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Denmark’s digital footprint

Massive decrease in the use of cash and posted letters.

Photograph: Pexels

Text: Mariano Anthony Davies

Official figures state that there were 4.97 million social media users in Denmark in January 2022 – the equivalent of 85.3 percent of the Danish population, with 8.88 million cellular mobile connections.

Denmark is in a good position to embrace the digital future. It is a small country with a population with great trust and confidence in each other and the public sector. People generally have a high level of education, good digital competence, and generally embrace digital technologies. There is a strong tradition of collaboration and finding new and practical solutions between public authorities and the public and private sectors.

The public sector began introducing IT solutions early on, so it has high-quality data sets and registries which are unique from an international perspective. Denmark has built a secure and robust digital infrastructure, allowing individuals and businesses to efficiently complete their business with the public sector over the internet. All of this has enabled a huge digital transition in recent years.


Only the elderly still use cash in Denmark. MobilePay (as the name implies) is a mobile payment application used in Denmark and Finland that has replaced the need for cash. The service allowed payments by means of a smartphone application and was first introduced in 2013 by Danske Bank. Since 2017, it has been used by all banks in Denmark. As of 2022, MobilePay has more than 4.4 million users in Denmark.

Trustworthy internet coverage

Today, the internet is the primary gateway to public administration for most Danes. Individuals and businesses all have their own digital mailboxes. Online self-service has been made mandatory for more than 100 administrative procedures. In fact, when the Central Customs and Tax Administration (SKAT) opens up for online access to tax assessments, all digitally connected Danes flood onto the website.

Digital solutions are now an integral part of many public services. Even care workers use tablet computers to monitor and register any changes in the health status of their elderly clients. Teachers use digital learning tools and materials to differentiate their teaching to the individual student, and health technologies allow patients to monitor their condition in their homes.

Most individuals and businesses have welcomed the developments and can easily cope, while others have taken time adjusting to new ways of dealing with things. Local and regional governments have played and are still playing an active role in ensuring that citizens and businesses are guided through the many changes and that help is available to those who stumble on the way.

"Danes have a high degree of trust in the public sector, and that trust is one of the fundamental things when it comes to digitisation and digital services that the public authorities present to the citizens."

Leading digital penetration

Denmark is one of the highest-ranking countries in the world when it comes to digitising the public sector. With one single digital key, Danish citizens can securely access more than a hundred different public services and, on top of that, various private services. This makes it easy for citizens to do anything from signing up their children for kindergarten to paying their bills via private banking.

This is also one of the reasons why Denmark is the most digitalised country in the world, according to the European Commission, which has authored the ‘International Digital Economy and Society Index 2020’. Furthermore, the UN’s ‘e-Government Survey 2018’ also puts Denmark at the top of the digital list. Of the 193 member countries, no country performs better than Denmark regarding public digitisation.

One digital key

One of the primary digital infrastructures in Denmark is the digital key ‘NemID and MitID’, or in English ‘EasyID or MyID’, which makes it simple for the citizens to access a wide range of services online. It is the secure key to digital Denmark, and what is amazing is that it works across the public and private sectors.

The digital key and the cooperation between the public and the private sector is an important factor when exploring how Denmark has become one of the most digitalised countries in the world. However, the key to success lies elsewhere – the key is the high level of trust between citizens and government.

In Denmark, the public sector plays a very important role in the lives of all citizens, and there is a great deal of openness and a lot of interaction with the public sector.

Danes have a high degree of trust in the public sector, and that trust is one of the fundamental things when it comes to digitisation and digital services that the public authorities present to the citizens.

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