DENMARK (/ˈdɛnmɑːrk/ ( listen ); Danish : Danmark, pronounced
( listen )), officially the KINGDOM OF DENMARK, is a Nordic country
and a sovereign state . The southernmost of the Scandinavian nations,
it is south-west of
Sweden and south of
Norway , and bordered to the
Germany . The Kingdom of
Denmark also comprises two
autonomous constituent countries in the North
Atlantic Ocean : the
Faroe Islands and
Denmark proper consists of a peninsula,
Jutland , and an archipelago of 443 named islands , with the largest
Funen and the
North Jutlandic Island . The islands are
characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and
a temperate climate.
Denmark has an area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi),
total area including
Greenland and the
Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2
(853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.75 million (as of 2017 ).
The unified kingdom of
Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a
proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic
Sea . Denmark,
Norway were ruled together under the Kalmar
Union , established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523.
Norway remained under the same monarch until outside
forces dissolved the union in 1814. The union with
Norway made it
Denmark to inherit the Faroe Islands,
Iceland . Beginning in the 17th century, there were several cessions
of territory to Sweden. In the 19th century there was a surge of
nationalist movements , which were defeated in the 1864 Second
Schleswig War .
Denmark remained neutral during
World War I
World War I . In April
1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish
resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in
May 1945. An industrialised exporter of agricultural produce in the
second half of the 19th century,
Denmark introduced social and
labour-market reforms in the early 20th century that created the basis
for the present welfare state model with a highly developed mixed
Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the
absolute monarchy , which had begun in 1660. It establishes a
constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary democracy. The
government and national parliament are seated in
Copenhagen , the
nation's capital , largest city and main commercial centre. Denmark
exercises hegemonic influence in the
Danish Realm , devolving powers
to handle internal affairs.
Home rule was established in the Faroe
Islands in 1948; in
Greenland home rule was established in 1979 and
further autonomy in 2009.
Denmark became a member of the European
Economic Community (now the EU ) in 1973, maintaining certain opt-outs
; it retains its own currency, the krone . It is among the founding
NATO , the
Nordic Council , the
OECD , OSCE , and the
United Nations ; it is also part of the
Schengen Area .
Denmark is considered to be one of the happiest countries in the
Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the country ranks
highly in some metrics of national performance, including education ,
health care , protection of civil liberties , democratic governance ,
prosperity and human development . The country ranks as having the
world's highest social mobility , a high level of income equality ,
is the country with the lowest perceived level of corruption in the
world , has one of the world's highest per capita incomes , and one of
the world's highest personal income tax rates .
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory
* 2.2 Viking and
* 2.3 Early modern history (1536–1849)
Constitutional monarchy (1849–present)
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Climate
* 3.2 Ecology
* 3.3 Environment
* 4 Administrative divisions
* 4.1 Regions
Greenland and the
* 5 Politics
* 5.1 Government
* 5.2 Law and judicial system
* 5.3 Foreign relations
* 6 Economy
* 6.1 Science and technology
* 6.2 Public policy
* 6.3 Energy
* 6.4 Transport
* 7 Demographics
* 7.1 Languages
* 7.2 Religion
* 7.3 Education
* 7.4 Health
* 8 Culture
* 8.1 Media
* 8.2 Music
* 8.3 Architecture and design
* 8.4 Literature and philosophy
* 8.5 Painting and photography
* 8.7 Sports
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes
* 11 References
* 12 External links
Etymology of Denmark
The etymology of the word Denmark, and especially the relationship
Denmark and the unifying of
Denmark as a single
kingdom, is a subject which attracts debate. This is centred
primarily on the prefix "Dan" and whether it refers to the Dani or a
historical person Dan and the exact meaning of the -"mark" ending.
Most handbooks derive the first part of the word, and the name of the
people, from a word meaning "flat land", related to German Tenne
"threshing floor", English den "cave". The -mark is believed to mean
woodland or borderland (see marches ), with probable references to the
border forests in south
The first recorded use of the word Danmark within
Denmark itself is
found on the two
Jelling stones , which are runestones believed to
have been erected by
Gorm the Old (c. 955) and Harald Bluetooth
(c. 965). The larger stone of the two is popularly cited as
Denmark's "baptismal certificate" (dåbsattest), though both use the
word "Denmark", in the form of accusative ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚢᚱᚴ
"tanmaurk" () on the large stone, and genitive
ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚱᚴᛅᚱ "tanmarkar" (pronounced ) on the small
stone. The inhabitants of
Denmark are there called "tani" (), or
"Danes", in the accusative.
History of Denmark See also: History of
History of the
The gilded side of the
Trundholm sun chariot dating from the
Nordic Bronze Age
Nordic Bronze Age
The earliest archaeological findings in
Denmark date back to the Eem
interglacial period from 130,000–110,000 BC .
