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Middle Ages: Christian scholars

Brian Patrick McGuire

Middle Ages: Christian scholars - Denmark becomes Christian

In the High Middle Ages (1000-1300), something of a miracle happened in Denmark. Thanks to monks and the ambitions of the nobility, the country was enriched by architecture, art and learning. The rise of Christianity put Denmark in the first European community defined by this religion. The…

The struggle for the Baltic Sea

Anna-Elisabeth Jensen

The struggle for the Baltic Sea - Fish, money, power

In the 11th and 12th centuries, controlling the Baltic Sea meant controlling trade in the entire region. Salted herring and other fish were guaranteed sources of income. In the 13th century, the Hanseatic League emerged. Originally a trading confederation made up of coastal Low German market towns …

The Count’s Feud

Lars Bisgaard

The Count’s Feud - A civil war for God, class and country

The Count's Feud is one of the most important events in Danish history. Years of tension between the Hanseatic League and Denmark came to a head when Lübeck sent troops to Denmark, ostensibly to free King Christian II. Meanwhile, Protestants began their onslaught against the established…

Nobility and King

Per Ingesman

Nobility and King - The age of the nobility

The period between the Reformation in 1536 and the introduction of absolute monarchy in 1660 is known as the the age of the nobility. After the Reformation had done away with the Church as a power player and an independent institution, the nobility became the most important of the king's…

King Christian IV

Søren Mentz

King Christian IV - Grand buildings and broken dreams

Christian IV (1577-1648) is probably the best known king in Danish history in part because he left behind a trail of spectacular buildings that include Frederiksborg Castle, Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange and the Round Tower. He also founded districts and towns like Christianshavn and…

Absolute monarchy

Michael Bregnsbo

Absolute monarchy - The foundation of the welfare state

Absolute monarchy in Denmark refers not just to a type of government, it also refers to the period 1660-1848. During this period, Denmark as a state and society underwent fundamental changes. Compared with other countries, the period of the absolute monarchs in Denmark was unique - partly because…

Denmark between Britain and France

Birgitte Holten

Denmark between Britain and France - Hostage of the great powers

The complicated international situation around the year 1800 saw Denmark become a hostage of the conflicts of the great powers. The country's foreign policy during these years had three primary objectives: maintain its neutrality, ensure the survival of the dual monarchy Denmark-Norway, and to …

The Cold War

Thomas Wegener Friis

The Cold War - The Russians never came

No sooner was World War II over than a new war had begun. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War divided not just the world, it also divided countries and even families. It was a conflict that pitted democracy against dictatorship, and with both sides armed with nuclear weapons, it was a…

Lord of the manor and of the village

Erland Porsmose

Lord of the manor and of the village - The manor as the seat of power

Danish landlords have held considerable power throughout history. Those loyal to the Crown helped to set up an army of knights, were exempted from paying taxes and given dominion over the population of entire villages. During the 16th century, lords came to be known as nobles, and by the 17th…


Erland Porsmose

Serfdom - Tied to the land of their birth

For centuries, serfdom kept Danish peasants bound to their local landlord. They were a source of cheap labour for wealthy landowners and could only move away if granted permission to do so. The first peasants began to break the bonds of serfdom in the late 18th century, starting the gradual…

Herring, cod and other fish

Søren Byskov

Herring, cod and other fish - Industrialising the sea

Denmark became one of the world's leading fishing countries in the early 20th century when fishermen began using a highly effective net – the Danish seine – to catch plaice. Historically, Danish catches have included whales, seals, cod, plaice, salmon and eel. During the Middle Ages,…

Maritime Denmark

Henrik Harnow

Maritime Denmark - The port to commerce and leisure

Seafaring has deep roots in Denmark. Keeping 400 islands connected with the mainland has required centuries of sailing. The maritime environment is evident everywhere. And even though Denmark is a small country, its coasts are home to everything from major industrial ports to small fishing harbours…

