Denmark House is a small piece of Denmark in the middle of the Melbourne CBD, and host to the Danish Club – possibly the oldest social club in Australia.
Offering the best of Denmark: innovative food served among Danish furniture design in an attractive atmosphere of Danish music and ‘hygge’ – that quintessential Danish concept of ‘cosiness’.
The New Nordic cuisine is one of the leading gastronomic experiences in the world – and Denmark House is an integral part of this Nordic food revolution with its restaurant and bar offering a traditional yet modern Danish experience.
Although you do not have to be a member to go to Denmark House, it is the chosen place for club members to meet for meals, planned events or casual catch ups. We also arrange a variety of member and special events during the year on the themes of Danish food and culture. If you are interested in participating in any of these, either as a member or guest, follow us on Facebook or sign up to our newsletter.
We offer 20 different kinds of ‘smørrebrød’ for lunch – the traditional Danish open sandwich. You can choose your own selection or go for the tasting platter, a healthy lunch option when you fancy something different.
In the evening we serve a contemporary menu inspired by new Nordic cuisine with an emphasis on comfort foods so that guests and members can sample true Danish ‘hygge’ when dining.
And why don’t you sample the biggest selection of aquavit – or snaps as we call it – in the Southern Hemisphere in our bar which also offers a variety of Danish craft beers and bar food.
You all know Danish design, Nordic Noir and Crown Princess of Denmark. Now get ready for a unique experience of the highest quality.
Denmark House is supported by the Dannebrog foundation.
History of the Danish Club
On the 20 August 1889, a Danish employee with a Melbourne-based ship chandler invited 25 Danes to discuss his proposal to form a Danish association – a club that could be a means of mental and cultural enrichment for Danish settlers in Melbourne.
The Danish Club Dannebrog – named after the Danish flag – was born, complete with a constitution, president and vice president. Members were invited to a lecture evening where the topics were chemistry and a North Pole expedition. Not long after, the Club began hosting social nights and became a gathering place for Danish expats to sing Danish songs, dance and socialise with other members.
Throughout its history the Club allowed members from other countries but in the 1900s only Danish expats were allowed to join. Dannebrog was housed on Beaconsfield Parade in St Kilda until the building was sold in 2007 where the Club relocated to its current residence, the public restaurant Denmark House on Lt Bourke St in Melbourne’s CBD.
As part of our 130th anniversary in 2019, we produced the Little Red Book about the Club – have a read here.
The purpose of the Danish Club Dannebrog remains to uphold Danish traditions fitted to the Australian way of life. Today, members of the club include Danish expats, second or third generation migrants from Denmark, Australians with a Danish connection or simply social members who enjoy the benefits of club membership at Denmark House.
We welcome all Melburnians interested in Denmark and Danish traditions within an Australian context to visit Denmark House and/or to become Danish Club members.
What’s in a name?
When the Danish Club was born it was named after the Danish flag, Dannebrog, meaning ‘cloths of the Danes’. In 2019, Dannebrog is celebrating a special anniversary: the legend of the Danish flag is 800 years old. First mentioned by historians in the early 16th century, legend has it that Dannebrog fell from the sky while the Danish King Valdemar Sejr’s army was on the defensive during a crusade in Estonia. As the flag descended from the sky, luck turned and Sejr’s army won the battle which took place on 15 June 1219. While the battle is well-documented, the story of the flag falling out of the sky isn’t but that hasn’t stopped the legend from living on in Denmark.
Today the use of the Danish flag is still very widespread in Denmark when celebrating major life events like birthdays and anniversaries, with flags flying from traditional white flagpoles in picturesque suburbs of Denmark. It’s even hung on Christmas trees when decorating for Christmas!
There are no laws on the use of the Danish flag in Denmark – only guidelines. Danes use the flag for many occasions in life and – like many other countries – in death when it’s flown half-mast at funerals to symbolise mourning. Dannebrog is used and interpreted in a multitude of ways throughout Denmark (and the rest of the world), making it a strong uniting symbol for many.
At the Danish Club Dannebrog we use the flag to celebrate and commemorate our cultural roots at events throughout the year.