Denmark has been
inhabited since around 12,500 BC and agriculture has been evident
since 3900 BC. The
Nordic Bronze Age
Nordic Bronze Age (1800–600 BC) in
marked by burial mounds , which left an abundance of findings
including lurs and the Sun Chariot .
Pre-Roman Iron Age (500 BC – AD 1), native groups began
migrating south, and the first tribal
Danes came to the country
between the Pre-Roman and the
Germanic Iron Age , in the Roman Iron
Age (AD 1–400). The Roman provinces maintained trade routes and
relations with native tribes in Denmark, and Roman coins have been
found in Denmark. Evidence of strong Celtic cultural influence dates
from this period in
Denmark and much of North-West
Europe and is among
other things reflected in the finding of the
Gundestrup cauldron .
Danes came from the east Danish islands (
Zealand ) and
Scania and spoke an early form of North Germanic . Historians believe
that before their arrival, most of
Jutland and the nearest islands
were settled by tribal
Jutes . The
Jutes migrated to Great Britain
eventually, some as mercenaries by Brythonic King
Vortigern , and were
granted the south-eastern territories of
Kent , the
Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight and
other areas, where they settled. They were later absorbed or
ethnically cleansed by the invading
Saxons , who formed the
Saxons . The remaining Jutish population in
in with the settling
A short note about the Dani in "
Getica " by the historian
believed to be an early mention of the Danes, one of the ethnic groups
from whom modern
Danes are descended. The
structures were built in phases from the 3rd century forward and the
sheer size of the construction efforts in AD 737 are attributed to the
emergence of a Danish king. A new runic alphabet was first used
around the same time and
Ribe , the oldest town of Denmark, was
founded about AD 700.
VIKING AND MIDDLE AGES
Viking Age and
Kalmar Union The
Ladby ship , the
largest ship burial found in
From the 8th to the 10th century the wider Scandinavian region was
the source of
Vikings . They colonised, raided, and traded in all
parts of Europe. The Danish
Vikings were most active in the eastern
British Isles and Western
Europe . They conquered and
settled parts of
England (known as the
Danelaw ) under King Sweyn
Forkbeard in 1013, and
Danes and Norwegians founded
Rollo as head of state. More Anglo-Saxon pence of this
period have been found in
Denmark than in England. Larger of the
two Jelling stones, raised by
Denmark was largely consolidated by the late 8th century and its
rulers are consistently referred to in Frankish sources as kings
(reges). Under the reign of
Gudfred in 804 the Danish kingdom may have
included all the lands of Jutland,
Scania and the Danish islands,
excluding Bornholm. The extant Danish monarchy traces its roots back
Gorm the Old , who established his reign in the early 10th century.
As attested by the
Jelling stones , the
Danes were Christianised
around 965 by
Harald Bluetooth , the son of Gorm . It is believed that
Denmark became Christian for political reasons so as not to get
invaded by the rising Christian power in Europe, the Holy Roman Empire
, which was an important trading area for the Danes. In that case,
Harald built six fortresses around
Denmark called Trelleborg and built
Danevirke . In the early 11th century,
Canute the Great won
and united Denmark, England, and
Norway for almost 30 years with a
Throughout the High and
Late Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages ,
Denmark also included
Skåneland (the areas of Scania,
Halland , and
Blekinge in present-day
south Sweden) and Danish kings ruled
Danish Estonia , as well as the
Holstein . Most of the latter two now form
the state of Schleswig-
Holstein in northern Germany.
Denmark entered into a personal union with
Norway and Sweden
, united under Queen Margaret I . The three countries were to be
treated as equals in the union. However, even from the start, Margaret
may not have been so idealistic—treating
Denmark as the clear
"senior" partner of the union. Thus, much of the next 125 years of
Scandinavian history revolves around this union, with
off and being re-conquered repeatedly. The issue was for practical
purposes resolved on 17 June 1523, as Swedish King Gustav Vasa
conquered the city of
Stockholm . The
Protestant Reformation spread to
Scandinavia in the 1530s, and following the Count\'s Feud civil war,
Denmark converted to
Lutheranism in 1536. Later that year, Denmark
entered into a union with Norway.
EARLY MODERN HISTORY (1536–1849)
Main articles: Denmark–
Danish colonial empire The
Battle of Öland during the Scanian War, between an allied
Dano-Norwegian -Dutch fleet and the Swedish navy, 1 June 1676
Sweden permanently broke away from the personal union, Denmark
tried on several occasions to reassert control over its neighbour.
