The Estonian visit of the Queen of Denmark on 15-16 June and related events are, above all, a celebration of our good relations with Denmark and the significant events of both countries; in addition to the 800th anniversary of the Dannebrog, Denmark will also celebrate the centenary of the Republic of Estonia and the 135th anniversary of the Estonian flag with the visit.
Estonia and Denmark are allies; they agree on many important issues and have excellent bilateral relations.
The beautiful flag of Denmark shares a country of birth with our blue, black and white flag, which turned 135 this year. Throughout history, this flag linked to Estonia has been very important for the Danes, and its 800th anniversary provides an opportunity to highlight and emphasise good relations, as well as celebrate everything positive between us. We are proud of what connects us.
Denmark’s contribution to the events of our recent past has been significant – Denmark never recognised the Soviet Union’s occupation of Estonia, and the country’s active support for recognising our country again and reconstruction efforts has been invaluable.
A company of Danish volunteers fought side by side with Estonians in the War of Independence, and today, the Danish military aircraft are protecting our and NATO’s borders. The Danish soldiers are in Estonia at our invitation, which is proof of our unwavering alliance and cooperation.
It is important to look to the future when it comes to the cooperation of our countries. We are similar digitally-minded countries, and there is also room for even closer economic ties.
King Valdemar II of Denmark began his great crusade to Estonia exactly 800 years ago, in 1219. Having landed near what was then called Lindanise, the Danes began building a stronghold. Today, the place is known as Tallinn – from the words “Taani linn” or “Danish town”.
The Danes gave our capital a beautiful name, but according to legend, Estonia is where the Danes got their cross flag. On the morning of 15 June 1219, the Danes and Estonians met on the battlefield. As the day drew to a close, the setting sun was painting the sky red, until suddenly, at a decisive moment, the sky opened up. A white cross descended from the purple sky. The crusaders recognised their flag and took it as a sign from God that gave them the strength to ensure victory. The glorious flag is now considered the oldest consistently used national flag in the world.
Today, Estonians and Danes live in harmony – two Baltic Sea countries of a similar size that share history and values.
Have a wonderful 800th anniversary of the Dannebrog!
THE STORY AND RELATIONS OF DENMARK AND ESTONIA
- According to legend, the Danish flag, the Dannebrog, fell from the sky during the battle between the Danes and Estonians at Lindanise on 15 June 1219, and it was this revelation that gave the Danes the strength to win the battle.
- The first written mention of Tallinn can be found from 15 June 1219 in the Livonian Chronicle of Henry. This was prompted by the crusade of Valdemar II of Denmark and the difficult victory of the Danes over Estonians. Following the Danish invasion, the town of Tallinn began developing rapidly.
- Tallinn obtained its city rights based on the city right of Lübeck with the signature of King Eric IV of Denmark (Ploughpenny), who confirmed on 15 May 1248 that the citizens of Tallinn now held “the same rights as the citizens of Lübeck.“
- The small coat of arms of Tallinn, which is also the coat of arms of the Harjumaa county, dates back to the Danish rule and depicts the Dannebrog cross.
- Danish volunteers fought for Estonia’s freedom in the War of Independence – on 3 April 1919, 184 men arrived in Estonia, forming the infantry regiment of the Danish-Baltic Auxiliary Corps. Danish doctors and nurses also worked at the Valga field hospital of the War of Independence.
- Denmark recognised the independence of Estonia on 5 February 1921. A year later, in 1922, Flemming Lerche was appointed as the Danish Ambassador to Estonia, residing in Helsinki.
- In 1918-1919, Estonia was represented in Denmark by several cultural figures, such as writer Eduard Vilde and theatre producer Karl Menning.
- Just like most Western countries, Denmark never recognised the Soviet Union’s occupation of Estonia.
- The Kingdom of Denmark was the second country after Iceland to restore diplomatic relations with the Republic of Estonia in August 1991 (24.08.1991). The first ambassador, Otto Borch, was appointed by Copenhagen on 26 August 1991. Since September 2017, the Danish Ambassador to Estonia has been Kristina Miskowiak Beckvard.
- In December 1990, the first Estonian foreign representation since the Second World War was opened in Denmark – the Baltic Information Centre in Copenhagen. The first Estonian Ambassador 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). Since August 2015, Märt Volmer has been Estonia’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in Denmark.
- Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik were on a state visit to Estonia on 27-28 July 1992.
- Denmark was the first Nordic country to sign a visa waiver agreement with Estonia in 1993.
- On 15 June 1994, the Dannebrog fell from the sky above Tallinn just as it did according to legend 775 years ago. This time, the flag descended in the hands of two sergeants of the Danish Jaeger Corps, along with the blue, black and white Estonian flag held by an Estonian paratrooper.
- On an international level, Denmark repeatedly expressed its strong support over the years for Estonia joining the European Union and NATO. This is demonstrated by the fact that Denmark was the first country to ratify Estonia’s EU accession treaty on 4 June 2003.
- The parliaments of the two countries also enjoy good relations, and high-level visits as well as working meetings have been organised over the years. An Estonian-Danish parliamentary group is active in the Riigikogu and it is chaired by Yoko Alender.
- In 2007, the Danish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce (DECC) began operating in Tallinn.
- The defence cooperation of Denmark and Estonia dates back to the first days following the restoration of Estonia’s independence. Today, both countries are proud members of NATO and work together. In 2018, the Tapa base hosted 400 Danish soldiers as part of the enhanced Forward Presence of NATO and they will return in 2020.
- The President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid was on a visit to Denmark on 26 September 2017, meeting with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen in Copenhagen.
Find out more about the relations of Denmark and Estonia:
- FROM STRONGHOLD TO TOWN. The birth of a Danish town 800 years ago
Tallinn City Museum (Vene Street) / 15.05.2019-May 2021
- Dannebrog – The Flag That Fell from the Sky: The Golden Age of Danish Art
Kadriorg Art Museum / 16.06.2019-13.10.2019
- Dannebrog and Estonia 1219-2019
Tallinn City Museum (Kiek in de Kök) / 15.06.2019-May 2020
- Dannebrog 800 – The Story of Denmark in Estonia
National Library of Estonia / 14.06.2019-04.07.2019