Making Sense of the Krone, Denmark’s Currency

Visiting Denmark for the first time? Make sure you don't depend on plastic money only. With this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about their currency.

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This image shows the Danish currency in all of its denominations, both coins and banknotes.
Danish kroner (DKK ), coins and banknotes. Hayati Kayhan/bigstockphoto

Even though Denmark is a member of the EU (European Union) since 1973, it has never introduced the euro currency. In fact, the great majority of its citizens rejected its implementation via a referendum in 2000. This helped preserving what has been the national currency since early 17th century: the Danish krone (which means “crown“). With a prosper economy sparking a decline on income inequality and unemployment levels, one would say they got it right.

It’s safe to say that the krone is deeply rooted in Denmark’s collective conciousness, making it part of their identity. Which also means that as a tourist, it’s an important part of your experience visiting the country. Now, it’s understandable that you might find confusing how it works and what its multiple denominations are. That’s why, in this article, we’ll give you a short but meaty guide to figuring out the Danish krone.

Usage and production

The Danish krone (symbolized as kr. and DKK) is also used in Greenland and the Faroe Islands, albeit to different extents. That’s because these are autonomous constituent countries that are still a part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Greenland uses the same krone as in Denmark, while the Faroe Islands use a local version, the Faroese króna. Fun fact: other countries have their own crown currency, like Sweden (SEK), Norway (NOK), Iceland (ISK) and Czech Republic (CZK).

Apart from that, the Danish krone is issued by Danmarks Nationalbank, the national central bank. This institution has issued the currency (including the Faroese version) and ensured its stability since its founding in 1818. In 2016, due to a diminishing demand for cash, they stopped producing money and started outsourcing it. Now world-class companies like Mint of Finland and Oberthur Fiduciaire are responsible for the production.

Danish krone denominations

Just like the US dollar, the euro and pretty much every other currency, the Danish krone breaks into 100 øre. The øre is its only subunit and it has one denomination, the 50-øre coin. There used to be more øre coins, but their production stopped throughout the years due to inflation. Now, there are eleven different denominations for the Danish krone altogether: five bills or banknotes and six coins (including the 50-øre).

The coin denominations are 50 øre, 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 kr., while the banknotes are 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 kr. Compared to other currencies, ~7.4 kr. = 1€, ~6.1 kr. = US $1 and ~8.4 kroner = 1£. These values aren’t fixed rates and may fluctuate according to several factors.

Distinguishing the different denominations

This image shows all the coin denominations for the Danish krone. They're color coded in golden, silver and copperish.
The color-coded coins. The golden ones, as well as the silver ones, share the same obverse or “heads”. asaf eliason/bigstockphoto.com

Coins are easier to distinguish because they’re coded in three different sequences of metal colors: bronze, silver and golden. The bronze one is reserved for the lowest denomination, the 50-øre, while the silver one includes 1, 2 and 5 kr. and the golden one identifies the 10 and 20 kroner denominations. They’re also easy to identify by their size and weight: the 1 kr. coin, for example, is the smallest and lightest, while the 5 kr. one is the biggest and the 20 kr. coin the heaviest. Another distinctive feature in the silver coins is that they have a hole in the middle, designed for sight-impaired people.

The bills also have distinctive colors: 50 kr., purple; 100 kr., yellow; 200 kr., green; 500 kr., blue and 1000 kr., red. These bills feature beautiful drawings by Danish artist Karin Birgitte Lund of famous Danish bridges with surrounding landscapes on one side. In the other side, there are drawings of prehistoric objects found near those bridges. This is why this edition of bills —which started being printed in 2009— is known as the “bridge series”.

This image shows all the Danish kroner bill denominations. They all have different bridge drawings. From top to bottom: Great Belt Bridge, Queen Alexandrine Bridge, Knippelsbro, Little Belt Bridge and Sallingsund Bridge.
Danish Kroner bills with bridge drawings. From top to bottom: Great Belt Bridge, Queen Alexandrine Bridge, Knippelsbro, Little Belt Bridge and Sallingsund Bridge. foto-poly/bigstockphoto.com

Why you should understand the Danish krone

It’s important that you get to know well the krone while visiting Denmark, even more so if you’re staying for a long period. The hardest part is learning to identify each denomination, both in coins and bills, but once you know that, it’s pretty simple to use the kroner. To learn how to verify the authenticity of the banknotes, check the security features in the Danmarks Nationalbank’s website.

Of course, you can always use plastic money to avoid confusion or to make transactions faster, when available. However, using the kroner is the best option for a more inmersive experience while visiting Denmark.

Have you used the Danish kroner already? Tell us if you found it easy to use in the comments section bellow! Also share any question that you may have.

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