Conscription in Denmark

Denmark has a conscription for all physically fit men over 18, according to the Constitution of Denmark (§12)[1] and the Danish Law of Conscription.[2] The duty takes between 4–12 months.[3] Women may participate, but don't have to absolve conscription.[4] The topic is heavily criticized, due to gender discrimination,[5] involuntary servitude[5] and economic[6] reasons.


Conscription is known in Denmark ever since the Viking Age, where one physical man of every 10th court had to serve the king. Frederick IV of Denmark changed the law in 1710 to every 4th court. The men were chosen by the landowner and it was seen as a penalty.

Since the 12th of February, 1849, every physical fit man have to absolve conscription, according to the Constitution of Denmark, which was founded in the same year (1849).


Consciption duty as Royal Life Guards.

Every Danish male adult has to complete military service, with regard to §81 in the Constitution of Denmark:

Every male person able to carry arms shall be liable with his person to contribute to the defence of his country under such rules as are laid down by Statute. — Constitution of Denmark[1]

The legislation about the compulsory military service is articulated in the Danish Law of Conscription.[2] The national service takes 4-12 month.[7] It's possible to postpone the duty until after education is completed.[3] If you aren't physical fit and can testify it, you can skip the military duty and don't have to participate at the 'Day of Defence'.[8]

Women, unlike men, are not required to absolve conscription.[4]

'Day of Defence'

Every male turning 18 will be draft to the 'Day of Defence', where they will be introduced to Danish military and their health will be tested.[9] Men who aren't physically fit are not required to participate in the draw.[7][8] Men considered healthy or partly capable have to participate in the draw.[10]


Fit people and partly fit people have to draw a number. Men deemed partly capable don't have to serve their conscription no matter what number they choose, if they don't want to. Men determined to be physically healthy can be forced to fulfil their conscription, depending on which number they draw.[10] The numbers 8.000-36.000 are unfettered numbers—no conscription in period of peace. The numbers 1-8.000 can lead to conscription — even in peacetime — if there aren't enough voluntaries.[10][11]


Conscripts in the Danish Defence (army, navy and air force) generally serve four months,[12][13] except:

(Non) Military Duty

According to the Danish Law of Conscription from the 12th of December, 2003, §2 you have to progress conscription in the Danish Defence or as non military duty, like in the Danish Emergency Management Agency, as aid worker in developing countries or as a conscientious objector (civil work).[2]

Number of Participants

76% of all conscripted men were voluntaries in 2006 and this number appears to be increasing, as 99.1% were volunteering in 2014. In 2014 only 19 men were compelled.[16]

Since 2012 the minimal limit of participants was decreased from 5.000 participants to 4.200 participants.[16]


The topic is heavily criticized, due to gender discrimination,[5] involuntary servitude[5] and economic[6] reasons. According to a Gellerup poll, 2 out of 3 Danes wish the mandatory military service abolished.[17]

Rank insignia

See also


  1. 1 2 "Danish Constitution" (PDF). Parliament.
  2. 1 2 3 "Bekendtgørelse af værnepligtsloven". Retsinformation. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  3. 1 2 "Forsvaret". Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  4. 1 2 "Kvinder i Forsvaret". Forsvaret for Danmark. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Afskaf den håbløse værnepligt - eller få kvinderne med". Politiken. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  6. 1 2 "Værnepligten er en dårlig forretning". Information (in Danish). Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  7. 1 2 "Værnepligt". Borger. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  8. 1 2 "Før Forsvarets Dag". Forsvaret. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  9. "Mødet på Forsvarets Dag". Forsvaret. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  10. 1 2 3 "Mødet på Forsvarets Dag". Forsvaret for Danmark. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  11. "Lodnummergrænser". Forsvaret for Danmark. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  12. Army's basic training (Danish)
  13. Air force's basic training (Danish)
  14. Navy's basic training (Danish)
  15. Conscription in the Danish Emergency Management Agency (Danish)
  16. 1 2 "19 unge tvunget i militæret". DR. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  17. "Forsvarsminister: Værnepligt skal bevares". Politiko. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
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