Top Danish Companies

The top Danish companies: Everything you need to know about the largest companies in Denmark

Although it’s a small country of just 5.8 million people, Denmark has made a significant global impact relative to its size. Some of the top Danish companies are key players within their industries, and they play a crucial role in logistics, entertainment, and more.

Unsurprisingly, many foreign investors are interested in Denmark; the country is the best in Europe for doing business and the fourth-best worldwide.

If you add the above to the fact that the country has a strong welfare state, talented people know they can take entrepreneurial risks without worrying about ending up on the street.

Denmark’s economy is also pretty diverse, with much of its land and climate suitable for agriculture; it’s also an important hub for friendly energy sources.

In more recent years, Denmark has become more technologically advanced; disruptor banks have burst onto the scene, though the traditional institutions have all remained strong.

All of this makes for an exciting business landscape, and we’re going to look at the largest companies in Denmark today.

Top Danish Companies

Carlsberg Group

Carlsberg puts forward a good case for being the best-known companies in Denmark, let alone one of the most popular Danish beer brands. The company is still headquartered in Copenhagen, with Carlsberg Group officially establishing itself in 1847.

Domestically, you will find Carlsberg in almost every pub and bar throughout the country — along with most supermarkets; its domestic beer market capitalization is over 50%. Elsewhere, Carlsberg is popular in the UK — though it’s often not most people’s first choice.

Today, Carlsberg Group has breweries and operations in multiple countries worldwide. In addition to its namesake brand, Carlsberg Group is also responsible for producing several other alcoholic beverages — including 1664, Staropramen, and Super Bock.

Carlsberg Group currently trades on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

Top Danish Companies

LEGO

If Carlsberg isn’t the most famous Danish company in other countries, that prize almost certainly goes to LEGO instead. The toy manufacturing giant is a staple in many households worldwide, and you’ve probably suffered the intense pain that follows stepping on a single brick.

The company has been around since 1932, and it maintains its headquarters in Billund — a small town on the Jutland peninsula.

LEGO sells its products in well over 100 countries across the globe, and you can find all kinds of crazy sets to build these days — ranging from simple blocks to full-on castles and ships.

The company has a huge outlet on the Strøget shopping street in Copenhagen, along with another store at Copenhagen Airport and several others throughout the Danish capital.

LEGO also operates the iconic LEGOLAND amusement park in Billund, popular with international tourists and Danes alike. You will also find a LEGOLAND resort in Windsor, England — roughly an hour and a half from the center of London.

Each year, LEGO releases over 800 new sets. Across the globe, more than 400 people have played with the bricks; the country employs over 18,000 people worldwide.

Top Danish Companies

MÆRSK

A.P. Møller MÆRSK is more commonly known as MÆRSK or MÆRSK Group domestically and internationally, and it’s another of the largest Danish companies making a huge impact globally.

The sea transport and logistics company is one of the most important shipping container lines globally, and until 2021, it was the biggest in its field for 15 years.

MÆRSK was founded in 1904 by A.P. Moller and Peter Mærsk Møller — hence its name. Its 2021 revenue surpassed $60 billion, making it one of the most profitable companies in Denmark. It has a presence in 130 nations around the world, including in Eastern Europe and beyond, and it’s part of the A.P. Møller Group.

To this day, MÆRSK still has its headquarters in Copenhagen. The company’s office is one of the most distinct examples of modern architecture in the Danish capital. Its imposing gray structure is not far from tourist sites like the Little Mermaid and Kastellet.

MÆRSK owns over 300 ships and charters 400. Roughly 83,000 people work for the company, with around 1,800 working in its Copenhagen head office.

Top Danish Companies
Credit: Lunar

Lunar

One could argue that Denmark isn’t as tech-savvy as its Nordic neighbors, Sweden and Finland, but that doesn’t mean that the country is archaic in this sense. Danish society is largely cashless, making it an excellent place for fintech companies to make their mark.

One of the newer and less famous Danish companies on our list is Lunar, a digital disruptor Danish bank.

