Relations with SwedenTheme
Neighbours, for better and for worse
Ever since the end of the 19th century, everything Swedish has been the antithesis of Danish", and defined who "we Danes" are. Throughout the 20th century, aspects that came to define Denmark – the cooperative agricultural movement, Grundtvig, democracy and individualism – were set in relief with examples from Sweden.
Prior to 1930, Sweden was a backwards, outmoded society. But once Swedish industry began to take off, the country made enormous progress and began developing a welfare state. After 1930, comparisons between Denmark and Sweden were used to illustrate how Danes risked losing their individual rights if the country became too modern.
"Us and them"
Starting in the mid 1980s, and especially after Sweden joined the EU in 1995, Denmark and Sweden have developed along much the same path. For a number of years Sweden appeared to be losing its importance for our self-conception. However, discussions about refugees and…