Freemasonry in Denmark

    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    If you ask a random person on the street what the the Danish Order of Freemasons is, it will not be uncommon if the eyes of the respondent begin to glaze over. One of the reasons is probably lack of knowledge about Freemasonry. It is very limited. In several areas, knowledge on this subject is surrounded by myths and prejudices.

    In general, it is not known when Freemasonry originated, but it certain related to the old operative craft guilds. The operative freemasons helped build churches and cathedrals around Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries.

    In Denmark Freemasonry originated in 1743. Unfortunately, there is relatively little documentation available that tells of early Freemasonry in Denmark.

    The reader of the book “The Future of Freemasonry in Denmark – Growth or Decline” written by Bent Okholm,  will get knowledge about what Freemasonry is, but also what it is not. It also maps the regular and recognized Freemasonry in Denmark, including a few Masonic systems of the many that exist in the world.

    World Freemasonry – or Blue Masonry

    World Freemasonry, also known as Blue Freemasonry, is neutral to religion. It is democratic and it exists in most parts of the World, as it suggests. World Freemasonry, referred to in English as “the Craft”. The Craft was formally established in 1717 in London. Today it has more than six million members.

    The Swedish Rite – a Christian Knights’ Order

    The Swedish Rite was formally established in Sweden at the beginning of the 19th century. The Swedish Rite is used only in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Northern Germany. This system excludes all men who do not have a baptismal certificate – are Christians. It has about 50,000 members. Most Danish Freemasons are members of the Danish Order of Freemasons, which uses the Swedish Rite.

    The History of Freemasonry in Denmark

    To understand Danish Freemasonry and the way it is organized, one needs to know about the power behind. Similarly, historical insight provides answers to what has helped to shape Danish Freemasonry in recent times.

    The Danish Order of Freemasons Grand Lodge of Denmark, hereafter called the Knights’ Order is and has in the eyes of many been the epitome of Freemasonry in Denmark since its establishment in 1743. During the first hundred years, different systems/rites were applied in turn. Curiously, in the mid-19th century, King Frederik VII chose to introduce the autocratic and Christian Swedish rite of Freemasonry. At the time he was Grand Master of the Knights’ Order. Around the same time, the Government Constitution was introduced in the country. With the Government Constitution of 1849, the society took the first steps towards democracy and religious freedom. Freemasonry went the other way and introduced an autocratic system tied to one single religion – Christianity.

    A Christian Knights' Order and a Humanitarian Freemasonry

    Until 1949, the Grand Master of the Knights’ Order came from the royal ranks, and the membership consisted of the country’s elite.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, ordinary citizens also wanted to join Freemasonry. This led to the establishment of a number of humanitarians lodged not dependent on religion. Most of these lodges were later linked to systems/rites representing Blue Masonry.

    Danish Freemasonry, as practiced by the Knights’ Order, differs significantly from Blue Masonry in the way it is organized. Despite the prohibition of political and religious interference, these two issues have had a profound influence on the situation in Denmark.

    Bent Okholm’s book, “The Future of Freemasonry in Denmark – Growth or Decline”, reveals how this is connected and why it has gone wrong.

    The Danish Order of Freemasons Grand Lodge of Denmark

    The Knights’ Order has been the dominant and well-known masonic organization in Denmark. Only men who profess the Christian faith are admitted. The Knights’ Order have 5-6,000 members in Denmark. They run an autocratic form of government (absolute monarchy), which means that power is vested in a single person, the Grand Master. Over the past decades, a number of decisions have demonstrated very significant weaknesses of this form of government in a society otherwise based on democratic values.

    The headquarters of the Knights’ Order, in Danish “Stamhuset”, is an impressive and monumental purpose-built building inaugurated in 1927. The building is located in Copenhagen and has more than 300 specially designed rooms, spread over several floors above and below ground. The building was inaugurated by the then Grand Master King Christian 10. The building belongs to a time and an art of building that is hard to find similar today. It would probably also be impossible to raise the necessary capital to rebuild something similar.

    When the Knights’ Order elects a Grand Master, it is done in a similar way to when the Pope is elected. A small council, knights and commanders appointed by past and present Grand Masters meet and elect the next Grand Master.

    The Values of the Knights' Order

    The Swedish system emphasizes the Christian element within eleven degrees. Of these, ten degrees are available to ordinary members. The eleventh degree is reserved for Knights and Commanders, to which they are specially selected and invited.

    The Knights’ Orders’ website ( states that its values are based on four pillars: silence, prudence, moderation and mercy.

