History of Denmark

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The oldest traces of a prehistoric settlement in Denmark date from the Stone Age. Between 400 and 500 the Jutes settled together with the Saxons , the Angles and the Frisians across the North Sea in Britain after the Roman occupation had withdrawn from there. The ancestors of today's Danes came from what is now southern Sweden to Jutland and some western islands in the Baltic Sea in the 6th century . There they displaced or mixed with other Germanic tribes that had already settled there earlier.

Gorm the Old united the individual kingdoms that had arisen for the first time in the 10th century. By 1035 the Danes conquered large parts of the British Isles, Norway and South Jutland and created a North Sea empire under Canute the Great . During this time they were called Vikings along with the Swedes and Norwegians . The end of the Viking era marked the battle of Stamford Bridge and the destruction of Haithabu in 1066. This reduced the size of the Danish territory. In the Waldemar period ( 1157 - 1241 ) Denmark experienced considerable turmoil. At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th century, the Danes were able to expand their empire considerably to the east and south (southern Baltic coast). Under Queen Margrete , Denmark, Norway, Iceland , Sweden and Finland united under Danish rule in 1380 to form the Kalmar Union . Erik VII of Pomerania made Copenhagen the capital of Denmark. Sweden regained its independence in 1523, which meant the end of the Kalmar Union. In 1536 Denmark became Evangelical Lutheran during the Reformation .

Conflicts with Sweden dominated the history of Denmark until the 17th century , as both kingdoms vied for supremacy in Scandinavia and the Baltic region. Schonen , Blekinge and Halland initially belonged to Denmark and fell to Sweden in 1658, but Bornholm came back to Denmark in 1660. After a coup d'état by the Danish king, absolutism was introduced in 1665 . Reforms to improve administration and defense followed. From 1700 to 1720 Denmark, Saxony-Poland and Russia waged the Great Northern War , which limited Sweden's power. Copenhagen was largely destroyed in the Napoleonic Wars in 1807 . These burdens resulted in national bankruptcy in 1813 . After Napoleon's defeat in 1814, Denmark had to cede Heligoland to Great Britain and Norway to Sweden. Iceland (until 1944), the Faroe Islands , Greenland and Danish West Indies (until 1917) remained with Denmark.

Industrialization began under Christian VII; The first railroad ran in Denmark in 1847. Frederik VII abolished absolutism in 1848 and declared Denmark a constitutional monarchy . From 1848 to 1851 and in 1864, Denmark fought the German-Danish Wars , which ended with the loss of the duchies of Schleswig , Holstein and Lauenburg .

In the First World War, Denmark remained neutral; after a referendum, North Schleswig came to Denmark. During World War II , Denmark was occupied by German troops in 1940, despite a non-aggression pact. In 1945 Denmark became a founding member of the UN and in 1973 it joined the EEC . In 1992 Denmark voted against the Maastricht Treaties , even though it became part of the EC and later the EU .


History of prehistoric archeology in Denmark

Ole Worm is considered to be one of the founders of Scandinavian archeology . In 1626 he caused King Christian IV to ask all pastors to report rune stones , graves and other antiquities in their parish . He again resorted to the antiquarian Nicolaus Marschalk († 1525), who was one of the first to open grave mounds in Mecklenburg . In 1643 Worm published an overview of the monuments of Denmark, and he also collected antiquities in his Museum Wormianum .

As early as the 17th century, antiquarian interest was focused on artefacts from prehistoric times, such as the first of the two gold horns discovered by Gallehus in 1639 and the second discovered in 1734. In 1797 the lures of Brudevælte were discovered . Rasmus Nyerup (1759–1829) began to collect pre-Christian artifacts in his opinion, sat in the Royal Antiques Commission, founded in 1807, but failed to arrange them in a chronological order. However, the National Museum in Copenhagen , founded in 1807 and 1819 respectively, goes back to his collection , and he appointed the numismatist Christian Jürgensen Thomsen as director, who was to organize the finds chronologically.

The oldest projectile point in Denmark comes from Bjerlev Hede, Central Jutland and was dated to 12,500 BC. Dated

The three-period system presented to the public through the exhibition concept in the museum in 1816 goes back to this, which divides prehistory to this day into the three periods Stone Age , Bronze Age and Iron Age . In 1835, the first bog body was found with the wife of Haraldskær (the oldest, the man from Koelbjerg , discovered in 1941 , is over 9,000 years old); In 1845 Thomsen carried out an archaeological dig in Hvidegaard north of Copenhagen, where a Bronze Age warrior's grave had been discovered. Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaaes Danmarks oldtyd oplyst , which appeared in 1843 and was translated into English in 1849, is the first scientific overview of Danish prehistory . Worsaae first distinguished between the Neolithic and Paleolithic , at the same time it contributed significantly to the establishment of the three-period system in the course of the 1850s. Worsaae dated the first settlement of Denmark to around 3000 BC. In 1865 the National Museum already contained 27,000 artifacts. But the influence of the founders of Danish archeology in the following decades led scientists to deal primarily with classification, dating and archaeological cultures , rather than with the societies behind them. It was only through Anglo-Saxon work that the focus returned to prehistoric societies and their way of life, which was evidenced by sensational finds, such as the one around 7500 BC. Hunted aurochs from Vig (1904), the Hjortspringboot (1921), the well-preserved Iron Age men from Tollund (1950) and Grauballe (1952) or various female corpses, such as the wife of Elling (1938).

Johannes Brøndsted , director of the Copenhagen Museum from 1951 to 1960, promoted new methods, increased the protection of sites and the popularization of archeology; the latter was mainly promoted by his successor Peter Vilhelm Glob (1960–1981). His three-volume work Danmarks Oldtid , published between 1938 and 1941, is considered a milestone. In 1941 and 1950, university institutes for archeology were established in Copenhagen and Aarhus , and the radiocarbon laboratory at the National Museum was one of the first in Europe. At the same time, the number of sites grew tremendously. In 2016 Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein alone recorded 2,735 burials from the Bronze Age. Since 2012, the archeology of Denmark has been operated by the Kulturstyrelsen central agency, which is subordinate to the Ministry of Culture ; the regional museums work independently for the resources in their area of ​​responsibility.

Old Stone Age

Classification of "Danish History"

Upper Paleolithic (from 13th millennium BC)

Antlers from Slotseng
Mesolithic, ornamented aurochs bone from Ryemarksgård, Jystrup municipality on Zealand

Towards the end of the last ice age , hunters followed the large herds of reindeer, which migrated to the northern tundra areas in summer and to the southern areas in winter. The animals were killed by the hunters with spears that were thrown with a spear thrower. Important sites of the Hamburg culture (13,700–12,200 BC), to which these hunters are assigned, are within Denmark Jels , where finds of this culture first appeared in Denmark in 1981 , and Slotseng (excavated from 1990) in the eastern part of the southern Jutland, then Sjølberg in southern Lolland. In addition, there are antler finds from the Køge Bugt , which at the time was on the edge of the former Baltic Lake. The antlers worked there were dated to 12,140 BC. Dated. At that time, the coastline reached as far as the Dogger Bank on the North Sea side because of the binding of sea water in the glacial ice of the Vistula Ice Age . The sites are mostly in places where the reindeer herds passed, whose approximate migration routes can be reconstructed. Jels II is the largest find place of Hamburg culture in Northern Europe. There was probably a tent there that was possibly inhabited for a long time, because over 700 retouched tools were found in the area. Around 200 tools were found in nearby Slotseng C; with 12,500 BC It is one of the oldest Upper Paleolithic sites in the north. In 2006, Krogsbølle near Nabskov on Lolland was added to the well-known sites , and in 2009 a second camp site called Nedersøparken was found near Jels. Probably the few groups of hunters stayed that far north only in the warmer months of the year; the areas that have sunk into the North Sea today were an important part of their tail area, as finds in Scotland show. In the subsequent cold phase, the older Dryas (11,590–11,400 BC), there was probably a migration to the south.

