Sport is an important part of Danish culture. In Denmark we believe that sport is essential not only for the health but also for democracy and social cohesiveness.
The Danes like sport as spectators either at the stadium or in front of the television but even more so as participants. Three out of four children and adolescents and approximately half of the adult population participates in sport on a regular basis.
2 million Danes out of a population of 5.5 million are members of at least one of Denmark's more than 14,000 sports clubs - or associations, as they are often called. These clubs have played an important role in small rural societies for almost a century and appeared in the big cities during the first half of the twentieth century.
The key to Denmark's relative success in organising big international sports events lies in this strong sports club system, which is supported with subsidies from local municipalities. The club structure has a profound impact on the population’s relationship with sport.
The Danish club model is built on voluntary work, openness and joint responsibility. Many important tasks as club coaches or sport officials are carried out on a voluntary basis.
The organisation of sport
In Denmark the Ministry of Culture is the ministry responsible for sport, because in Denmark both elite and recreational sports are considered to be important parts of the cultural picture. Both the state and the municipalities therefore give parallel support to the elite and the masses.
The Danish sports scene is - just as the rest of the society - characterised by three important and interwoven sectors, Government, the Private Sector and Civil Society. In the latter the sports associations are primarily represented by three national organisations: National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF), Danish Gymnastics and Sports Associations (DGI) and The Danish Federation of Company Sports (DFIF).
The National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF), which was founded in 1896, is today the umbrella organisation for 62 national federations comprising around 11,000 clubs with approx. 1.6 million members all in all.
DIF’s slogan “Sport for all – regardless of level, age and gender” seems to work - with assistance from the public authorities who supply the physical settings, and the sports clubs which fill out the framework with activities for the elite athletes and the many who just exercise to keep fit.
The national federations are the governing body of their respective sports at elite as well as recreational level, and their activities are international as well as national and regional.
At the same time DIF is also National Olympic Committee for Denmark and as such responsible for Danish participation at the Olympic Games.
The Danish Elite Sports Institution "Team Danmark" provides financial support to selected sports and their athletes. 1000 Danish top athletes are supported by both their national federation and Team Danmark. Furthermore, the organisation supports the national teams of 30 sports. Team Danmark also supports around 2,500 young athletes in the educational system designed to give them an additional year in High School to make time and space for each of their sports.
Sport Event Denmark
Hosting major international sports events is a branding platform for Denmark. The Danish know-how in staging major events is based on the close cooperation and interaction between the national Danish sports federations, the host cities and Sport Event Denmark.
Sport Event Denmark was established in 1994 and is today owned by the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF), Team Denmark, the Ministry of Economics and Business Affairs and The Ministry of Culture.
The National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark