Religion in Denmark

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Roskilde Cathedral has been the burial place of Danish royalty since the 15th century. In 1995 it became a World Heritage Site.

Christianity is the largest religion in Denmark. As of 2022, 72.5% of the population of Denmark were registered members of the Church of Denmark (Den Danske Folkekirke),[1] the officially established church, which is Protestant in classification and Lutheran in orientation.[2][notes 1]

Religiosity[edit]

According to a Eurobarometer Poll conducted in 2010,[3] 28% of Danish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 47% responded that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 24% responded that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force". Another poll, carried out in 2008, found that 25% of Danes believe Jesus is the son of God, and 18% believe he is a messenger of the God and saviour of the world but not son of God[4] A gallup report in 2009 found that only 19% of Danes consider religion to be an important part of their life.[5]

Just under 20% of the Danish population identifies as atheist.[6]

Christianity[edit]

Church of Denmark
year population members percentage
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%
2010 5,534,738 4,479,214 80.9%
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%
2018 5,781,190 4,352,507 75.3%
2019 5,806,081 4,339,511 74.7%
2020 5,822,763 4,327,018 74.3%
Statistical data: 1984,[7] 1990-2019[8]
Source: Kirkeministeriet

Christianity is the predominant religion of Denmark, with three quarters of the Danish population estimated as adherents of the "Folkekirken" ("People's Church"), Denmark's national Lutheran church.[9] 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.

Grundtvig's Church in Copenhagen

According to official statistics from January 2019, 74.7%[10][11] 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, which is designated "the Danish people's church" by the 1848 Constitution of Denmark.[12] Among those who report Danish ancestry (as opposed to persons of recent immigrant descent), there has been a decline in the proportion who are members of the National Church, from approx. 90% in 1985 to 75.9% in 2017.[13]

There are around 8,000 Christians who have converted from a Muslim background in the country, most of them belonging to some form of Protestantism.[14]

Historical statistics[edit]

Census results (1840-1860)[edit]

Religion 1840[15] 1845[15] 1850[15] 1855[15] 1860[15]
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Church of Denmark 1,277,402 99.56% 1,344,955 99.6% 1,400,955 99.52% 1,489,269 99.29% 1,587,644 99.19%
Judaism 3,839 0.3% 3,670 0.27% 3,941 0.28% 4,143 0.28% 4,214 0.26%
Mormonism 2,044 0.14% 2,657 0.17%
Baptism 143 0.01% 724 0.05% 1,548 0.1% 2,270 0.14%
Calvinism 915 0.07% 959 0.07% 1,265 0.09% 1,482 0.1% 1,784 0.11%
Catholicism 865 0.07% 583 0.04% 724 0.05% 1,151 0.08% 1,240 0.08%
Irvingism 202 0.01%
Anglicanism 3 0% 15 0% 103 0.01% 152 0.01% 114 0.01%
Methodism 42 0%
Eastern Orthodox 1 0% 1 0% 26 0% 19 0% 30 0%
Moravianism 8 0%
Quakerism 2 0%
Other religions 2 0% 1 0% 7 0% 23 0% 332 0.02%
No religion 2 0.08% 19 0% 12 0%
Total 1,283,027 1,350,327 1,414,539 1,499,850 1,600,551

Census results (1870-1921)[edit]

