Like in many nations, the people of Denmark love sport. They enjoy watching it, they enjoy playing it, and they enjoy talking about it. Around half of the population takes part in one or many sports in Denmark.
If you’re considering visiting or moving to the country, you might be wondering what local teams you’ll be able to watch, whether there are any activities you can take part in, and how to watch your favourite sports from back home.
Well, here’s a guide to the most popular sports in Denmark.
Football (Soccer), the most watched sport in Denmark
As with almost every other country in Europe, the most popular sport in Denmark is football. It has a strong domestic league structure, with the Danish Superliga sitting at the top of the pyramid.
It is made up of 12 teams, though F.C. Copenhagen is by far the most successful club with a total of 13 titles since the league was founded in 1991. Copenhagen is also the most successful Danish club at a European level, though it has never progressed further than the Round of 16 in the Champions League and its best performance in the Europa League was the quarter-finals in 2019/20.
Watching a Superliga match is a modest affair since the clubs typically have relatively small stadium capacities compared to some other European countries. Most clubs have a capacity of just over 10,000, and even though F.C. Copenhagen has a capacity of over 38,000 its average match attendance is 12,500.
Tickets are reasonably priced too, costing between DKK 80-250 which is the equivalent of €11-34 and $12-39.
If you enjoy playing football yourself, you’ll find plenty of local amateur clubs nearby. There are around 1,600 across the country with more than 300,000 players registered with the Danish Football Association. You can find your nearest team on its website. More and more female Danes get into Football as well!
Most major domestic and international leagues are available on TV and in the sports bars around the country. Denmark has an exclusive channel for Football.
Denmark has plenty of big competitions in its sports portfolio. The Danish national football team qualified for the European Championships in football six times, taking the title once in 1992.
Their other achievements include participating in the World’s Championship in 1998 and in the Confederations Cup in 1995.
American football is a much smaller sport in Europe, despite the efforts of the NFL to create an interest over the last few decades. With that said, you can still find American football in Denmark.
In fact, there is an official sporting federation known as the Danish American Football Federation which runs the Danish national team, the Hall of Fame and the Danish National League.
The league operates in a similar format to the NFL, with a regular season and playoffs. The Danish equivalent to the Super Bowl is called the Mermaid Bowl and it’s usually played each October.
NFL fans in the US can watch all games live and bet on games through sportsbooks like PointsBet. The broadcaster Viasat, which operates TV3+, TV3 Sport, and Viaplay airs NFL games in the country, or you can subscribe to NFL Game Pass. Or, if you’d prefer to watch with other fans, there are plenty of sports bars in major cities where you’ll find games being shown.
Ice Hockey, the ultimate winter Sport in Denmark
It can get pretty cold in Denmark during the winter and, similar to other countries that share this type of climate, Danes love Ice Hockey. The biggest professional league is currently known as Metal Ligaen.
The league isn’t as big as the likes of the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan, the Kontinental Hockey League, and the American NHL, but it’s still very competitive and contains some great talent.
Many players from the league have eventually moved into larger leagues like the NHL and KHL, including Peter Regin and Nicklas Jensen.
If you want to watch the NHL, Metal Liagen, or other competitions, you’ll find them on Viasat and TV2 Denmark.
Cycling Sport in Denmark
Danes love cycling, whether it’s for sport or just as a way to get around. Danish towns and cities have been adapted to make cycling safe and easy, with segregated cycle paths that mean riders can avoid cars and pedestrians.
You only need to step outside Copenhagen’s central train station to see how cycling in Denmark is adored. The grounds around its main entrance are covered in a sea of bicycles, often stacked on two-level racks.
It’s no surprise then that the country has produced some successful professional cyclists. The most decorated rider was Thorvald Ellegaard, who won 24 Danish titles, three European titles, and the World Professional Sprint title on six occasions. During his career, he won 925 of the 1,560 races that he entered.
More recently, Bjarne Lykkegård Riis won the Tour de France in 1996, while Michael Rasmussen was crowned King of the Mountains in 2005 and 2006.
You’ll find plenty of cycling on TV too, including the Tour de France which is broadcast by TV2 Denmark and Eurosport. Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia are also aired on both channels.
Handball, Denmark sport of choice
Handball is a lesser-known sport in some countries, but it is incredibly popular in Denmark. The country has almost 150,000 registered players, and the national women’s team have picked up three gold medals at the Olympic Games. The men’s team also won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
It’s not only the Olympics where Danes have seen success in handball either. The country is the most successful in the world, with a total of 104 medals.
Handball is a team sport where players try to hit the ball into their opponent’s goal. It is usually played indoors, but there is also a beach version which is popular during the summer.
It’s sort of a cross between basketball and football, with players required to dribble the ball but with goals used instead of baskets.
If you want to try it out, you can find plenty of local clubs where amateurs can take part. There is a list on the Danish Handball Federation’s website.
If you’d prefer to watch professional handball, you’ll find the Danish Handball League on TV2 Denmark and the European Handball Federation Champions League on Viasat.
Sports in Denmark in Summary
There’s no shortage of sport in Denmark. Danes, like most people around the world, love sport which is why so many partake and even more watch games. Whatever your favourite sport or league, you’ll find it in Denmark. The population is also love experience life outdoors in Denmark!
Denmark Sports FAQs
What is the most popular sport in Denmark?
Football of course!
What is Denmark’s national sport?
Again, football matches are watched by a large number of fans
Do young girls in Denmark schools play sports?
Sure. Sport is highly encouraged in school. Girls can play any Denmark sports like handball or cheerleading.
What is the traditionnel Sport in Denmark?
Handball is probably the most traditional Denmark sport. Born there, the population is a huge fan of this game.
What sports are Denmark good at?
Well, Danish are pretty great at any sports. Mostly at handball, badminton, ice hockey or cycling as mentioned ahead. They’re also good at sailing sports and swimming.
Why is Denmark so good at badminton?
Why not? More seriously, there are a lot of clubs all over Denmark. So young people have the opportunity to start playing badminton at an early age. Also, Denmark indoor sports are very popular, as the weather can be very cold there.