Salem International Boarding School

Asked about what makes the school special, Salem pupils and parents by majority name the school’s international community. Salem’s intention is to bring young people together, to develop their personalities, to train independent thinking and mutual understanding. In short: To prepare young people for a globalized life full of challenges and in need ofcommon solutions.

Academic Programme

There are two alternative ways to graduation in Salem, one being the conventional German grammar school path leading to the Abitur exam. The other consisting of international classes with English being the language of instruction and leading to the International Baccalaureate Diploma. In each of the two streams (as well as on the dorms), pupils’ nationalities are deliberately jumbled. Supported by the school’s careers counselling service, the decision of whether to graduate in German or in English is due at the beginning of the upper school and considered strategically. After all, the road to graduation must correspond to the pupils’ future academic and professional plans.

Pedagogical Concept

Back in the 1930s, Salem’s founding father Kurt Hahn defined seven so-called “Laws of Salem” as the fundamentals of his pedagogical concept. Seven laws serving as a guideline for everything undertaken in daily life at the school. And seven laws despite their age still so important for the upbringing of children, preparing them for a demanding future:

(1) Give young people the chance to discover themselves and face challenges. In a community of pupils from 45 nations all over the world, sharing a structured boarding school day – and a room on the dorms. (2) Provide young people with the experience of both victory and defeat.In a multitude of activities, in sports tournaments, in a democratic function, or when performing on stage. (3) Teach them to put pursuit of the common good before personal ambition. By learning to assume responsibility for oneself, for fellow pupils and for the community. The Salem Services and Technical Relief Units aim at helping in emergencies and people in need. (4) Make time for silence – make space for contemplation. Time has become a precious good in our times. How would anyone manage to be creative without reflecting, without being at rest sometimes, digesting impressions and experience? (5) Train imagination and the ability to look ahead and plan. The future starts now. We will never know what it holds for us. However, we manage to get along well, no matter what it brings. (6) Take sports and games seriously, but do not let them dominate. Never surrender, unless this is a wise decision. Do not give up easily, as there might be a solution to any problem. Especially if there is a team working together. (7) Liberate the children of the rich and the powerful from the paralyzing awareness of their privilege. How does it feel to stand on your own two feet? To make real friends, for a lifetime? Maybe when achieving the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award? Salem is about bringing people together, from all nations, no matter their individual background. In order to learn from each other, to reach smart solutions to common problems, to better understand other people’s contexts. Salem builds personalities of pupils striving to become active global citizens. A new young elite, responsible for the decisions of tomorrow.

salem 6
salem 7

Taking over responsibility

In the middle of the German covid-19 lockdown, in April of 2020, Salem International Boarding School turned 100 years old. While condign celebrations needed to be cancelled, the school spent its anniversary on precisely putting its educative theory into practice: In taking responsibility.

A century prior to this date, with the First World War just ending in destruction, Salem’s founding fathers were determined to implement a new and better kind of education. Their vision: An academic elite bound to develop personality, to form an international community, hence practice tolerance, and state an example to others in being more focused, more courageous, and smarter when facing the world’s challenges together. During the Third Reich, Salem bore a respective number of members of the resistance whose names remind generations of pupils not to forget.

A visit to the school of our times reveals no changes to the original ideas. While tourists pass by the castle area’s buildings under preservation order, children in neat school uniforms mingle with them while hurrying to their next lesson in classrooms that seem to bridge the traditional, historic side of the buildings with modern, technology-driven education. Salem’s pupils are passionate about following the tradition of being open-minded, about practicing democracy in everyday life, about fostering international understanding – even if it is hard sometimes to find compromises working for everyone involved. Serving others during the covid-19 pandemic by being a host, a donor or a friend is a given in Salem.

Today’s children grow up in a world of a million possibilities and chances. Along comes disorientation, doubt, and parents inevitably trying to protect their offspring from the downsides of life. Salem in contrast prepares pupils for passing the reality of their adult future in a globalized world. Going through boarding school life means learning how to cope with life’s challenges all the time. However, this learning process still takes place in a very supportive setting.

Alumni Networks

The Salem spirit of community outlasts graduation and continues in lifelong networks. There are more than 5.000 people all over the world making up the school’s Alumni Network, which strongly supports the current pupils in every aspect. Salem has seen innumerous pupils graduating in the course of a century: The rich and the famous, the children of important entrepreneurs, politicians and diplomats, members of the resistance, boys and girls pursuing successful careers as literary figures, doctors or lawyers all over the world – just to name a few examples. United by their boarding school experience and their everlasting slogan “We are Salem”.

Visit Website

Schule Schloss Salem

Schlossbezirk 1



T: +497553919