Lunar is pretty much the Danish equivalent of mobile banks like Monzo, Revolut, and N26. The company has its headquarters in Aarhus, the country’s second-largest city and the biggest urban area in Jutland. The company has a presence in Norway and Sweden, but its core market remains Denmark for now.

Lunar offers services for both private persons and business accounts. The company is known for its quirky branding and marketing, and around 400,000 people own an account with the bank. Some people use it as their primary account, whereas others keep it as a nice extra.

Since emerging onto the scene in 2015, Lunar has grown into a company with over 500 employees. In addition to Aarhus, it has offices in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo.

Top Danish Companies

Arla

Dairy is huge in Denmark, and many Danes are keen consumers of cheese, milk, yogurt, and Skyr. Arla is one of the largest domestic suppliers in this respect, and the company also has a significant presence in countries further afield.

Arla is responsible for several well-known brands’ products, including Lurpak — another Danish brand — and Matilde, a popular chocolate drink in Denmark. Further afield, Arla is known as Cravendale in the UK.

Arla’s headquarters are located in Viby, part of the Aarhus region. However, the company also has offices in Copenhagen and various other cities worldwide.

Arla has had a presence in Denmark and Sweden since 1881, and the company employs more than 18,000 employees today. In 2021, the company generated over €11 billion in revenue; in addition to Denmark, the UK, and Sweden, Arla is also present in Germany and other countries.

Top Danish Companies
Credit: Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk

If you ask multiple expats in Copenhagen why they moved to Denmark’s capital city, you can guarantee that at least one of them will say that they received a job offer from Novo Nordisk.

The pharmaceutical products company is one of Denmark’s biggest employers, and the company is huge within the healthcare sector. Its head offices are in Bagsværd, part of the Greater Copenhagen region.

Novo Nordisk was founded in 1923 and has 80 offices worldwide, including multiple ones throughout Denmark. The foreign cities it’s present in include Jakarta, Seoul, Vienna, and Rome. Across its global offices, around 47,000 people work for the company — which also trades on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

The company’s global presence is further signified by its product sales in more than 160 nations across the world. Novo Nordisk focuses on research and development, with 10 research centers on the planet, including the UK and the US.

Parken Sport and Entertainment

Denmark has a lively cultural scene, with plenty of events throughout the year — especially in Copenhagen. One of the top Danish companies is Parken Sport and Entertainment, which handles everything at the capital’s Parken stadium.

Parken is home to FC Copenhagen, which has won the most Danish Superliga titles and regularly competes in European soccer competitions. The Danish national team also plays its fixtures here, and the side played all three of its group games in its EURO 2020 campaign here; the stadium also hosted Croatia v Spain in the first knockout round.

In addition to sports, Parken also hosts concerts and even has a Michelin Star restaurant. The company trades on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.

Top Danish Companies
Credit: Ørsted

Ørsted

Considering that much of Denmark is flat, rising sea temperatures would be disastrous. As such, it’s unsurprising that the nation is one of the world’s leaders in sustainability and innovation in this respect. When natural gas was discovered in the 20th century, Ørsted was founded to help manage this aspect.

Compared to Norway, however, oil hasn’t been as significant domestically — which one could argue is because they didn’t get as much.

Ørsted has been around since 1972, and today, the company focuses more on renewable resources like wind power. Until 2017, however, Ørsted still focused somewhat on natural gas and oil — before opting for a change of direction.

The company has only called itself Ørsted since 2017, too; before that, it was known as Dansk Olie & Naturgas A/S (DONG) and DONG Energies after a merger with several companies in 2006.

Ørsted’s main office is in Fredericia, in the Southern Jutland region. The company operates throughout Denmark, though, and has over 6,800 employees.

Top Danish Companies

Danske Bank

Danske Bank is Denmark’s largest bank, with both Danish citizens and foreigners first moving to the country opting to open an account here. The bank’s headquarters are in downtown Copenhagen, and it was founded in 1871 as Den Danske Landmandsbank (The Danish Farmer’s Bank).

In addition to personal accounts, Danske Bank is popular with businesses looking for financial services. While its primary market is Denmark, the bank operates in three of the other four Nordic countries: Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

Further afield, Danske Bank is also in the UK, the US, Poland, and Ireland.

