Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: everything you need to know about the Game of Thrones star

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been internationally known since the TV series Game of Thrones. The Danish actor and producer has been on stage since 1992 and, since then, has worked on numerous theatre, TV and film productions. Find out everything about Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s life and career here.

Biography: the life of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Actor, producer

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (born 27 July 1970 in Rudkøbing) is a Danish actor and film producer who is best known internationally for the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011-2017). He is also involved in various initiatives to fight poverty and gender discrimination.

Born27 July 1970 in Rudkøbing
AwardsEmpire Hero Award (2015), Ove Sprogøe Award (2017)
Copyright and legal information: Author: Gage Skidmore; Material:; Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0,, unchanged.

Childhood and youth

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was born on 27 July 1970 in Rudkøbing on the island of Langeland, as the son of a librarian, and spent his childhood in the Danish village of Tybjerg. His father was an alcoholic and lived apart from the family most of the time. Nikolaj grew up with two older sisters.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Childhood and Youth
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau grew up in Tybjerg, Denmark.

His family

Nikolaj now lives in Copenhagen with his wife, the Greenlandic actress Nukâka (born Sascha Nukâka Motzfeldt) and their two daughters Filippa and Safina. His father-in-law was a member of the Greenlandic parliament and his two daughters also show acting tendencies.

Social commitment

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has supported the Danish Red Cross since 2003 and has been an ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 2016 – raising awareness of poverty, hunger and climate change. In 2017, he worked with Google to document the effects of climate change in Greenland via Street View.

He also worked on an initiative to strengthen women’s rights in Kenya. In addition, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been involved in other initiatives such as The Spotlight Initiative of the European Union-United Nations and a manifesto by Danish actors and actresses against sexism in the film industry.

Career: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s work

Training and early career

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau received his acting training at the Statens Teaterskole in Copenhagen. He was accepted as the youngest actor there in 1989 and graduated in 1993.

He made his debut in 1992 as Laertes in a theatre production of Hamlet and then worked on various small productions and made his breakthrough in Denmark the following year.

Breakthrough with Game of Thrones

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau achieved greater fame in Denmark with the film Nattevagten (Nightwatch, 1994). He went on to appear in a wide variety of films, series and theatre productions.

Waldau achieved international fame primarily through his role as Jaime Lannister in the HBO TV production Game of Thrones (2011-2017). For this role, together with the cast, he won the Empire Hero Award (2015) and the Ove Sprogøe Award (2017).

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s career and films to date

To date, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has worked on a variety of different productions in theatre, TV and the film industry, including Kingdom of Heaven (2005), Enigma (2001) and Oblivion (2013). In the film Against the Ice, which premiered at the Berlinale in 2022, he not only took on the leading role of the Danish polar explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen, but also participated in the screenplay and production. His latest projects are the film God Is a Bullet and the miniseries The Last Thing He Told Me.

Filmography (excerpt)

  • Hamlet (1992-93)
  • Nightwatch (1994)
  • Black Hawk Down (2001)
  • Enigma (2001)
  • Becket (2002)
  • Wimbledon (2004)
  • Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
  • The Kautokeino Rebellion (2008)
  • Game of Thrones (2011-2017)
  • Mama (2013)
  • Oblivion (2013)
  • Gods of Egypt (2016)
  • Shot Caller (2017)
  • The Simpsons (2017)
  • Macbeth (2020)
  • Against The Ice (2022)
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