From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search

The Kingdom of Denmark (Danish: Kongeriget Danmark) is geographically the smallest and southernmost Nordic country, and is part of the European Union. It is located at 56° 00′ 00″ N, 10° 00′ 00″ E in Scandinavia which is in northern Europe, but it does not lie on the Scandinavian Peninsula.

Denmark borders the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and consists of a peninsula attached to Northern Germany named Jutland (Jylland), the islands Funen (Fyn), Zealand (Sjælland), Bornholm and many smaller islands, the waters of which are often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark lies north of Germany (its only land neighbour), southwest of Sweden, and south of Norway.

Greenland and the Faroe Islands are Crown territories of Denmark, each with political home rule.

Kongeriget Danmark
Flag of Denmark Denmark Coat o f Arms
(In Detail) (In Detail)
Motto of the Queen: Guds hjælp, Folkets kærlighed, Danmarks styrke
(English: God's help, the People's love, Denmark's strength)
Location of Denmark
Official language Danish1
Capital Copenhagen
Largest City Copenhagen
Monarch Queen Margrethe II
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen
- Total
 - % water
- With Territories
Ranked 131st
43,094 km²
- Total (2005)
- Density
Ranked 108th
GDP (2005)2
- Total (PPP)
- Total
- GDP/capita (PPP)
- GDP/capita

$188 billion (43rd)
$266 billion (28th)
$34,718 (6th)
$49,182 (6th)
Currency Danish krone
Time zone2
 - in summer
National anthem Der er et yndigt land
Royal anthem Kong Christian
Internet TLD2 .dk
Calling Code2 +45
1 Co-official with Greenlandic in Greenland, and Faroese in the Faroe Islands. German is recognised as a protected minority language in the South Jutland area of Denmark. Danish is recognised as a protected minority language in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany.
2Information for Denmark excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland.



Main article: History of Denmark

The origin of Denmark is lost in prehistory. The oldest Danevirke is from the 7th century, at the same time as the new Runic alphabet. Oldest city: Ribe is from about 810.

Up into the 10th century the Danes were known as Vikings, together with Norwegians and Swedes, colonising, raiding and trading in all parts of Europe. Many archaeologists and historians believe that the Vikings even made it as far as America. They travelled from Scandinavia to Iceland, then further to Greenland and then finally America.

At various times the King of Denmark has ruled parts of England and Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, France especially Normandy and the Virgin Islands, Tranquebar in India, Estonia and what is now Northern Germany. Scania, Blekinge and Halland were part of Denmark for most of its early history, but were lost to Sweden in 1658. The union with Norway was dissolved in 1814, when Norway entered a new union with Sweden (until 1905).

The Danish liberal and national movement gained momentum in the 1830s, and after the European revolutions of 1848 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy June 5, 1849.

After the Second War of Schleswig (Danish: Slesvig) in 1864 Denmark was forced to cede Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia, in a defeat that left deep marks in the Danish national identity. After this point Denmark adopted a policy of neutrality, as a result of which Denmark stayed neutral in World War I. Following the defeat of Germany, Denmark was offered by the Versailles powers the return of Schleswig-Holstein. Fearing German irredentism Denmark refused to consider the return of Holstein and insisted on a plebiscite concerning the return of Schleswig. In 1920, following the plebiscite, Northern Schleswig was recovered by Denmark and the new border has remained one of the fairest borders ever in history.

Despite its continued neutrality Denmark was invaded by Germany (Operation Weserübung), on April 9, 1940. Though at first accorded self-rule (which ended in 1943 due to a mounting resistance movement), Denmark remained militarily occupied throughout World War II. The Danish sympathy for the Allied Cause was strong; 1,900 Danish Police Officers was arrested by the Gestapo and sent, under guard, to be interned in Buchenwald. After the war, Denmark became one of the founding members of NATO and, in 1973, joined the European Economic Community (later, the European Union).

Politics and government

Main article: Politics of Denmark

In 1849 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy with the adoption of a new constitution. The monarch is formally head of state, a role which is mainly ceremonial, since executive power is exercised by the cabinet ministers, with the prime minister acting as the first among equals (primus inter pares). Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Danish parliament, known as the Folketing, which consists of (no more than) 179 members. The Danish Judiciary is functionally and administratively independent of the executive and the legislature.

Elections for parliament must be held at least every four years; but the prime minister can call for an earlier election, if he so decides. Should parliament succeed in a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister the entire government resigns.

Denmark is often run by minority governments.


Main article: Counties of Denmark

Denmark is divided into 13 counties (amter, singular: amt), and 271 municipalities (kommuner, singular kommune). The coming Danish Municipal Reform will replace the counties with five new regions and reduce the number of municipalities to 98. The new municipalities will take over most of the responsibilities of the former counties. Most of the new municipalities will have a population of at least 20,000 people. The reform will be implemented on 1 January 2007.

Three municipalities have county privileges:

Copenhagen County comprises the municipalities of metropolitan Copenhagen, except Copenhagen Municipality and Frederiksberg Municipality. Bornholm Regional Municipality comprise the five former municipalities on the island Bornholm and the island's former county.

