Famous Danish Intellectuals & Academics

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Danish Intellectuals & Academics
 1 
Soren Kierkegaard
(Religious Author Who is Considered to be the First 'Existentialist' Philosopher)
Soren Kierkegaard
4
Birthdate: May 5, 1813
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: November 11, 1855

Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, social critic, poet, and religious author. Widely regarded as the first existentialist philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard is sometimes referred to as the Father of Existentialism. He is also credited with influencing many theologians, philosophers, and writers like Paul Feyerabend, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Jorge Luis Borges.

 2 
Hans Christian Gram
(Former bacteriologist noted for his development of the Gram stain)
Hans Christian Gram
3
Birthdate: September 13, 1853
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: November 14, 1938

Hans Christian Gram was a Danish bacteriologist best remembered for developing a technique called Gram stain, which is still used today to classify bacteria. He achieved international recognition after developing the Gram stain technique. Hans Christian Gram also served as a professor at the University of Copenhagen.

 3 
Ejner Johansson
(Art Historian)
Ejner Johansson
4
Birthdate: March 7, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: September 28, 2001

Ejner Johansson was a Danish art historian, writer, magister of art, and documentary film director. He is best remembered for winning the N. L. Høyen Medal in 1998 for his contribution to arts. Ejner Johansson was also a recipient of LO's Culture Prize, which he received in 1984.

Recommended Lists:
 4 
Saxo Grammaticus
(historian, writer)
Saxo Grammaticus
3
Birthdate: 1150 AD
Died: 1220 AD

Saxo Grammaticus was a Danish theologian, historian, and author. He is credited with authoring the first full history of Denmark, Gesta Danorum. The book houses the legend of Amleth, which inspired William Shakespeare's famous story, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. 

 5 
Ester Boserup
(Danish Economist Known for Her Theory of Agricultural Intensification)
Ester Boserup
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frederiksberg, Denmark
Died: September 24, 1999

Ester Boserup was a Danish economist best remembered for her work at the United Nations and other international organizations. She worked towards establishing equal rights for women in all spheres of life. In 1989, Ester Boserup was inducted into the US National Academy of Sciences.

 6 
N. F. S. Grundtvig
(Danish Bishop and Founder of 'Grundtvigianism', a Theological Movement That Revitalized the Danish Lutheran Church)
N. F. S. Grundtvig
2
Birthdate: September 8, 1783
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vordingborg Municipality, Denmark
Died: September 2, 1872

N. F. S. Grundtvig was a Danish author, pastor, poet, historian, teacher, philosopher, and politician. By the end of the 19th century, Grundtvig's philosophy had given rise to a new sense of nationalism, for which he is often counted among the most influential Danish people of all time. He is also remembered for promoting values like compassion, wisdom, and equality.

 7 
Otto Jespersen
(Former linguist who specialized in the grammar of the English language)
Otto Jespersen
2
Birthdate: July 16, 1860
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Randers, Denmark
Died: April 30, 1943

Otto Jespersen was a Danish linguist best remembered for his expertise in the English language and its grammar. Counted among the greatest language scholars of his generation, Otto Jespersen played a prominent role in the international language movement. He also served as a professor at the University of Copenhagen between 1893 and 1925.

Christian Jürgensen Thomsen
2
Birthdate: December 29, 1788
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: May 21, 1865

Christian Jürgensen Thomsen was a Danish antiquarian best remembered for developing early archaeological methods and techniques. In 1816, he was selected as the head of an organization, which later became the National Museum of Denmark. Christian Jürgensen Thomsen is credited with mentoring future archaeologists like Bror Emil Hildebrand and J. J. A. Worsaae.  

 9 
Ludvig Holberg
(Playwright and an Author)
Ludvig Holberg
0
Birthdate: December 3, 1684
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bergen, Norway
Died: January 28, 1754

One of the forefathers of Norwegian and Danish literature, Ludvig Holberg was a legendary literary figure of the Dano-Norwegian dual monarchy era. Initially a French tutor, he later studied music, before devoting himself to writing. His comedies earned him the nickname of The Molière of the North.

 10 
Thomas Bartholin
(Danish Physician, Mathematician, and Theologian Known for His Work in the Discovery of the Lymphatic System in Humans)
Thomas Bartholin
2
Birthdate: October 20, 1616
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Malmö Municipality, Sweden
Died: December 4, 1680

Thomas Bartholin was a Danish physician, theologian, and mathematician. He is best remembered for discovering the lymphatic system in human beings. Thomas Bartholin is also known as the first person to scientifically describe refrigeration anesthesia, which is widely used today, especially while performing major amputations of the limbs.    

 11 
Barthold Georg Niebuhr
(Danish–German Statesman, Banker, and Historian)
Barthold Georg Niebuhr
2
Birthdate: August 27, 1776
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: January 2, 1831

Barthold Georg Niebuhr was a Danish-German banker, statesman, and historian. A symbol of national spirit in Germany, Barthold Georg Niebuhr helped invigorate a sense of patriotism and nationalism in students at the University of Berlin. 