King Christian IV attacked
Sweden in the 1611–1613
Kalmar War but
failed to accomplish his main objective of forcing it to return to the
union. The war led to no territorial changes, but
Sweden was forced to
pay a war indemnity of 1 million silver riksdaler to Denmark, an
amount known as the Älvsborg ransom . King Christian used this money
to found several towns and fortresses, most notably Glückstadt
(founded as a rival to
Hamburg ) and Christiania . Inspired by the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company , he founded a similar Danish company and
planned to claim Ceylon as a colony, but the company only managed to
acquire Tranquebar on India's
Coromandel Coast . Denmark's large
colonial aspirations were limited to a few key trading posts in Africa
India . The empire was sustained by trade with other major powers,
and plantations – ultimately a lack of resources led to its
In the Thirty Years\' War , Christian tried to become the leader of
Lutheran states in
Germany but suffered a crushing defeat at the
Battle of Lutter
Battle of Lutter . The result was that the Catholic army under
Albrecht von Wallenstein was able to invade, occupy, and pillage
Denmark to withdraw from the war .
to avoid territorial concessions, but King Gustavus Adolphus '
Germany was seen as a sign that the military power of
Sweden was on the rise while Denmark's influence in the region was
declining. In 1643, Swedish armies invaded
Jutland and claimed Scania
in 1644. In the Denmark–
Denmark was the dominant
partner, and eventually gained rule over
Norway and Norwegian
Faroe Islands ,
In the 1645 Treaty of Brømsebro ,
Denmark surrendered Halland,
Gotland , the last parts of Danish Estonia, and several provinces in
Norway. In 1657, King Frederick III declared war on
Sweden and marched
Bremen-Verden . This led to a massive Danish defeat and the armies
Charles X Gustav
Charles X Gustav of
Sweden conquered both
and much of
Zealand before signing the Peace of
Roskilde in February
1658, which gave
Sweden control of Scania,
Trøndelag , and
the island of
Charles X Gustav
Charles X Gustav quickly regretted not having
Denmark and in August 1658, he began a two-year-long siege of
Copenhagen but failed to take the capital. In the following peace
Denmark managed to maintain its independence and regain
Trøndelag and Bornholm.
Denmark tried to regain control of
Scania in the Scanian War
(1675–1679) but it ended in failure. After the Great Northern War
Denmark managed to restore control of the parts of
Holstein ruled by the house of
Holstein-Gottorp in the
Treaty of Frederiksborg and the 1773
Treaty of Tsarskoye Selo ,
Denmark prospered greatly in the last decades of the
18th century due to its neutral status allowing it to trade with both
sides in the many contemporary wars. In the
Napoleonic Wars , Denmark
traded with both
France and the
United Kingdom and joined the League
of Armed Neutrality with
Russia , Sweden, and
Prussia . The British
considered this a hostile act and attacked
Copenhagen in 1801 and 1807
, in one case carrying off the Danish fleet , in the other, burning
large parts of the Danish capital. This led to the so-called
Gunboat War . British control of the waterways between
Norway proved disastrous to the union's economy and in
Norway went bankrupt .
The union was dissolved by the
Treaty of Kiel in 1814; the Danish
monarchy "irrevocably and forever" renounced claims to the Kingdom of
Norway in favour of the Swedish king.
Denmark kept the possessions of
Iceland (which retained the Danish monarchy until 1944), the Faroe
Greenland , all of which had been governed by
centuries. Apart from the Nordic colonies,
Denmark continued to rule
India from 1620 to 1869, the
Danish Gold Coast (Ghana)
from 1658 to 1850, and the
Danish West Indies
Danish West Indies from 1671 to 1917.
CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY (1849–PRESENT)
The National Constitutional Assembly was convened by King
Frederick VII in 1848 to adopt the
Constitution of Denmark .
A nascent Danish liberal and national movement gained momentum in the
1830s; after the European
Revolutions of 1848
Revolutions of 1848 ,
became a constitutional monarchy on 5 June 1849. A new constitution
established a two-chamber parliament .
Denmark faced war against both
Habsburg Austria in what became known as the Second
Schleswig War , lasting from February to October 1864.
defeated and obliged to cede
Prussia . This
loss came as the latest in the long series of defeats and territorial
loss that had begun in the 17th century. After these events, Denmark
pursued a policy of neutrality in Europe.
Industrialisation came to
Denmark in the second half of the 19th
century. The nation\'s first railroads were constructed in the 1850s,
and improved communications and overseas trade allowed industry to
develop in spite of Denmark's lack of natural resources. Trade unions
developed starting in the 1870s. There was a considerable migration of
people from the countryside to the cities, and Danish agriculture
became centred on the export of dairy and meat products.
Denmark maintained its neutral stance during
World War I
World War I . After the
defeat of Germany, the Versailles powers offered to return the region
Holstein to Denmark. Fearing German irredentism , Denmark
refused to consider the return of the area without a plebiscite ; the
Schleswig Plebiscites took place on 10 February and 14 March 1920,
respectively. On 10 July 1920, Northern
Schleswig was recovered by
Denmark, thereby adding some 163,600 inhabitants and 3,984 square
kilometres (1,538 sq mi).
Denmark signed a 10-year non-aggression pact with Nazi
Denmark on 9 April 1940 and the Danish
government quickly surrendered.
World War II
World War II in
characterised by economic co-operation with
Germany until 1943, when
the Danish government refused further co-operation and its navy
scuttled most of its ships and sent many of its officers to Sweden,
which was neutral. The Danish resistance performed a rescue operation
that managed to evacuate several thousand Jews and their families to
Sweden before the
Germans could send them to death camps.
