Seven sites on the World Heritage List

Denmark has seven sites on the World Heritage List, and the Arctic island of Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, has one site on the List.

The World Heritage List is maintained by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Jelling Monuments

The complex of Jelling mounds, runic stones, and church is situated north of Vejle in Central Jutland.

It is a unique illustration of the transition from the old Norse religion to Christianity during the 10th century; linked with this is the creation of the nation state of Denmark. One of the two large grave mounds on either side of the church was probably the burial place of King Gorm. His body was removed, however, probably by Gorm's son, Harald, for Christian reburial in the church.

The two runic stones by the church are connected with the burial mounds. The smaller stone was erected by Gorm as a memorial to his queen, Thyra. The larger stone depicts a Norse dragon on one side, and on the other the earliest image of Christ in Scandinavia. The runic text describes how Harald brought Denmark and Norway together and Christianized the Danes.

The Jelling mounds, runic stones, and church were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1994.

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Roskilde Cathedral

In many ways, Roskilde Cathedral is the most important ecclesiastical building in Denmark.

The cathedral, which was built in the 12th and 13th centuries, is the first Gothic building in the country, although it contains older Romanesque parts.

The cathedral is built of red brick, which was beginning to appear in Denmark at that time. Unlike most other Danish churches, the architecture of the cathedral is influenced mainly from northern France. Since the 15th century, the cathedral has been the place of burial of the Danish royal family. Across the centuries, a number of architecturally very important chapels have been added to the original church building, in each of which the best artists of the period displayed their talents.

The cathedral is a unique artistic achievement and is associated with the history of Scandinavia and the Baltic region, on whose architecture it exerted great influence. The annexed chapels are outstanding examples of architecture and sculpture from the medieval times to the present day.

Roskilde Cathedral was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995.

Download pamphlet about the Jelling Monuments in PDF:

Kronborg Castle

During many centuries Kronborg Castle controlled the entrance to the Baltic, and the duties charged on ships passing through the Sound, the stretch of water between Denmark and Sweden, were a considerable source of income for Denmark. Kronborg Castle was also where the Danish kings could display their power through splendid architecture.

The present Renaissance castle was built in 1574-85 by King Frederik II, and its defences were reinforced in the late 17th century, in accordance with the military architecture of the period. The castle played a significant role in the history of northern Europe in the 16th-18th centuries and has remained intact to the present day. It also has an important associative value as the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Kronborg Castle was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000.

Download pamphlet about the Jelling Monuments in PDF:


In Southern Jutland, there is a town that was planned according to Christian values and Christian ways of living. The yellowish bricks and red roofs exude order, spirituality and concord, while the sharp gender division inside the church bears witness to a society where doings and actions were under control. However, the "brothers" of yore were visionaries in other areas, as the minister of the Brethren’s Congregation tells here.

 Christiansfeld is one of the first cities in Denmark that was first meticulously planned out and only thereafter, systematically constructed.

Christiansfeld became the frame around the life and work of the Brethren’s Congregation. And the town was built up according to this Christian sect’s parochial structure and precepts. This Reformation movement had its source in fifteenth century Bohemia, as an attempt to square accounts with the Catholic Church. This can be seen in the town’s ground plan, in the cemetery’s simple design, where men and women are buried on opposite sides of the layout, and in the very specifically gender-segregated public houses that are called “Choir Houses.”

The town was also unusually well supplied with schools. There were private houses belonging to members of the congregation and then, of course, there is the large chapel, which is comparable to several cathedrals with respect to its size.

Christiansfeld appears today almost as it was when the buildings were erected nearly 200 years ago and a large percentage of the houses are now listed buildings.

Christiansfeld was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2015.

