Danish armed forces distance themselves from Great Prayer Day plan 

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish armed forces distance themselves from Great Prayer Day plan 
People at the beach during the Great Prayer Day holiday in 2020. File photo: John Randeris/Ritzau Scanpix

Unions for the Danish armed forces say they are concerned about the connection between the military and plans to abolish Great Prayer Day.


The Danish military wants the government to stop using defence as justification to abolish Great Prayer Day, a public holiday set to be axed through a parliamentary bill.

Three unions, representing a total of more than 18,000 members in the armed forces, say association with the loss of a public holiday could undermine general support for the armed forces. 


The government bill to abolish Great Prayer Day has met with criticism from trade unions, the church and opposition parties.


Niels Tønning, chairman of the union Hovedorganisationen af Officerer i Danmark (“First Organization of Officers in Denmark”) told newspaper BT that extra funding shouldn’t come at the expense of the freedom of Danish wage earners.

That is despite the armed forces needing the money, he noted.

Another union leader, Jesper Korsgaard Hansen of Centralforeningen for Stampersonel (Central Association for Core Personnel) told BT he was angry over the link between defence and Great Prayer Day.

“I’m angry in the old-fashioned sense about the military being brought up in the same breath to say that money from the scrapped public holiday will go to increased expenses for defence,” Hansen told BT.

Tom Block chairperson of Hærens Konstabel- og Korporalforening (Association of Army Constables and Corporals) said that the government had made the military a “scapegoat” for its plan to scrap Great prayer Day.

In a written comment to BT, defence minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen recognised the bill to scrap Great Prayer Day was not popular.

He said he believed that Danes nevertheless understood that bolstering the military comes with a price.


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