5 most popular sports in Denmark

Sports are a long-standing part of Denmark’s history. Individual and team sports became an integral part of the culture in the 1860s after the defeat in the Danish-Prussian war. Facilities were developed to promote the training of shooting, rowing, athletics, and gymnastics.

Team sports like soccer were also introduced around that time and widely embraced. Denmark has been actively participating in international sports for many years. The country has been a part of every Olympic tournament but one. Danish athletes have won many titles for their country.

While many sports are currently popular in Denmark, this article looks at five of the most popular sports in the country.

Football In Denmark

Like in any other European country, football is the most popular sport in Denmark. The country has been very successful at it internationally, having qualified for various championships many times since 1984. 

The sport was introduced in the 1870s by British engineers who had come to design the railroad system in the country. However, the national team could not qualify for the World Cup until 1986. Denmark won the UEFA Championship in 1992 and the Confederations Cup in 1995. The national team also managed to reach the quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup in 1998. 

The national football team is one of the most successful teams in the world and currently ranks 10th in FIFA. It’s highest ranking to date is 3rd in 1997.

Denmark has more than 300,000 registered football players and around 1600 clubs. The domestic league structure is very strong in the country. The top league in the country is the Danish Superliga. It has 12 teams, of which F.C. Copenhagen is the most successful of all. Since 1991, the club has won 13 titles. The club reached the Europa League in 2019-20. For the women, the top league is the Elite divisionen.

American Football In Denmark

The next most popular sport on our list is American football. Although American football is mostly dominant in the Americas, it is very much enjoyed in a few European countries, including Denmark. The country also has the Danish American Football Federation to administer the sport, which was established in 1988. The federation also manages the Danish National League or National Ligaen.

The Danish National League has a format similar to the NFL and has a regular season and playoffs. As the USA has the Super Bowl, Denmark has the Mermaid Bowl, the championship’s final game. It is held in October every year. The event was held for the first time in 1988.

American football is not just popular in the country, but Denmark teams perform well too. The youth and senior national teams have competed in the American football European Championship, a continental tournament that serves as the qualifier for the IFAF World Cup.

Ice Hockey In Denmark

If we were to pick Denmark’s favourite winter sport, it would have to be ice hockey. It can get quite cold in the winter, and like other countries with similar climates, ice hockey is a much-loved sport in the country.

Denmark’s national ice hockey team has been the best team in their division since 2003. The men’s and women’s team is currently in 10th place in the IIHF ranking. To date, the most notable performance from the men’s side is 8th place in the World Cup in 2010. Denmark also hosted the IIHF World Cup in 2018.

The top professional ice hockey league in the country is Mental Ligaen. The league is quite competitive and has produced many talented players. Many renowned Danish ice hockey players have played in the NHL, while some also play in the Swedish Hockey League and the Kontinental Hockey League, an international ice hockey league.

Cycling In Denmark

The Danish people are very fond of cycling. Be it a means of commuting, recreational purposes, or sporting activity; you will find the locals indulging in the activity widely. To promote the activity, Danish towns and cities have been adjusted to provide safe and easy passage for cycling through separate cycle paths.

As a professional sport, Denmark has been very successful in cycling. The most notable professional cyclist to date is Thorvald Ellegaard, who won three European and 24 Danish titles and was also the six-time winner of the world professional sprint. 

Another renowned cyclist is Michael Rasmussen, who was titled the King of the Mountains in 2005 and 06. Other Danish cyclists have won many international cycling competitions in recent years. The country also hosted the UCI World Championship on the Road in 2011.

Handball In Denmark

The last sport is handball, a sport that not only originated in Denmark but is also very popular. If we were to name the most popular participatory sport, it would have to be handball, as the locals consider it their favourite pastime. Denmark currently has more than 150,000 handball players. 

The men’s national football team also won the Olympics gold in 2016, making the total number of medals won 110. The men’s team also won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012 and the World Handball Championship in 2019. The women’s national team has won three gold medals in the Olympics. 

FAQs

What sports Are Denmark good at?

The national sport of Denmark is running, a pursuit that reflects the country’s commitment to health and camaraderie. This beloved pastime is a significant part of Denmark’s sports culture, showcasing the Danish inclination towards active living and community engagement. Beyond running, Denmark sports a diverse range of popular activities.

Football, for instance, is the most popular club sport in Denmark. It boasts a remarkable history, including qualifying for the European Championships six times consecutively from 1984 to 2004 and winning the Championship in 1992. The national football team has also achieved other significant successes, such as winning the Confederations Cup in 1995. This popularity is evidenced by the over 313,000 players across more than 1600 clubs, highlighting football’s deep-rooted presence in Danish sports culture.

Another notable mention in Danish sports is handball. While it may be less known in some countries, handball enjoys immense popularity in Denmark. The national women’s handball team earned three gold medals at the Olympic Games, and the men’s team won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The sport’s popularity is further underscored by the nearly 150,000 registered handball players in the country, reflecting its significant role in the landscape of Danish sports.

In summary, while running holds the title of the national sport of Denmark, the Danish sports scene is rich and varied, with football and handball also playing key roles in the nation’s athletic identity.


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