The Danish Passport
Most people probably think more of their passports as a formal
document from the state than a complex piece of design, yet it
truly is both. Above all, its job is to identify a person in a
valid and reliable form, and consequently, it needs to be produced
as a document with a minimum of risk of being copied.
In 1997, Peter Bysted was chosen as designer of the new Danish
passport. His prior experience as designer of watermarks for
Silkeborg Papirfabrik was instrumental in the process. New printing
techniques combined with an extremely detailed pattern in the
finest stroke made the new passport very secure.
In the former passport from the early 1980s, the Danish legend
hero Holger Danske was used as watermark, but Peter Bysted proposed
a change. He suggested that the first symbol of the Danish Nation
as a state, the Jelling Stone, be the new and visible illustration.
The Justice Department supported the use of the Jelling Stone by
pointing out that it is a typical Danish symbol, it is on UNESCO's
list of World Heritage and finally it is difficult to remake and
The motif was used both as illustration on the inside of the
cover and as the base of the design for the security pattern on the
Using the picture of Christ from the Jelling
Stone gave rise to a debate on national symbols.