Denmark is one of a handful of nations which have a separate “royal” anthem from the people’s “national” anthem. The royal anthem is one of the oldest in the world; adopted in 1780. Special events for the royal house are marked with the royal anthem.
The lyrics first appear in Johannes Ewald’s historical drama “The Fishermen” and specifically names heroes in the wars against Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries. The composer of the music is unknown; originally the composer of the music for the play, Johann Hartmann, was thought to be the composer, but the original score is vastly different than the score used today. It was also thought that Ewald’s friend, judge Ditlev Ludvig Rogert, who was also a violinist, was the composer. It has also been pointed out that the melody significantly precedes Ewald’s lyrics, and it could have been based on an existing tune.
Denmark is also unique in that it and New Zealand are the only two nations in the world with two official national anthems. Officially, “Kong Christian” is both the national and royal anthem and has equal status with “Der er et yndigt land”, the national anthem.
Special thanks to: Josh Lim for some of this information.