The late Ice Age , but then permanent settlement of Denmark, which covered a much larger area in the North and Baltic Seas at 100 m lower sea level, began with the Bromme culture (11,500–10,000 BC), whose representative in the tundra was elk, Musk ox , horse and reindeer hunted. It is named after a site near Sorø on Zealand . When an artifact of this culture was discovered for the first time in 1889, the culture was initially called Lingby culture, but from 1944 at the latest it was named after the place where it was found in Bromme on Zealand. The water level of the Baltic Sea, which was a freshwater basin, was 50 m higher than that of the North Sea, which was 100 m lower than today. The probably only seasonal stays of the Brommel people at the living quarters left behind mainly tools. Their camps are especially found on the lakes and rivers (on Djursland and near Langå). Since up to now only large Bromme tips have been found at the more than 100 sites in Northern Germany and Scandinavia, it seems that bows and arrows were not in use; the processing technique was quite simple compared to the Hamburg culture. Apparently, however, there were permanently inhabited camps, which were about 50 m² in size and had a central fireplace. The connection to the penknife culture and the Hamburg culture has been discussed for a long time.

Dværgebakke site, 2005

The Ahrensburg culture started around 11,000 BC. BC, but the majority of the finds date from between 10,100 and 9400 BC. The artefacts of this Hamburgien span the area between England and Sweden as well as considerable parts of the lowlands of Northern Europe. The epoch, around 1500 years after the Hamburg culture, shows similarities, but there is no evidence of continuity. Their projectile points were small, sometimes small Bromme points appear there, along with so-called Zonhoven points. Ahrensburg sites are rare in Denmark. The most important place is Dværgebakke .

Mesolithic (around 9700/9300 to 4000 BC)

The time between the end of the last ice age and the beginning of the productive way of life is usually 9700 to 4000 BC. Dated and referred to as Mesolithic . The Mesolithic of Denmark started relatively late. One of the reasons could be that the forests only slowly expanded northwards and continued to dominate grasslands for a long time, as is suggested by finds in Lundby Mose on Zealand, the oldest Mesolithic site in the country (approx. 9300 BC).

The Mesolithic in Denmark is usually divided into four archaeological cultures, the second of which is the Maglemose culture (7400-6000 BC). She was referred first to the large bog near Mullerup (Seeland) as Mollerup culture, and is out later in North District in England ( Boxburne , Star Carr ) and in northern Russia (there as Kunda culture called) to beyond the Urals spread . Maglemose means 'great moor'. The southernmost site is Haltern am See in North Rhine-Westphalia . In the Maglemose culture, groups formed because of the widespread distribution and the longevity of the culture, but also because of climatic changes and the influences of neighboring cultures. England was also established around 6800 BC. Cut off from the mainland by a flood. In Maglemosia, the forests spread over large parts of Denmark, which drastically changed the way of life. Important sites are Holmegård , Ulkestrup , Lying, Öregarde , Sværdborg and Kongemose . Their artifacts are unusually well preserved, as most of the settlements were in the bog. These include arches made of elm wood up to 1.8 m high, bolt arrows made of pine wood, but also numerous artifacts made of bones and antlers. The rectangular or trapezoidal huts, measuring 2.5 to 4.5 by 2.5 to 6 m, had floors made of plaited strips of bark and split birch and pine trunks. There were incisions on the antlers and bones, animal sculptures made of amber (Singaalgard on Zealand), pierced ornamental discs decorated with line patterns. A preliminary stage to ceramics could be demonstrated on the basis of air-dried, unscaled and unfired cullet.

Arrowheads of the Congemose Culture, Gottorf Castle, 2012

The Kongemose culture (6000–5200 BC) was also named after a moor on Zealand and also occurs in groups (Gudenå and Ahrensburg, which seems to be the origin). The hunt for red deer and wild boar was largely supplemented by berries, fish, nuts, shellfish, birds and roots.

The last Mesolithic culture, the Ertebølle culture , is also called Ertebølle-Ellerbek culture in German-speaking countries. It is dated to 5500-4000 BC. Dated. It was named after sites on the Cimbrian Peninsula . It was a culture based on fishing, plus other marine life such as mussels. Initially only investigated on the mussel heaps left by the culture (Brovst on the Limfjord , dated to 5700 BC, is the oldest), the inhabitants were thought to be groups who lived on the subsistence level, and finally, through agriculture, of theirs backward forms of life were “redeemed”, especially since it was believed that they lived directly on the rubbish heap. In addition, the Danish scientists agreed with this interpretation, as they were inspired by French research, which in the 19th century considered the Mesolithic to be a degenerative period in which the great hunter cultures had perished. In the meantime, however, extremely long-lasting contacts between the Mesolithic and the rural cultures of the south, the Neolithic, have been documented, as has the coexistence of ways of life for several thousand years. Artefacts of the rural Rössen culture were found at Ertebølle sites. Apparently the comparatively fixed way of life of the Mesolithic in the Baltic Sea region of Denmark offered a similarly secure livelihood as that of the Neolithic further south. Not until 4000 BC The rural, productive way of life prevailed over the appropriating way of life of the Mesolithic. While this transition was apparently comparatively little violent, the transition “Kongemose / Ertebølle” appears to represent a period of increased violence in both Sweden and Denmark.

Neolithic (around 4000 to 1700 BC)

The Neolithic Age in Denmark began around 4000 BC. And lasted until 1700 BC. The period got the name "Bondestenalter" (Peasant Stone Age) because the people cultivated the land and kept cattle. There was immigration from the south, where people had long been farmers.

Bronze age

The Bronze Age began in Denmark around 1600 BC. And lasted until 500 BC. Chr.

Iron age

Head view of the Grauballe man , 3rd century BC Chr.

The Iron Age is divided into the Pre-Roman Iron Age, the Roman Iron Age and the Germanic Iron Age. It lasted from 500 BC. BC to AD 800

In the early pre-Roman Iron Age , the courtyard was the basic element of the settlements. Nevertheless, there must have been overarching structures, as the finding of 60 dead fighters at Hjortspring shows. Such a number required the cooperation of numerous farms or several settlements. In the late pre-Roman period, the social differentiation can be clearly seen on the basis of the house size, as in Hodde , where a fenced-in, much larger courtyard was found in the settlement. There were also richly furnished graves, such as in Langå in the east of Funen.

113 BC The Cimbri and Teutons, who settled in and south of Jutland , were first mentioned. From the 2nd to the 6th centuries there are traces of a forerunner of a large settlement with a central character and extensive trade relations in the east of Funen near Gudme . During the first half of the 6th century, references to the existence and warlike deeds of Danes suddenly appeared in Gothic, Frankish and Byzantine sources . This also includes Prokop's description of the migrations of the Heruli from the Danube region to the north. The Danoi are named as one of the peoples whose territory they touched . Jordanes writes in his Gothic story of conflicts between Danes and Heruli. He thinks that the Danes were descended from the Suionen ( Sweden ). Gregory of Tours calls King Chlochilaicus the "Danish King ". The poet Venantius Fortunatus celebrates their victories over the Danes in his poems for the Franconian kings Chlothar I and Chilperich . Most of the time, the original home of the Danes is believed to be in what is now southern Sweden, especially in the areas of Scania and Halland , which belonged to Denmark until 1658 .

Viking age


Around 700 , Willibrord , who was ordained mission archbishop , tried in vain to convert Ongendus , the Danish king at the time . Under Charlemagne, no further mission attempts were made, as he refused to proselytize areas that were not subject to it. This was connected with his idea of ​​the unity of kingdom and church and only changed under Ludwig the Pious .

Ansgar , patron saint of Denmark, in front of the Marble Church in Copenhagen

Under Louis the Pious, at the instigation of Archbishops Agobard of Lyon and Ebo of Reims, the mission across the northern border of the empire was resumed. This plan was supported by the fact that the Danish Viking king Gudfred (Göttrik) was murdered in 810. His sons drove out the crown pretender Harald Klak , whereupon he became a vassal of King Ludwig. With the emperor's missionary mandate, Ebo traveled to Rome to receive the papal missionary mandate. This order was given by Pope Paschal I in 822 or 823 with a papal bull . The mission area was not described in more detail (ubique). Ebo made his first missionary trip to Denmark in 823. The Pope urged him to consult the Pope in all questions of doubt, as had already been the case for Boniface . Thus the missionary mandate of the church gradually began to emancipate itself from the imperial church. With this bull Ebo became mission vicar and mission legate of the Pope, following the example of Boniface.