Religion 1870[16] 1880[17] 1890[18] 1901[19] 1911[19] 1921[19]
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Church of Denmark 1,769,583 99.15% 1,951,513 99.11% 2,138,529 98.44% 2,416,511 98.65% 2,715,187 98.48% 3,200,372 97.94%
Catholicism 1,857 0.1% 2,985 0.15% 3,647 0.17% 5,373 0.22% 9,821 0.36% 22,137 0.68%
Baptism 3,223 0.18% 3,687 0.1% 4,556 0.21% 5,501 0.22% 5,664 0.21% 6,989 0.21%
Judaism 4,290 0.24% 3,946 0.2% 4,080 0.19% 3,476 0.14% 5,164 0.19% 5,947 0.18%
Methodism 260 0.01% 746 0.04% 2,301 0.11% 3,895 0.16% 4,284 0.16% 4,858 0.15%
Irvingism 349 0.02% 1,036 0.05% 2,609 0.12% 3,812 0.16% 2,778 0.1% 3,459 0.11%
Adventism 764 0.03% 1,282 0.05% 2,622 0.08%
Calvinism 1,433 0.08% 1,363 0.07% 1,252 0.06% 1,112 0.05% 1,142 0.04% 1,164 0.01%
Eastern Orthodox 12 0% 15 0% 38 0% 106 0% 256 0.01% 535 0.02%
Mormonism 2,128 0.12% 1,722 0.09% 941 0.04% 717 0.03% 797 0.03% 487 0.01%
Moravianism 2 0% 60 0% 463 0.01%
Anglicanism 74 0% 125 0.01% 137 0.01% 176 0.01% 192 0.01% 409 0.01%
Unitarianism 62 0% 147 0.01% 195 0.01%
Quakerism 28 0% 117 0.01% 66 0% 65 0% 13 0%
Presbyterianism 21 0%
Swedenborgianism 10 0%
Islam 1 0% 8 0%
Other Christian 1,297 0.07% 444 0.02% 11,730 0.54% 3,468 0.14% 1,254 0.05% 1,495 0.05%
Other religions 141 0.01% 167 0.01% 412 0.02% 873 0.04% 892 0.03% 3,942 0.12%
No religion 63 0% 1,074 0.05% 2,148 0.1% 3,628 0.15% 8,151 0.3% 12,744 0.39%
Total 1,784,741 1,969,039 2,172,380 2,449,540 2,757,076 3,267,831

Membership statistics from 1984 to 2008:

Religion 1984[20] 1995[21] 2008[22]
Number % Number % Number %
Church of Denmark 4,684,060[23] 91.63% 4,539,773 87.04% 4,490,195 81.47%
Other Protestant 10,725 0.21% 49,730 0.95% 43,320 0.79%
Catholic Church 27,387 0.54% 32,367 0.62% 37,123 0.67%
Islam 23,540 0.43%
Mormonism 4,204 0.08% 4,500 0.08%
Eastern Orthodox 250 0% 671 0.01% 9,120 0.17%
Buddhism 2,459 0.05% 4,448 0.08%
Judaism 2,442 0.05% 3,320 0.06% 2,180 0.04%
Hinduism 1,649 0.03%
Norse mythology 650 0.01%
Mandaeism 600 0.01%
Baháʼí Faith 277 0.01% 350 0.01%
No membership 387,716 7.58% 582,747 11.17% 858,116 15.57%
Total 5,112,130 5,215,718 5,475,791

Minor religions[edit]

Islam[edit]

An Ahmadiyya mosque in Hvidovre just outside Copenhagen. Is the first purpose-built mosque in Denmark.
An Ahmadiyya mosque in Hvidovre just outside Copenhagen. The first[24] purpose-built mosque in Denmark.

According to Danish researcher Brian Arly Jacobsen, Muslims living in Denmark make up ca. 256,000 people or approximately 4.4% of the population in 2020 and form the country's second largest religious community and largest minority religion.[25] As of 2017 there were 28 recognised Muslim communities and around 185 mosques in Denmark.[26] Ahmadis constructed the first mosque in the capital, Copenhagen. There were approximately 655 Ahmadis all over Denmark in 2006.[27]

Judaism[edit]

A Jewish community has been present in Denmark since the seventeenth century, when the monarchs began allowing Jews to enter the country and practice their religion on an individual basis. Emancipation followed gradually and by the end of the nineteenth century most Jews were fully assimilated into Danish society. In the early decades of the twentieth century there was an influx of more secular, Yiddish speaking, Eastern European Jews. Nearly 99% of Danish Jews survived the Holocaust, in part due to the actions of the Danish resistance, and to the Swedish authorities' offer of asylum to the Danish Jews.[28]