Nazism by joining the Danish Nazi Party or
volunteering to fight with
Germany as part of the
Frikorps Danmark .
Iceland severed ties to
Denmark and became an independent republic in
Germany surrendered in May 1945; in 1948, the Faroe Islands
gained home rule ; in 1949,
Denmark became a founding member of
Denmark became a member of the
European Union in 1973 and signed
Lisbon Treaty in 2007.
Denmark was a founding member of European Free Trade Association
(EFTA). During the 1960s, the EFTA countries were often referred to as
Outer Seven , as opposed to the
Inner Six of what was then the
European Economic Community (EEC). In 1973, along with Britain and
Denmark joined the
European Economic Community (now the
European Union ) after a public referendum . The
Maastricht Treaty ,
which involved further European integration, was rejected by the
Danish people in 1992; it was only accepted after a second referendum
in 1993, which provided for four opt-outs from policies. The Danes
rejected the euro as the national currency in a referendum in 2000 .
Greenland gained home rule in 1979 and was awarded self-determination
in 2009. Neither the
Faroe Islands nor
Greenland are members of the
European Union, the Faroese having declined membership of the EEC in
Greenland in 1986, in both cases because of fisheries
Constitutional change in 1953 led to a single-chamber parliament
elected by proportional representation, female accession to the Danish
Greenland becoming an integral part of Denmark. The
centre-left Social Democrats led a string of coalition governments for
most of the second half of the 20th century, introducing the Nordic
welfare model . The Liberal Party and the Conservative People\'s Party
have also led centre-right governments. In recent years the right-wing
populist Danish People\'s Party has emerged as a major
party—becoming the second-largest following the 2015 general
election —during which time immigration and integration have become
major issues of public debate.
Geography of Denmark
Geography of Denmark Also related: Geography of the
Faroe Islands and Geography of
Greenland A satellite image of
Jutland and the Danish islands
Located in Northern
Denmark consists of the peninsula of
Jutland and 443 named islands (1,419 islands above 100 square metres
(1,100 sq ft) in total). Of these, 74 are inhabited (January 2015),
with the largest being
Zealand , the
North Jutlandic Island , and
Funen . The island of
Bornholm is located 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 Little Belt
Jutland with Funen. Ferries or small aircraft connect
to the smaller islands. The largest cities with populations over
100,000 are the capital
Copenhagen on Zealand;
Odense on Funen. A map showing major urban areas ,
islands and connecting bridges
The country occupies a total area of 42,924 square kilometres (16,573
sq mi) The area of inland water is 700 km2 (270 sq mi), variously
stated as from 500 – 700 km2 (193–270 sq m). Lake Arresø
Copenhagen is the largest lake. The size of the land area
cannot be stated exactly since the ocean constantly erodes and adds
material to the coastline, and because of human land reclamation
projects (to counter erosion).
Post-glacial rebound raises the land by
a bit less than 1 cm (0.4 in) per year in the north and east,
extending the coast. A circle enclosing the same area as
be 234 kilometres (145 miles) in diameter with a circumference of 742
km (461 mi). It shares a border of 68 kilometres (42 mi) with Germany
to the south and is otherwise surrounded by 8,750 km (5,437 mi) of
tidal shoreline (including small bays and inlets ). No location in
Denmark is farther from the coast than 52 km (32 mi). On the
south-west coast of Jutland, the tide is between 1 and 2 m (3.28 and
6.56 ft), and the tideline moves outward and inward on a 10 km (6.2
mi) stretch. Denmark's territorial waters total 105,000 square
kilometres (40,541 square miles).
Denmark's northernmost point is
Skagen 's point (the north beach of
the Skaw) at 57° 45' 7" northern latitude; the southernmost is Gedser
point (the southern tip of
Falster ) at 54° 33' 35" northern
latitude; the westernmost point is
Blåvandshuk at 8° 4' 22" eastern
longitude; and the easternmost point is
Østerskær at 15° 11' 55"
eastern longitude. This is in the archipelago
Ertholmene 18 kilometres
(11 mi) north-east of Bornholm. The distance from east to west is 452
kilometres (281 mi), from north to south 368 kilometres (229 mi).
Aarhus viewed from southern
The country is flat with little elevation, having an average height
above sea level of 31 metres (102 ft). The highest natural point is
Møllehøj , at 170.86 metres (560.56 ft). A sizeable portion of
Denmark's terrain consists of rolling plains whilst the coastline is
sandy, with large dunes in northern Jutland. Although once extensively
Denmark largely consists of arable land . It is
drained by a dozen or so rivers , and the most significant include the
Odense , Skjern , Suså and
Vidå —a river that flows
along its southern border with Germany.
The Kingdom of
Denmark includes two overseas territories, both well
to the west of Denmark: Greenland, the world\'s largest island , and
Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. These territories are
self-governing and form part of the
Danish Realm .
