The British actress thanked the audience in Danish and said she was "completely overwhelmed" by the honor, the BBC reported Sunday.
"It is an incredible thing to receive this award and I'm truly grateful," said Dench, whose distinguished career has her currently playing the British spymaster "M" in the latest James Bond movie.
Saturday night's 21st edition of the European Film Awards had a distinctly British flavor with her majesty's subject Kristen Scott Thomas winning best European actress for the French movie "I've Loved You So Long" and British director Steve McQueen winning for his IRA biopic "Hunger," which debuted this year at Cannes.
The Italian mobster movie "Gomorrah" was the biggest winner with five awards, including best European picture.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]