The great movements

Flemming Just

The great movements - Power to the people

The rise of the cooperative movement and the labour movement are two pivotal developments in the evolvement of the Danish society. They emerged in Denmark at the same time as in other European countries towards the close of the 19th century. Farmers and factory workers organised in order to give…


Caspar Jørgensen

Industry - From mills to computers

Even though Denmark is known as an agricultural nation, industry has played a major role in the development of the welfare state. Around 1840, factories began to appear in earnest, and soon more were working industrial jobs than in agriculture. And between 1930 and 1970, the industrial sector was…

War and peace

Anne Nørgaard Jørgensen

War and peace - Military installations of the past

Danish military history is heavily influenced by the country’s strategic position between the Baltic Sea and continental Europe. Castles, castle mounds, barracks and other military installations from nearly every historical period stand rank and file throughout the country. Denmark’s attractive …

Crime and punishment

Tyge Krogh

Crime and punishment - From the noose to the electric tag

That crime doesn't pay is something punishment has always needed to prove. But the way criminals are punished has changed radically down through history. At one point capital punishment was common, and the sentence was often justified by citing God's law". Today, criminals need not…

Power and resistance

Tim Knudsen

Power and resistance - A land of peace

Question: in which country did the last regicide take place over 700 years ago? Where did the last civil war take place over 500 years ago? Where did national sentiment only arise in the 19th century? Where have first farmers, then workers been responsible for political reforms? Where are people…

A place for the sick

Inger-Marie Børgesen

A place for the sick - From bloodletting to super hospitals

The health system we know today has its roots in the 19th century, in an age when the institutions for the sick became institutions of treatment. The sick were hospitalised and treated by doctors and nurses with the expectation that they could be healed. Hospitals are not an old institution in a…

A time of leisure

Niels Kayser Nielsen

A time of leisure - A holiday for every class

Leisure time is something we take for granted, but that hasn't always been the case. At one time, only nobles or the wealthy middle class had time to visit the coast, go to the theatre or hunt. Eventually, white-collar workers were granted the right to holiday and time off at the weekend, when …

History in the making

Camilla Mordhorst

History in the making - History is everywhere

History is more than just events and heroic tales. History sneaks its way in everywhere, and it is created every day in even the most humble of places. It is a part of buildings, natural landscapes, it is in our words and our habits. But the understanding of what is history, and what isn’t, has…

Architecture: classicism, historicism and modernism

Vibeke Andersson Møller

Architecture: classicism, historicism and modernism - From antiquity to concrete

Danish architectural styles have changed many times from the mid-18th century to the mid-20th century. The styles have reflected the changing architectural ideals of the day, as well as the purely practical limitations of construction technology. Originally taking the cue from antiquity and…


Martin Zerlang

Artists - Art – on location

There is a close connection between a place and the art that is created there. Danish poets and painters have always been a part of the place they lived – be it Kiergegaard's Copenhagen or Krøyer's Skagen. But place, too, is also very much defined by art.

Trends of landscape gardening

Malene Hauxner, RIP

Trends of landscape gardening - The battle for the garden

Whether the untamed or the tended landscape is most beautiful is a discussion that has raged among gardeners for ages. Gardening has often served as an indicator of the prevailing philosophies of the day: during the period of the absolute monarchs, pleasure gardens featured forests and tree-lined…

The cradle of democracy

Uffe Jakobsen

The cradle of democracy - From absolute monarchy to parliamentarism

Starting in the 1830s and until 1915, three decisive changes were implemented that were crucial for the development of democracy in Denmark. Citizens were given a legislature, the right to vote was expanded from just a small percentage of the population to nearly all adults and the introduction of …

Erland Porsmose

Morten Stenak

The Danish Arts Foundation

Louise Straarup

The Danish Arts Foundation - Art production for the public throughout Denmark

2014 is the Danish Arts Foundation's 50th anniversary. The production of art in public spaces is the most visible and immediately accessible result of the Foundation's activities.

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