In 831 the Archdiocese of Hamburg was established at a synod by Emperor Ludwig . The archbishop was given the right to appoint bishops in the Scandinavian area and to delegate priests there. The political intention behind it was to incorporate the north of the imperial church, which was only possible with an archbishop's seat in the kingdom. Ansgar was ordained the first archbishop by Archbishop Drogo von Metz . 831/832 Ansgar received the pallium and a certificate in which he was granted the legation . At the same time the establishment of the Mission Archdiocese of Hamburg was confirmed. The mission came to a standstill after Hamburg was sacked by the Danes in 845, as all resources had been destroyed. In 848 the Archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen was founded by a bull by Pope Nikolaus I. Ansgar joined the embassies of Ludwig the German in 843 and / or 847 with Horik I of Denmark. Although he did not get his baptism, he did get permission to build a church in Schleswig. Horik got into throne disputes with his nephews in 850 and fell in a civil war in 854, and with him all Ansgar sympathetic advisers. Only his nephew Horik II remained of his clan . He was initially under the influence of the powerful and anti-Christian Jarls Hovi von Schleswig. Horik II soon got rid of his advisors and turned to Ansgar, asked him for a priest, gave the church in Ripen a building site for a church and allowed a priest to be present. Horik II was not baptized either, but sent 864 gifts to Pope Nikolaus I. During the dispute over the establishment of the Archdiocese of Hamburg-Bremen with the Archbishop of Cologne, the missionary attempts in Denmark declined again. It was not until Archbishop Unni of Hamburg (916–936) took them on again and again sent priests to Denmark. He was supported by Harald Blauzahn . His father, Gorm the Elder , had united Denmark, but was emphatically pagan and probably destroyed the church in Schleswig .

Large Jellingstein with the text for the unification of Denmark under one king

Otto I founded three dioceses in Denmark in 948: Schleswig , Ripen and Aarhus . This indicates that at that time Harald's sphere of influence was limited to Jutland. In the course of his reign, as reported on the Jellingsteins, he probably gained Funen , Zealand , Skåne and the other islands.

Harald Blauzahn was baptized around 965. In the 980s, Odense on Funen was added. In 965, all Danish dioceses were exempted from the duties of the emperor and the right of imperial bailiffs to intervene by means of imperial privilege. The emperor acted here as lord and protector of the imperial church for the interests of the Bremen archbishop Adalgar . This made the Archbishop of Hamburg the only connection between Denmark and the Reich. It was left to the Danish king to furnish the Danish dioceses, but the Danish bishops were suffragans of the Archbishop of Hamburg and thus members of the imperial church . Soon, under the influence of the English church, efforts to break away from the imperial church became noticeable in the Scandinavian churches. As the authority of the papacy increased, the regional churches began to establish direct contact with the pope via the imperial authorities. For the curia , however, the completion of the missionary work was an indispensable prerequisite for the Scandinavian churches to become independent. The following were seen as indicators for this: the conversion of the ruling house and the leading strata and the predominant part of the people to Christianity, as well as an at least rudimentary institutionalization of church life through monasteries and a diocesan and parish organization, and finally the national independence and the ability to fix the territory.

Applied to Denmark, the following resulted: Harald Blauzahn was baptized around 965 with his hirð , his bodyguard. The decisive factor was the Poppowunder . Sven Gabelbart sent in English missionaries. He brought Bishop Gotebald from England and sent him to Skåne . The Danish clergy also consisted more and more of locals. The Danish Church even began to do missionary work itself. Provost Oddar, a relative of Sven Gabelbart, was martyred in 1018 while proselytizing the Elbe Slaves. The successor of Sven Gabelbart's son Harald II was Knut the Great , who pursued an open alliance policy towards the English Church. This policy goes back to Archbishop Lyfing of Canterbury, who probably brought the first St. Peter penny to Rome and obtained his recognition as king. For the first time since Pope Nicholas I, Pope Benedict VIII wrote a letter directly to a Dane. The efforts to break away from the Hamburg Archbishopric are also expressed in the fact that Archbishop Aethelnod of Canterbury consecrated three bishops for Denmark: Gerbrand for Roskilde , Bernhard for Scania and Reginbert for Funen . Thus Lund was separated from Roskilde and Knut came into conflict with the Hamburg Archbishop Unwan (1013-1029). He caught Gerbrand on his journey from England to Denmark around 1022 and convinced him of the privileges of the Archdiocese of Hamburg over Denmark. In the following years he succeeded in asserting the ordination rights for Denmark and Archbishop Libentius II ( Libizo, Liäwizo ) from the Archdiocese of Bremen-Hamburg consecrated Avoco as the successor to Gerbrand in Roskilde in 1029. - Knut introduced the Peterspfennig in Denmark.

Early middle ages

Settlement areas in southern Jutland and in present-day Schleswig-Holstein between around 800 and 1100
Scandinavian place names in today's England from the time of Danelag around 865–960

Around 730, the Danes established the Danewerk near Haithabu near Schleswig to protect them against the Saxons who settled in the south . Around 800, King Göttrik kidnapped the merchants from the then Slavic town of Reric (near the island of Poel ) and settled them in Haithabu instead.

Almost all Danish villages date from the Viking Age or are more than 800 years old. Villages with the suffix -heim, ing (e), lev, løse and sted are among the oldest. They are already known from the time of the Great Migration . Suffixes with torp and toft (e) probably came to Denmark from England in the 8th and 9th centuries, and the suffixes with -by from Sweden. The suffixes -rød, rud, tved, holt, skov, have and løkke stand for clearings that took place in the 13th century.

In the early Middle Ages , attacks by the Danes on other countries were mentioned several times in the sources. Around 884 the Danes invaded England , occupied part of the country, and demanded tribute from the English kings in the form of Danegelds . In 924 the English King Edward the Elder brought the entire Danelag back under English control.

On the other hand, they played an important role in long-distance trade, as evidenced by the Ibsker coin treasure discovered in 2012 on Bornholm, which was buried after 854.

In the decades after 900 Denmark was not under a single rule, rather there were at least two, if not three centers of power. Southern Jutland with the trading town of Haithabu was in the hands of Swedish conqueror kings, who are known for Adam of Bremen and two of the rune stones from Haithabu . Swedes sat on Lolland. Another royal family had their seat in Jelling, in the south of northern Jutland , after Adam von Bremen came from Norway around 900. It is uncertain whether Håkon subjugated the Good Zealand and the Skåne coast. The Swedish rule in Haithabu was defeated by Heinrich the Vogler in 934 . King Canute I had to be baptized. This ended the Viking migrations from the Eider estuary to the Frisian area until 980. The Danish Vikings instead seemed to have turned to the east; because a runestone from this time honors a warrior who perished in Sweden. According to the annals of Corvey for the year 934, Heinrich had submitted to "the Danes". How far Jutland is included cannot be determined.

The Danish North Sea empire (founded around 1000–1013 under Sven Gabelbart and Knut the Great , downfall in 1042 with the death of Knut's son Hardiknut ) with its vassal states and allies.
  • The North Sea Empire
  • Tributary areas
  • Allied Territories
  • It is generally controversial what the contemporaries understood by Denmark. Alfred the Great's record of the voyages of Ottars and Wulfstans , the earliest evidence of this, referred to what is now southern Sweden as "Denmark", including Skåne , the islands of Falster , Lolland , Langeland and probably also Zealand and the other eastern Danish islands. It was not until the North Jutian Skivum stone from the time of the Jelling Stone that North Jutland was also included in Denmark, possibly a result of the unification under Harald Blauzahn. From this point of view, it is reported on the Jellingstein that Harald conquered eastern Denmark. On the other hand, Gregory of Tours says that a "Danish" King Chlochilaich invaded Gaul at the beginning of the 6th century. But if the assumption is correct that Chlochilaich is the Hygelac of the Beowulf song, then he was from the tribe of the Geaten, who were associated with Gauts and Goths and are located somewhere east of Jutland, which again with Ottar's observations in Would be consistent.

    Denmark was united for the first time by Gorm (the old man) or his son Harald Blauzahn before 960 . The royal power, however, was not yet well developed, and one cannot speak of a “government” in today's sense. This is also shown by the irregular Viking campaigns up to the reign of Sven Gabelbart , which in some cases even affected areas under the rule of their own king. Until well into the 11th century the Danes were called Vikings , who founded colonies and traded all over Europe , but also plundered entire countries and regions and waged wars. Around 1115, the Danish King Niels Knud installed Lavard as a border jarl in Southern Jutland. The Duchy of Schleswig later emerged from the Jarltum as a Danish fiefdom.

    Under the rule of Sven Gabelbart and Knuts the Great , Denmark reached an enormous territorial expansion as the North Sea Empire from approx. 1000 to 1035 . In addition to Denmark, parts of Sweden, Norway and again England belonged to the empire of Canute the Great. After Knut's son Hardiknut , Magnus the Good of Norway took control of Denmark. He died a little later of the consequences of an injury and Knut's nephew Sven Estridsson came to power.

    High Middle Ages

    Lund Cathedral , choir with apse

    From the reign of Canute the Holy (illegitimate son of Sven Estridsson (1080-1086)), the prosperity of the Danish crown increased, which was due to the close connection between the royal family and the church. One example is the deed of donation for the cathedral in Lund . The money for the church building came mostly from fines for breaches of the peace and the breach of the duty of ledings - funds that were partly intended for the king (the leding was the duty of every free person for military success). It was planned that in the event of war, each district of Denmark had to provide the king with a certain number of ships and crew. Anyone who did not comply with this obligation was liable to prosecution and usually had to cede property.

    Knut IV tried to strengthen the royal power in the country, for which he repeatedly intervened in the traditional legal system. This led to resistance and during a popular uprising in 1086 he was slain in St. Albans Church in Odense , but later canonized .

    Royalty and church tried to grow together and to centralize power in the country. In 1104 the Archdiocese of Lund was founded to which the entire north was subordinate. In the same year, King Niels changed a number of court offices, whereby certain functions were upgraded. Cupbearers , for example, were promoted to Drosten and from now on administered imperial affairs; Marshals were increasingly responsible for the administration of the military. The number of royal officials also increased considerably during this period. Resistance to this concentration of power struck down both king and church together. In the last years of King Niels' reign, attempts were also made to enforce celibacy by force. This conflict led to a legal peculiarity, namely the privilegium fori , i. H. the independence of the church from thing courts.

    Between fragmentation and the era of great power

    When Knud Lavard , Duke of Southern Jutland, received the Wenden tribes in the west as an imperial fief, he was seen as a candidate for the Danish throne, and thus a competitor of Prince Magnus . At a meeting of the opponents at Ringsted , Knud Lavard was murdered on January 7, 1131. As a result, his half-brother Erik II took up the fight against Magnus. He succeeded in doing this thanks to the help he received from the Hvide nobles from Zeeland . In 1134 the battle of Fodevig took place in Skåne , in which Prince Magnus and five bishops fell. King Niels survived the battle, but was killed shortly afterwards by Gildebrothers in Schleswig .

    Erik II was crowned king in 1134 . During his reign, Erik devoted much effort to the canonization of his murdered brother. The Archbishop of Lund , Asker , seemed to want to comply, but his successor Eskil was not so sympathetic to this request. Flared civil wars also distracted from this plan. Around 1157, Waldemar , Knud Lavard's son, was defeated by all opponents in the controversy for the succession. As sole ruler, King Waldemar I received the papal attention and favor that was necessary to canonize Knud Lavard. In a double ceremony in 1170, the long-murdered duke was canonized and Waldemar's seven-year-old son, Canute VI. , crowned king by Archbishop Eskil.

    Subsequently, the relationship between archbishop and king was often ambiguous. Both parties faced each other several times over the following years. King Waldemar paid tribute to the German emperor Friedrich Barbarossa in 1162 and thus promised him his loyalty. Archbishop Eskil went into exile in 1177 in the face of violent arguments with the Danish king , whereupon Bishop Absalon , a member of the Hvide family, took over his leading spiritual position. During this time King Waldemar enjoyed good relations with Pope Alexander III. In view of papal favor, Archbishop Eskil was reconciled with the king and returned a few years later. Together, the king and the church ordered the decoration of Danish churches and the construction of many monasteries. The Cistercian order was particularly promoted and soon had many branches and influence in the country.

    Europe in 1190

    As a result of several Danish crusades against the Wende , the Slavic cultural center Arkona on Rügen was conquered in 1168 . This was viewed by the Danes as the greatest retaliation against many years of Slavic pirate raids and looting. The victory led to a united feeling of community among the people torn by the civil war. When Rügen was incorporated into the Diocese of Roskilde , this led to massive uprisings against Danish rule on the part of the Wends. In the wars that followed, Denmark gained possession of Estonia . In 1219, the battle of Lyndanisse was used to demonstrate divine affection for Denmark. God is said to have listened to the prayers of Archbishop Andreas Sunesen and given victory to the Danes. As a result of this legendary event, the people's trust in the king and a strong church grew.

    During the early years of the 12th century Denmark achieved further military successes. The county of Holstein , once under the rule of the Schauenburgers , was conquered by Denmark in 1200/1201. In 1202 Lübeck was also brought under Danish control, but retained a great deal of independence in many business and political areas. This independence was found in many constitutions of later Danish cities, following the example of Lübeck.

    Waldemar time

    After violent and successful victories over the rebellious people, which had fought against the centralized, powerful kingdom and a likewise centralized, powerful church, the Waldemar family prospered. A Waldemar dynasty emerged whose power and influence were justified by the favor and will of God. The period known as “ Valdemarernes Storhedstid ” (Great Power Period of the Waldemar Dynasty ) refers to the early 12th century, when Denmark was a leading trading power and productive agriculture flourished in its own country. A new class of Danish aristocrats was formed, who enjoyed tax exemption, but in return for which they inevitably committed themselves to military service and who were completely involved in military service. Wooden buildings mostly disappeared and were replaced by stone, churches adopted the Romanesque style. A large number of young Danes attended prestigious universities in medieval Europe during this period. An urge for education and learning flared up when Archbishop Andreas Sunesen encouraged the people to learn Latin without classical texts.

    In 1202 Waldemar II , younger son of Waldemar I , was crowned king, which strengthened the dynasty. Then, however, in 1223 Waldemar II and his son Waldemar were caught during the hunt by the Count of Schwerin and only released in 1225 after the battle of Mölln and payment of a large ransom. As a result, Denmark lost its northern German territories and did not regain them even after being defeated at the Battle of Bornhöved in 1227.

    Imperial dissolution, late Middle Ages

    The defeat of Bornhöved drove expansion ideas from the head of Waldemar II. Instead of expanding the empire, he now pursued the safeguarding of his lordly power by making agreements with political opponents. Reval was incorporated into the Archdiocese of Lund . In 1232 Erik IV became co-king after his older brother Waldemar died. Through the marriage of Duke Abel with the Count daughter Mechthild von Holstein in Schauenburg , peace was to be established between Schleswig and Holstein . In 1231 the "Landbuch des König Waldemar" appeared, which was supposed to be useful for tax collection. It took decades to complete and today provides a good insight into the financial and tax system of the Middle Ages .

    The imperial unity, which was created under Waldemar I , did not last forever. Before his death, Waldemar II left border provinces to his sons. Abel became Duke of South Jutland, Christoph became Duke of Lolland-Falster and two sons, Niels and Knut , who were conceived outside of marriage , had Halland and Blekinge . Although these fiefs were not intended as hereditary property, they cause unrest with regard to imperial unity. King Erik IV found himself confronted with his brothers in many matters, mostly Duke Abel. The church was not spared from the following disputes and even threatened with ban. When Erik IV demanded tax payments for every plow in use in Denmark, unrest and uprisings flared up among the people. The king (now known as "Erik Plovpenning") was forced to flee. After attacks by Duke Abel, Erik IV moved to Schleswig in 1250 to defeat the Duke in battle. Although the king prevailed, he was murdered after negotiations at the behest of the Duke of Schleswig near Missunde .

    After Erik IV's death in 1250, Duke Abel was elected king on a thing at Viborg and was then crowned. During his reign from 1250 to 1252, he granted many privileges to Danish traders, but above all to foreign merchants. This trade-friendly policy turned out to be critical in the economic power struggle against the ever-growing German Hanseatic League . In order to centralize the country even more and thus make it more “manageable”, the “Abel-Christoffersche Ordinance” was issued, which gave Christoph I the obligation to continue the empire. Because of three wars on three fronts, this task was difficult for him. When Abel was murdered during a campaign against the Frisians and his eldest son was in captivity by the Archbishop of Cologne, Christoph was made king. Norway and Sweden threatened to attack the empire, while Abel's widow Mechthild von Holstein tried to secure the crown for her sons. Christoph I appeased the north with compensation. By indulging in aristocratic aspirations for power, the king managed to have the royal court become the supreme court of the Danish Empire. A dispute broke out between the church and the king when Archbishop Jakob Erlandsen tried to bring all Danish and secular subordinates of the church under church jurisdiction. When the king opposed this, the archbishop stayed away from the court in 1252. In Vejle in 1256, during a church assembly, an interdict was passed in the event that bishops were imprisoned by the king. Erlandsen lost his court privileges and was temporarily arrested in 1259. Since Christoph I died that year, his widow Erlandsen released, whereupon he continued his resistance from Rome and neighboring countries.

    Between 1332 and 1340 almost the entire land was mortgaged to foreign masters. This phase is known as the kingless time .

    Disputes with Lübeck and the Hanseatic cities


    Period of the Kalmar Union (1397–1523)

    Christian III's Bible
    from Denmark , Copenhagen , 1550 - the first Danish translation - in 3000 copies
    Christian IV of Denmark , location of the statue: Kristiansand , Norway

    The Kalmar Union began in 1397 as a merger of the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden under the leadership of the Danish regent Margarethe I , who acted on behalf of her great-nephew Erik von Pomerania. In 1409, the Schauenburgers had to give her Flensburg as a pledge for a few years . After having gained influence over the city, Margarethe immediately had the Duburg built. Denmark gradually gained more power and influence, but eventually came into conflict with the Hanseatic League. Denmark lost the war against the Hanseatic League and Holstein in 1435 , but in 1460 ( Treaty of Ripen ) the personal union of the Danish royal family with the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein was established. However, the Danish Union King lost Sweden in 1464 and failed in an attempt to regain the Swedish throne in 1471 .

    In 1482 Johann Snell printed Denmark 's first book in Odense ; The first book in Danish appeared in 1495.

    In 1500 the Dithmarsch peasant army under Wulf Isebrand defeated the Danish-Schleswig-Holstein army under King Johann and his brother Friedrich, duke in the Gottorf part of Schleswig and Holstein in the battle of Hemmingstedt . Sweden, which fell off again in 1501, could not be regained in the Danish-Hanseatic War (1509–1512) , but in 1559 Dithmarschen was defeated by Danish-Schleswig-Holstein troops under Johann Rantzau ("Last Feud"). In 1523 Sweden finally left the Kalmar Union with the election of its own king ( Gustav I. Wasa ), which triggered a protracted conflict over political leadership in the Baltic Sea region .

    Modern times up to the Congress of Vienna

    Danish coat of arms around 1600 (Siebmacher 1605)
    Denmark until 1645
    Denmark until 1658

    In 1537 Christian III. introduced the Reformation .

    Around 1560, the regents changed in Denmark and Sweden, ending the phase of peaceful coexistence between the two empires after the end of the Kalma Union. The Swedish monarch Erik XIV . wanted to break the Danish supremacy in the Baltic Sea region. The Nordic Seven Years War ( Three Crowns War from 1563 to 1570) ended without any border shifts. In the Kalmark War Denmark tried to bring Sweden back into its dependency, but it failed. From then on, the balance of power shifted in favor of a more dynamic Sweden, which subsequently became the dominant Baltic power.

    In 1620 Denmark acquired the Virgin Islands as a colony ( Danish West Indies ). The decisive turning point in Danish foreign policy was the unsuccessful intervention of King Christian IV in the Thirty Years' War in 1625–1629. In 1626 Christian was defeated by the imperial troops under Tilly in the battle of Lutter . The defeat meant the military collapse of Denmark. The humiliating peace treaty of 1629 and the military successes of the Swedish King Gustav Adolf II. From 1630 in Germany made it clear that Sweden was now the dominant Baltic power. For the next thirty years it was all about Denmark's survival as a sovereign state. In three consecutive wars, Sweden tried to incorporate Denmark into its Baltic region. When Charles X and his army crossed the frozen Belt in February 1658 in the course of the Second Northern War and threatened Copenhagen , this project seemed to be successful. Hans von Schack was only able to save Copenhagen, which was besieged by the Swedes, from conquest and Denmark from becoming a Swedish province. The continued existence of Denmark could only be ensured because foreign powers, with the Netherlands at their head, forced Sweden to make peace. In return, Denmark had to cede all areas east of the Öresund, including the provinces of Schonen , Blekinge and Halland ( Skåneland ), the actual area of ​​origin of the Danes, to Sweden in the Peace of Roskilde in 1658. This reduced the area of ​​Denmark by a third and the sound became an international body of water.

    Frederik III. replaced the existing elected monarchy in 1660/61 in favor of a hereditary monarchy . Denmark tried to recapture the lost territories from the weakening great power Sweden. However, this failed both in the Skåne War and in the Great Northern War due to the geopolitical situation and diplomatic influence by external powers. The peace of 1720 ushered in the longest peaceful epoch that Denmark had seen until the war with England in 1808. The first years after 1720 were accompanied by overwhelming debt servicing due to the war and an agricultural crisis. The reform ministers Johann Hartwig Ernst von Bernstorff , Johann Friedrich Struensee and Andreas Peter von Bernstorff modernized the country between 1751 and 1797 in the spirit of the Enlightenment , whereby the peasant liberation of 1788 was particularly significant.

    After the French Revolution and at the beginning of the Empire , Denmark remained neutral , both towards France and towards Great Britain. Despite (or because of) this armed neutrality , the country refused to allow British ships to enter the Baltic Sea. The British fleet responded to this in 1801 with an aggressive attack on Copenhagen . When, after the Peace of Tilsit, Great Britain demanded an alliance and Denmark hesitated to accept this ultimatum, it attacked Copenhagen again in 1807, taking the city after three days of bombardment on September 5th, with the British destroying magnificent parts of the old town and the Danish fleet robbed. “It was the hardest blow to hit Denmark since the Swedish conquests a hundred and fifty years ago” (Kjeersgaard, story 54). The subsequent naval war with Great Britain until 1810 induced Denmark to support Napoléon Bonaparte . The costs of warfare and the economic crisis as a result of the continental blockade led Denmark to high inflation and on January 5, 1813, to national bankruptcy . The Danish support for Napoleon meant that Denmark had to cede Norway to Sweden in the Peace of Kiel of January 14, 1814 . This ended the Danish-Norwegian personal union . However, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the Danish West Indies remained with Denmark.

    Nationalism and liberalism

    The destroyed Düppeler mill (1864)

    The Danish National Movement and the Liberals began to gain power in the 1830s. After the European revolutions around 1848 (see March Revolution ), Denmark declared itself a constitutional monarchy under the line of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg of the House of Oldenburg . The Basic Law of Denmark , which is still valid today, came into force. The important Danish theologian, educator, poet and politician NFS Grundtvig played an important role in this period .

