More Danes marrying at registry offices: data

The Local Denmark
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More Danes marrying at registry offices: data
File photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Scanpix Denmark

The majority of Danes tying the knot are now doing so at city halls, according to data from Statistics Denmark. Under a third of marriages are now conducted by priests, according to the latest figures.


The trend has become more marked in recent years, reports newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad.

Of 31,431 marriages in Denmark in 2017, including same-sex marriages, 10,212 took place at churches, according to the report.

The growing number of weddings at city halls in Denmark reflects the fact that more people are marrying for practical reasons, according to an analyst.

An increasingly pragmatic view of weddings and marriage is present amongst Danes, said Mai Heide Ottosen, senior researcher at the Danish National Centre for Social Research.

"A growth in civil marriages is testimony to the fact that many people marry for practical reasons. Marriage is not necessarily something to which a great religious meaning is given, but rather is about getting things in order," Ottosen told Kristeligt Dagblad, adding that church weddings have retained their romantic and momentous connotations.

"It is becoming a type of private insurance arrangement," she added.

The data collected by Statistics Denmark show church marriages to be stable in terms of numbers and civil marriages increasing. That may be related to a high divorce rate amongst Danes, says Ulla Morre Bidstrup, head of department at the Centre for Pastoral Education and Research.

Over 15,200 couples were divorced in Denmark last year.

Bidstrup told Kristeligt Dagblad that the ritual aspect of a church marriage made it feel more like a one-time-only event.

Promising to remain together 'until death do us part' and the traditional scene in which a father leads his daughter up the aisle to give her away to the groom has the character of something that happens once in a lifetime, she said.

"That is why there are many people who avoid a church wedding when they are married a second or third time," she explained.

READ ALSO: Danish priests marry more gay couples every year



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