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Constitution Day in Denmark is observed on June 5 to commemorate the day that marked the signing of the Danish Constitution along with its four revised editions occurring on the same date. Since the closest thing Danes have to a national day is Constitution Day, it is honored in the full spirit of patriotism. June 5 marked the birth of Danish democracy and is celebrated annually with secular services, speeches by local politicians, the raising of the national flag, and church congregations, to name a few events happening throughout the country.
History of Constitution Day
Constitution Day is a very special day for Denmark. After spending decades in an absolute monarchy, from 1660 to 1849, the first constitution was signed by King Frederick VII in 1849, which finally declared Denmark a constitutional monarchy — a system allowing room to exercise power within a prescribed legal framework only.
The constitution was revised for the first time in 1866 and then, after the women’s suffrage movement in 1915 when women were allowed to vote, the 1849 constitution went through another revision. A third revision took place in 1920 followed by the final version, signed in 1953, which is still followed without further updates. Since there is no process of amendment, the entire document of the constitution has to be updated at every new addition or extraction of the clauses.
Interestingly, almost all updates of the constitution have occurred on June 5, which adds more significance to the date. The most recent edition, after eliminating the Upper Chamber, has created a unicameral parliament. From permitting women to inherit the throne to decreasing the percentage of votes by women necessary to change the constitution (from 45% down to 40%), June 5 is one of the most important days to celebrate in Denmark.
Not entirely an official public holiday, shops and businesses are shut down after midday and workers get a half-day off. Political organizations and associations meet for secular services, the Dannebrog is hoisted in the sky, and the general public spends the day in collective merriment.
Constitution Day timeline
The assembly votes for a Danish Constitution, formalizing the transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.
King Frederick signs the first constitution declaring Denmark as a constitutional monarchy.
Following women’s suffrage, the Constitution is revised on June 5.
Danish law adopts the European Convention on Human Rights.
Constitution Day FAQs
Is Constitution Day a public holiday?
Constitution Day has remained a half-day off work from 1891 to 1975. Even today, it’s not an official holiday but, more or less, observed like one.
What is a National Day in Denmark?
The Constitution Day, on June 5.
What happened on Constitution Day?
Denmark was declared a constitutional monarchy.
How to Observe Constitution Day
Learn about Denmark
The happy, art-loving country is truly a package full of surprises. Use this day as an opportunity to learn about the attractions in Denmark and, if you’re convinced, perhaps plan your next trip to see it!
Join in the celebrations by the embassy of Denmark
Attend the events that the Danish embassies participate in, such as playing the national anthem, holding rallies, and raising the Danish flag high up in the sky. It’s always fun to take part in another nation’s celebrations!
Replicate Danish cuisine!
Have you ever had a morsel of the Danish hot dog? Or the classic ‘Stegt flæsk’ that’s also the country’s national dish? Danish pastry is a must-try! Search for a recipe of traditional Danish food to cook and enjoy on this day.
5 Facts About Denmark That Will Blow Your Mind
It has the oldest flag in use
Denmark’s flag is the oldest in history, having come into Danish possession during the Battle of Lyndanisse in 1219.
Bluetooth was the name of a Danish king
Bluetooth on your phone was named after the second king of Denmark, King Harald Bluetooth.
Coast longer than the Great Wall of China
You cannot spot a point in Denmark where you won’t see the ocean. It stretches along the coast at a distance of 4,545 miles. That is longer than the Great Wall of China!
Danes don’t say “please”
There is no word for “please” in the Danish language.
Happiest country in the world
It has been named the world’s happiest country on several occasions and tops the UN World Happiness Report all the time.
Why We Love Constitution Day
It freed Denmark from absolute monarchy
Living under an absolute monarchy is not ideal. June 5 marks the day when Denmark transitioned from being tied to supreme aristocratic authority to enjoying a modicum of freedom.
It’s one of the most luxurious countries in the world
Thanks to the abolishing of absolutism, Denmark is open to all foreigners who love its royal, down-to-earth castles, the luxurious lifestyle, and clean, green, and eclectic neighborhoods.
It has a strong social welfare system
According to the Danish Constitution, Danes are offered comprehensive social welfare including unemployment-, disability-, old-age-, and survivorship benefits at virtually no cost.
Constitution Day dates