Denmark has a temperate climate, characterised by mild winters, with
mean temperatures in January of 1.5 °C (34.7 °F), and cool summers,
with a mean temperature in August of 17.2 °C (63.0 °F). The most
extreme temperatures recorded in Denmark, since 1874 when recordings
began, was 36.4 °C (97.5 °F) in 1975 and −31.2 °C (−24.2 °F)
Denmark has an average of 179 days per year with
precipitation, on average receiving a total of 765 millimetres (30 in)
per year; autumn is the wettest season and spring the driest. The
position between a continent and an ocean means that weather often
Because of Denmark's northern location, there are large seasonal
variations in daylight. There are short days during the winter with
sunrise coming around 8:45 am and sunset 3:45 pm (standard time), as
well as long summer days with sunrise at 4:30 am and sunset at 10 pm
(daylight saving time ).
CLIMATE DATA FOR DENMARK (2001–2010)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE RAINY DAYS (≥ 1MM)
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
Source: Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut
List of forests in Denmark , List of mammals of
Denmark , and
List of birds of Denmark The Danish landscape is
characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts. Beech trees
are common throughout Denmark, especially in the sparse woodlands.
Denmark belongs to the
Boreal Kingdom and can be subdivided into two
ecoregions : the Atlantic mixed forests and Baltic mixed forests.
Almost all of Denmark's primeval temperate forests have been destroyed
or fragmented, chiefly for agricultural purposes during the last
millennia. The deforestation has created large swaths of heathland
and devastating sand drifts . In spite of this, there are several
larger second growth woodlands in the country and, in total, 12.9% of
the land is now forested.
Norway spruce is the most widespread tree
(2017), being important in the production of
Christmas trees .
Roe deer occupy the countryside in growing numbers, and
large-antlered red deer can be found in the sparse woodlands of
Denmark is also home to smaller mammals, such as polecats ,
hares and hedgehogs . Approximately 400 bird species inhabit Denmark
and about 160 of those breed in the country. Large marine mammals
include healthy populations of
Harbour porpoise , growing numbers of
pinnipeds and occasional visits of large whales, including blue whales
and orcas .
Cod , herring and plaice are abundant fish in Danish
waters and form the basis for a large fishing industry .
Land and water pollution are two of Denmark's most significant
environmental issues , although much of the country's household and
industrial waste is now increasingly filtered and sometimes recycled.
The country has historically taken a progressive stance on
environmental preservation ; in 1971
Denmark established a Ministry of
Environment and was the first country in the world to implement an
environmental law in 1973. To mitigate environmental degradation and
global warming the Danish Government has signed the Climate
Kyoto Protocol . However, the national ecological footprint is
8.26 global hectares per person, which is very high compared to a
world average of 1.7 in 2010. Contributing factors to this value are
an exceptional high value for cropland but also a relatively high
value for grazing land, which may be explained by the substantially
high meat production in
Denmark (115.8 kilograms (255 lb) meat
annually per capita) and the large economic role of the meat and dairy
industries. In December 2014, the Climate Change Performance Index
for 2015 placed
Denmark at the top of the table, explaining that
although emissions are still quite high, the country was able to
implement effective climate protection policies.
Denmark has an outstanding performance in the global Environmental
Performance Index (EPI) with an overall ranking of 4 out of 180
countries in 2016. This recent and significant increase in ranking and
performance is mostly due to remarkable achievements in energy
efficiency and reductions in
CO2 emission levels. A future
implementation of air quality improvements are expected. The EPI was
established in 2001 by the
World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum as a global gauge to
measure how well individual countries perform in implementing the
Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goals . The environmental
Denmark performs best (i.e. lowest ranking) are sanitation
(12), water resource management (13) and health impacts of
environmental issues (14), followed closely by the area of
biodiversity and habitat. The latter are due to the many protection
laws and protected areas of significance within the country even
though the EPI is not considering how well these laws and regulations
are affecting the current biodiversity and habitats in reality; one of
many weaknesses in the EPI.
Denmark performs worst (i.e. highest
ranking) in the areas of environmental effects of fisheries (128) and
forest management (96). The very poor ranking in the fisheries area
are due to alarmingly low and continually rapidly declining fish
Denmark among the worst performing countries of the
world. Denmark's territories,
Greenland and the Faroe Islands, kill
approximately 650 whales per year.
Regions of Denmark and
Municipalities of Denmark
Midtjylland Nordjylland Syddanmark Hovedstaden Sjælland
Denmark, with a total area of 43,094 square kilometres (16,639 sq
mi), is divided into five administrative regions (Danish : regioner).
The regions are further subdivided into 98 municipalities (kommuner).
The easternmost land in Denmark, the
Ertholmene archipelago, with an
area of 39 hectares (0.16 sq m), is neither part of a municipality nor
a region but belongs to the Ministry of Defence .
