Can you name 5 famous businessmen in Denmark? This list profiles the most well known Danish businessmen on record—two industrialists, two shipping magnates and one inventor. All of the men are now deceased, but their contributions to the business world live on in five strong Danish companies, each with a global reach.
- Jacob Christian Jacobsen. J. C. Jacobsen (1811 to 1887) was a Danish industrialist and philanthropist. Although he had no formal education or scientific training, Jacobsen believed that beer production needed to be industrialized. He founded the Carlsberg brewery in 1847, which he named after his son, Carl. Today Carlsberg is one of the largest brewery groups in the world. In addition to his business, Jacobsen was very interested in public affairs and was a well-known patron of the arts.
- Hans Neils Andersen. Hans Neils Andersen (1852 to 1937) was a Danish shipping magnate and businessman. Born into a working-class family, Andersen trained as a ship builder, advancing from a ship’s carpenter to first mate and eventually master of a ship owned by the king of Siam. He later served as Siam’s Consul General in Denmark. Andersen founded the East Asiatic Company in 1897, serving both passenger and freight lines between Denmark and the Far East.
- Arnold Peter Moller. Born into a shipping dynasty, Arnold Peter Moller (1876 to 1965) was another Danish shipping magnate and businessman. He founded the A. P. Moller-Maersk Group in 1904. Today, Denmark’s largest company is commonly known as Maersk, the largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the world. Outside of shipping, Moller’s other ventures included North Sea oil drilling and a partnership in Dansk Supermarked, the biggest retailer in Denmark.
- Ole Kirk Christiansen. Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891 to 1958) is the inventor of Lego toys. Born into a poor farming family in western Denmark, Christiansen trained as a carpenter. When he lost his job during the depression, he started making wooden toys and later turned to plastics. Christiansen chose his company’s name from the Danish phrase "leg godt" meaning "play well." The company grew to become the Lego Group, whose products include the famous building blocks as well as supporting movies, video games and several theme parks.
- Mads Clausen. Another Danish industrialist and businessman, Mads Clausen (1905 to 1966) was an engineering graduate who returned to his birthplace near the German border to start a company from the attic of his parents’ farmhouse. He founded Danfoss in 1933. Today, the Danfoss Group is a global producer of products for refrigeration and air conditioning, heating and water and motion controls.