Athena Institute


Extremism – Denmark and Norway

As part of its Europe-wide monitoring program, the Athena Institute now publishes data and brief comparative analysis describing the Danish and Norwegian organized extremist environments concluding that both countries are seriously challenged by the phenomenon while both fits into the general Western-European landscape.

The Athena Institute launched an extensive project in the summer of 2012 to compile a comprehensive database of all major domestic extremist groups that are active on the European continent. Our database already contains detailed information on extremist organisations in thirteen countries. It has been our explicit goal to expand this database to include all countries in Europe, thus as a continuation of our efforts to provide experts, politicians, stakeholders and the interested public with in-depth information and data about the European extremist scene, we are publishing the information of far-right and far-left domestic extremist groups in two new countries: Denmark and Norway.

Both in Denmark and Norway our experts identified six major active extremist organisations. As a result of our extensive enquiry, we can state that both countries are amongst the less troubled European countries as far as the number of groups goes that are active on their soil. Furthermore, neither Denmark nor Norway breaks any of the European trends that we discuss in our in-depth analysis and study: Domestic Extremism in Europe – Threat Landscape.

In both countries there are more active far-right groups than far-left, a fact that fits the European trend, since three-quarters of extremist groups on the continent follow some kind of far-right ideology. Also, all identified groups are on the 4th or 5th level of radicalisation, in other words, they use symbolic and physical (without the use of weapons) violence to propagate and reach their political goals. This also fits the European trend, where most of the groups fall into the same too categories and level 6 and 7 groups can be considered as very rare.

If one scrutinises the groups' ideological background, they fit perfectly into the Western European trend where anti-immigrant, racist and Islamophobic sentiments are the strongest, unlike in Eastern Europe where anti-Roma and homophobic sentiments are the prevalent ones amongst extremists. Also, anti-Fascist or anarchist far-left groups are influential parts of the two countries' extremist scenes. Furthermore, just like in all other countries in Western Europe extreme animal rights activist groups, such as the Animal Liberation Front have a strong presence in Denmark and Norway.

The only irregularity found in both countries is that level 5 groups outnumber the level 4 ones, which is unusual, but not unheard of. Thus, it can be stated that both Denmark and Norway fit into the average Western-European trends and do not deviate from these trends in a significant way.