Parforce Hunting System and The Hermitage

Denmark’s King Christian V went hunting with The Sun King. Being duly inspired as a result of this experience, he fashioned the contours of Dyrehaven so that the grounds would accommodate the special and noble par force form of hunting, where the wild animal was run down until it reached the point of exhaustion. Ironically enough, the king himself eventually became a victim of his own chosen method of hunting

Upon the Reformation in 1536, the reigning monarch, King Christian III, seized control of all of the Catholic Church’s property and consequently came into full possession of thousands of properties all over the country. This ultimately proved to be deleterious to both the supervision of these properties and the administration of the nation’s wildlife. As a result, sometime later on in the sixteenth century, the kings tended to amass their real property into continuous estates. One of these was the North Zealand estate, the center of which became Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød.

The hunt was important to the king, both as a status symbol and as source for supplying nourishment for the people in his court; and the rolling countryside of North Zealand, with its extensive marshes and wooded areas, was an ideal place for hunting deer.

Here, at the end of the seventeenth century, the absolute monarch, King Christian V, laid out a consummate so-called “par force hunting landscape”, following the French paradigm. This landscape is still preserved in North Zealand’s forests today.

It is universally unique as a cultural landscape insofar as it represents a combination of natural and man-made creations. It also bespeaks a course of development within man-made societies under the influence of the changing – both external and internal – societal, economic and cultural forces.

The Parforce Hunting System was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2015.

Stevns Cliffs

The thick layer of fish clay at Stevns Klint tells us much about the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Limestone from the cliff was used to form a constituent part of important buildings like Absalon’s Fortress and way back in the Stone Age, flints from here were used in making tools. Stevns Klint documents the planet’s development over the course of several million years.

“Where is Stevns Klint?” Actually, it’s quite often that people ask this question, even while they are standing very close to the cliff. From the point of view on the land’s side, the place that can presumably be called Northern Europe’s most important geological locality does not pass itself off as being anything special. Its beauty cannot really be appreciated until we look at the area from all the way out on the edge, from the shoreline or from the sea.

Stevns Klint is the very best place to study the great mass deaths that befell the Earth 65 million years ago and wiped out more than half of all the planet’s animal and plant species, including the dinosaurs.

The sea has slowly been washing away the cliff’s lowermost level of soft chalk, with the result that the slightly harder bryozoan limestone juts out over the white chalk. It is precisely between these two layers that the renowned layers of fish clay are to be found, the layers containing traces of the great mass death.
The lowermost part of the cliff, comprised of white chalk, actually consists of microscopic shells from algae. These algae lived in the free volumes of water situated in the ocean that covered Denmark more than 65 million years ago. The algae slowly sifted down onto the seabed. Gradually, over a long lapse of time, a thick layer of white chalk was deposited – a little at a time.

Stevns Cliffs was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014.

The Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea – an elongated landscape where, when the tide is low, you can let your eye move almost infinitely, stopping only when it takes in a string of island pearls appearing off in the distance in the north, namely Langli, Fanø, Keldsand and Mandø and, appearing off in the distance in the south, Rømø. Skallingen and the Ho Bay fashion the northernmost limit of the Wadden Sea. Along the Wadden Sea’s coastline, we find the cities of Varde, Esbjerg, Ribe, Skaerbaek and Tønder, all of which are situated on the edge of marshes.

This landscape does not stop at the Danish border but continues on as far as the port city of Den Helder, situated at the northwestern tip of Holland. Between the islands and the mainland we find the Wadden Sea and the marshlands linking the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark together – both when it comes to nature and to culture.

The Wadden Sea is one of the world’s largest wetlands. Here, the tide’s pulse is constantly changing the landscape from one moment, with the sea spread out all over the place, to the next, where we can view a landscape of tidal flats for as far as the eye can see.

The low-lying marsh areas have been created by the sea through a process of the sea level’s rising and the ongoing deposits of sedimentary material. Every day, the materials of sand, silt and clay are carried out with the tides. When the winters’ storms set in, the process of sanding up and the formation of the dunes are accelerated in certain places while in other places, the landscapes are eroded.

In June 2009, The Wadden Sea areas in both Germany and the Netherlands were endowed with the status of being included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The Danish area of Wadden Sea was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2014.