Religion in Denmark is prominently Christianity in the form of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark (Danish: Folkekirken), the state religion. Hence, Denmark is not a secular state as there is a clear link between the church and the state with a Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs. However, pockets of other major faiths can be found among the population. In January 2020, 74.4% of the population of Denmark were registered members of the Church of Denmark (Den Danske Folkekirke), the officially established church, which is Protestant in classification and Lutheran in orientation.[notes 1] This is down 0.6% compared to the year earlier and 1.2% down compared to two years earlier. Despite the high membership figures, only 3% of the population regularly attend Sunday services and only 19% of Danes consider religion to be an important part of their life.
According to a Eurobarometer Poll conducted in 2010, 28% of Danish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", 47% responded that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 24% responded that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force". Another poll, carried out in 2008, found that 25% of Danes believe Jesus is the son of God, and 18% believe he is the saviour of the world. A gallup report in 2009 found that only 19% of Danes consider religion to be an important part of their life.
Just under 20% of the Danish population identifies as atheist.
|Statistical data: 1984, 1990-2019|
Christianity is the predominant religion of Denmark, with three quarters of the Danish population estimated as adherents of the "Folkekirken" ("People's Church"), Denmark's national Lutheran church. Aside from Lutheranism, there is a small Catholic minority, as well as small Protestant denominations such as the Baptist Union of Denmark and the Reformed Synod of Denmark.
According to official statistics from January 2019, 74.7% of the population of Denmark are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark (Den danske folkekirke), the country's state church since the Reformation in Denmark-Norway and Holstein, and designated "the Danish people's church" by the 1848 Constitution of Denmark.
There are around 8,000 Christians who have converted from a Muslim background in the country, most of them belonging to some form of Protestantism.
Buddhism in Denmark was brought back from expeditions that explored the Indian subcontinent. Initial interest was mainly from intellectuals, authors, Buddhologists and Philologists. In 1921, Christian F. Melbye founded the first Buddhist Society in Denmark, but it was later dissolved in 1950 before his death in 1953. In the 1950s, there was a revival in interest towards Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism and Hannah and Ole Nydahl, founded the first Karma Kagyu Buddhist centers in Copenhagen. The third wave of Buddhism came in the 1980s, when refugees from Vietnam, Sri Lanka and China came to Denmark.
A Jewish community has been present in Denmark since the seventeenth century, when the monarchs began allowing Jews to enter the country and practice their religion on an individual basis. Emancipation followed gradually and by the end of the nineteenth century most Jews were fully assimilated into Danish society. In the early decades of the twentieth century there was an influx of more secular, Yiddish speaking, Eastern European Jews. Nearly 99% of Danish Jews survived the Holocaust, in part due to the actions of the Danish resistance, and to the Swedish authorities' offer of asylum to the Danish Jews.
Today there are approximately 6,000 ethnic Jews in Denmark, 1700 of them being members of the official organization The Jewish Community in Denmark. There are three synagogues located in Copenhagen.
According to Danish researcher Brian Arly Jacobsen, Muslims living in Denmark make up ca. 256,000 people or approximately 4.4% of the population in 2020 and form the country's second largest religious community and largest minority religion. As of 2017 there were 28 recognised Muslim communities and around 185 mosques in Denmark. Ahmadis constructed the first mosque in the capital, Copenhagen. There were approximately 655 Ahmadis all over Denmark in 2006.
According to a survey of various religions and denominations undertaken by the Danish Foreign Ministry, other religious groups comprise less than 1% of the population individually and approximately 2% when taken all together.
The Baha'i Faith arrived in Denmark in 1925, but it did not make much impact until the arrival of American pioneers in 1946. A National Spiritual Assembly was formed in 1962. In 2005, it was estimated that there were about 1,251 Baha'is in the country.
In Denmark there are about 7,500-8,000 Hindus of Tamil origin, both from India and Sri Lanka. The Hindu Community in Denmark is registered as reported in International Religious Freedom Report 2006, Denmark.
A neopagan religious group, Forn Siðr -- Ásatrú and Vanatrú Association in Denmark, describes itself as a revival of the Norse paganism prevalent in Denmark before Christianization. It gained state recognition in November 2003. There are about 500 registered heathens (0.01% of the population) adhering to the old Norse beliefs.
Politicians in Denmark will not generally be found making use of any religious rhetoric or arguments in their declarations, and this is especially the case for government ministers, with the possible, occasional exception of the Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs in the course of his or her duties. Four of Denmark's prime ministers have identified themselves as atheists.
The Christian Democrats is the only major political party to regularly employ religious rhetoric and arguments, and they have not been represented in the Folketing since 2001, as they have not been able to acquire the minimum 2% of the votes needed to secure representation.
The Constitution of Denmark contains a number of sections related to religion.