More money for the military: Denmark abolishes public holidays

After a vote in parliament, Denmark’s government has scrapped a popular public holiday in order to have more money available for the military. The country wants to reach NATO’s two percent target by 2030 instead of 2033. The Danes are not pleased.

In order to have more money for the military, the Danish government abolished the “Store Bededag” (“Big Day of Prayer”), a holiday celebrated since 1618. The reason for the deletion is the government’s plans to increase productivity in order to be able to spend more money on the military. Store Bededag traditionally takes place on the fourth Friday after Good Friday and is one of the three spring holidays in Denmark. As it falls in the gap between the Easter holidays and the summer break in July, the holiday is quite popular among the Danish population, but this year is probably the last time Danes will be able to enjoy the day off.

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Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen explained in Parliament that there would be considerable additional spending in the areas of the military, security and “green transformation”, among other things, and that there would no longer be any financial leeway. After a long debate and a vote, the abolition of the holiday was decided. Of the MPs, 95 voted in favor and 68 against.

As a result of the decision, employees will receive a salary bonus of 0.45 percent of their annual salary. The additional working day is expected to bring three billion Danish kroner (around 400 million euros) into the state coffers. The money is primarily intended to benefit the military, because the Danish government wants to achieve NATO’s two percent target by 2030 instead of 2033 against the background of the Ukraine war.

The social-democratic prime minister went on to say that working one day longer was not a problem. Denmark’s population, however, was much less enthusiastic. Protests broke out in Copenhagen. According to a survey, Copenhagen Post revealed that 70 percent of Danes are against the abolition of the public holiday and only 19 percent are in favor. Of those surveyed, 11 percent had no opinion.

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