The regions were created on 1 January 2007 to replace the 16 former
counties . At the same time, smaller municipalities were merged into
larger units, reducing the number from 270. Most municipalities have a
population of at least 20,000 to give them financial and professional
sustainability, although a few exceptions were made to this rule. The
administrative divisions are led by directly elected councils, elected
proportionally every four years; the most recent Danish local
elections were held on 19 November 2013. Other regional structures use
the municipal boundaries as a layout, including the police districts ,
the court districts and the electoral wards .
The governing bodies of the regions are the regional councils , each
with forty-one councillors elected for four-year terms. The councils
are headed by regional district chairmen (regionsrådsformanden), who
are elected by the council. The areas of responsibility for the
regional councils are the national health service , social services
and regional development . Unlike the counties they replaced, the
regions are not allowed to levy taxes and the health service is partly
financed by a national health care contribution until 2018
(sundhedsbidrag), partly by funds from both government and
municipalities. From 1 January 2019 this contribution will be
abolished, as it is being replaced by higher income tax instead.
The area and populations of the regions vary widely; for example, the
Capital Region , which encompasses the
Copenhagen metropolitan area
with the exception of the subtracted province East Zeeland but
Baltic Sea island of
Bornholm , has a population three
times larger than that of
North Denmark Region
North Denmark Region , which covers the more
sparsely populated area of northern Jutland. Under the county system
certain densely populated municipalities, such as Copenhagen
Municipality and Frederiksberg , had been given a status equivalent to
that of counties, making them first-level administrative divisions.
These sui generis municipalities were incorporated into the new
regions under the 2007 reforms.
(January 2017) Total area
Capital Region of Denmark
Central Denmark Region
North Denmark Region
North Denmark Region
Region of Southern Denmark
SOURCE: Regional and municipal key figures
GREENLAND AND THE FAROE ISLANDS
The unity of the Realm See also:
Faroe Islands and
The Kingdom of
Denmark is a unitary state that comprises, in addition
Denmark proper, two autonomous constituent countries in the North
Atlantic Ocean :
Greenland and the
Faroe Islands . They have been
integrated parts of the
Danish Realm since the 18th century; however,
due to their separate historical and cultural identities, these parts
of the Realm have extensive political powers and have assumed
legislative and administrative responsibility in a substantial number
of fields. The
Faroe Islands gained home rule in 1948 and Greenland
in 1979, having previously had the status of counties .
Greenland and the
Faroe Islands have their own home governments and
parliaments and are effectively self-governing in regards to domestic
affairs. High Commissioners (Rigsombudsmand) act as representatives
of the Danish government in the Faroese
Løgting and in the
Greenlandic Parliament , but they cannot vote. The Faroese home
government is defined to be an equal partner with the Danish national
government, while the Greenlandic people are defined as a separate
people with the right to self-determination .
Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)
2,166,086 km2 (836,330 sq mi)
Faroe Islands (Føroyar)
1,399 km2 (540.16 sq mi)
Aksel V. Johannesen
Politics of Denmark See also: Politics of the Faroe
Islands and Politics of
Greenland Queen Margrethe II Lars
Løkke Rasmussen The Queen of
Denmark and her Prime Minister
Denmark operate under a framework laid out in the
Constitution of Denmark . First written in 1849, it establishes a
sovereign state in the form of a constitutional monarchy , with a
representative parliamentary system . The monarch officially retains
executive power and presides over the Council of State (privy council
). In practice, the duties of the Monarch are strictly
representative and ceremonial , such as the formal appointment and
dismissal of the Prime Minister and other Government ministers. The
Monarch is not answerable for his or her actions, and their person is
sacrosanct . Hereditary monarch Queen Margrethe II has been head of
state since 14 January 1972.
Cabinet of Denmark
The Danish Parliament is unicameral and called the
: Folketinget). It is the legislature of the Kingdom of Denmark,
passing acts that apply in
Denmark and, variably,
Greenland and the
Faroe Islands. The
Folketing is also responsible for adopting the
state\'s budgets , approving the state's accounts, appointing and
exercising control of the Government, and taking part in international
co-operation. Bills may be initiated by the Government or by members
of parliament . All bills passed must be presented before the Council
of State to receive
Royal Assent within thirty days in order to become
Christiansborg Palace houses the Folketing, the Supreme
Court , and Government offices.
Denmark is a representative democracy with universal suffrage .
Membership of the
Folketing is based on proportional representation of
political parties, with a 2% electoral threshold.
Danes elect 175
members to the Folketing, with
Greenland and the Faroe Islands
electing an additional two members each—179 members in total.
