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"Durmstrang is a school for young witches and wizards. The school has a dubious reputation, and is known to put a lot of emphasis on teaching the Dark Arts."
— Durmstrang introduction[src]

Durmstrang Institute (Cyrillic: Дурмстранг) was one of the three largest wizarding schools in Europe (the other two being Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic). Located in the far north of the continent,[1][2] the school was willing to accept international students from as far afield as Bulgaria.

Having existed since at least 1294,[5] Durmstrang was one of the three schools that competed in the Triwizard Tournament,[5] and was notorious for prominently featuring the Dark Arts in its curriculum.[6]

Durmstrang did not admit Muggle-borns,[6] but certain students might not necessarily have shared this prejudice — in 1994, Viktor Krum attended the Yule Ball with Hermione Granger,[7] who was Muggle-born and would not have been admitted at Durmstrang.


Main article: Durmstrang Castle
"Ve have just four floors, and the fires are lit only for magical purposes. But ve have grounds larger even than these — though in vinter, ve have very little daylight, so ve are not enjoying them. But in summer ve are flying every day, over the lakes and the mountains —"
— Viktor Krum describing the Durmstrang Institute to Hermione Granger[src]

Durmstrang Castle

Durmstrang, much like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was a castle, though Durmstrang Castle was not quite as big as Hogwarts Castle. The castle was four storeys tall, and fires were only lit for magical purposes. It had very extensive grounds however, larger than Hogwarts, and was surrounded by lakes and mountains.[7]

The school was unplottable; Durmstrang concealed its whereabouts from plain sight. The institute was said to be situated in the far north of Europe.[6]


"Educated at Durmstrang, a school famous even then for its unfortunate tolerance of the Dark Arts, Grindelwald showed himself quite as precociously brilliant as Dumbledore. Rather than channel his abilities into the attainment of awards and prizes, however, Gellert Grindelwald devoted himself to other pursuits. When Grindelwald was sixteen years old, even Durmstrang felt it could no longer turn a blind eye to his twisted experiments and he was expelled."
The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore describing Grindelwald's school days[src]

Durmstrang was founded during the Middle Ages by the great Bulgarian witch Nerida Vulchanova, who served as the first head of the school. She was succeeded after her mysterious death by Professor Harfang Munter, who established Durmstrang's reputation for emphasising martial magic and duelling as an impressive part of its curriculum.[3]

Around 1294, the Triwizard Tournament was established as a friendly competition between Durmstrang Institute, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic.[5] But in 1792, a Cockatrice went on a rampage and injured the Heads of all the schools.[4] The Triwizard Tournament was then suspended indefinitely, only restarting in 1994.[5]

Gellert Grindelwald school portrait

Gellert Grindelwald, once a Durmstrang student

In the 1880s or 1890s, Gellert Grindelwald was accepted into Durmstrang Institute. Although the school was oriented towards the Dark Arts, Grindelwald's experiments in dark magic were considered too dangerous for the students. After a certain amount of time, Durmstrang could no longer ignore Grindelwald's dangerous studies, and expelled him.[8]

Before Grindelwald was expelled, he carved the calling card of his obsession, the mark of the Deathly Hallows, on a wall of the school; this mark stayed there long after his defeat, so, considering the opposition to Grindelwald in the school, it can be assumed he magically embued the mark so that it could not be removed.[9] Grindelwald was marked as the best student in the school's history.[8]

At some point after 1981, Igor Karkaroff, after being acquitted as a Death Eater by betraying information to the British Ministry of Magic,[10] rose to the position of Headmaster of Durmstrang and became immensely unpopular in this position, and several students were removed from the school by their parents for his ruthlessness. He insisted on an environment ruled by fear and intimidation from his students, leading many to view him as egotistical and unprincipled.[3] During his time as the school administrator, some students copied Grindelwald's symbol onto their books and bags to impress others, but were "taught a lesson" (presumably in the form of retribution) by those who lost family members to the Dark Wizard.[9]

1994-1995 Triwizard Tournament[]