    Copenhagen around 1895

    After the population in the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein felt unjustly burdened by currency devaluation and a real estate tax in the wake of the Danish bankruptcy in 1813, the German-minded part of the population rose up against the Danish royal family in 1848. The reason was the fear of German national liberals that Danish national liberals could constitutionally incorporate Schleswig into the Kingdom of Denmark by introducing a common constitution ( Schleswig-Holstein survey ). Schleswig was a Danish fiefdom under constitutional law , while Holstein and Lauenburg were member states of the German Confederation, with all three duchies being ruled in personal union by the Danish king. After the defeat of the German-minded Schleswig-Holsteiners, the London Protocol of May 8, 1852 ( international treaty between the great European powers Great Britain, France, Russia, Prussia and Austria as well as the two Baltic Sea powers Sweden and Denmark) determined the continued existence of the entire Danish state and thus rule of the Danish royal family over the duchies, although Schleswig's constitutional independence outside the kingdom was also established. However, since this only restored the status quo , the Schleswig-Holstein question was not resolved.

    The entire state constitution introduced for the entire state was also not recognized for Holstein and Lauenburg by the German Confederation, of which Holstein and Lauenburg were members. The November constitution drafted in 1863 under the influence of Danish National Liberals , however, only applied to Denmark and Schleswig, which the German states saw as a violation of the London Protocol. Thereupon the German Confederation carried out a federal execution against the Duchy of Holstein in December 1863 , in February 1864 troops from Prussia and Austria finally invaded Schleswig and thus solved the Second Schleswig War (February 1 to October 30, 1864; it is also considered the first of the three German Wars of Unification ). Denmark lost this war and Prussia and Austria occupied the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg. In the Vienna peace treaty of 1864 , Denmark was forced to cede Schleswig and Lauenburg to Prussia and Holstein to Austria, both on behalf of the German Confederation. The national memorial at the Düppeler Schanzen , where every year on April 18th the anniversary of the lost decisive battle is celebrated, still reminds of this today . After Prussia had fought with Austria in the German War in 1866 ostensibly for the administration of the territories formerly under the Danish King, but actually fought for supremacy in Germany, victorious Prussia won the duchies in the Peace of Prague , with a referendum on the intervention of the Emperor of France northern Schleswig was promised so that the mostly Danish-speaking residents could choose whether they wanted to belong to Denmark or Prussia. Prussia was incorporated into the North German Confederation in 1867, and this became part of the unified Germany in 1871 .

    In Denmark, the defeat caused deep cuts in the development of national identity, domestic politics shifted to the left, and the nation's foreign policy adopted a strict course of neutrality , which it maintained until after the First World War .

    In 1871 the Danish labor movement was formed under Louis Pio . The Danish Social Democrats were founded in the autumn of 1871. In 1898 the trade union federation Landsorganisation i Danmark was founded.

    From 1914 to 1940

    In the First World War, Denmark remained neutral.

    In 1917 Denmark sold the Danish West Indies to the USA .

    In 1920, after a referendum in the northern and central part of Schleswig (Danish also Sønderjylland / Süderjutland), its northern part -  North Schleswig  - fell to Denmark. The middle and southern part -  southern Schleswig  - remained with Germany. The border drawn in this way still forms the borderline today. The reunification of North Schleswig with Denmark took place on June 15, 1920.

    From 1931 to 1933 the conflict with Norway over areas on the east coast of Greenland ( Eirik Raudes Land and Fridtjof-Nansen-Land ) simmered until it was decided in Denmark's favor by the Permanent International Court of Justice .

    From 1933 to 1941, Denmark served German-speaking emigration mainly as a transit country to Norway and Sweden, as Denmark pursued a restrictive asylum policy towards communists and Jews due to foreign policy considerations towards the Third Reich .

    On May 31, 1939, the German-Danish non-aggression pact was signed in Berlin.

    Second World War

    Invasion of Denmark as part of the Weser exercise south
    Junkers Ju-52 over Denmark, April 9, 1940
    German reconnaissance vehicle in Viborg , April 1940

    Disregarding its neutrality and without declaring war, Denmark was occupied by the Wehrmacht of the German Reich from April 9, 1940, as part of Operation Weser Exercise . The Danish troops, taken by surprise, offered only sporadic resistance. The country remained under German control until the end of World War II . Germany formally respected Danish sovereignty and neutrality . In contrast to other occupied countries, both the head of state, King Christian X. , as well as the Danish government remained in the country. Thorvald Stauning's Danish government tried to maintain the privileges of a sovereign state with a policy of cooperation and negotiation . In contrast to Belgium and France, for example, National Socialist Germany refrained from reintegrating the territories ceded in 1919/20; North Schleswig remained Danish. At the end of 1941, Denmark even joined the fascist Anti-Comintern Pact .

    With the waning German war success after Stalingrad and El Alamein at the end of 1942 / beginning of 1943, the Danish resistance rose and acts of sabotage increased sharply.

    The elections in March 1943, the dissatisfaction with the German occupation and also the impression that Germany could not win the war, led to civil unrest and strikes in the country in the summer of 1943. The German occupying power then demanded that the death penalty be introduced and a state of emergency declared, but the government refused. Instead, this called on all officials to “not cooperate”. On August 29, 1943, this led to the removal of the Danish government and the declaration of a state of emergency by the Germans. The administration was now taken over by the heads of departments of the ministries. From this point on, negotiations with the German Reich Plenipotentiary Werner Best were led by Niels Svenningsen, Head of Administration at the Foreign Ministry . The Danish army was disbanded by the occupying forces , and the fleet sank itself .

    Boat with Jews on the crossing from Falster to Ystad in Sweden, 1943

    In October 1943 the Danish Jews were rescued : 7,300 of the 7,500 Jews were brought to Sweden via the Øresund . The price for the crossing averaged 1000 crowns per head. Poor refugees were transported free of charge or richer refugees also paid for them. The German governor Best and the shipping expert at the German embassy, Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz , were very well informed about the rescue; they had warned Danish politicians of the planned German action against the Danish Jews and thus made the rescue operation possible. Best's role in this context is unclear.

    After a false aerial alarm in the big cities on September 19, 1944, the police and border troops were disarmed and disbanded; Police officers were arrested and some were sent to concentration camps. 1960 Danish police officers were deported to Neuengamme concentration camp as a measure of repression because the Danish government did not want to use the police against the Danish resistance movement, as requested by the German governor. Later they came to the main camp IV B in Mühlberg / Elbe.

    The great majority of Danes sympathized with the Allies during World War II, but on the other hand supported their own government in an effort to establish a defensive collaboration with the German occupiers, which some historians have characterized as collaboration . Sympathy for the National Socialist worldview and the German war aims of the reorganization of Europe were extremely low in Denmark, the Danish NSDAP spin-off DNSAP only achieved a share of 2.1% of the vote in the democratic parliamentary elections in March 1943, which the National Socialists tolerated. Particularly after the attack on the Soviet Union , around 7,000 Danes (around 1,000 of them belonging to the German minority ) made themselves available to the German military power. They joined the Waffen SS as volunteers and sometimes fought on the German side until the end of the war.

    In 1944, Iceland , which had been occupied by British and later American troops since 1940, was declared independent , and since 1918 it had been linked to Denmark in the Real Union. The Faroe Islands , which also belonged to Denmark, were also occupied by British troops in 1940 and were self-governing during World War II.