Parliamentary elections are held at least every four years, but it is
within the powers of the Prime Minister to ask the Monarch to call for
an election before the term has elapsed. On a vote of no confidence ,
Folketing may force a single minister or an entire government to
The Government of
Denmark operates as a cabinet government , where
executive authority is exercised—formally, on behalf of the
Monarch—by Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers , who head
ministries . As the executive branch, the Cabinet is responsible for
proposing bills and a budget, executing the laws, and guiding the
foreign and internal policies of Denmark. The position of prime
minister belongs to the person most likely to command the confidence
of a majority in the Folketing; this is usually the current leader of
the largest political party or, more effectively, through a coalition
of parties . A single party generally does not have sufficient
political power in terms of the number of seats to form a cabinet on
Denmark has often been ruled by coalition governments ,
themselves sometimes minority governments dependent on non-government
Following a general election defeat , in June 2015 Helle
Thorning-Schmidt , leader of the Social Democrats
(Socialdemokraterne), resigned as Prime Minister. She was succeeded by
Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Lars Løkke Rasmussen , the leader of the Liberal Party (Venstre).
Rasmussen became the leader of a cabinet that, unusually, consisted
entirely of ministers from his own party. In the next cabinet ,
created November 2016, there are several political parties
LAW AND JUDICIAL SYSTEM
Law of Denmark and
Courts of Denmark
Courts of Denmark See also: Crime
Denmark has a civil law system with some references to
Germanic law .
Sweden in never having developed a
case-law like that of
England and the
United States nor comprehensive
codes like those of
France and Germany. Much of its law is customary .
The judicial system of
Denmark is divided between courts with regular
civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with
jurisdiction over litigation between individuals and the public
administration. Articles sixty-two and sixty-four of the Constitution
ensure judicial independence from government and Parliament by
providing that judges shall only be guided by the law, including acts,
statutes and practice. The Kingdom of
Denmark does not have a single
unified judicial system –
Denmark has one system,
Faroe Islands a third. However, decisions by the highest
Greenland and the
Faroe Islands may be appealed to the
Danish High Courts. The Danish Supreme Court is the highest civil and
criminal court responsible for the administration of justice in the
Foreign relations of Denmark
Denmark wields considerable influence in Northern
Europe and is a
middle power in international affairs. In recent years,
Faroe Islands have been guaranteed a say in foreign policy issues
such as fishing, whaling , and geopolitical concerns. The foreign
Denmark is substantially influenced by its membership of the
European Union (EU);
Denmark joined the European Economic Community
(EEC), the EU's predecessor, in 1973.
Denmark held the Presidency of
the Council of the
European Union on seven occasions, most recently
from January to June 2012. Following
World War II
World War II ,
Denmark ended its
two-hundred-year-long policy of neutrality . It has been a founding
member of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 1949,
and membership remains highly popular.
As a member of
Development Assistance Committee (DAC),
for a long time been among the countries of the world contributing the
largest percentage of gross national income to development aid . In
Denmark contributed 0.85% of its gross national income (GNI) to
foreign aid and was one of only six countries meeting the longstanding
UN target of 0.7% of GNI. The country participates in both bilateral
and multilateral aid, with the aid usually administered by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs . The organisational name of Danish
International Development Agency (DANIDA) is often used, in particular
when operating bilateral aid.
Danish Defence and
Military history of
MP-soldiers conducting advanced law enforcement training
Denmark's armed forces are known as the
Danish Defence (Danish :
Forsvaret). The Minister of Defence is commander-in-chief of the
Danish Defence, and serves as chief diplomatic official abroad. During
peacetime, the Ministry of Defence employs around 33,000 in total. The
main military branches employ almost 27,000: 15,460 in the Royal
Danish Army , 5,300 in the
Royal Danish Navy and 6,050 in the Royal
Danish Air Force (all including conscripts). The Danish Emergency
Management Agency employs 2,000 (including conscripts), and about
4,000 are in non-branch-specific services like the Danish Defence
Command and the
Danish Defence Intelligence Service . Furthermore,
around 55,000 serve as volunteers in the Danish Home Guard .
Denmark is a long-time supporter of international peacekeeping , but
NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the War in
Afghanistan in 2001,
Denmark has also found a new role as a warring
nation, participating actively in several wars and invasions. This
relatively new situation has stirred some internal critique, but the
Danish population has generally been very supportive, in particular of
the War in Afghanistan. The
Danish Defence has around 1,400 staff
in international missions, not including standing contributions to
NATO SNMCMG1 . Danish forces were heavily engaged in the former
Yugoslavia in the UN Protection Force (
UNPROFOR ), with
IFOR , and
SFOR . Between 2003 and 2007, there were approximately 450 Danish
Denmark also strongly supported American
Afghanistan and has contributed both monetarily and
materially to the ISAF . These initiatives are often described by the
authorities as part of a new "active foreign policy" of Denmark.
Economy of Denmark
Economy of Denmark and List of companies of
Lego bricks are produced by The
Lego Group ,
headquartered in Billund .
Denmark has a developed mixed economy that is classed as a
high-income economy by the
World Bank . It ranks 18th in the world in
terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 6th in nominal GDP per capita .
