Before you start
Metal-detecting is permitted to be conducted by anyone (also non-Danish citizens and people without permanent residence in DK), as long as finders have the landowners' permission to search and they avoid archaeological excavations and protected sites and monuments (e.g. burial grounds, castle ruins).
It is important to note that all land will have an owner, this includes beaches and 'common land', so finders should never presume it is ok to search without permission. It is required by law that all finds of potentially cultural historical significance are reported to the local museum of the district in which they were found.
Metal-detecting is prohibited on protected sites and monuments.
Best practice in the field
Only detect after having obtained explicit permission from the landowner! We recommend that you don't detect on the ‘permission’ of other detectorists, unless they have invited you to do so. Ask the landowner if in doubt.
Follow the heritage agency’s rules and recommendations for the use of detectors in Denmark, and the Danish Amateur Archaeologist’s Association’s ethical rules.
Don't dig below a depth of 30cm!
Whenever you find something below plough soil level and/or something that seems to remain in situ (e.g. a treasure or a burial) do contact the professional archaeologists at the local museum and stop digging.
Record your finds in DIME. You can do so even while in the field!
Dealing with finds
All finds of archaeological interest, including potential treasure trove, are automatically owned by the state. Neither the finder nor the landowner has any ownership rights over archaeological finds. All archaeological finds found by members of the public have to be reported AND must be handed over to the local museums or the National Museum.
The National Museum compensates finders of treasure trove (Danefæ). Treasure trove (Danefæ) is roughly defined in the Consolidated Act on Museums but each case is individually assessed by the National Museum, with regard to 1) material value, 2) rarity and cultural historical value and 3) contextual information provided by the finder. See the Danish National Museum’s information on Danefæ.
DIME is the publicly accessible, online recording tool for detector finds from Denmark and it is recommended that DIME is used to record finds.
Extract from the Danish ‘Consolidated Act on Museums’
Part 9: Treasure trove (…)
(1 ) Objects of the past, including coins found in Denmark, of which no one can prove to be the rightful owner, shall be treasure trove (danefæ) if made of valuable material or being of a special cultural heritage value.
(2) Treasure trove shall belong to the state. Any person who finds treasure trove, and any person who gains possession of treasure trove, shall immediately deliver it to the National Museum of Denmark.
(3) The National Museum shall pay a reward to the finder. The amount shall be fixed by the National Museum having regard to the value of the material and the rarity of the find as well as to the care with which the finder has safeguarded the find.