Christianity in Denmark

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Christianity is a prevalent religion in Denmark. Aside from Lutheranism, there is a small Catholic minority, as well as small Protestant denominations such as the Baptist Union of Denmark and the Reformed Synod of Denmark.

Denmark is today a very secular country, but has a culture that is heavily influenced by Christianity.


Church of Denmark
year population members percentage
1890 2,205,820 2,138,529 96.9%[1]
1901 2,449,540 2,416,511 98.7%[2]
1911 2,757,076 2,715,187 98.5%[2]
1984 5,113,500 4,684,060 91.6%
1990 5,135,409 4,584,450 89.3%
2000 5,330,500 4,536,422 85.1%
2005 5,413,600 4,498,703 83.3%
2007 5,447,100 4,499,343 82.6%
2008 5,475,791 4,494,589 82.1%
2009 5,511,451 4,492,121 81.5%
2010 5,534,738 4,479,214 80.9%
2011 5,560,628 4,469,109 80.4%
2012 5,580,516 4,454,466 79.8%
2013 5,602,628 4,430,643 79.1%
2014 5,627,235 4,413,825 78.4%
2015 5,659,715 4,400,754 77.8%
2016 5.707.251 4.387.571 76,9%
2017 5.748.769 4.361.518 75.9%
Statistical data: 1984,[3] 1990–2017[4] Source: Kirkeministeriet

According to official statistics from January 2017, 75,9%[5][6] of the population of Denmark are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark (Den danske folkekirke), the country's state church since the Reformation in Denmark–Norway and Holstein, and designated "the Danish people's church" by the 1848 Constitution of Denmark.[7]

This proportion is down by 0.9% as compared to the preceding year and 1.5% down compared to two years earlier. However, in similar fashion to the rest of Scandinavia, and also Britain, only a small minority (less than 5% of the total population) attends churches for Sunday services.[8][9] In addition, the number of people leaving the Church has been on the rise: in 2012 21,118 Danes left the Church, an increase of 55% in comparison to 2011.[10] Individuals automatically become members when baptized, as most people born in Denmark are at birth, and cannot leave of their own accord until they are 18 years old. Members are not informed of their membership or their ability to leave. Further, there are no standard formulas for leaving the church; one must personally contact the priest or office of one's parish.[11][12]

Other Protestant groups[edit]

A small Baptist community has existed since the 1840s, and is represented by the Baptist Union of Denmark. The Union claimed 55 churches and 5,412 congregants in 2011.[13]

Reformed Protestantism is represented by four churches united in the Reformed Synod of Denmark. These are mainly ethnic congregations, including two Huguenot churches and a German Reformed church, founded in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,[14][15][16] as well as the Korean Reformed Church founded in 1989.[17] The German Reformed church also includes some Dutch, Swiss, Hungarian and American members, as well as Danes.[15] There is an Anglican church and fellowship in Copenhagen and smaller congregations of Anglicans and Episcopalians in many Danish cities.

A 2015 study estimates some 4,000 Christian believers from a Muslim background in the country, most of them belonging to some form of Protestantism.[18]

Catholic Church[edit]

After the separation of the Church of Denmark from the Catholic Church in 1536, the Catholic Church remained illegal in the country for over three centuries. The Church was able to reestablish itself after the Constitution of 1849 granted religious freedom to the Kingdom. Currently the country is covered by the Diocese of Copenhagen with 48 parishes in Denmark proper and two more in the Faeroe Islands and Greenland. There are nearly 40,000 Catholics in Denmark, though nearly a third are foreign born and others are born of foreign parents (for example, Denmark's Polish community, of which the current Bishop of Copenhagen is a member). Nevertheless, ethnic Danes are still the largest group among the Church's congregants.[19]

Eastern Orthodoxy[edit]

Adherents of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Denmark are traditionally organized in accordance with patrimonial ecclesiastical jurisdictions. Eastern Orthodox Danes of Greek origin belong to the Metropolis of Sweden and Scandinavia, under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Those of Russian origin are directly under the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.[20] Those of Serbian origin belong to the Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Britain and Scandinavia.[21] Those of Romanian origin belong to the Diocese of Northern Europe, of the Romanian Orthodox Church.[22]

Oriental Orthodoxy[edit]

Adherents of Oriental Orthodox Christianity in Denmark are also traditionally organized in accordance with their patrimonial ecclesiastical jurisdictions, each community having its own parishes and priests. Oriental Orthodox Danes of Armenian origin belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church.[23] Those of Coptic origin belong to the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Stockholm and Scandinavia.[24]


"Mormons visit a country carpenter" (1856) by Christen Dalsgaard, depicting a mid-19th century visit of a Mormon missionary to a Danish carpenter's workshop. The first Mormon missionaries arrived in Denmark in 1850.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has been sending missionaries to Denmark since 14 June 1850.[25][26] Most of the early converts emigrated to the United States. There are currently over 4,500 Mormons in Denmark.[26] There is a LDS temple in Copenhagen, known as the Copenhagen Denmark Temple.[27]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "TABEL 123. Befolkningens Fordeling indenfor Troessainfund. 1890". p. CLXXXIII. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Folketællingen i Kongeriget Danmark - den 1. februar 1991". p. 38. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  3. ^ Church membership 1984 Danmarks statistik (in Danish)
  4. ^ Church membership 1990–2017 Kirkeministeriet (in Danish)
  5. ^ Fler lämnade kyrkan i Danmark 3.1.2013 Kyrkans tidning
  6. ^ Statistics Denmark
  7. ^ § 4, "the Evangelical-Lutheran Church is the Danish people's church and is supported as such by the State" ("den evangelisk-lutherske kirke er den danske folkekirke og understøttes som sådan af staten")
  8. ^ "Denmark – Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor". International Religious Freedom Report 2009. U.S. Department of State. 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  9. ^ Manchin, Robert (21 September 2004). "Religion in Europe: Trust Not Filling the Pews". Gallup Poll. The Gallup Organization. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  10. ^, "Kraftig stigning i udmeldelser af folkekirken", February 28, 2013
  11. ^ "Bekendtgørelse om stiftelse og ophør af medlemskab af folkekirken".
  12. ^ "Bekendtgørelse af lov om medlemskab af folkekirken, kirkelig betjening og sognebåndsløsning".
  13. ^ Statistics Archived 2012-06-27 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Den reformerte Meighed i Fredericia
  15. ^ a b Deutsch-Reformierte Kirche zu Kopenhagen
  16. ^ Eglise réformée française
  17. ^ Korean-Reformed Church in Denmark
  18. ^ Johnstone, Patrick; Miller, Duane (2015). "Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census". IJRR. 11: 14. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  19. ^ The Catholic Church in Denmark
  20. ^ Russian Orthodox Church in Denmark
  21. ^ Serbian Orthodox Church in Denmark
  22. ^ Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe
  23. ^ Armenian Apostolic Church in Denmark
  24. ^ Coptic Orthodox Church in Denmark
  25. ^ "Denmark", Newsroom (Press release), LDS Church, 2 April 2011
  26. ^ a b "Kirkens begyndelse i Danmark (Church beginnings in Denmark)", (in Danish), LDS Church
  27. ^ "Copenhagen Denmark Temple",, LDS Church