    The Knights’ Order does not want other Masonic organizations on Danish soil to find a foothold and be represented among international Grand Lodges. None above and none beside! The Knights’ Order will not give up the power and sovereignty that belongs to a bygone age and to which they have no claim. The Grand Master of the Knights’ Order has over the years devoted many resources to fight for and maintain historical power in a changed Masonic political landscape.

    Blue Freemasonry - a non-religious and democratic Masonic Order

    World Freemasonry also known as Craft, spans globally. There is religious freedom and democracy in World Freemasonry, just as we have it in our society. The only requirement for admission is that you believe in a Supreme Being. It has more than six million members all over the world.

    Their values are based on brotherly love, help and truth.

    World Freemasonry works in three degrees with the addition of a final degree. In most of the world, individuals can choose to continue their Masonic journey through so-called high degrees or side degrees in other Rites. This is not possible in Denmark, because the Knights’ Order blocks their presence and wants to maintain monopoly on all Masonry in Denmark.

    Masonic Lodges within a system/rite in a country are united under one Grand Lodge. In Blue Freemasonry, leadership and advisory bodies of each Grand Lodge are democratically elected. This is done at regular intervals and at a meeting similar to an ordinary general assembly.

    The Danish Order of Freemasons' split of Blue Masonry

    Blue Freemasonry is represented in Denmark by three organizations, two of which entered into agreements with the Knights’ Order in 1957 and 1960. They wanted to obtain visiting rights to other recognized lodges at home and abroad. However, the wording of the agreement is interpreted differently. The Blue Freemasonry maintains its independence, while the Knights’ Order considers Blue Freemasonry to be subject to the Christian Knights’ Order.

    With this, the Knights’ Order has been the source of several splits in Blue Freemasonry. The most recent split in 2007 resulted in the establishment of a third organization for Blue Freemasonry. It became a Grand Lodge that is completely independent of the Christian Knights’ Order.

    Are there other Masonic systems in Denmark?

    The Danish Order of Freemasons Grand Lodge of Denmark wants to maintain a monopoly on all Freemasonry in the country. This means that they do not allow other Masonic systems in Denmark. Therefore, we do not find the variety of different regular Masonic systems here, as one finds in many other countries.

    A historic showdown in the Danish Order of Freemasons

    The way Freemasonry is organized in Denmark is not seen anywhere else in the world.

    If you look at the development over the last 100 years, there has always been conflicts in the air because the Christian Knights’ Order wants to rule Blue Freemasonry. During the past 40 years, these conflicts have intensified. At one point a foreigner was introduced into Blue Freemasonry. This person became a great asset to the development of regular Freemasonry. But later he came into the spotlight with newspaper headlines at home and abroad. It turned out he was not the man who he claimed to be. An article in The Telegraph read “The mysterious Mr. Larsen: MI5 spy, terrorist or Walter Mitty fanatic?”

    The presence of this person in Blue Freemasonry allowed the Knights’ Order to conduct a vendetta against specific individuals in the top management of Blue Freemasonry. The purpose of this by the Knights’ Order was to have the false Freemason expelled. But the hidden agenda turned out to be a consolidation of Christian Freemasonry’s position of power in Denmark.

    The power of the Knights' Order in modern times

    Looking at the Masonic organizations of recent times, it can be seen that the Knights’ Order in Denmark has usurped power and worked in a way that is far from Masonic ideals. The latest Christian Grand Masters have by all means, even by breaking the law, split their competitors. They are trying to suppress all lodges – even those that use systems completely different from the Swedish Rite, which is against fundamental Masonic rules.

    Looking back, the peculiar thing is that the Christian Freemasons in Denmark and Norway have succeeded in suppressing Blue Freemasonry. This is done without any interest from the international Masonic community and the representation of the globally working Blue Freemasonry and as mentioned in contrast to the Masonic rules.

    Is Freemasonry in Denmark about to Decline or Growth?

    Newspaper articles have followed one Grand Master after another expelling members. They have disagreed with the Grand Master of the Knights’ Order. The developments during recent times, raise questions of whether Freemasonry in Denmark, as we know it and as it has been present for the last 273 years, is on the verge of declining or growing. Bent Okholm focuses on this in his book “Freemasonry in Denmark – Growth or Decline”.

    Would you like to read more about Freemasonry in Denmark?

    Are you curious about Freemasonry? Do you want to know more about what Freemasonry is all about, what the Knights’ Order and Blue Freemasonry stand for? On this homepage you can buy the book “Freemasonry in Denmark – Decline or Growth” by Bent Okholm, which tells about the history of Danish Freemasonry, values, attitudes and relations to the surrounding society. Finally, the book focuses on the question of whether Freemasonry in Denmark is coming to an end.

    Scroll to Top