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Notable Danish Americans

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  • Elsbeth Deser (1925 - 2020)
    Elsbeth Deser, née Elsbet Klein, was an American painter who grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. Her Swedish father, Oskar Benjamin Klein, was a renowned physicist. Her mother, Gerda Agnete Koch, was Danish....
  • Herman Kalckar (1908 - 1991)
    Herman Moritz Kalckar (26 March 1908 – 17 May 1991) was a Danish-American biochemist, born in a Jewish family in Copenhagen. He pioneered the study of cellular respiration and made a number of signific...
  • Jens Bodewalt Lampe (1869 - 1929)
    Jens Bodewalt Lampe (November 8, 1869 – May 26, 1929) was a Danish-born American composer, arranger, performer and band-leader of ragtime and syncopated dance music. His most successful and enduring so...
  • "Bill Hader" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Via Creative Commons Search at
    Bill Hader
    Bill Hader is an American comedian, actor, director, and television writer. Hader gained widespread attention for his eight-year stint as a cast member on the long-running NBC sketch comedy series Satu...
  • Amandla Stenberg
    Amandla Stenberg (born October 23, 1998) is an American actress and singer. She[a] was included in Time's list of Most Influential Teens in both 2015 and 2016,[2][3] and has received several accolades,...

Danish Americans (Dansk-amerikanere) comprise Americans 1) with ancestral roots from Denmark or 2) Danish people who emigrated to and reside in the United States. The Danish American population numbers about 1,500,000, with about 30,000 using the Danish language at home.

Danes first began setting in the present United States in the mid-1600s. The earliest documented Danish immigrants to the new world, Jan Jansen and his wife Engeltje, along with their children, arrived in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1636. The largest wave of Danish immigration occurred between 1860 and 1930. The peak occurred in 1882 when 11,618 Danes settled in the United States.

The Library of Congress has noted that Danish Americans, more so than other Scandinavian Americans, "spread nationwide and comparatively quickly disappeared into the melting pot... the Danes were the least cohesive group and the first to lose consciousness of their origins." Historians have pointed to the higher rate of English use among Danes, their willingness to marry non-Danes, and their eagerness to become naturalized citizens as factors that contributed to their rapid assimilation, as well as their interactions with the already more assimilated German American community.

Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have the largest concentrations of non-Mormon Danish Americans. The states with the largest Mormon Danish American populations are Utah and Idaho -- and in the case of Idaho, particularly the southeastern part of the state.