12 boulders arranged in a circle. Today, the institution is a sanctuary for horticultural and floral design studies and a place of devotion for artists, artisans, designers, and professionals in the green sector.

“Since Vea’s inception it has become well known for its expertise nationally and internationally as a tertiary vocational college producing florists, horticulturists, landscape gardeners, and other professionals in the green sector,” explains Dorte Finstad, marketing and information adviser at Vea. “It is the college of choise for artists, artisans, designers, landscapers, and gardeners wishing to gain further specialisation.” The reason is obvious: Vea focuses on vocational training that provides the skills and competence needed to succeed in occupational life.

Green expertise

Its right to establish new degrees without having to re-seek approval by NOKUT exemplifies the clear vote of confidence in Vea as a centre of excellence within the green sector.

What distinguishes Vea is perhaps that the college offers part-time as well as full-time courses to students in all phases of their education: to those completing their secondary education, to those who have a previous degree and are seeking new challenges and skillsets, and to those who wish to specialise even further within their discipline. “We aim to offer something for everyone,” adds Finstad. “The mix of ages and backgrounds among the students adds to Vea’s diversity and exemplifies our welcoming approach to teaching.”

At the secondary level, Vea offers courses in floristry. For adult students who are new in the discipline a corresponding education is offered in floristry and gardening. Meanwhile, at the tertiary level, Vea offers courses and programmes within garden design, botanical design, experimental floral design, landscaping, the green environment and garden design.

Given Vea’s accreditation, the college offers certificates of apprenticeship within its various areas of specialisation. In addition, it offers a leadership course, Leadership in Craftsmanship, for those with certificates of apprenticeship from relevant artistic and craft disciplines seeking management experience and development. The course attracts students from floristry, pottery, furniture design, the arts, and other design disciplines. 

International floral design

As part of its policy of internationalisation and to attract students from beyond Norway’s borders, Vea offers one of its popular programmes Experimental Floral Design, in English. The programme targets all types of artisans, designers, interior designers, florists, artists, teachers of design and craftsmanship, and aestheticians. The one-year programme focuses on plant materials and their aesthetic and technical possibilities. Students explore and experiment with plant materials and other materials to expand technical boundaries and create new forms of expression within their own disciplines. “It has become a very popular course”, says Finstad.

As part of Vea’s various courses and programmes, field trips and international exchanges through the Erasmus+ exchange programme are encouraged to ensure that inspiration, creativity and learning among students transcend national borders. Students at Vea often participate at various floral and horticultural educational events in Norway and abroad.

As several of Vea’s courses and programmes touch upon other disciplines, the school has strong relationships with various industry bodies such as The Norwegian Farmers' Union (Bondelaget), NAML (Norske anleggsgartnere-miljø og landskapsentreprenører), Interflora Norway, and others. Being part of a network not only helps Vea attract potential new students but also positions the school as the premier institution within its discipline.

With such green expertise, it is no wonder the school boasts several national champions in flower decorating and, even more impressive, the international champion from the annual international competition that was held in Shanghai in 2010.



Vea is a tertiary vocational college producing florists, horticulturists, landscape gardeners, and other professionals in the green sector.

Vea school for gardeners and horticulturists is the only certified vocational college in Norway recognised by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), which grants certification based on the quality of teaching, educators, and training facilities. It offers part time and fulltime courses.

Vea is situated on the rolling banks of Norway’s largest lake Mjøsa

Text: Maria Lanza Knudsen, Scan Magazine

Photos: Dorte Finstad/Ricardo photo/skyphoto

Oppdatert 14.09.2018