Dansk Eesti
Estonia and Denmark »

Denmark - Relations


(last updated: 07.11.2014)

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) and Meelike Palli (2006-2011). As of August 2011, Katrin Kivi is the Estonian Ambassador to Denmark.

Estonia also has five honorary consuls in Denmark: Søren Claus Kjær in Northern and Middle Jutland, Ulrich Holstein-Holsteinborg in Holsteinborg, Elon Studsgaard in Bornholm, Bo Stærmose in Odense, and Thomas Graversen in South Jutland.

As of 2015 there are approximately 1500 Estonians residing in Denmark, according to the data of the national registry.


To Estonia
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


To Denmark
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

Bilateral Relations

Estonian and Danish relations have developed in a constructive and stable manner, resulting in close co-operation in political and economic matters, culture and defence. 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. Danish support for EU enlargement was demonstrated by the fact that Denmark was the first state to ratify the Accession Treaty for Estonia on 4 June 2003. The two parliaments also have good relations; over the years high-level visits as well as a number of working meetings have taken place. An Estonian-Danish parliamentary group was created in November 2007, and is led by Indrek Saar. Intensive co-operation is being effected in the framework of Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) parliamentary co-operation.

In recent years, contacts have become so closely integrated that most 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 November 2007 the Danish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce was established in Estonia, led by Indrek Saar. 

Denmark has been the largest provider of bilateral assistance to Estonia. From 1992-2003, Denmark supported Estonia with a total of 147 million EUR. The major part of the support has been used for environment programmes (incl. energy, the implementation of Baltic Agenda 21), for defence issues (support for the preparation for NATO membership), and for co-operation in the field of European integration (the FEU programme). Upon the accession of Estonia to the EU in 2004, the assistance reached the minimal level and the finishing of projects in the final stage took place.

Defence co-operation between Estonia and Denmark has been on a good level for years. Denmark has been the co-ordinator of several international projects that have helped to build up the Baltic states’ defence systems. It also assisted the Baltic countries with the establishment of BALTBAT, BALTRON and BALTNET and the following activities. 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. The Estonian peacekeeping units that participated in the NATO-led SFOR peace support operation in Bosnia were trained in Denmark, as was the Estonian reconnaissance unit that served under the Danish battalion in Kosovo. Also, Denmark has provided advanced training courses to officers of the Defence Forces and cadets and officials of the Ministry of Defence.

As of summer 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Toomas Peda resides in Copenhagen as Estonia’s defence attaché. As of July 2012, Colonel Søren Frausig, residing in Vilnius, is the Danish defence attaché to Estonia (also to Latvia and Lithuania).

In June 2015 the Danish division led the SABER KNIGHT 2015, the part of exercises which are targeted at the Baltic states, the Kingdom of Denmark and the United States' European land unit brigades HQs.

In addition, the Danish Baltic College continues with one professor and sponsors 10 students.

The chairman of the XIII Estonian-Danish Parliament is Yoko Alender. Members of Parliament are Mailis reps, Aivar Sõerd, Heidy Purga, Martin Repinski, Helmen Kütt, Madis Milling, Kadri Simson, Maris Lauri, Laine Randjärv and Valdo Randpere.



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)

Economic Relations

In the I quarter of 2015 Denmark came in 13th among Estonia’s trade partners, making up just 2.4% of Estonia’s total foreign trade.

The total turnover of Estonia-Denmark trade in 2014 was 534.4 million euros, of which import formed 216.3 million euros and export 318.1 million euros. The balance of trade was positive for Estonia by a margin of 101.8 million euros. 

Trade 2005 - 2015 I quarter (mln EUR)

Year Export Import
2005 195.2 195.8
2006 198.1 250.0
2007 218.7 262.9
2008 275.3 233.1
2009 225.4 172.0
2010 217.7 174.9
2011 308.1 200.0
2012 297.4 221.3
2013 283.4 243.3
2014 318.1 216.3
2015 I quarter 120.3 73.9


The main export articles from Estonia to Denmark in 2012 were wood and wood products (26.5%) and the primary articles of import were machinery and equipment (16.8%).


Main export articles in 2014 (proportion %)

  • wood and wooden products - 33.2%
  • other industrial goods - 14.6%
  • machines and mechanical appliances - 11.2%

Main import articles in 2014 (proportion %)

  • machines and mechanical appliances - 17.1%
  • animals and animal products - 13.1%
  • products of chemical industry and other industries related to it - 12.2%

All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia


At the peak of the investment boom Denmark was 4th among investors, but during the economic downturn investments have decreased considerably.

