Table of Contents

Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic

Handbook of the Politics of the Arctic

Edited by Leif Christian Jensen and Geir Hønneland

The Arctic has again become one of the leading issues on the international foreign policy agenda, in a manner unseen since the Cold War. Drawing on the perspectives of geo-politics and international law, this Handbook offers fresh insights and perspectives on the most pressing issues, grouped under the headings of political ascendancy, climate and environmental issues, resources and energy, and the response and policies of affected countries.

Chapter 25: The Kingdom of Denmark and the Arctic

Annika Bergman Rosamond

Subjects: environment, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, international politics


This chapter assesses Denmark’s Arctic identity and policies against the backdrop of its broad foreign policy tradition, past and present. While Denmark’s international identity and policies have habitually been couched in small-state language, this logic is not easily applicable to its Arctic self-narrative. Historically though, Denmark has been grouped together with the other Scandinavian states; however, their relative smallness should not be equated with an incapacity normatively to shape the international community (Ingebritsen 2006; Neumann and de Carvalho 2014). The Scandinavians have acquired a reputation for combining commitment to the welfare and security of their own citizens with a sense of internationalist obligation to distant others (Bergman 2006; Schouenborg 2013). Their foreign and security policies have been associated with high budget commitments to overseas development assistance (ODA), active participation in UN-led peacekeeping, support for international law and tolerance for the other within and beyond borders (Bergman 2006; Agius 2013). The ideological impetus of the three Scandinavians’ foreign policy traditions emerged, at least in part, from comparably long spells of social democratic government, compared with other western states (Bergman 2006, 2007). Together they make up a ‘regional international society’ (Schouenborg 2013), displaying collective ‘global agenda setting’ powers which they use to promote justice, peace and international law across borders (Ingebritsen 2006).

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