Famous Danes

You may be wondering why I’m having this guest post today. Well, I have Danish ancestry and therefore love to visit their history and see who else fares from that country. I grew up going to annual Scandinavian festivals and became quite proud of my heritage. So, enjoy!

As one of the smaller European countries, Denmark does not have a particularly high profile on the international size due to its small size. However, this Scandinavian nation is raising its profile slowly but surely, due in no small part to its long history of contribution to the arts, fashion and film industries. In fact, the list of famous Danes is longer than you may think.

Actors and Musicians

For a small nation with a population of only 5.5 million, Denmark’s contribution to the film industry is enormous. Viggo Mortensen, who starred as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies has a Danish father and identifies himself as Danish, and other famous Danish names from the movie world include Brigitte Nielsen, who has carved a niche for herself in reality television. In pop music, Danish groups have had huge success on the international stage, with acts such as Aqua, the Cartoons and Whigfield having those irritating Europop hits that remind people of their summer holidays.


All Scandinavian nations have great success in the world of sport, and the Danes are no exception. Danish football clubs regularly compete at the highest levels in European football competitions, and the national squad has had success at an international level too. Famous Danish footballers include Nicklas Bendtner who plays for Arsenal and Peter Schmeichel, the former Manchester United goalkeeper. Caroline Wozniacki, the former world number one in women’s tennis, is also Danish. Although not strictly speaking a sport, ballroom dancing is popular in Denmark and Camilla Dallerup who stars in Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1 is from Denmark too.

Design and Invention

There is a long history and tradition of design and invention in all of the Scandinavian nations and it is fair to say that Denmark is definitely punching above its weight. Names such as Poul Henningsen, Rigmor Andersen and Arne Vodder are certainly not household names, but their work in the field of furniture design has strongly influenced the way we live today. Over the past few years the Scandinavian “look” of pale wood, simple lines and light, airy interiors has been very popular as it is easily adapted to most homes in the UK. Rice homewares is a Danish based firm who has embraced this trend and is producing a range of quirky, individual items for the home. There are many other firms like Rice homewares, all of whom are selling their products to both a local and worldwide audience.

Other Famous Danes

Although now based in the USA, supermodel Helena Christensen was born and raised in Copenhagen, as did Ove Arup, the engineer who founded the multinational company which bears his name. Ole Kirk Christiansen may not be a household name, but there are not many children who have never played with the product he invented, Lego. Skype, the software which is used by millions to talk to each other over the internet was invented by Dane Janus Friis and several much-loved fairy tales were written by Hans Christian Andersen.


On the Olive Loves Alfie website you can find quirky interior design products such as the Danish Rice Homewares range.