Danske Bank has 3.3 million personal and business customers within its markets, along with almost 22,000 employees. In addition to Copenhagen, the bank has offices in London and New York City — plus several other parts of the world.

While you can use your Danske Bank card to pay for items with Danish Kroner in the Faroe Islands and Greenland, Danske Bank doesn’t have a stronghold in these two territories despite being part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Instead, many people bank with BankNordik — which started as a subsidiary of Danske Bank.

Top Danish Companies

Vestas Wind Systems

If you have ever spent more than a couple of days in Denmark, and your trip wasn’t between June and August, you’ll know how windy it gets here. As you might expect, wind energy is a huge part of the country’s renewable energy efforts — and Vestas Wind Systems is one of the top Danish companies in this respect.

Vestas Wind Systems is a huge manufacturer of wind turbines, and it handles the entire process from design to installation. The company was founded in 1945; today, Vestas has expanded to over 60 countries across the globe.

Vestas Wind Systems has helped stop a huge amount of CO2 from finding its way into the atmosphere thanks to its wind turbines. You’ll find more than 40,000 of its turbines throughout global markets, including many in Denmark.

Vestas Wind Systems has 29,000 employees, and its head office is in Aarhus — though it also has a presence in Copenhagen. Further afield, the company has offices in Trondheim, Hanoi, Szczecin, and other cities.

Top Danish Companies
Credit: Danish Crown

Danish Crown A/S

The Danes are big consumers of pork, and it’s not surprising that they are; pigs far outweigh people in terms of the population here. Danish Crown is one of Denmark’s most important food production companies, and it has several subsidiaries — including Friland and ESS-FOOD.

Danish Crown has several factories throughout Denmark, and it focuses on ensuring food safety and quality from the nurturing to slaughter phase. You’ll probably see its food packaged in Danish supermarkets if you ever move to Denmark for a while.

Danish Crown has 23,000 employees. In addition to its Danish operations, the company also has a strong presence in the UK and Poland. The company’s head office is in Randers, one of Jutland’s largest cities.

Top Danish Companies

DFDS

DFDS is one of many shipping companies in Northern Europe, and it’s huge for passenger traffic throughout the North and Baltic Sea regions. In fact, you can sail from Copenhagen to Oslo on one of the company’s ships; the journey departs from Nordhavn and takes roughly 19 hours.

DFDS is one of the older companies on our list, founded in 1866. The company has its headquarters in Copenhagen and operates in 20 European countries. In addition to Denmark, other important markets include the UK and the Netherlands.

Over 8,200 people work for DFDS.

Top Danish Companies

JYSK

When you first move to Denmark, you’ll probably need to purchase bedding and other furnishings for your home or apartment. If you need to buy things like sheets and pillows, you will probably get something made by JYSK.

As you probably guessed from the name, JYSK originates from Jutland. Think of it as the Danish version of IKEA, though its items are perhaps higher in terms of quality. The company was formed in 1979, just outside of Aarhus.

In addition to its strong Danish presence, JYSK has a huge international presence; you’ll find its 3,000+ stores spread across almost 50 countries. The company sells a huge range of homeware furnishings, many of which you can purchase both online and at one of its outlets.

JYSK has 28,400 employees spread across its global locations.

Top Danish Companies

Salling Group

Salling is one of the top Danish companies domestically, and you might know of it from its namesake rooftops in Aarhus and Aalborg. The group originates from 1906 and has since become arguably Denmark’s most recognizable brand.

Salling owns many of Denmark’s largest supermarket chains, including Netto and Føtex. It also operates BILKA, which is effectively Denmark’s answer to Walmart. With a market share of around 34%, the group is the country’s most prominent retail company.

Most of Salling’s entities operate within Denmark; Netto is the only one that has expanded beyond these borders. Before 2018, Salling Group was known as Dansk Supermarked; today, it has over 53,000 employees.

Top Danish Companies

Pandora

Yes, that’s right — one of the world’s most prominent jewelry brands is also one of the most famous Danish brands. So, if that ever comes up on a pub quiz, you can thank us later.

