Welcome to the Cultural Canon!

On this page you can explore the works of the Cultural Canon. You can experience the eight different art forms, check out where the works are located geographically or gain a historical insight into the origin of the works. 

About the Cultural Canon
In 2005, the former Minister of Culture Brian Mikkelsen established seven committees that gave their bid for the most inevitable Danish artworks.

In January 2006, the Cultural Canon's 108 works were published. The works are distributed among the art forms architecture, visual art, design and crafts, films, literature, popular music, score music, performing arts and children's culture.

The canon is intended as an introduction to the Danish cultural heritage. It is not an ending point, but a qualified starting point and basis for a continued debate on Danish art and culture.

Seven professional, independent committees composed the Cultural Canon

In 2005, committee members and chairmen of the canon committees were appointed. Professor Jørn Lund was appointed chairman of the presidency. You can find information about the committees on each front page for the different art forms (architecture, design, etc.). On the pages of the specific canon works, you can read the committees' justifications for their choice of works.

The committees' task was to point to 12 Danish works, which, in the opinion of the committee, were particularly able to give artistic experiences to new generations. The work of the committees included the art forms of architecture, visual art, design and crafts, film, performing arts, music and literature.

During the work, the canon developed, which meant that the Music Committee developed two subcategories: Popular Music with 12 works and Score Music with 12 works. It also turned out that it made a lot of sense to make an extra canon that aimed specifically at children. Today, the cultural canon consists of 108 works spread over nine different art forms.

What were the thoughts behind establishing a Cultural Canon?

  • The intention of making a canon for Danish art and culture was to:
      • • Contribute to a vibrant cultural debate, because the canon is a measure of quality - a measure that will, of course, be constantly challenged and discussed
      • • give citizens an easy access to Danish art and culture and hopefully also inspire citizens to immerse themselves further into the individual art forms
      • • Provide a competent and professional bid on what in our cultural heritage is both valuable, of good quality and worth preserving for our future generations
      • • Make us wiser about ourselves and give us further knowledge about the cultural history we are a part of
      • • give us reference points and awareness of what is special about Danes and Denmark in a world that is becoming increasingly globalized
      • • Strengthen our community because it shows central parts of our common historical baggage.

What is the Cultural Canon?

A canon is a collection of what is recognized as the best of the best. Eg. The texts of the New and Old Testament are the canon of the Christian Church - the texts are selected as the best among many, many other sacred texts.

A canon is something that can be used as a guideline, for example if you want to assess the quality of something. And a canon can also guide and give some directions if you want to learn about something new.

In a canon, in other words, the most important and finest is found within the area covered by the canon.

What you are looking at now is the Danish Cultural Canon - a collection and presentation of the largest and most important works in the Danish cultural heritage.

The purpose of the Cultural Canon was to act as a compass that shows directions and milestones in a long and complex Danish cultural history. At the same time, it was intended that the Cultural Canon should form the basis for conversation and debate.


The Ministry of Culture is responsible for concept development and production of this website

The texts on this website are authored by external writers and do not necessarily express the opinion of the Ministry of Culture. The texts may be used in educational contexts, but may not be subject to independent commercial exploitation, or otherwise be used in a manner that requires permission from the rightholders (the Ministry of Culture).

The pictures found on this website have been cleared with copyright holders in all cases possible. The Ministry of Culture has made a great effort to find out who has the copyright of each picture. Unfortunately, this has not been possible in all cases. If you believe you are the copyright holder of some of these materials, you can contact the Ministry of Culture. The images may not be the subject of independent commercial exploitation, or otherwise be used in a manner that requires permission from the rightholders (the Ministry of Culture).


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