Why are flags flown in Denmark on September 5th?

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Why are flags flown in Denmark on September 5th?
Danish soldiers prepare to lay a wreath at Kastellet in Copenhagen on September 5th 2021. Photo:Keld Navntoft/Ritzau Scanpix

It’s not a public holiday, Constitution Day or the Queen’s birthday, but Denmark’s flag is flown every September 5th from public buildings and buses across the country.


Dannebrog, as the Danish flag is known, is flown on September 5th to honour the country’s soldiers and others who are stationed abroad, or have been in the past.

Veterans’ Flag Day was introduced in 2009 as a way of acknowledging the contribution of Danish troops in international military operations since 1948.

More than a decade ago, Danish soldiers were active as peace keepers in Afghanistan, notably the volatile Helmand province, where a number of casualties and deaths were sustained.


"We still send soldiers on missions around the world and as long as we are still doing that, we need to show our respect for those stationed abroad,” former Minister of Defence Trine Bramsen told broadcaster DR in 2019.

“It is so important and tribute should really be paid to those who put our values of freedoms before themselves and serve abroad,” the minister added.

Danish military personnel have in recent years served in missions including operations in the Arctic, training local military in Iraq, and providing protection in Afghan capital Kabul.

The world has changed significantly since flag day was last marked in 2021, the head of the Danish army Gunner Arpe Nielsen said.

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"The war in Ukraine has forced us to increase our presence in Eastern Europe massively. At the same time, we still have missions in Iraq, Kosovo and many places," Nielsen said in a video shared by the Danish armed forces on Twitter.

Flag Day is marked with parades and the laying of wreaths in memory of the fallen, including at the Monument at Kastellet, a historic military barracks in Copenhagen.

Around 1,000 military personnel from Denmark are currently serving abroad, acting head of the Navy Carsten Fjord-Larsen states in the Beredskabsstyrelsen video.


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