"Slowly, magnificently, the ship rose out of the water, gleaming in the moonlight. It had a strangely skeletal look about it, as though it were a resurrected wreck, and the dim, misty lights shimmering at its portholes looked like ghostly eyes. Finally, with a great sloshing noise, the ship emerged entirely, bobbing on the turbulent water, and began to glide toward the bank."
— The Durmstrang ship arrives at Hogwarts[src]
ViktorKrum PM DurmstrangShip

Durmstrang students arrive at Hogwarts on the Durmstrang ship

The Durmstrang delegation arrived at Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament by ship, an enormous vessel in which they slept during their stay in Scotland.[4] The Durmstrang students sat at the Slytherin table during their meals in the Great Hall.[11]

ViktorKrumIgorKarkaroff KrumEntersHogwarts

Viktor Krum, Igor Karkaroff, and Karkaroff's aid entering the Great Hall

Bulgarian Quidditch Seeker, Viktor Krum, attended Durmstrang, and was still in school during the 1994 Quidditch World Cup. That same year, the school participated in the recommenced Triwizard Tournament. Karkaroff brought twelve students with him to Hogwarts to put their name into the Goblet of Fire.[4] However, it was Krum who was chosen as the Durmstrang representative.[11] Karkaroff full-heartedly supported Krum with tremendous amounts of bias, both as a judge towards the champions and as headmaster to the students.[4][12][13]

As Krum was a celebrity, he was often followed by Draco Malfoy and other students who wanted autographs and the prestige of being close with him.[11] Krum mostly ignored these advances, but formed a close friendship with Hermione Granger, who was a Gryffindor student.[7] They continued communication after the Tournament through letters.


The ship sailing away from Hogwarts Castle

Karkaroff fled after Lord Voldemort rose again. It is not known who took over, or whether the school's reputation improved or worsened due to this. However, none of the students appeared to be too concerned by this, as Karkaroff was unpopular among the school, especially when he had his students row the ship while he rested in the cabin during their arrival.[14]


"And since he got out, from what I can tell, he's been teaching the Dark Arts to every student who passes through that school of his."
Sirius Black regarding Karkaroff teaching students the Dark Arts[src]

Durmstrang was notorious for its acceptance of the Dark Arts,[3] and was known to have educated (and later expelled) Gellert Grindelwald before his ascension as one of history's most dangerous Dark wizards.[8] Professor Igor Karkaroff, a former Headmaster, was in the service of Lord Voldemort as a Death Eater, but managed to escape punishment in Azkaban by providing the Ministry of Magic with the names of his co-conspirators.[10]

Lucius Malfoy, another Death Eater, considered sending his son Draco to Durmstrang (likely because its prejudiced attitude towards Muggle-borns coupled with its sympathetic attitude towards the Dark Arts appealed to the Death Eater), but his mother did not like the idea of him going to school so far away.[6] It was during Karkaroff's reign as Headmaster that the school's reputation worsened, as his insistence of letting an atmosphere of fear and intimidation rule over the school led even parents to withdraw their children from the institute.[3]

It was possible that Durmstrang students were proficient in transfiguration, as Minerva McGonagall told Neville Longbottom not to let anyone from said school see that he was unable to perform a basic Switching Spell.[4] Viktor Krum was also able to turn himself into a shark during the Second Task in the Great Lake (although badly).[13]


Heads of Durmstrang[]




Nerida Vulchanova The great Bulgarian witch that founded Durmstrang, serving as its first Headmistress in the Middle Ages and suffered a mysterious death. Unknown
Harfang Munter The second Headmaster and took over the school shortly after Nerida Vulchanova's mysterious death. He was a wizard of "dubious allegiance or nefarious intent", having stressed the importance of duelling and all forms of martial magic — something that the school is reputed for, even today, having kept it as an important part of its curriculum.
Headteacher of Durmstrang Institute during 1792 Attended the Triwizard Tournament in 1792 along with the Head of Beauxbatons and was injured by a Cockatrice during one of the tasks. c. 1792-unknown
Igor Karkaroff A former Death Eater. Unknown-1995


The Dark Arts was one of the subjects taught at Durmstrang Institute.[6]