 12 
Johan Ludvig Heiberg
0
Birthdate: November 27, 1854
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Denmark
Died: January 4, 1928

Johan Ludvig Heiberg was a Danish historian and philologist. Heiberg is best remembered for discovering previously unknown texts in the famous Archimedes Palimpsest. In 1912, Johan Ludvig Heiberg was honored with the Prix Binoux by the French Academy of Sciences.

 13 
Rasmus Rask
(Danish Linguist and Philologist Known for His Contributions to Comparative Linguistics)
Rasmus Rask
2
Birthdate: November 22, 1787
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Denmark
Died: November 14, 1832

Danish philologist and linguist Rasmus Rask is known for pioneering Icelandic grammar. He also taught at the University of Copenhagen. His research later led to the basic law of comparative linguistics, also known as Grimm’s law. He traveled extensively, to places such as Persia, Ceylon, and India, and learned 25 languages and dialects.

 14 
Janne Teller
(Writer)
Janne Teller
0
Birthdate: April 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark

Janne Teller is a Danish writer of Austrian–German descent. Professionally qualified as a macroeconomist, she previously used to work for the United Nations and the European Union. She eventually quit her economics career to pursue a full-time writing career. She is credited with having revolutionized the young adult novel genre with her works. She is the recipient of numerous awards.  

 15 
Helmuth Nyborg
(Psychologist, Canoeists)
Helmuth Nyborg
0
Birthdate: January 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Løsning, Denmark

Apart from being a professor, a psychologist, and an author, Helmuth Nyborg is also a bronze medal-winning Olympic canoeist. His research covered areas such as racial and sexual factors in the determination of intelligence and personality. He was once accused of misusing someone else’s work without giving credit.

 16 
Peter Wilhelm Lund
(Paleontologist, Zoologist, Archeologist)
Peter Wilhelm Lund
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1801
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: May 25, 1880

Peter Wilhelm Lund was a Danish paleontologist, zoologist, and archeologist. He spent most of his life working in Brazil and is considered the father of Brazilian paleontology as well as archaeology. He became the first person to describe dozens of species of pre-historic Pleistocene megafauna and discovered the fossilized remains of human beings among the remains of long-extinct species. 

Caspar Berthelsen Bartholin
1
Birthdate: February 12, 1585
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Malmö Municipality, Sweden
Died: July 13, 1629

Danish physician Caspar Berthelsen Bartholin, or Caspar Bartholin the Elder, is best known for his work on anatomy, Anatomicae Institutiones Corporis Humani. He also made pioneering research on the olfactory nerve. However, he is incorrectly attributed with the discovery of the Bartholin’s gland, which his grandson, Caspar Bartholin the Younger, had discovered.

 18 
Hans Tausen
(Thelogian)
Hans Tausen
1
Birthdate: 1494 AD
Birthplace: Birkende, Denmark
Died: November 11, 1561

Hans Tausen was a Danish Lutheran thelogian who served as a bishop in Ribe. He is credited with publishing the first translation of the Torah into Danish in 1535. The most important Lutheran theologian of his time, Tausen played a major role in effecting the transition from Catholicism to Lutheranism in the kingdoms governed by the Danish-based House of Oldenburg.

 19 
Árni Magnússon
1
Birthdate: November 13, 1663
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Iceland
Died: January 7, 1730

Árni Magnússon was a scholar best remembered for his collection of Icelandic manuscripts which were assembled by him to create the famous Arnamagnæan Manuscript Collection. In 2009, the collection's historical value was honored by making it a part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. Árni Magnússon also served as a professor at the University of Copenhagen. 

 20 
Holger Pedersen
(Linguist)
Holger Pedersen
1
Birthdate: April 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kolding, Denmark
Died: October 25, 1953

Holger Pedersen was a Danish linguist best remembered for his immense contribution to language science. He wrote many authoritative works regarding several languages and also worked as a lecturer at the University of Copenhagen where he taught subjects concerning Celtic languages. Holger Pedersen is also remembered for formulating the ruki sound law

 21 
Karl Verner
(Linguist)
Karl Verner
1
Birthdate: March 7, 1846
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Aarhus, Denmark
Died: November 5, 1896

Karl Verner was a Danish linguist best remembered for publishing Verner's Law in 1876. He received the prestigious Bopp Prize in 1877. In 1888, Karl Verner was made a fellow at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

 22 
Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae
(Danish Archaeologist)
Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae
1
Birthdate: March 14, 1821
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vejle, Denmark
Died: August 15, 1885

Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae was a Danish historian, archaeologist, and politician. From 1865 to 1874, he served as the director of the famous National Museum of Denmark. From 1874 to 1875, he served as the Kultus Minister of Denmark. Worsaae is perhaps best remembered for his pioneering work in the field of scientific archaeology and in the development of paleobotany.

