When you look at the Danish armed forces you will realize there really hasn’t been any famous general during the last thousand years – all the famous Danish military leaders have been naval personnel. The last time Denmark had any noticeable army leaders you will actually have to go back to the Viking age when the Danish Viking were actually never fighting on water – they just used the boats as a mean to transport a large army to the battle field.
One of the most famous Danish admirals through all time is Niels Juel. He was born in 1629 in present day Oslo Norway and started his naval training in the Dutch navy before he moved to Denmark and became an admiral in 1657 – this was just in time for the war against Sweden in 1658-60. The war mainly took place on land because the water was frozen and the Swedish forces were able to cross the Great Belt on the ice to attack Copenhagen. Niels Juel was helping the defense of Copenhagen which was eventually successful.
The peace didn’t last long and in 1675 a new war broke out between Denmark-Norway and Sweden. It was during this war Niels Juel became really famous as one of the best Danish admirals through all time. Especially the Battle at Køge Bugt made Niels Juel famous – and the battle has gone down as one of the most important Danish victories in any war.
The fame of Niels Juel has earned him a large statue which has a central location in the old town of Copenhagen. It is located at what is kind of Denmark’s version of Wallstreet – on one side of the street you have the Danish central bank and on the other side of the street is the headquarter of Danske Bank which is the biggest bank in Denmark. the statue is located a short walk away from Christiansborg and close to Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn – hence it is easy for most tourist to find it during their explorations of Copenhagen.
The statue has inscriptions on the base with the four most important victories of Niels Juel – the Battle of Køge Bugt is the most important and has the front of the statue and the three other battles are mentioned on the other three sides of the base of the statue.
When Niels Juel didn’t lead the Danish navy he actually had a little extra job as a judge at the supreme court of Denmark. If you got a change to visit the Supreme Court you will actually find a painting of Niels Juel amongst the former judges of the Supreme Court.