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Denmark and Estonia

Denmark acknowledged Estonia’s independence on 4 February 1921, and the Danish consul told the Estonian foreign minister on 5 February 1921. The acknowledgement happened in close coordination with Sweden and Norway.

2021 marked the 100th anniversary of Denmark's recognition and establishment of diplomatic relations with the Baltic countries, after the independence of the three countries in 1918. Denmark officially recognized Estonia on 5 February 1921. Additionally, 2021 was the 30th anniversary for the historic re-establishment of diplomatic relations after the independence of the Baltic countries from the Soviet Union in 1991. Both in 1921 and especially in 1991, Denmark was one of the first countries to recognize the country and establish and restore diplomatic relations, respectively.

Denmark recognized Estonia's independence on 5 February 1921. The following year, Flemming Lerche, who lived in Helsinki, was appointed Denmark's envoy to Estonia. By 1918, Denmark had already appointed J.C. Johansen to Consul General in Tallinn. Johansen had lived in Estonia for many years and was familiar with the local conditions. After Johansen's death in 1929, the Consulate General was upgraded to an embassy with diplomatic staff. Chargés d'affaires in Tallinn from 1929 to 1940 were Theodor Schultz, Rasmus Kamp and Johan Oluf. Several cultural personalities have also represented Estonia in Denmark from 1918 to 1919, such as author Eduard Vilde and theatre director Karl Menning.

The Kingdom of Denmark restored its diplomatic relations with the Republic of Estonia on 24 August 1991. Already on 11 March 1991 Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen and Foreign Minister Lennart Meri signed a “Joint protocol on cooperation between the Kingdom of Denmark and the Republic of Estonia”. This text mentions that Denmark recognized Estonia in 1921 and never recognized the forcible incorporation of the Republic of Estonia into the Soviet Union in 1940. 

The first ambassador, Otto Borch, was sent from Copenhagen to Estonia on August 26, 1991, a few days after the restoration of diplomatic relations. Borch was succeeded by Sven Erik Nordberg (1991-1994), who was again replaced by Svend Roed Nielsen (1995-2000). He was succeeded by Jørgen Munk Rasmussen (2000-2005), Kirsten Rosenvold Geelan (2005-2009), Uffe A. Balslev (2009-2012), Søren Kelstrup (2012-2017) and Kristina Miskowiak Beckvard (2017-2022). Niels Boel Abrahamsen has been Ambassador to Denmark in Estonia since 2022.

Estonia's first foreign diplomatic mission after World War II was opened in Denmark in December 1990 and was called the Baltic Information Center in Copenhagen. The first ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to Denmark was Arvo Alas (1991-1996), followed by Jüri Kahn (1996-2001), Taavi Toom (2001-2006), Meelike Palli (2006-2011) and Katrin Kivi (2011-2015). Märt Volmer was the Estonian Ambassador to Denmark from 2015 to 2019, and William Mart Laanemäe has been the Estonian Ambassador to Denmark since January 2020.

The double anniversary was therefore an opportunity to highlight the special historical ties between Denmark and Estonia. At the same time, it was an opportunity to look ahead and further develop cooperation with Estonia as well as Latvia and Lithuania. In 2019, the 800th anniversary of Dannebrog's fall from the sky was celebrated according to legend with a visit by HM the Queen Margrethe II in Tallinn. During the visit, the 100th anniversary of Estonia's independence (from Soviet Russia) was also celebrated, which 200 Danish volunteers fought for in 1919 in Estonia and Latvia.

Cooperation with the Baltic countries has developed significantly over the last 30 years. This is partly due to the significant societal development that the countries have undergone, but also because the Baltic countries are today members of both the EU and NATO. Therefore, the cooperation of these organizations is an essential element.

In terms of security policy, co-operation is extremely close. In 2018 and 2020, Denmark had 200 soldiers deployed to Estonia as a contribution to NATO's advanced presence (eFP). In addition, Denmark regularly contributes to patrolling the airspace over the Baltic countries through NATO Air Policing. It is all contributions that receive great recognition from the Estonian side.

In recent years, the Baltic countries have moved towards a more ambitious climate policy. This green transition provides a good opportunity to expand the collaboration with the involvement of Danish and Estonian companies. Besides the green transition, there are many coincidence of interests between Estonia and Denmark. Among other things, it applies in the digitalization sector, where Estonia is one of Europes leading countries, but also in education and human rights, where both countries cooperate and have strong shared values.

Read more about Danish and Estonian relations from the website of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.