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Compared with most other countries in the world, Denmark’s societal institutions and popular mentality have been shaped by Christianity to an exceptional degree.

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A programmatic expression of the relationship between nation building and Denmark’s Christianisation is present on “Denmark’s birth certificate”, the Jelling Stone, which dates back to around 965 A. On this rune stone, King Harald Bluetooth describes his two great interrelated achievements: “Harald King had these stones made after Gorm his father and after Thyra his mother – that Harald who won all Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian” This trend continued with the Reformation in 1536, when the Danish church became Evangelical Lutheran and was integrated into the state, as well as in the religious revivals of the 1800s, the energy of which was to a large extent channelled into the cultural, social, and business developments that came to form the foundations of the 20th-Century Danish welfare state.

Christianity’s unique history in Denmark explains why the mutual interdependence of the people, the state, and the church has remained in place longer and more strongly in Denmark than in any other country.

There has, quite simply, never been a break in this interdependence, as has occurred as a result of revolution, civil war, military occupation, cultural struggle, religious revival, and immigration in virtually all other European countries.

This is not to suggest an absence of debate concerning this relationship, yet there is general popular support for Article 4 of the Constitution of Denmark, which sets forth that the Evangelical Lutheran church is Denmark’s People’s Church and is thus supported by the state.

The new government of 2011 is striving for the Church of Denmark to become more independent, with a looser association to the state.

The state’s support for the Church of Denmark today is primarily managerial and administrative in character.

Since the Constitution of 1849 granted citizens full religious freedom, membership of the Church of Denmark depends on individual free choice.

The Church of Denmark, which to a certain extent operates as an association in 2012 has nearly 80% of the population as members.

Other religious communities are supported primarily via exemption from taxation on donations to recognised religious bodies.

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