The Lisboan – Preparing students today for the future of tomorrow

 In International schools, News

Portugal’s continuing allure for international relocators from China, United States, France, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa has inevitably stoked demand for quality international schools. Essential Business talks to Niall Brennan, CEO of Artemis Education, about Artemis’ latest project in Lisbon – The Lisboan.

Text: Chris Graeme Images: Artemis Education

This year, the number of overseas citizens registered as living in Portugal rose to 771,000, up by 109,000 on 2021.

The statistics from Portugal’s borders and immigration agency SEF reveal the highest numbers of relocators ever, a far cry from the relatively modest numbers of 388,371 registered in 2015. Some 27.8% were Brazilian, Indian and Italian citizens, while the number of immigrants from the United States has increased 45% to 6,921.

A percentage of these are high net worth individuals (HNWIs), entrepreneurs and tech professionals who have variously settled in Portugal on a number of visas such as the Golden Visa, the D7, the Startup Visa, the Tech Visa and, for European Union nationals, the Non-Habitual Residence (NHR) regime.

And for those with young families, the first consideration is good-quality education. The Lisbon Metropolitan Area is well served with international schools, but demand is growing and the Artemis Group, which has schools around the world, is to open its first project in Portugal.

“We took the decision in 2020 to build a school in Lisbon. Demand continues to grow for international education with international curricula both domestically and as more and more international families have been drawn to the capital. The market remains capacity constrained and we feel it has further room to grow, particularly in Central Lisbon. The Lisboan will open in September 2023,” says Niall Brennan, CEO of Artemis Education.

The Portuguese civil engineering and construction group Engexpor with Grupo San José has won the contract to convert the old Napolitana pasta factory building in Lisbon into The Lisboan International School.

An amazing historical location

Located in the Alcântara neighbourhood, the building had been in the hands of the Auchan Group but was acquired by Artemis Education.

The total investment involved, including the purchase of the site and buildings and the cost of the works, was €50 million. “The total investment is significant. We are here for the long term and our investment horizon reflects that,” says Niall Brennan.
The total investment
“We were amazed by the location and potential of the site we were offered. We felt it provided a unique opportunity to address the market for international schooling through the regeneration of a landmark building in the city centre that is fast gentrifying,” he adds.

The school project will maintain the original façades of the ensemble of four buildings that comprise the former factory, which covers a 12,000m2 site in a project designed by Portuguese architect Frederico Valsassina.

The interiors of the buildings will be totally refurbished and modernised to fit the purpose of a new school. A new building is also planned.

The original industrial building, constructed in 1908 on a block framed by Rua Maria Luísa Holstein, Rua Cozinha Económica and Travessa Teixeira Júnior, was designed by the French industrial architects Vieillard & Touzet and is a fine example of Portuguese industrial architecture from the early 20th century.

In 1926, the factory was acquired by the Companhia Industrial de Portugal e Colónias, which remained in operation until 1970.

Niall says that the school will have capacity for 1200 students from ages 3-18, and “we expect to meet that capacity within 10 years. We will open every age range at The Lisboan from day one, except for those years in which students would take exams [ages 16 and 18]”. Fees will range from €12,500 to €19,500.


All Artemis schools offer internationally accredited curricula. At The Lisboan, the curriculum will be a IGCSE and IB blend. This will be further enhanced with a dynamic extracurricular experience. Fees will range from €11,000 to €21,000.

“The role of education is to enable our students to flourish, individually, within their communities and in the world. To achieve this, we must equip them for life in the 21st century and the core to that aim is ensuring they have the relevant foundation for the world in which they will live. This is not an add-on, but integrated into the very fabric of what we teach and how we teach and learn,” Niall explains.

The Lisboan will offer a wide range of sport and extracurricular activities. The Artemis Experience focuses on five areas: Passion, Arts, Service, Sports, and Internship.

“Programmes such as these are a proven pathway to support our students in developing their interpersonal skills, positive relationships, and levels of accomplishment and engagement, whilst encouraging a healthy mind and body approach,” says Niall.

First-class sports facilities

In terms of facilities, The Lisboan will have a 400-seat auditorium and a sports centre, which includes several multipurpose areas and a full-size sports hall. “We are also exploring a further development that will grant us more sports and multipurpose space and more outside space. These will be made available to the community outside school hour,” adds the CEO.

“As a Metro school, we are currently exploring options for additional multipurpose sites and outdoor sports facilities, in addition to those we have on campus, to ensure top-class facilities for our students.”

As for plans for the future, Niall Brennan explains: “We opened our first school in Doha in September 2022 and will open in Lisbon in 2023. We have an ambitious programme for development in Europe and the Middle East. We are currently working on several other sites which are yet to launch. In total, we expect to design, deliver, open and operate 20+ schools over the course of the next 10 years.”