Danske Bank Group’s history goes back to the founding of Den Danske Landmandsbank in 1871.

Click the timeline below for a quick overview of the milestones of our history and read about the most important mergers, acquisitions and divestments.



The Bank is founded

Den Danske Landmandsbank, Hypothek and Vexelbank i Kjøbenhavn is founded on 5 October.

The Bank's key founder is saddlemaker and broker Gottlieb Hartvig Abrahamsson Gedalia.



Handelsbanken is founded

​Handelsbanken is founded on 18 April. It remained Danske Bank's neighbour and competitor until the two banks merged in 1990.



First safe deposit boxes in Europe

The Bank opens the first facility in Europe where retail customers can rent safe deposit boxes.

It includes a reading room with armchairs and newspapers.



Largest bank in Scandinavia

​Den Danske Landmandsbank becomes the largest bank in Scandinavia



58 branches in Greater Copenhagen

​The Bank has 58 branches in Greater Copenhagen and even more spread across 53 other cities and towns.



Pondus Club

​In January the Bank launches the Pondus savings bank in the form of a penguin. The Bank is the among the first in Denmark to offer savings activities for children.

In two weeks, 50,000 children join the Pondus Club.



Online connection

​The Bank is the first Danish bank to offer an online connection to its branches.



Den Danske Bank

Den Danske Landmandsbank changes its name to Den Danske Bank.
The Bank opens a subsidiary bank in Luxembourg.

1983 & 1984


Branches abroad

​The Bank opens a branch in London in 1983 and a year later in Hamburg.




Den Danske Bank, Handelsbanken and Provinsbanken merge on 6 April.
Poul Svanholm, managing director of Carlsberg Breweries, becomes chairman of the Board of Directors, and Knud Sørensen of Den Danske Bank becomes CEO.
The continuing bank retains Handelsbanken's octagonal logo.



Expansion in Scandinavia

The Bank opens branches in Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki and acquires Östgöta Enskilda Bank in Sweden.



Peter Straarup becomes CEO

CEO Knud Sørensen retires and is succeeded by Peter Straarup, who becomes the eleventh CEO in the Bank's 127-year history.
Danske Bank acquires brokerage firms in Norway, Sweden and Finland.



Further international expansion

In 1999, Danske Bank acquires Fokus Bank in Norway and opens a representative office in Warsaw, Poland. 

A year later, the bank acquires a controlling interest in St. Stanislaus Polish-Canadian Bank S.A. - later it is renamed Danske Bank Polska S.A.




New name and logo

Den Danske Bank shortens its name to Danske Bank and launches a new logo.



Merger with RealDanmark

Danske Bank merges with RealDanmark (BG Bank and Realkredit Danmark) on 1 January.



Non-cash branch


Because of repeated robberies, Danske Bank's Fuglebjerg Branch is converted to non-cash branch on 15 July. Cash withdrawals take place only at the cash dispenser in the foyer, which is open around the clock. It is the first of many such conversions.​



New chairman of the board

At age 70, Poul J. Svanholm retires from the position as chairman of the board on 1 July. He is succeeded by Danisco CEO Alf Duch-Pedersen.


On 1 January, the Bank closes Danske Securities and moves its investment banking activities to Danske Markets.​



Acquiring Irish banks

Danke Bank decides to expand its international operations and acquires Northern Bank in Northern Ireland and National Irish Bank in the Republic of Ireland.​



Acquisition of Sampo Bank

Danske Bank acquires the Finish Sampo Bank. With the acquisition the Group gets a significant position in Finland and activities in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia (St. Petersburg).



Danske Bank Denmark and BG Bank merge

​The combined unit continues under the Danske Bank brand.

2008 & 2009


Bank Packages

Bank Package I is adopted in October 2008 and a few months later, in January 2009, Bank Package II is adopted.
The purpose of Bank Package I is to maintain confidence in Danish banks so that the banks would begin to lend to one another again, while Bank Package II was intended to mitigate the credit crunch in which companies and private individuals could not borrow money even for sound projects.
As a participant in the bank packages, Danske Bank paid a total of DKK 13.2 billion to the Danish state.



Two new chairmen in the same year

Eivind Kolding, Partner in A.P. Møller, takes over as new chairman of Danske Bank's Board of Directors in March. He has been a board member since 2001 and succeeds Alf Duch-Pedersen, who was a board member for 11 years.

In December 2011, Ole Andersen becomes the new chairman of the Board of Directors, succeeding Eivind Kolding, who becomes chairman of the Danske Bank Group’s Executive Board a few months later.



New chairman of the Executive Board

(15 February 2012)
Chairman of the Executive Board Peter Straarup retires and is succeeded by Eivind Kolding, former chairman of Danske Bank’s Board of Directors.
Eivind Kolding is the twelfth chief executive in the Bank’s 141-year history. He comes from a position as CEO at Maersk Line.



New chairman of the Executive Board

(16 September 2013)
The Norwegian head of Corporates & Institutions, Thomas F. Borgen, is appointed CEO. He is the thirteenth chief executive in the bank’s 142-year history and the first non-Dane to head the Bank.
Thomas F. Borgen was head of Danske Bank in Norway, Fokus Bank, in 2009, when he joined the Bank’s Executive Board and moved to Denmark.

Mergers & Acquisitions

At Danske Bank Group, we adjust our activities as we identify and pursue business opportunities that offer a satisfactory return. Over time, the Group has strengthened its position by expanding in Denmark, the rest of the Nordic region, and other parts of northern Europe.



​The tables gives an overview of the Group’s most important mergers, acquisitions and divestments since 1990.


​Mergers & Acquisitions ​
​2006 Sampo Bank
​2005 Northern Bank
​2004 National Irish bank
​2000 ​RealDanmark
​1999 ​Fokus Bank
​1997 ​Östgöta Enskilda Bank
​1995 ​Danica Pension
​1990 ​​Handelsbanken
​1990 Provinsbanken
​Divestments ​
​2005 Handelsfinans
​2004 Intl. wholesale: UK
​2004 Intl. wholesale: US
​2002 ​Danske Securities
​2002 ​Hong Kong Branch
​2001 ​Singapore Branch
​2001 BG Garanti
​2001 BG Factoring
​2000 ​Forenede Factors
​2000 ​​BG International Lux.
​1999 General Insurance

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Danske Bank Group
Holmens Kanal 2-12 1092 Copenhagen K

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