Today there are approximately 6,000 ethnic Jews in Denmark, 1700 of them being members of the official organization The Jewish Community in Denmark.[29]

Baha'i Faith[edit]

The Baha'i Faith arrived in Denmark in 1925, but it did not make much impact until the arrival of American pioneers in 1946. A National Spiritual Assembly was formed in 1962. In 2005, it was estimated that there were about 1,251 Baha'is in the country.[30]

Buddhism[edit]

Buddhism in Denmark was brought back from expeditions that explored the Indian subcontinent. Initial interest was mainly from intellectuals, authors, Buddhologists and Philologists. In 1921, Christian F. Melbye founded the first Buddhist Society in Denmark, but it was later dissolved in 1950 before his death in 1953.[31][32] In the 1950s, there was a revival in interest towards Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism and Hannah and Ole Nydahl, founded the first Karma Kagyu Buddhist centers in Copenhagen.[31][32] The third wave of Buddhism came in the 1980s, when refugees from Vietnam, Sri Lanka and China came to Denmark.

In 2009 Aarhus University estimated that there were 20,000 practising Buddhists in Denmark.[33][34]

Hinduism[edit]

Sikhism[edit]

In Denmark there are about 4,000 Sikhs of Punjabi origin.[35]

Other religions[edit]

"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.

According to a survey of various religions and denominations undertaken by the Danish Foreign Ministry, other religious groups comprise less than 1% of the population individually and approximately 2% when taken all together.[36]

Neopaganism[edit]

A neopagan religious group, Forn Siðr — Ásatrú and Vanatrú Association in Denmark, describes itself as a revival of the Norse paganism prevalent in Denmark before Christianization. It gained state recognition in November 2003.[37] There are about 500 registered heathens (0.01% of the population) adhering to the old Norse beliefs.

In 2016, the designer Jim Lyngvild established the heathen building Manheim in Korinth on Funen.[38]

Politics and government[edit]

Five of Denmark's prime ministers have identified themselves as atheists.[39]

Danish Constitution[edit]

The Constitution of Denmark contains a number of sections related to religion.

  • §4 establishes the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark as the state church of Denmark.
  • §6 requires the Danish monarch to be a member of the state church.
  • §67 grants freedom of worship.
  • §68 states that no one is required to personally contribute to any form of religion other than his own. As state subsidies are not considered personal contributions[40] the Church of Denmark receives subsidies – according to §4 – beyond the church tax paid by the members of the church. The Church of Denmark is the only religious group to receive direct financial support from the state. Other religious groups can receive indirect support through tax deductions on contributions.[41]
  • §70 grants freedom of religion by ensuring civil and political rights can not be revoked due to race or religious beliefs. It further states race and religious beliefs can not be used to be exempt from civil duties.
  • §71 ensures no one can be imprisoned due to religious beliefs.

Freedom of religion[edit]