    At the end of the war, on the German side of the border, in the border town of Flensburg , the special area Mürwik was set up for the last imperial government under Karl Dönitz . On May 4, 1945, the German troops in the Netherlands, north-west Germany and Denmark surrendered to the British troops with the consent of Dönitz, so that Denmark was liberated from German occupation on May 5, 1945. This also applied to the prisoners of the German concentration camp in Denmark in Frøslev on the border near Flensburg (officially " Fröslee police prisoner camp "). After heavy bombing of the cities of Rønne and Neksø on May 7 and 8, 1945, Bornholm was occupied by the Soviet Army a few days later; the German island garrison did not capitulate until May 11, 1945. The Soviet Army did not vacate the island until April 5, 1946.

    post war period

    European unification

    After 1945, votes in the Danish minority in Schleswig-Holstein called for the borders to be redrawn in favor of Denmark. The minority problem on both sides of the border was resolved in the 1955 Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations . see main article: German minority in Denmark , Danish minority in Germany .

    In 1945 Denmark was a founding member of the UN , in 1949 a founding member of NATO , and in 1952 a founding member of the Nordic Council .

    After a referendum on October 2, 1972, in which 63.4% of the electorate (with a turnout of over 90%) supported joining the EC, Denmark became a member of the European Community on January 1, 1973 .

    In a 1986 referendum, the Single European Act was approved by 53% of Danish voters. The conservative government under Poul Schlüter , which supported the signing, faced the problem that the Social Democrats and Social Liberals rejected the EEA with a majority in parliament.

    In a referendum on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, 50.3% of Danes voted no. This narrow rejection brought a slowdown in the European unification process for the first time. Only in a further referendum on May 18, 1993, after concessions had been made to Denmark in the Edinburgh decision (exemption from the third stage of economic and monetary union), 56.8% voted yes, which made the Danish ratification of the treaty possible . Protests against the re-vote sparked tumults in which 11 people had to be treated for gun injuries.

    In a referendum on the introduction of the euro in 2000, the majority of Danes voted for Nej (no) against the parliamentary majority of the established parties. With a turnout of 87%, 53.2% voted against joining the monetary union.

    Autonomous areas

    Iceland has been largely autonomous since 1918 (Realunion) and has been completely independent since 1944.

    The Faroe Islands have enjoyed extensive self-determination since March 31, 1948, and only the foreign and defense policy remains with Denmark. The Fámjin contract of March 29, 2005 expanded and supplemented this status.

    Greenland , no longer a colony since the constitutional amendment of 1953, received self-government and internal autonomy on May 1, 1979. After a referendum on February 23, 1982, Greenland left the European Community on January 1, 1985. An agreement of June 21, 2009 further expanded the independence status, particularly in the area of ​​culture and internal security. The Danish crown is still head of state in Greenland.


    King Christian X died on April 20, 1947. His son Friedrich succeeded him on the throne.

    A constitutional amendment was adopted in a positive referendum in 1953. Among other things, the two-chamber system with the upper house Landsting was abolished, the Folketing is now the only chamber in parliament. Further changes concerned the succession of the royal family (since then the crown can be inherited by daughters), the responsibilities for referenda, the voting age (reduced to 23) and civil rights.

    In subsequent referenda, the age for universal suffrage was further reduced from 23 to 21 (1961), 20 (1971) and finally 18 (1978). A referendum in 1969, which was supposed to reduce the voting age to 18, was not approved at that time.

    King Friedrich IX died on January 14, 1972 . His successor was his daughter Margrethe - this was the first time that the new rule of succession implemented in the constitutional amendment of 1953 was applied.

    In the Folketing election in 1981 , a conservative majority came about for the first time in 1924, when Poul Schlüter from the Conservative People's Party replaced Anker Jørgensen from the Social Democrats as head of government.

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the group known as the Blekingegadebanden , an underground left-wing extremist organization, committed politically motivated crime through raids in Denmark and Sweden to support the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) with money. The worst incident occurred on November 3, 1988, when a police officer was shot dead while robbing a post office in Copenhagen. In April and May 1989 the group members were arrested, some of whom were sentenced to several years in prison in May 1991.

    In 1989 Denmark became the first country in the world to introduce civil partnerships for homosexuals .

    After the 1993 Folketing election , the social democratic Poul Nyrup Rasmussen became prime minister.

    The bridge over the Great Belt was opened in 1998, and in 2000 the Öresund Bridge was inaugurated , which connects the two economic centers of Denmark ( Copenhagen ) and southern Sweden ( Malmö ), separated by the Öresund .

    In 2001, Anders Fogh Rasmussen of the right-wing liberal Venstre party became Prime Minister. When he was appointed Secretary General of NATO in 2009 , his party friend Lars Løkke Rasmussen took over his offices.

    On September 30, 2005, the Danish daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a series of twelve caricatures on the subject of the Islamic prophet and religious founder Mohammed . The pictorial representation of the face of Muhammad is forbidden in Islam according to widespread opinion and in the eyes of many Muslims represents a degradation of the Prophet. At the beginning of 2006 the Danish imams Ahmad Abu Laban and Ahmed Akkari created a dossier in which, in addition to the original twelve caricatures, also such were shown that did not come from Jyllands-Posten and were insulting and obscene in content and that were allegedly sent to Abu Laban. Among other things, a praying Muslim was shown who was mounted by a dog during the prayer. This led to protests from Muslim organizations around the world, ranging from boycotts of Danish products to violent clashes that cost more than 140 lives. The incident led to a worldwide discussion about freedom of religion , the press , the arts and freedom of expression . The term “cartoon controversy” came third in the 2006 word of the year election.

    In 2011, a wave of asylum seekers from the countries of the Arab revolutionary movement sparked domestic political debates in France and Italy , which also spread to Denmark. Under pressure from the right-wing populist Dansk Folkeparti , which was part of the government , the Danish government announced in May 2011 that it would reintroduce controls at the Danish borders with reference to illegal entry by refugees and criminals from other EU countries. However, these border controls should not violate Schengen law, as they are only carried out by customs officers. In neighboring European countries, this decision was mainly reacted with criticism. A reform of the Schengen rules was initiated by the debate.


    See also

    Portal: Denmark  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Denmark


    • Jörgen H. Barfod: The Holocaust failed in Denmark. Copenhagen 1985.
    • Matthias Bath : The SD in Denmark 1940-1945. Heydrichs Elite and the “Counter Terror” , Neuhaus, Berlin 2015. ISBN 978-3-937294-03-2
    • Heinrich Beck , Carl Johan Bekker, Erich Hoffmann:  Denmark. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd Edition. Volume 5, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1984, ISBN 3-11-009635-8 , pp. 141-174.
    • Norman Berdichevsky: The Danish-German border dispute, 1815-2001: Aspects of cultural and demographic politics . Bethesda, Dublin / London 2002, ISBN 1-930901-34-8 .
    • Robert Bohn : Danish History. Beck, Munich 2001 (= Beck'sche Reihe; 2162), 2nd updated edition 2010, ISBN 3-406-44762-7 .
    • Andrew Buckser: After the Rescue. Jewish Identity and Community in Contemporary Denmark. Palgrave Macmillan, New York / Basingstoke 2003, ISBN 0-312-23945-9 . (English)
    • Jörg-Peter Findeisen: Denmark. From the beginning to the present. Pustet, Regensburg 1999. Review here .
    • Steen Bo Frandsen: Denmark - the little neighbor in the north. Aspects of German-Danish Relations in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Darmstadt 1994, ISBN 3-534-11712-3 .
    • Eva Heinzelmann, Stefanie Robl, Thomas Riis (eds.): Derdänische Gesamtstaat , Verlag Ludwig, Kiel 2006, ISBN 978-3-937719-01-6 . Review here .
    • Lars Hermanson: Släkt, vänner och makt: en studie av elitens politiska kultur i 1100-talets Danmark , Göteborg 2000 (=  Avhandlingar från Historiska institutionen i Göteborg ; 24), summary in English (acc .: Univ. Göteborg, Diss., 2000), ISBN 91-88614-30-1 .
    • Erich Hoffmann: Contributions to the history of the relations between the German and the Danish empire for the period from 934 to 1035. In: 850 years St. Petri Cathedral to Schleswig 1134-1984. (= Writings of the Association for Schleswig-Holstein Church History. Series I, Volume 33). Schleswig 1984, ISBN 3-88242-086-3 , pp. 105-132.
    • Erich Hoffmann: The current state of research into the history of Scandinavia during the migration period in the context of medieval historical research. In: The historical horizon of the idol amulets from the transitional epoch from late antiquity to the early Middle Ages. Göttingen 1992, pp. 143-182.
    • Carsten Jahnke: History of Denmark. Reclam, Ditzingen 2017.
    • Jørgen Kühl, Robert Bohn: A European Model? National minorities in the German-Danish border region 1945–2005. Bielefeld 2005, ISBN 3-89534-541-5 .
    • Hans-Martin Ottmer: "Weser Exercise". The German attack on Denmark and Norway in April 1940. Munich 1994, ISBN 3-486-56092-1 .
    • Therkel Stræde: Denmark: The Difficult Memory of Collaboration and Resistance. In: Monika Flacke (Hrsg.): Myths of Nations: 1945 - Arena of Memories , Mainz 2004, ISBN 3-8053-3298-X , pp. 123-144.

