The Danish flag. Photo/foto: wikipedia

Swiss-Danish Diplomacy

Official diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Denmark have existed since 1920. At first sight, however, their history shows few common ground. Denmark is one of the oldest European monarchies, as Shakespeare already wrote. As far as is known, the Vikings never entered Swiss territory.

Denmark has not been part of the Roman, Merovingian, Carolingian, Burgundian or Holy Roman Empires. Its aristocracy played a dominant political and economic role until the end of the nineteenth century. The country also governs (autonomous) overseas territories, including Greenland. Denmark is a unitary state and experienced the aggression of its German neighbour (1864 and 1940-1945). Its geographical location and landscape are also very different. And the country is a member of the European Union.

What unites the two countries is the centuries-old commercial spirit, an innovative mentality and scientific interest, respect for pacta sunt servanda, democracy and human rights, aversion to megalomaniac projects of the European Union, such as the euro, and increasing European centralisation.

The Swiss scholar Alfred de Quervain (1879-1927) was in 1912 for glacier- and climate research in Greenland. The data he collected during his seven-week expedition are of importance to climate science nowadays, and Switzerland is still conducting glacier- and climate research in Greenland.

In 1887, Switzerland established an honorary consulate in Copenhagen, which was converted into a Consulate General in 1921, an envoy in 1945, and finally an embassy in 1957. The Danish chargé d’affaires took up his post in Bern in 1918 and in 1920, the first accredited plenipotentiary 1920 was a fact (1920). One hundred years later, Switzerland and Denmark still maintain excellent relations. Even the national flags are similar.