Denmark–United States relations

Denmark–United States relations
United States - Denmark relations
Map indicating locations of Denmark and USA


United States

Denmark – United States relations refers to the current and historical relations between Denmark and the United States. Denmark has an embassy in Washington D.C.[1] The United States has an embassy in Copenhagen.[2] Denmark has a trade office in Atlanta, Georgia.[3] and a consulate general in New York.[4] Both countries are members of NATO.[5]



Diplomatic relations date back to 1783, when Denmark signed a commercial treaty with the United States.[6] In 1792, Denmark recognized the independence of the United States.[7] In 1801, diplomatic relations were established, and an American legation was opened in Denmark.[7] The diplomatic relations have never experienced an interruption, since 1801.[7][8]

In 1916, Denmark sold their Danish West Indies to the United States, and both countries signed the Treaty of the Danish West Indies. The deal was finalized on 17 January 1917, when the United States and Denmark exchanged their respective treaty ratifications. The United States took possession of the islands on March 31, 1917 and the territory was renamed the Virgin Islands of the United States.[9] During the World War II, in April 1941, the United States established a temporary protectorate over Greenland.[10]

Political relations

Denmark is a close NATO ally, and relations are described as "excellent". Denmark is active in Afghanistan and Kosovo as well as a leader in the Baltic region. The former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen reaffirmed that Denmark would remain engaged in Iraq even as its troop levels there decline. Denmark was the only Scandinavian country to approve of the American Invasion of Iraq, and Denmark and the United States consult closely on European political and security matters. Denmark shares U.S. views on the positive ramifications of NATO enlargement. Denmark is an active coalition partner in the War on Terrorism, and Danish troops are supporting American-led stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The United States also engages Denmark in a broad cooperative agenda through the Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe. The U.S. policy structure to strengthen U.S.-Nordic-Baltic policy and program coordination.[11]


Denmark's active liberal trade policy in the European Union, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and World Trade Organization largely coincides with U.S. interests. The U.S. is Denmark's largest non-European trade partner with about 5% of Danish merchandise trade. Denmark's role in European environmental and agricultural issues and its strategic location at the entrance to the Baltic Sea have made Copenhagen a center for U.S. agencies and the private sector dealing with the Nordic/Baltic region.[11]


Following World War II, the United States developed a geopolitical interest in Greenland, and in 1946 the United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000, but Denmark refused to sell.[12][13]

Thule Air Base, the U.S. Air Force base and early warning radar at Thule, Greenland a Danish self-governing territory serve as a vital link in Western defenses. In August 2004, the Danish and Greenland Home Rule governments gave permission for the early warning radar to be updated in connection with a role in the U.S. ballistic missile defense system. At the same time, agreements were signed to enhance economic, technical, and environmental cooperation between the United States and Greenland.[11]

1968 Thule Air Base B-52 crash

The 1968 Thule Air Base B-52 crash was an accident on 21 January 1968, involving a United States Air Force B-52 bomber. The aircraft was carrying four hydrogen bombs on a Cold War "Chrome Dome" alert mission over Baffin Bay when a cabin fire forced the crew to abandon the aircraft before they could carry out an emergency landing at Thule Air Base. Six crew members ejected safely, but one who did not have an ejection seat was killed while trying to bail out. The bomber crashed onto sea ice in North Star Bay, Greenland, causing the nuclear payload to rupture and disperse, which resulted in widespread radioactive contamination. The United States and Denmark launched an intensive clean-up and recovery operation, but the secondary of one of the nuclear weapons could not be accounted for after the operation completed.[14][15]

State visits

Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark welcome George W. Bush and Laura Bush

In 1967, Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik visited the United States.[16]

American President Bill Clinton visited Denmark in 1997,[17] and again in 2007.[18] American President George W. Bush made an official visit to Copenhagen in July 2005, and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen met with Bush at Camp David in June 2006.[11]

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Denmark to support Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics in October 2009,[19] and again in December 2009, Obama visited Denmark again for the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.[20]

In March 2009, Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen met American Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton in the Gaza Donor Conference,[21] and again in a NATO meeting in April 2010, where they met in Estonia.[22]

In March 2009, Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary visited the Midwest. They visited The Danish Home in Chicago, and the Danish villages of Elk Horn, Ames, Kimballton and Dana College in Iowa. In Nebraska, the couple visited the Grand View University.[16]

"States like Iowa and Nebraska boast numerous examples of Danish settlements... Both universities have made great strides to become highly recognized institutions of higher learning, as well as strengthening ties between Denmark and the United States," Crown Prince Frederik said.[16]

On 9 March 2011, American President Obama invited Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen to the White House, where they discussed counter terrorism, the situation in Middle East, and environmental issues.[23]

See also


  1. ^ Government of Denmark. "Danish embassy in Washington DC, United States". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Denmark). Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Government of the United States. "American embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark". Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Government of Denmark. "Trade Commission of Denmark in Atlanta". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Government of denmark. "Consulate General of Denmark in New York". Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  5. ^ NATO. "NATO — Member countries". NATO. NATO. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  6. ^ The Growth of Scandinavian Law. 2002. p. 152. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c Government of the United States of America. "Embassy of the United States in Copenhagen, Denmark". Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "A guide to the United States' History of Recognition, Diplomatic and Consular relations by country since 1776: Denmark". Office of the Historian. Office of the Historian. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Convention between the United States and Denmark ETC". Secretary of State of the United States. US Department of the Interior. 4 August 1916. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "Today in Washington". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 12 April 1941.,4194377&dq=&hl=en. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c d "US - Danish relations". US Department of State. US Department of State. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Deepfreeze Defense". Time Magazine. 1947-01-27.,9171,778870,00.html. 
  13. ^ Miller, John J. (2001-05-07). "Let's Buy Greenland! — A complete missile-defense plan". National Review's National Political Reporter (National Review). 
  14. ^ Blacker, Coit D. & Gloria Duffy (Stanford Arms Control Group) (1984). International arms control. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1211-5. 
  15. ^ Busch, Nathan E. (2004). No end in sight. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2323-2. 
  16. ^ a b c "Royal visit Danish US". The Copenhagen Post. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  17. ^ "Clinton predicts "New Era" for NATO alliance but he says Bosnia deadline may be missed". Stl today. 13 July 1997. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  18. ^ "Bill Clinton in a visit in Copenhagen". Jyllandsposten. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  19. ^ "Obama To Denmark: Plans Trip To Copenhagen To Pitch Chicago Olympics". The Huffington Post Inc.. 2009-09-28. Retrieved Sep-28-09. 
  20. ^ "Obama briefly to Copenhagen for COP15". Politiken. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  21. ^ "Hillary Clinton og Per Stig skal mødes". B.T. (tabloid). 2 March 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  22. ^ "Da Lene E. endelig mødte Hillary Clinton". Politiken. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  23. ^ "Obama to welcome Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen to White House". The White House. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).

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