Skip to Content

Danish culture

The culture of Denmark has a rich intellectual and artistic heritage. The astronomical discoveries of Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), Ludwig A. Colding’s (1815–1888) neglected articulation of the principle of conservation of energy, and the brilliant contributions to atomic physics of Niels Bohr (1885–1962); in this century Lene Vestergaard Hau (1959–) in quantum physics involving the stopping of light, advances in nano-technology, and contributions to the understanding of Bose-Einstein Condensates, demonstrate the range and endurance of Danish scientific achievement. The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875), the philosophical essays of Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), the short stories of Karen Blixen, penname Isak Dinesen, (1885–1962), the plays of Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754), the modern authors such as Herman Bang and Nobel laureate Henrik Pontoppidan and the dense, aphoristic poetry of Piet Hein (1905–1996), have earned international recognition, as have the symphonies of Carl Nielsen (1865–1931). From the mid-1990s, Danish films have attracted international attention, especially those associated with Dogme 95 like those of Lars Von Trier. Indeed, the country has always had a strong tradition of movie making and Carl Theodor Dreyer is recognised as having been one of the world’s greatest film directors. Culture and the arts thrive as a result of the proportionately high amount of government funding they receive, much of which is administered by local authorities so as to involve citizens directly. Thanks to a system of grants, Danish artists are able to devote themselves to their work while museums, theatres, and the film institute receive national support. Copenhagen, the capital, is home to many famous sites and attractions, including Tivoli Gardens, Amalienborg Palace (home of the Danish monarchy), Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen Cathedral, Rosenborg Castle, Opera House, Frederik’s Church (Marble Church), Thorvaldsens Museum, Rundetårn, Nyhavn and the Little Mermaid sculpture.