Danish Defence Research Database


The Long Road Towards an Official Danish Veterans' Policy 1848-2010

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Despite Denmark being a nation that over the course of hundreds of years has produced tens of thousands of war veterans, research on this subject is still in its nascent phase compared to that of other nations. This is best explained by a number of historical, cultural and political factors, of which the virtual absence of war since 1864 is the most striking. Following Denmark’s increasing involvement in “hot” UN and NATO missions since the end of the Cold War, the notion of Danish “veterans” has resurfaced, both as a political factor and as a subject of study. Consequently, in 2010 the government adopted the first-ever Danish veterans’ policy.
This paper addresses the virtual invisibility of Danish war veterans in Danish society and the absence of an official veterans’ policy until 2010. It is argued that a combination of factors, such as the low number of war veterans, the existence of a welfare state, political conjunctures, and the change in Danish overseas military operations from primarily involving peacekeeping to being actual combat missions, may explain why Denmark has only recently adopted a veterans’ policy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Military Challenges
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)89-105
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

    Controlled Keywords

  • Veterans
  • Military history
  • Identity
  • Culture
  • Nationalism
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