After the restoration of Estonia's independence in 1991, Denmark was the second country after Iceland to re-establish diplomatic relations with Estonia on 24 August 1991.
The first Danish Ambassador to Estonia following Estonia's restoration of independence was Otto Borch, who was sent from Copenhagen on 26 August 1991, just days after the re-establishment of diplomatic relations. Borch was followed by Sven Erik Nordberg (1991-1994), who was followed by Svend Roed Nielsen (1995-2000). He was followed by Jørgen Munk Rasmussen (2000-2005), Kirsten Rosenvold Geelan (2005-2009), and Uffe A. Balslev (2009-2012). As of August 2012 the Danish ambassador to Estonia is Søren Kelstrup.
Estonia's first foreign mission after World War II – the Baltic Information Centre – was opened in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 1990. The Estonian Embassy was opened in October 1991. The first Estonian Ambassador to Denmark was Arvo Alas (1991-1996). Thereafter, Estonia has been represented by Jüri Kahn (1996-2001), Taavi Toom (2001-2006), Meelike Palli (2006-2011) and Katrin Kivi (2011-2015). As of October 2015, Märt Volmer is the Estonian Ambassador to Denmark.
Estonia also has four honorary consuls in Denmark: Ulrich Holstein-Holsteinborg in Holsteinborg, Bo Stærmose in Odense, Thomas Graversen in Fredericia and Katja Nowak in Nielsen Aalborg.
As of 2016 there are 1414 Estonians residing in Denmark, according to the data of the national registry.
|14 September 2017||Foreign Minister Andres Samuelsen|
|20 April 2017||Minister of Defense Claus Hjort-Fredriksen|
|21 June 2016||Prime Minister Peter Christensen|
|September 2014||Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Lidegaard at the NB8 and V4 meeting|
|May 2014||Minister of Defence Nicolai Wammen|
|May 2014||The director of the Ministry of Defence Gen. Peter Bartram|
|April 2014||Crown princess Mary|
|May 2013||Minister for European Affairs Nicolai Wammen|
|May 2013||Minister of Foreign Trade Pia Olsen Dyhr|
|March 2013||The director of the Ministry of Defence Gen. Peter Bartram|
|August 2012||Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal|
|October 2011||Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt|
|August 2009||Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller|
|March 2009||Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen|
|April 2008||Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen|
|May 2005||Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen|
|March 2004||The Speaker of the Folketing Christian Mejdahl|
|August 2003||Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen|
|September 2002||Minister of Defence Svend-Aage Jensby|
|June 2002||Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller|
|February 2002||Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen|
|August 2001||Minister of Foreign Affairs Mogens Lykketoft|
|July 2001||Private visit of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark|
|March 2000||Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen|
|13.-14. October 2016||Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas|
|November 2015||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|September 2015||Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand at the NB8 meeting|
|September 2014||The director of the Ministry of Defence Gen. Mayor Riho Terras|
|April 2014||Minister of Defence Sven Mikser|
|February 2014||Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet|
|June 2012||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|May 2012||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|October 2011||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|August 2011||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|April 2011||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|December 2010||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|August 2009||Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo|
|September 2007||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|May 2006||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|September 2004||President Arnold Rüütel|
|April 2004||Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristiina Ojuland|
|May 2003||Prime Minister Juhan Parts|
|April 2002||Minister of Foreign Affairs Kristiina Ojuland|
|March 2002||Minister of Defence Sven Mikser|
|October 2000||Minister of Foreign Affairs Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
Estonian and Danish relations have been consistently very good. Constructive bilateral interaction, characterised by close co-operation in political and economic matters, as well as in culture and defence. Good cooperation is also being done within the framework of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, as well as the Nordic and Baltic cooperation (NB8) programs.
In May 1993, Denmark became the first among the Nordic countries to sign an Agreement on the Abolition of Visa Requirements with Estonia.
On the international level, Denmark was a strong supporter of Estonia's efforts for accession to the EU and NATO. This was also demonstrated by the fact that Denmark was the first state to ratify the Accession Treaty for Estonia on 4 June 2003. Before Estonia joined the European Union, in 1992-2003, Denmark supported Estonia in the framework of bilaterial assistance with a total of 2,3 billion Estonian kroons (147 million euros). The major part of the assistance consisted of environment programs (including energy, Baltic Agenda 21 implementation), support for defense issues (support for preparation for NATO membership) and cooperation in European integration (FEU programme).
The two parliaments have also had good relations; over the years high-level visits, as well as a number of working meetings have taken place. There is an active Danish-Estonian parliamentary group in the XIII Parliament (the chairperson is Yoko Alender). Co-operation is also ongoing in the framework of Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) parliamentary co-operation.
Over the years, Estonian-Danish contacts have become so closely integrated and natural that most bilateral projects and programmes are planned and carried out at the institutional and local government level. A number of Estonian and Danish local governments have signed bilateral co-operation agreements.
In 2007, the Danish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce was established in Tallinn.