Pandora is relatively new, having only been around since 1982. But in its 40 years of existence, the company has scaled into something huge and world-encompassing. Gaining a reputation as one of the world’s primary luxury brands, the company made 19 billion Danish Kroner in revenue in 2021.

At one point, Pandora was the world’s third-largest jewelry seller. The company has its headquarters in Copenhagen today, with these offices located in the up-and-coming Sydhavn district along the waterfront.

Pandora has 26,000 employees across its global locations, and the company sells its products in more than 100 nations across the globe.

Top Danish Companies

Flying Tiger Copenhagen

Danish design has become renowned worldwide, and you can almost guarantee that a Danish flag on anything will sell. Flying Tiger Copenhagen is a budget design store with a presence throughout the Nordic region, along with having several stores in the UK and other parts of Europe.

Flying Tiger was founded in 1995, and the company sells all sorts of products — including notepads, pens, and much more. In 2020, it made over 3 billion DKK in revenue.

Flying Tiger has nearly 1,000 stores around the world, with the bulk of these being in Italy and Spain. Around 4,100 people work for the company in its multiple locations; its headquarters are in the Danish capital and close to the Christianshavn neighborhood.

Top Danish Companies
Credit: HAY

HAY

Speaking of design, nobody in Denmark comes close to HAY. Since bursting onto the scene in 2002, the company has become arguably the country’s most recognizable furniture seller. If you ever visit Copenhagen, we recommend going to its main store on Strøget — even if you only want to have a walk around.

Mette and Rolf Hay founded HAY, which is where the name comes from. Herman Miller, a furniture company in the US, purchased a majority of the brand in 2019.

HAY sells several products, including chairs, cutlery, and tables. If you step into any Danish apartment or home, you will probably see at least one product made by the company.

HAY has stores in several countries worldwide, including Norway, China, and Germany.

Top DanisTop Danish Companiesh Companies
Credit: Ramblersen

Bjarke Ingels Group

Danish design isn’t solely about interiors; its architecture is equally as iconic. One of the largest architecture companies in Denmark is Bjarke Ingels Group, which is also present in New York City.

Bjarke Ingels Group is responsible for several intriguing architectural projects. In Copenhagen, the 8-TALLET structure in the Ørestad neighborhood is one of the most famous examples.

One which is more universally loved is the Superkilen park in Nørrebro, which was designed to celebrate the neighborhood’s diversity and give people a place to congregate.

Bjarke Ingels Group also helped to construct many of Copenhagen’s harbor baths, which gives locals the opportunity to go for a dip year-round. Amager Bakke, the renewable energy plant with a ski slope on top, is another fine example of the group’s work.

DSB

Denmark has an efficient network of trains that expands across much of the country, and DSB is the country’s largest operator. The company started as state-owned and dates back to 1885; you’ll hop on one of its trains if you want to travel between Denmark’s cities.

DSB also helps operate the Øresundståg service between Denmark and Sweden, with SJ — the primary train operator in Sweden — doing their part as well. The trains get you between Copenhagen and Malmö for pleasure, but several commuters travel cross-country each day.

Top Danish Companies
Credit: Pleo

Pleo

Pleo is one of the biggest Danish companies in the fintech space, and it has been around since 2015. The financial services provider works with several businesses throughout Europe to help them manage their expenses in more of an efficient manner.

In addition to its main Copenhagen office, Pleo has a presence in Berlin, Stockholm, London, and Madrid. The company has more than 400 employees spread across its offices.

Celebrating the top Danish companies

Denmark is a fertile breeding ground for entrepreneurs, and many Danish companies have made their mark on the world.

Despite being one of Europe’s smallest countries by population, several Danish companies have made their mark on the world.

Run by Danish citizens and people from elsewhere, the attractive quality of life and excellent business environment have encouraged many to take their operations from Denmark to other parts of the world.

Part of the reason that Copenhagen has enjoyed so much success in recent years is because the innovative businesses with headquarters here and the other major Danish companies elsewhere have helped to provide jobs to other parts of the country.

If you’re thinking about starting a new company in Denmark, you can certainly do a lot worse, and registering with the relevant authorities is easy. But if you want to try an alternative to the capital, why not read our list of the best places to live in the country?

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