Main article: Durmstrang uniform
Hp4gf 029Durmstrang

Durmstrang students in 1994 wearing their school uniforms

The students at the school wore fur cloaks, fur hats, and blood-red robes.[4]

Known students[]


  • The pronunciation of Durmstrang is "Doorm - strang".
  • "Durmstrang" seems to be a spoonerism for Sturm und Drang, a borrowed German expression meaning "turmoil, ferment"[16] deriving from the name of a highly emotionally driven German artistic movement of the late 1700s, precursor of Romanticism. "Sturm und Drang" literally translates as "tempest and urge" or "charge and rush" but was anglicised as "storm and stress".

Behind the scenes[]

  • In an interview with Accio Quote J. K. Rowling stated that she thought Durmstrang was in Scandinavia, in the far north of either Sweden or Norway.[1] It is, however, depicted on maps featured on Pottermore as being in a more southern location (southernmost part of Finland and into Russia right above Lake Ladoga, roughly); whether this is a change in canon or an error on the part of the artist of the map is uncertain.
    • Durmstrang could also possibly be located in Svalbard as it would make an ideal location for a wizarding school wanting stay hidden from outsiders. This is supported by JK Rowling's statement of Durmstrang being located in Scandinavia as Svalbard is Norwegian territory with a small Russian community present, which would fit with the school's name being written in Cyrillic.
  • In the film, the coat of arms for Durmstrang is shown to be a double-headed eagle, and also features the school's name in both Latin and Cyrillic script. This symbol is strongly akin to the two-headed eagle symbol of Tsarist Imperial Russia.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Durmstrang is pictured as an all-boys school. However, it is known from the novel that there was also at least one girl studying at Durmstrang, and most likely other female students by the 1990s. Moreover, Pottermore revealed that Durmstrang was founded by a woman (Nerida Vulchanova). It is unlikely that a female founder would ban female students from her own school (though it is possible a succeeding headmaster could have later made it so). However, despite being co-ed, the film may have made the school all-boys in order to follow a similar pattern with Beauxbatons in the film being all-girls.
  • In the book, the hairstyle of the Durmstrang students was not described; in the film, all the Durmstrang students (the majority of which were extras) sported very short buzz cuts, except for Igor Karkaroff's aide and Gellert Grindelwald.
  • Hogwarts, with their students wearing robes and house ties, seems akin to a Muggle boarding school. However the manner and dress of Durmstrang, where the boys wear identical uniforms and have one permitted haircut, strongly mirrors that of a military academy in the Muggle world.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the robes of the uniform appear to be a crimson or maroon colour.
  • Given the proximity of the two schools, it is likely that Muggle-borns born in the Durmstrang area would have been educated at Koldovstoretz instead, given that that school accepted Muggle-borns.


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 JK Rowling Book Reading 9 December 2000
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Hermione: "It must be far north because they have fur capes on the uniform list."
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Durmstrang Institute" at Wizarding World
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 15 (Beauxbatons and Durmstrang)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 11 (Aboard the Hogwarts Express)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23 (The Yule Ball)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 18 (The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 30 (The Pensieve)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 16 (The Goblet of Fire)
  12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20 (The First Task)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 (The Second Task)
  14. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 37 (The Beginning)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
  16. The Free Dictionary's definitions of "Sturm Und Drang"

See also[]

Wizarding education
Ilvermorny Crest 4
The eleven schools
Beauxbatons · Castelobruxo · Durmstrang · Hogwarts · Ilvermorny · Koldovstoretz · Mahoutokoro · Uagadou
Specialised schools
Academy of Broom Flying · Charm School · Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages · Institute of Muggle Studies · Merge School of Under-Water Spellage · The Naaszcademy of Magizoology · Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts · Young Wizards Daycare Center
The Triwizard Tournament
Triwizard Cup
Objects & Locations: Goblet of FireCasketGolden eggHedge MazeTriwizard Cup
Schools: BeauxbatonsDurmstrangHogwarts
1994-1995 Triwizard Champions: Fleur DelacourViktor KrumCedric DiggoryHarry Potter