Hilmar Baunsgaard

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Hilmar Baunsgaard
Hilmar Baunsgaard.PNG
19th Prime Minister of Denmark
In office
2 February 1968 – 11 October 1971
MonarchFrederick IX
Preceded byJens Otto Krag
Succeeded byJens Otto Krag
Personal details
Born(1920-02-26)26 February 1920
Died30 June 1989(1989-06-30) (aged 69)
Political partyDet Radikale Venstre

Hilmar Tormod Ingolf Baunsgaard (26 February 1920, Slagelse – 30 June 1989)[1] was a Danish politician. He was a member of the Danish Social Liberal Party and the party's leader from 1968 to 1975. He was the Prime Minister of Denmark from 15 February 1968 until 9 October 1971. He was preceded and succeeded by the Social Democratic leader of that time, Jens Otto Krag. Between 1948 and 1951 Baunsgaard had been chairman of The Social Liberal Youth of Denmark. In 1957 he became a Member of Parliament.

By 1968 Baunsgaard's party had been a frequent coalition partner of the Social Democrats for the last 15 years. However, after the 1968 elections, he abandoned the Social Democrats and formed a centre-right coalition with the Conservative Party and the Liberal Venstre. The three parties held a clear majority of seats in the parliament. In spite of this, they utterly failed to tackle the growing problems of the welfare state and rein in public spending. As a result, taxation skyrocketed. In the social sphere the government was one of the most radical thus far seen in Denmark, abolishing censorship of pornography and legalising abortion. However, in doing so they alienated sufficient numbers of core supporters to lose the 1971 election, which brought the Social Democrats back to power.

Baunsgaard is often credited with being the first major Danish politician to truly embrace TV as the main media for communication with the voters.[2] Although his appearance and style on the screen looks old-fashioned by today's standards, he was way ahead of his contemporaries in politics. He managed to connect with the voters, and was consistently rated as the most trustworthy politician from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. However, his weak leadership of the government damaged his reputation. He remained as party leader until 1975, and resigned from parliament in 1977.

Baunsgaard was the main architect behind Nordek, a proposed organization for Nordic economic cooperation somewhat similar to the EEC (European Economic Community). The idea was embraced by both Sweden, Norway, and Iceland, but ultimately failed since Finland did not join due to its relationship with the Soviet Union, and Denmark joined the EEC.


  1. ^ gravsted.dk. "Hilmar Tormod Ingolf Baunsgaard - Dansk politiker og statsminister".
  2. ^ Siune, Karen (1984). "Bestemmer TV valgresultatet?" (in Danish) in Elklit, Jørgen & Tonsgaard, Ole (eds.) Valg og vælgeradfærd – Studier i dansk politik. Århus: Forlaget Politica, p. 132. ISBN 87-7335-058-3.
Political offices
Preceded by
Lars Peter Jensen
Trade Minister of Denmark
7 September 1961 – 26 September 1964
Succeeded by
Lars Peter Jensen
Preceded by
Jens Otto Krag
Prime Minister of Denmark
2 February 1968 – 11 October 1971
Succeeded by
Jens Otto Krag
Party political offices
Preceded by
Karl Skytte
Political leader of the Danish Social Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Svend Haugaard