In 2022, the country was scored 4 out of 4 for religious freedom.[42]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Church of Denmark is the established church (or state religion) in Denmark and Greenland; the Church of the Faroe Islands became an independent body in 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Denmark". United States Department of State. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  2. ^ Denmark – Constitution – Part I – Section 4 [State Church]: "The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the Established Church of Denmark, and, as such, it shall be supported by the State."
  3. ^ "Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology" (PDF). TNS Opinion & Social on request of European Commission. European Commission. October 2010. p. 204. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  4. ^ Johansen, Tobias Stern (23 December 2009). "Hver fjerde dansker tror på Jesus" [One in four Danes believes in Jesus] (in Danish). Kristeligt Dagblad. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013: The poll was carried out in December 2009 using a cross-section of 1114 Danes between the ages 18 and 74.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  5. ^ Crabtree, Steve (31 August 2010). "Religiosity Highest in World's Poorest Nations". Gallup. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Næsten hver femte dansker kalder sig ateist". Berlingske Tidende. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  7. ^ Church membership 1984 Danmarks statistik (in Danish)
  8. ^ "Folkekirkens medlemstal" (in Danish). 1 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Kirkestatistik" [Church Statistics] (in Danish). Church of Denmark Ministry. 2011. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012.
  10. ^ Fler lämnade kyrkan i Danmark 3.1.2015 Kyrkans tidning
  11. ^ Statistics Denmark Statistikbanken.dk
  12. ^ § 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")
  13. ^ Birk, Christian (3 March 2017). "Nye tal: Folkekirkens medlemstab skyldes indvandring". Kristeligt Dagblad (in Danish). Retrieved 14 May 2022.
  14. ^ Johnstone, Patrick; Miller, Duane (2015). "Believers in Christ from a Muslim Background: A Global Census". IJRR. 11: 14. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Befolkningsforholdene i Danmark i det 19. aarhundrede" (in Danish). 1905. p. 71. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  16. ^ "Tabeller over Folkemængden i Kongeriget Danmark den 1ste February 1870" (in Danish). p. 7. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  17. ^ "Folkemængden i Kongeriget Danmark den 1ste Februar 1880" (in Danish). 1883. p. c.
  18. ^ "Befolkningens Fordeling efter Trosamfund i detegentlige Danmark i 1890" (in Danish). p. 15. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  19. ^ a b c "Folketællingen i Kongeriget Danmark - den 1. februar 1921" (in Danish). p. 62. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Statistisk Aarbog 1985" (in Danish). p. 91. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  21. ^ "Kirkestatistik" (in Danish). 19 September 1996. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  22. ^ "Religion i Danmark 2009" (in Danish). Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  23. ^ "Fortsat fald i folkekirkens medlemstal" (PDF) (in Danish). 6 June 2002. p. 2. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  24. ^ Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosques Around the World, pg. 184
  25. ^ Hvor mange muslimer er der i Danmark? Website of Danish media company Mandag Morgen, 24 April 2020.
  26. ^ Kühle, L. and M. Larsen (2017): Moskeer i Danmark II: En ny kortlægning af danske moskéer og muslimske bedesteder. Center for Samtidsreligion,123 University of Aarhus.
  27. ^ Rytter, Mikkel (2013). Family Upheaval: Generation, Mobility and Relatedness among Pakistani Migrants in Denmark. Berghahn Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-85745-940-4. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Rescue in Denmark." U.S. Holocaust Museum https://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007740
  29. ^ (in Danish) Dansk jødisk historie. Website of the Jewish Community in Denmark, retrieved 20 May 2019.
  30. ^ Most Baha'i Nations (2005)
  31. ^ a b "Article on Avisen.dk (in Danish)". Avisen.dk. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  32. ^ a b "DR (Danish state news-agency), article about the History of Buddhism (In Danish)". Dr.dk. 10 August 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  33. ^ "Danske børn vil være buddhister". Avisen.dk. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  34. ^ Journal of Global Buddhism, Article by Jørn Borup, Department of Study of Religion at University of Aarhus, Denmark. 2008, based on research from 2005 Archived 16 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ "Northern Europe, Sikhs in". A Dictionary of Sikh Studies. Oxford University Press. 18 April 2019. ISBN 978-0-19-183187-4.
  36. ^ "Denmark – Official Denmark – Church and Religion". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Denmark). Archived from the original on 8 February 2006.
  37. ^ Sørensen, Torben (19 April 2007). "Forn Siðr – the Asa and Vane faith religious community in Denmark – Forn Siðr". Fornsidr.dk. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  38. ^ Del (30 May 2016). "Kendis-designer åbner 12 meter højt tempel til ære for Odin og Thor" (in Danish). nyheder.tv2.dk. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  39. ^ List of atheists in politics and law#Denmark
  40. ^ Grundloven på let dansk, Folketinget, 2001
  41. ^ "Statstilskud: Statstilskud og grundloven" [Government subsidies: Government subsidies and the Constitution] (in Danish). Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  42. ^ Freedom House website, Denmark page, retrieved 2023-08-28

External links[edit]