Switzerland and Denmark are not only similar in terms of surface area and population; they also frequently defend common interests at the multilateral level.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Denmark
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The two countries frequently share the same values and concerns on issues such as conflict prevention, democracy, human rights, international humanitarian law, and development cooperation. Denmark's major commitment to the environment and sustainable development opens up many opportunities for cooperation.
In the multilateral area, Switzerland's and Denmark's interests often coincide. Since, unlike Switzerland, Denmark's institutions are anchored in the EU and NATO, the two countries' economic and security policies differ.
Denmark is Switzerland's second-largest trading partner in Scandinavia. In 2019, trade between the two countries reached a volume of CHF 2 billion. The two countries have similar corporate landscapes, offering much potential for economic exchange.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Both Switzerland and Denmark have a dual vocational education and training system geared to the job market. Denmark has long been one of Switzerland’s strategic partners in the field of vocational education and training. The two countries conduct regular exchanges on challenges and shared interests in this field.
There has been excellent cooperation between Swiss and Danish universities on climate research in Greenland for many years.
Researchers and artists from Denmark can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Swiss nationals in Denmark
According to the Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 3377 Swiss citizens were living in Denmark at the end of 2019.
Cultural collaboration, which is actively coordinated and supported by the Swiss embassy, currently focuses on promoting Swiss design, architecture, Francophonie and Swiss literature. Thanks to financial support from Pro Helvetia, it has been possible in addition to organise several concerts by Swiss musicians and events in the visual and plastic arts.
The well-known Lion of Lucerne was designed by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and testifies to the two countries' long tradition of cultural exchanges. In Danish the work is known as ‘Schweizerløven’.
History of bilateral relations
The first official contacts date back to the 17th century when the Swiss ‘Tagsatzung’ (early executive and legislative council) intervened in support of Huguenot and Piedmontese emigrants wishing to settle in Denmark. In 1850, growing trade between Switzerland and Denmark led to the establishment of a Danish consulate in Bern, followed by further consulates in St Gallen (1854), Geneva (1866), Zurich, Basel and La Chaux-de-Fonds.
During the conference of the International Red Cross in 1864, Denmark expressed the wish to conclude a treaty of friendship and establishment with Switzerland. The treaty was signed in 1875.
To safeguard its trade interests, Switzerland established an honorary consulate in Copenhagen in 1887, which was upgraded to a consulate general in 1921. The Swiss legation in Stockholm represented Switzerland's interests in Denmark until 1945. The consulate general in Copenhagen was upgraded to a legation in 1945 and to an embassy in 1957.
In 1918, the Danish chargé d'affaires took up his function in Bern. With the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1920, he was accredited as plenipotentiary minister.