    Web links

    Commons : History of Denmark  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
    Wikimedia Atlas: Historical maps of Denmark  - geographical and historical maps


    1. ^ Olaus Wormius: Danicorum monumentorum Libri Sex , Joachim Moltke, Copenhagen 1643 ( digitized version ).
    2. ^ T. Douglas Price: Ancient Scandinavia. An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings , Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 25.
    3. ^ Brian M. Fagan: A Brief History of Archeology , Routledge, 2005, 2nd ed. 2016, p. 52 f.
    4. Koelbjergkvinden fra Danmark ( Memento of March 6, 2005 in the Internet Archive ), archive.org, March 6, 2005.
    5. Jens Jakob Asmussen Worsaae: Danmarks Oldtid oplyst ved Oldsager og Gravhöie , Kjöbenhavn 1843.
    6. ^ Jens Jakob Asmussen Worsaae: The primeval antiquities of Denmark , John Henry Parker, London 1849, translated by William J. Thoms ( digitized version ).
    7. ^ Brian M. Fagan: A Brief History of Archeology , Routledge, 2005, 2nd ed. 2016, p. 58.
    8. ^ Brian M. Fagan: A Brief History of Archeology , Routledge, 2005, 2nd ed. 2016, p. 53.
    9. ^ Brian M. Fagan: A Brief History of Archeology , Routledge, 2005, 2nd ed. 2016, p. 141.
    10. Also in German published by Wachholtz, Neumünster in 1960, 1962 and 1963: Nordische Vorzeit , Vol. 1: Stone Age in Denmark , Vol. 2: Bronze Age in Denmark and Vol. 3: Iron Age in Denmark .
    11. Gesche Neumann: "What does she want with the dagger, speak!" , In: Archeology in Germany 05 | 2016, pp. 28–31, here: p. 28.
    12. ^ T. Douglas Price: Ancient Scandinavia. An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings , Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 27.
    13. ^ T. Douglas Price: Ancient Scandinavia. An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings , Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 40.
    14. ^ T. Douglas Price: Ancient Scandinavia. An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings , Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 38.
    15. ^ Kristoffer Buck-Pedersen, Jørgen Holm: Late Ice Age settlement in the north. Hamburg culture and penknife groups in southern Scandinavia , in: Archeology in Germany 10 | 2016, special issue, pp. 48–53, here: p. 50.
    16. ^ T. Douglas Price: Ancient Scandinavia. An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings , Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 42.
    17. ^ T. Douglas Price: Ancient Scandinavia. An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings , Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 44.
    18. Catherine A. Jessen, Kristoffer Buck Pedersen, Charlie Christensen, Jesper Olsen, Morten Fischer Mortensen, Keld Møller Hansen: Early Maglemosian culture in the Preboreal landscape: Archeology and vegetation from the earliest Mesolithic site in Denmark at Lundby Mose, Sjælland , in: Quaternary International 378 (Aug. 18, 2015) 73-87.
    19. Days Nilsson: A Pollen-Analytical Investigation of Holmegaards Mose with Considerations as to the Age of the Dwellingplaces of Maglemosean Period in Denmark and Surrounding Areas , in: Meddelelser fra Dansk Geologisk Porening 11 (1947) 201-217 ( online ).
    20. Erik Brinch Petersen: Sværdborg II: A Maglemose Hut from Sværdborg Bog, Zealand, Denmark , in: Acta Archaeologica, 42 (1971) 43-77.
    21. According to other sources, 6400 to 5400 BC (T. Douglas Price: Ancient Scandinavia. An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings , Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 70) or 6600 to 5400 BC. (Elisabeth Noll: Ethnoarchäologische Studien an Muschelhaufen , Wasmann, Münster 2002, p. 37).
    22. Mats Larsson, Geoffrey Lemdahl, Kerstin Lidén: Paths Towards a New World. Neolithic Sweden , Oxbow, 2014, p. 11.
    23. Elisabeth Noll: Ethnoarchaeological Studies on Muschelhaufen , Wasmann, Münster 2002, p. 34.
    24. Gundula Lidke: Investigations on the significance of violence and aggression in Neolithic Germany with special consideration of Northern Germany , Diss. Greifswald 2005, p. 68 ( online , PDF).
    25. Lone Hvass, Jernalderen I, Landsbyget og samfundet. Copenhagen, Sesam 1980, p. 118
    26. Jorgen Jensen, the Prehistory of Denmark. London, Routledge 1982, 191
    27. ^ T. Douglas Price: Ancient Scandinavia. An Archaeological History from the First Humans to the Vikings , Oxford University Press, 2015, p. 316.
    28. Hoffmann, p. 159.
    29. http://www.kirchenweb.at/schutzpatrone/schutzheilige/schutzpatrone_laender.htm
    30. The assignment of Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland, then Helsingjaland and the Skridfinnen to the Archdiocese of Hamburg in the imperial foundation and papal confirmation documents (Hamb. Document book No. 8 and 9) are originally based on a radical later interpolation real texts ( Maurer p. 22)
    31. Archive link ( Memento from January 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), History ( Memento from July 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
    32. Hoffmann (1984) p. 116.
    33. Hoffmann (1984) p. 119.
    34. Seegrün p. 47.
    35. Ruprecht p. 17.
    36. This is reported in the Hákonardrápa of the skald Guthorm sindri .
    37. Ruprecht p. 18.
    38. Herbert Jankuhn and others: The peoples and tribes of Southeast Schleswig in the early Middle Ages . Schleswig 1952. p. 151 ff.
    39. ^ Gregory of Tours III, 3.
    40. cf. Robert Bohn: Danish History.
    41. Bernd Kretschmer: Denmark: A neighborhood customer, p. 48.
    42. Bernd Kretschmer: Denmark: A neighborhood customer, p. 49.
    43. on the military situation at the time, see The Danish armed Forces 1909–1918 (140 pages, 2007)
    44. Hans Uwe Petersen: The Danish Refugee Policy 1933–1941 , 2002.
    45. ^ Herbert Pundik: The flight of the Danish Jews to Sweden in 1943. Husum 1995, ISBN 3-88042-734-8 , p. 22 f.
    46. "Gads leksikon om dansk besættelsestid 1940–1945." 2002. p. 367 (Danish)
    47. ^ A b Karl-Michael Reineck: General State Doctrine and German State Law. 15th edition, 2007, para. 62 (p. 58)
    48. a b Burkhard Schöbener, Matthias Knauff: Allgemeine Staatslehre. 2nd edition, CH Beck, Munich 2013, § 6, para. 47 (p. 270)
    49. Cf. 70 years after the end of World War II: The last imperial capital Flensburg and a yellowed piece of history In: shz.de, May 5, 2015; accessed on: January 7, 2018
    50. Denmark: Clause not to participate in EMU. europa.eu, accessed on December 22, 2012 .
    51. Again border controls at the German-Danish border . In: Tagesschau (ARD) , May 11, 2011.
    52. Denmark is reintroducing "permanent border control" . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 11, 2011.
    53. Løkke: Danish slavery unforgivable
    54. ^ The Danes, a people of slave traders , NZZ, December 22, 2017