Johan Ludvig Heiberg
1
Birthdate: December 14, 1791
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: August 25, 1860

Danish author Johan Ludvig Heiberg was one of the most prominent figures of the Danish Romantic school. He was also a pioneer of Hegelianism and vaudeville in Denmark. Om Vaudevillen remains one of his best-known works. He also taught Danish at the University of Kiel. His satirical works, however, made him unpopular.

 24 
Frans Blom
(Danish Explorer and Archaeologist)
Frans Blom
1
Birthdate: August 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: June 23, 1963

Danish archaeologist Frans Blom is remembered for his extensive research on Mayan culture. He not only worked for the Mexican government but also participated in the Danish-American expeditions. He also penned several books, such as Tribes and Temples, and established a museum on Mayan culture along with his wife.

 25 
Ada Adler
(Librarian)
Ada Adler
0
Birthdate: February 18, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frederiksberg, Denmark
Died: December 28, 1946

Ada Adler was one of the most influential female philologists ever. Initially a student of Greek religion, she studied subjects such as the myth of Pandora. She is perhaps best known for her critical edition of the Byzantine encyclopaedia Suda. During World War II, she made efforts to assist German Jewish academics.

 26 
Villy Sørensen
(Danish Short Story Writer, Philosopher and Literary Critic)
Villy Sørensen
0
Birthdate: January 13, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: December 16, 2001

Villy Sørensen was a Danish philosopher, short story writer, and literary critic. He is best remembered for incorporating his philosophical ideas into his fiction, which gave rise to comparisons between him and Franz Kafka. Over the course of his illustrious career, Villy Sørensen received several prestigious awards like Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize.

 27 
Therkel Mathiassen
(Danish Archaeologist and Ethnographer Who Discovered the Thule Culture While Excavating in the 'Hudson Bay Area')
Therkel Mathiassen
0
Birthdate: September 5, 1892
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Favrbo, Denmark
Died: March 14, 1967

Therkel Mathiassen was a Danish archaeologist, cartographer, anthropologist, and ethnographer. He is best remembered for his study of the Arctic. He is credited with conducting the first archaeological excavation in Canada's Arctic, although he called the site Naujan when he first began his archaeological investigation in 1922.  In 1932, Therkel Mathiassen was honored with the Hans Egede Medal.  

 28 
Peter Andreas Heiberg
0
Birthdate: November 16, 1758
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vordingborg, Denmark
Died: April 30, 1841
 29 
Anders Sørensen Vedel
(Danish Priest and Historian)
Anders Sørensen Vedel
0
Birthdate: November 9, 1542
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vejle, Denmark
Died: February 13, 1616

Anders Sørensen Vedel was a Danish historian and priest. He is best remembered for translating Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum into Danish in 1575. He is also remembered for publishing one of his most influential works, Hundredvisebogen, in 1591.

 30 
Johannes Pedersen
(Theologian)
Johannes Pedersen
0
Birthdate: November 7, 1883
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Langeland Municipality, Denmark
Died: December 22, 1977

Johannes Pedersen was a Danish Semitic philologist and Old Testament scholar. He studied theology under F. C. Krarups, a priest cum professor in Sorø Academy, and then proceeded to study Semitic languages at the University of Copenhagen. He then pursued a successful academic career and became a member of many learned societies. He authored numerous articles and books. 

 31 
Johan Nicolai Madvig
0
Birthdate: August 7, 1804
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bornholm, Denmark
Died: December 12, 1886

Johan Nicolai Madvig was a Danish philologist and politician. He is best remembered for his service as the Kultus Minister of Denmark in the Moltke II cabinet. However, he left the cabinet in 1851 in order to protest the government's unity state program. From 1856 to 1863, Johan Nicolai Madvig served as the leader of the National Liberal Party.

 32 
Peter Rochegune Munch
(Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and Historian)
Peter Rochegune Munch
0
Birthdate: July 25, 1870
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Redsted, Denmark
Died: January 12, 1948

Peter Rochegune Munch was a Danish historian and politician who was a leading member of the Radikale Venstre. He represented Langeland in parliament and served as the foreign minister of Denmark for over a decade. He is credited to have greatly influenced Danish foreign policy. His willingness to surrender during the German occupation of Denmark marred his image. 

 33 
Sophus Müller
(Archaeologist)
Sophus Müller
0
Birthdate: May 24, 1846
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: February 23, 1934

Sophus Müller was a Danish archaeologist who is best known for discovering the single burial mounds of central Jutland.  This discovery became the first proof of the Middle Neolithic Periods in Scandinavia. He had a long and successful career at the National Museum of Denmark, becoming its director in 1895. He retired from the museum in 1921. 

 34 
Poul Helgesen
(Historian)
Poul Helgesen
0
Birthdate: 1485 AD
Birthplace: Varberg, Sweden
Died: 1534 AD

Poul Helgesen was a Danish historian and humanist. He was also an industrious author whose best known work is the unfinished Skibby Chronicle. Poul Helgesen also served as a teacher of theology in Denmark.