According to Bank of Estonia data, in 2012 Denmark’s direct investments in Estonia totalled  331.1 million euros (2.3%), which placed Denmark in 8th place among investing countries.

Over half of Danish direct investments in Estonia are made in the financial and insurance sectors, in addition to the manufacturing industry, transport and inventory, real estate, transport and communications, and the wholesale and retail trade sectors. According to the Estonian Business Register there are more than 240 enterprises with Danish participation in Estonia.

Estonian direct investments in Denmark in 2012 totalled 11.2 million euros, which is 0.3% of Estonia’s direct investments abroad. Denmark ranked 20th among the destination countries for Estonian investments.


In recent years Danish tourists' interest in visiting Estonia has decreased. If in 2012 the number of Danish tourists who used Estonian accommodation facilities was 14 091, then in 2013 the number was 11 900. In 2014 Estonia was visited by 11 729 Danes and as of June 2015 up to 2956 Danes were accommodated in Estonia.


The Danish Cultural Institute in Tallinn (www.dankultur.ee), which was established in 1990 with the support of Denmark, plays an essential role in maintaining and developing Danish-Estonian cultural ties. Over the years, the institute has brought concert groups to Estonia, organised art exhibits, and provided the initiative to arrange a Danish film week and a Nordic film festival. The Danish Cultural Institute has also promoted the translation of Danish literature into Estonian and co-operated with various Estonian institutions in educational and social projects.

The Estonian-Danish Socity, which has been active since November 1991, has brought together Estonians who are interested in Danish language, culture and history. The Danes’ interest in Estonia is just as great—its sister organisation the Danish-Estonian Society has nearly 400 members. Estonians living in Denmark have formed the group “Estonian Home” (“Eesti Kodu”). The Estonian Embassy in Copenhagen helps to promote the development of Estonian-Danish cultural relations by introducing the work of Estonian artists, musicians and other important figures of Estonian cultural life. In 2012 the cultural events that received the most attention were performances of the works of Arvo Pärt and the activities of conductor Kristjan Järvi, who is well-known in Denmark’s music circles.

Various events introducing Estonian culture were held in Denmark during almost every month of 2012. Markus Kasemaa’s exhibit “Figures 1” was displayed in three different locations in Denmark:  the Copenhagen Business School (1 February-15 March); Field’s, the largest shopping centre in Copenhagen (7 April-31 May); and the University of Southern Denmark in Odense (5-30 November).

From the beginning of the year until the end of April, an exhibit of the graphics of Kelli Valk-Kagovere was displayed in the former Estonian embassy space. An exhibit of paintings by Katrin Valdre entitled “A Soul of Water” was opened in the new headquarters of the Baltic Development Forum (BDF) in Copenhagen in August, in celebration of the “housewarming” of the forum’s new space as well as the 50th birthday of BDF director Hans Brask.

In April 2012 the year’s most important performance, the concert “Pärt and Järvi”, took place at the Danske Radio Concert Hall. In December “Järvi and Bernstein” concerts took place in the same space.

The Estonian embassy in Denmark co-operated with Copenhagen's cinema Husets Biograf and Danish Film Institute Cinemateket. In addition to that the publishing and screening of various Danish movies and movies filmed with the help of Denmark has become typical at PÖFF (Black Nights Film Festival).

In the beginning of 2014 Katrin Valdre's exhibition was held in the Estonian Honorary Consulate in Aalborg. The same year in November the presentation of her work could be seen in a small gallery in the city of Fredericia. The participation of Estonian ceramicists in the biennale Ceramic Context turned out to be very successful. Related to the competition a special exhibition "Estonia in Details" was held as a satellite exhibition. On January 30 2015 an exhibition called "InterAction 2015" by Estonian artists Raul Meele and Marje Taska was opened in the Krebsen gallery in Copenhagen. The exhibition introduced the best of Estonian conceptional art and a restaurant with the same name right next to the gallery offered food inspired by Estonian cuisine.

In September 2014 Estonian Cyberstudio's and Danish Athelas Simfonietta's ethno-futuristic concert took place in Copenhagen. In October Tõnu Timm and Jaanus Nõgisto performed at a musical evening in Copenhagen organised by Eesti Kodu. Ewert and the Two Dragons performed in Aarhus in May 2014 and in Copenhagen in March 2015.


© Estonian Embassy in Copenhagen Frederiksgade 19, Copenhagen, Denmark tel. (45) 39 46 30 70, e-mail: embassy.copenhagen@mfa.ee