The Danish Cultural Institute was founded in 1940 at the initiative of 34 outstanding Danish personalities from the world of culture, business, education and science. The Institute emanated as a counter-reaction to the dominating political environment in Europe in the 1930s and is based on the beliefs that collaboration, mutual understanding, and cultural dialogue are of outmost importance and can arise from cultural engagement and exchange.
The Slavic philologist and founder Folmer Wisti named the institute ‘The Danish Society’. The aim was – just as today – to encourage international understanding through exchange of cultural values, ideas and experiences and to inform the world about Denmark. The first international branches were established in Benelux, Schweiz, Czechoslovakia, and the UK in 1947 and in 1989 the name was changed to the Danish Cultural Institute.
From the very beginning, the organization has prioritized to be present at various locations around the world. Today the Head office is based in Copenhagen with Institutes in seven different countries, including Belgium, Brazil, China, Latvia, Poland, and Russia.
The Institute in St. Petersburg opened in 2003.