Defence co-operation between Estonia and Denmark has been on a good level for years. During the 1990s, Denmark was one of the major supporters of the development of Estonian defense institutions. Denmark has been the co-ordinator of several international projects that have helped to build up the Baltic states’ defence systems and has also assisted the Baltic countries with the establishment of BALTBAT, BALTRON and BALTNET and their activities which followed. In March 1994, Denmark and Estonia signed a defence co-operation agreement, which for Estonia was the first bilateral framework agreement in the field of defence co-operation.
Estonia participated with Denmark and Great Britain in the ISAF operation in Afghanistan's Helmand province. From May to September 2014, the Danish Air Force was the first to conduct Air Policing Mission in the Ämari Air Base. As of the summer of 2016, Estonia is helping the Danish contingent in Anbar province, Iraq with up to 6 instructors. Estonian soldiers, as part of the Danish unit, are going to instruct soldiers of the Iraqi armed forces. In addition, Denmark continues to contribute to the Baltic College with one professor and sponsors 6 students.
The following agreements are in force between Estonia and Denmark:
- Agreement on the Development of Economic, Industrial and Technical Co-operation (came into force 28.07.1992);
- Agreement Concerning the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (came into force 24.02.1993);
- Agreement Concerning the Abolition of Visas (came into force 01.05.1993);
- Agreement on International Transport of Passengers and Goods by Road (came into force 27.08.1993);
- Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters (came into force 25.11.1993);
- Air Services Agreement (came into force 29.11.1993);
- Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (came into force 30.12.1993);
- Agreement for the employment of dependants of members of a diplomatic mission, consular office or mission to an international organization (came into force 27.02.2002).
- Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (came into force 25.09.2003)
- Agreement on the Reciprocal Holding of Stocks of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products (came into force 07.04.2005)
- Danish and Estonian Agreement on Bilateral Defence Co-operation (signed 05.02.2015)
In the I quarter of 2016 Denmark came in 10th among Estonia’s trade partners, (2.74% of Estonia’s total foreign trade, trade increase of 11.3%).
The total turnover of Estonia-Denmark trade in 2015 was 570.14 million euros, of which import formed 235.5 million euros and export 334.7 million euros. Estonia was Denmark's 10th export partners in 2015 and in 13th place among import partners. The balance of trade was positive for Estonia by a margin of 99.2 million euros.
Trade 2005 - 2015 (mln EUR)
|Year||Export||Share of total exports, %||Import||Share of total imports, %||Balance|
Main export articles in 2015 (proportion %)
- wood and wooden products - 37.4%
- other industrial goods - 16.2%
- machines and mechanical appliances - 10.9%
- prepared food products and beverages - 6.7%
Main import articles in 2015 (proportion %)
- machines and mechanical appliances - 16.2%
- products from the chemical industry and related branches of industry - 14.1%
- prepared food products and beverages - 11.2%
- animal products - 10.4%
All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia
In 2015, Danish tourists' interest in visiting Estonia increased. If in 2013 the number of Danish tourists who used Estonian accommodation facilities was 11 900, and in 2014 that number was 11 700, then in 2015 over 14 000 Danes visited Estonia.
Estonia and Denmark are bound by historical ties. According to legend, the Danes got their Dannebrog flag in Estonia. In 1219, the Danes were about to lose a battle with Estonians near Tallinn, when suddenly the red flag with a white cross felt down from the sky. The Danes went on to conquer Harjumaa and Virumaa. In the 13-14th centuries, Northern Estonia was part of the Danish Kingdom as a separate duchy. Today, the small coat of arms of Tallinn, which is red with a white cross, still reminds us of this link.
The Danish Cultural Institute in Tallinn, opened in november 1990, has had a significant role to play in maintaining and developing cultural ties between Denmark and Estonia. The Institute was headed by Silvi Teesalu for 20 years, until Denmark began to cover all of the Baltic countries from its Danish Cultural Institute in Riga.
From May 11 to 13, "Estonian Week in Denmark" took place in Vordingborg, where Estonia’s economy and culture were introduced. The event’s programme included presentations introducing Estonia, a business conference and bilaterial meetings with potential partners and business consultants. The event’s cultural programme allowed Estonia to be more widely introduced to Danes. The Estonian musical group I Wear* Experiment gave a concert, photographer Toomas Volmer’s exhibition “Colours and Shapes” was opened and Vihula Manor chef Lauri Tomingas introduced modern tastes of Estonia at the Borgen restaurant.
In 2015, a floating exhibition in Denmark held on board the M/S Bibiana was a very successful cultural event linked to Estonia. Nautical themed children’s books illustrations by Estonian artists were exhibited. At stops in various ports in Denmark, workshops with children were organised and maritime themed songs were sung. In 2015, the Estonian Embassy in Denmark had good cooperation with Copenhagen’s cinema Husets Biograf, where several well-received Estonian films were screened. Danish films have been presented every year at the Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) in Estonia.
On 30 January 2015, the exhibition "Interaction 2015" featuring Estonian artists Raul Meel and Marje Taska was opened at the Krebsen Gallery in Copenhagen. This exhibition introduced the best of Estonian conceptual art and the Krebsegarden restaurant of the same name offered Estonian-inspired dishes for the duration of the exhibition.
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