Greenland and the Faroe Islands also belong to the Kingdom of Denmark, but have autonomous status and are largely self-governing, and are each represented by two seats in the parliament.


Map of Denmark
Map of Denmark

Main article: Geography of Denmark

Denmark consists of the peninsula of Jutland (Jylland) and 405 named islands. Of these, 323 are habited, with the largest being Zealand (Sjælland) and Funen (Fyn). The island of Bornholm is located somewhat east of the rest of the country, in the Baltic Sea. Many of the larger islands are connected by bridges; the Øresund Bridge connects Zealand with Sweden, the Great Belt Bridge connects Funen with Zealand, and the Small Belt Bridge connects Jutland with Funen. Ferries connect one to the smaller islands.

Windmills, antique (pictured) and modern, accent the gently rolling meadowlands of Denmark.
Windmills, antique (pictured) and modern, accent the gently rolling meadowlands of Denmark.

The country is mostly flat with little elevation; the highest natural point is Møllehøj, at 170.86 metres. The climate is temperate, with mild winters and cool summers. Main cities are the capital Copenhagen (on Zealand), Aarhus, Aalborg (on Jutland) and Odense (on Fyn)..


Main article: Economy of Denmark This section incorporates text from the CIA World Factbook, which is in the public domain.

This thoroughly modern market economy features high-tech agriculture, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, comfortable living standards, a stable currency, and high dependence on foreign trade. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy and has a comfortable balance of payments surplus.

The Danish economy is highly unionized; 75% of its labour force [1] are members of a union in the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions. Relationships between unions and employers are cooperative: unions have a day-to-day role in managing the workplace, and their representatives sit on most companies' board of directors. Rules on work schedules and pay are negotiated between unions and employers, with minimal government involvement.

The government has been very successful in meeting, and even exceeding, the economic convergence criteria for participating in the third phase (a common European currency) of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), but Denmark, in a September 2000 referendum, reconfirmed its decision not to join the 12 other EU members in the euro. Even so, the Danish currency remains pegged to the euro.

Denmark has also placed first on the Economist Intelligence Unit's "e-readiness" rankings for the past two years. "A country's "e-readiness" is a measure of its e-business environment, a collection of factors that indicate how amenable a market is to Internet-based opportunities."


Main article: Demographics of Denmark

The majority of the population is of Scandinavian descent, with small groups of Inuit (from Greenland), Faroese, and immigrants. According to official statistics in 2003 immigrants made up 6.2% of the total population.

Danish is spoken in the entire country, although a small group near the German border also speaks German. Many Danes are fluent in English as well, particularly those in larger cities and the youth, who are taught English in school.

According to official statistics from January 2002 84.3% of Danes are members of the state church, the Danish People's Church (Den Danske Folkekirke), also known as the Church of Denmark, a form of Lutheranism; the rest are primarily of other Christian denominations and also about 2% are Muslims. For the last decade Danish People's Church has seen a decline in the number of memberships. In the later years, the old norse religion Asatru has begun to reemerge. Asatru was approved as a religious movement by the Danish government on November 8th 2003.


Main article: Culture of Denmark

Perhaps the most famous Dane is actually a mythical figure: Hamlet, the title character of William Shakespeare's greatest play, which was set in a real castle (Kronborg) in Helsingør, north of Copenhagen. The Dane most well-known in foreign countries is probably Hans Christian Andersen, a writer mostly famous for such fairy tales as The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, and The Ugly Duckling.

Other well known Danes include:

Miscellaneous topics

See also


External links

Countries in Europe
Albania | Andorra | Armenia2) | Austria | Azerbaijan1) | Belarus | Belgium | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Bulgaria | Croatia | Cyprus2) | Czech Republic | Denmark1) | Estonia | Finland | France1) | Georgia1) | Germany | Greece1) | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | Liechtenstein | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Republic of Macedonia | Malta | Moldova | Monaco | Netherlands | Norway1) | Poland | Portugal1) | Romania | Russia1) | San Marino | Serbia and Montenegro | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain1) | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey1) | Ukraine | United Kingdom | Vatican City
Other territories: Akrotiri and Dhekelia 2) | Faroe Islands | Gibraltar | Guernsey | Jan Mayen | Jersey | Isle of Man | Svalbard
1) Includes territories not located in Europe. 2) Geographically in Asia , but often considered part of Europe for cultural and historical reasons.
Flag of the European Union European Union Flag of the European Union
Austria | Belgium | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Estonia | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Hungary | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malta | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain | Sweden | United Kingdom

Nordic Council
Denmark | Finland | Iceland | Norway | Sweden
Associate members
Åland | Faroe Islands | Greenland
UN Security Council Members Flag of the UN
Permanent Members
China - France - Russia - United Kingdom - United States
Term ending December 31, 2005
Algeria - Benin - Brazil - Philippines - Romania
Term ending December 31, 2006
Argentina - Denmark - Greece - Japan - Tanzania
Personal tools