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. The present Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to Estonia is Kristina Miskowiak Beckward.
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). As of January 2020, William Mart Laanemäe is the Estonian Ambassador to Denmark.
Estonia also has six honorary consuls in Denmark: Count Ulrich Holstein-Holsteinborg in Holsteinborg, Bo Stærmose in Odense, Thomas Graversen in Fredericia, Katja Nowak in Nielsen Aalborg and Claus Emil Engel Johansen in Aarhus and Filip Dalthur Rasmussen in Vordingborg. Also representative of Enterprise Estonia is working at the embassy in Copenhagen (Lucie Fallesen).
|October 2018||Prince Joachim in Tapa|
|April 2018||Crown prince Frederik in Tapa|
|January 2018||Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen|
|September 2017||Foreign Minister Andres Samuelsen|
|April 2017||Minister of Defense Claus Hjort-Fredriksen|
|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|
|April 2018||Foreign Minister Sven Mikser|
|September 2017||President Kersti Kaljulaid|
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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. We appreciate highly the contribution made by Denmark to the security of our region – Danish soldiers are in Tapa within the scope of enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) of the allies.
The Estonian Defence Attaché, Colonel Kalev Koidumäe, resides in Stockholm. The Defence Attaché is responsible for information exchange, bilateral military cooperation and the areas of defence and international security policy.
The Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership cooperates with the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) in an anti-corruption project in Ukraine.
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)
Bilateral economic relations with Denmark have developed and grown. However, there is still room for development in increasing exports by Estonian companies to Denmark as well as in increasing the share of Danish investments in Estonia.
Trade in goods between Estonia and Denmark from 2012 to the first half of 2018 (mln euro)
|First half of 2018||211.0||3.0%||142.8||1.8%||358.8||2.4%|
In bilateral trade in goods, Denmark was the 11th foreign trade partner of Estonia in 2017 with a turnover of 658 million euro, whilst export decreased by 4% and import increased by 14%. Denmark dropped to the 10th place among export destinations as a result of the decrease in export. The export of goods of Estonian origin to Denmark is very high, ca 90%. Denmark climbed to 13th place among the main import partners of Estonia in 2017.
Trade in goods with Denmark increased by ca 5% in the first half of 2018 and Denmark ranked 12th among Estonia’s trade partner. Exports to Denmark increased by 10% (10th among export destinations) and imports from Denmark decreased by 2.5% (15th among import partners).
Timber and wood products are mainly exported to Denmark (ca 41% of exports) and their volumes have increased from 84 million euro (2013) to 150 million euro (2017). Other industrial products (15%) became the second main export article in 2017. The main products that are exported are furniture and accessories, and wooden houses. The third main export article is machines and equipment (8%), the export of which decreased by 34 million euro in 2017. Textile products (7%) and metals and metal products (6%) are also exported to Denmark.
The main imports from Denmark in 2017 were machines and equipment (19%), prepared foodstuffs and beverages (16%), chemical products (11%) and mineral products (10%).
Estonian companies in Denmark deal with the wholesale of (solid) fuels, fish and fish products and grains, also with the production of timber and wooden products, furniture, textile, electronics and special-purpose equipment, financial services and software development.
530 million euro of the direct investments made in Estonia as of 30 June 2018 come from Denmark (annual change +17%). The biggest investments have been made in financing and insurance activities (34% of Danish direct investments), manufacturing industry (27%) and retail and wholesale (12%). Denmark ranked 9th among foreign investors (2.6% of all foreign investments made in Estonia).
Change in position of direct investments (unit: mln euro)
|Direct investments in Estonia||16,011.3||17,273.8||17,411.5||18,728.1||19,924.8||20,359.6|
|Direct investments abroad||4,997.6||5,179.2||5,588.2||6,119.0||6,511.9||6,677.9|
According to the Commercial Register, 219 companies with Danish shareholdings were registered in Estonia as of May 2018.
The volume of the investments made from Estonia to Denmark is more modest, comprising 9.4 million euro (0.1% of all direct investments abroad) as of 30 June 2018. Investments have mainly been made in financing and insurance activities (37% of investments in Denmark) and retail and wholesale (34%).
The interest of Danish people in travelling to Estonia has increased. 12 thousand people from Denmark used the services of accommodation establishments in Estonia in 2013 and 2014, but in 2017 the number of Danish tourists who used accommodation in Estonia increased to approximately 16 thousand. In addition to Tallinn, the most popular destinations are Tartu County, Pärnu County and Lääne-Viru County.
According to the mobile positioning data of Eesti Pank, the total number of multi-day visits by Danish residents has also increased from ca 21 thousand in 2014 to 23.7 thousand in 2017.
According to data obtained by the same method, the total number of multi-day visits by Estonian residents to Denmark increased from 33 thousand in 2016 to 36 thousand in 2017.
The Estonian and Danish ICT leaders communicate closely at the level of policy and strategies, and learnt good experiences and practices from each other. The European Commission has declared Denmark the most digitally developed country in the EU (The Digital Economy and Society Index 2017 – DESI). Digital welfare, i.e. the extensive digitalisation of health, welfare and education, has been at the centre of the Danish e-state strategy. Estonia’s strengths are in the areas of digitalisation of public services, cyber defence and security. Attention and readiness to develop life via digitalisation are a common feature of Estonia and Denmark.
Ask Lucie Fallesen a trade adviser of Enterprise Estonia who works at the Estonian Embassy in Copenhagen or Danish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce operating in Tallinn.
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. This is still evident in the small coat of arms of Tallinn – Taani linn, i.e. the Danish Town, which has a red background with a white cross.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.
15 June 2019 is the 800th anniversary of the legend that explains the emergence of the Dannebrog, the flag of Denmark. The jubilee year Dannebrog 800 offers a great opportunity to tell the story of the shared history of two countries by the Baltic Sea and to positively highlight the mutual relations in both countries. Information about the planned celebrations, concerts, and other events will be published in media.
The Danish Cultural Institute is based in Riga and the scope of their activity covers also Estonia and Lithuania.
The Estonian community in Denmark consists of a couple of thousand people. The number of Estonians in Denmark according to the local register in the first half of 2018 was 1,600, which can easily be multiplied by two. Estonians have moved to Denmark constantly and for various reasons. About 500 Estonian students are studying in Denmark. There are many young families with small children living in Denmark. The Native Language School and the Children’s Club make sure that the latter keep the Estonian language alive. The people in the Estonian community know each other and do things together, which strengthens the feeling of ‘us’ and also contributes to the achievement of the embassy’s objectives in introducing Estonia in Denmark and promoting the continued existence of the Estonian state.
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