WHY DENMARK DON’T HAVE A NATIONAL DAY…
Norway a few days ago celebrated their national day on the 17 May.
Most other countries in Europe – and in the world – have a fixed national day. We just don’t have that in Denmark. We have Liberation Day 5 May (WWII), Constitution Day 5 June and Valdemars Day 15 June. But none of these has the status of an official national day.
The Chamber has sought for explanations on this as many people just assume that Denmark has a national day. Thus the following are based on comments from Lars Hovbakke Sørensen, adjunkt, ph.d., University College Sjælland and Washington Post where it is claimed that only two countries in the world have no national day; Denmark and Britain. Interesting that they base their conclusions on the same historical facts.
Many of the other countries have at one time or another been subject to another country. In all these countries, it is natural that the national day is the date on which people freed themselves from foreign domination. This applies, for example, to all the other Nordic countries:
Sweden (which freed itself from Denmark in 1523), Finland (which freed itself from Russia in 1917), Iceland (which withdrew from the royal commonwealth with Denmark in 1944) and Norway (which left the union with Denmark and obtained the Eidsvoll constitution in an attempt to create an independent state of its own in 1814). But this also applies to the Baltic countries (liberation from Russia) and countries such as Albania and Greece (secession from the Ottoman Empire). And a number of other countries, not least former colonies.
Since Denmark has never been subject to other countries for a long period of time, since the country was founded more than 1,000 years ago, we have not had occasion to make the liberation from a foreign domination our national day.
A country like the strict Catholic Ireland has St. Patrick’s Day as a national day. But that model does not suit a Protestant country like Denmark either. Likewise, we cannot celebrate Republic Day as a national day, as they do in Italy (official introduction of the Republic in 1946). And we don’t have a revolution day like the French Bastille Day either.
In other words: The combination of the fact that we have never been subject to other states for a long period of time and that in recent times we have been a small Protestant country with a relatively peaceful political, social and economic development without major revolutions or other upheavals means that we have never had a special official national day.
Another important reason is that Denmark is one of the countries where, throughout the latter part of the 19th and the entire 20th century, there has been the greatest “cohesiveness”. This is because for many years we were an extremely homogeneous nation with very few ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural or other minorities.