Denmark's economy stands out as one of the most free in the Index of
Economic Freedom and the
Economic Freedom of the World
Economic Freedom of the World . It is the
13th most competitive economy in the world, and 8th in Europe,
according to the
World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness
Denmark has the fourth highest ratio of tertiary degree holders in
the world. The country ranks highest in the world for workers\'
rights . GDP per hour worked was the 13th highest in 2009. The
country has a market income inequality close to the
but after public cash transfers the income inequality is very low .
According to the
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund ,
Denmark has the
world\'s highest minimum wage . As
Denmark has no minimum wage
legislation, the high wage floor has been attributed to the power of
trade unions . For example, as the result of a collective bargaining
agreement between the 3F trade union and the employers group Horesta,
workers at McDonald\'s and other fast food chains make the equivalent
of US$ 20 an hour, which is more than double what their counterparts
earn in the United States, and have access to five weeks' paid
vacation, parental leave and a pension plan. Union density in 2015
Denmark is a leading producer of pork , and the largest
exporter of pork products in the EU.
Once a predominantly agricultural country on account of its arable
landscape, since 1945
Denmark has greatly expanded its industrial base
so that by 2006 industry contributed about 25% of GDP and agriculture
less than 2%. Major industries include iron , steel , chemicals ,
food processing , pharmaceuticals , shipbuilding and construction .
The country's main exports are: industrial production/manufactured
goods 73.3% (of which machinery and instruments were 21.4%, and fuels
(oil, natural gas), chemicals, etc. 26%); agricultural products and
others for consumption 18.7% (in 2009 meat and meat products were 5.5%
of total export; fish and fish products 2.9%).
Denmark is a net
exporter of food and energy and has for a number of years had a
balance of payments surplus while battling an equivalent of
approximately 39% of GNP foreign debt or more than DKK 300 billion.
Denmark is a member of the
European Single Market
European Single Market .
A liberalisation of import tariffs in 1797 marked the end of
mercantilism and further liberalisation in the 19th and the beginning
of the 20th century established the Danish liberal tradition in
international trade that was only to be broken by the 1930s. Even
when other countries, such as
Germany and France, raised protection
for their agricultural sector because of increased American
competition resulting in much lower agricultural prices after 1870,
Denmark retained its free trade policies, as the country profited from
the cheap imports of cereals (used as feedstuffs for their cattle and
pigs) and could increase their exports of butter and meat of which the
prices were more stable. Today,
Denmark is part of the European Union
's internal market , which represents more than 508 million consumers.
Several domestic commercial policies are determined by agreements
European Union (EU) members and by EU legislation. Support for
free trade is high among the Danish public; in a 2007 poll 76%
responded that globalisation is a good thing. 70% of trade flows are
inside the European Union. As of 2014 , Denmark's largest export
partners are Germany, Sweden, the
United Kingdom and Norway.
Denmark's currency, the krone (DKK), is pegged at approximately 7.46
kroner per euro through the ERM . Although a September 2000 referendum
rejected adopting the euro , the country follows the policies set
forth in the Economic and Monetary Union of the
European Union and
meets the economic convergence criteria needed to adopt the euro. The
majority of the political parties in the
Folketing support adopting
the euro, but as yet a new referendum has not been held, despite
plans; scepticism of the EU among Danish voters has historically been
Denmark is home to many multinational companies, among them: A.P.
Møller-Mærsk (international shipping),
Arla Foods (dairy), Lego
Danfoss (industrial services),
Carlsberg Group (beer),
Vestas (wind turbines ), and the pharmaceutical companies Leo Pharma
Novo Nordisk .
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Internet in Denmark
Internet in Denmark With an investment of 8.5 million
euros over the ten-year construction period,
participation in E-ELT.
Denmark has a long tradition of scientific and technological
invention and engagement, and has been involved internationally from
the very start of the scientific revolution . In current times,
Denmark is participating in many high-profile international science
and technology projects, including
ESA , ISS and
In the 20th century,
Danes have also been innovative in several
fields of the technology sector. Danish companies have been
influential in the shipping industry with the design of the largest
and most energy efficient container ships in the world, the Maersk
Triple E class , and Danish engineers have contributed to the design
MAN Diesel engines. In the software and electronic field, Denmark
contributed to design and manufacturing of Nordic Mobile Telephones ,
and the now-defunct Danish company DanCall was among the first to
GSM mobile phones.
Life science is a key sector with extensive research and development
activities. Danish engineers are world-leading in providing diabetes
care equipment and medication products from
Novo Nordisk and, since
2000, the Danish biotech company
Novozymes , the world market leader
in enzymes for first generation starch based bioethanol, has pioneered
development of enzymes for converting waste to cellulosic ethanol .
Medicon Valley , spanning the
Øresund Region between
Sweden, is one of Europe's largest life science clusters , containing
a large number of life science companies and research institutions
located within a very small geographical area.
Danish-born computer scientists and software engineers have taken
leading roles in some of the world's programming languages: Anders
Turbo Pascal , Delphi , C# );
Rasmus Lerdorf (
PHP ); Bjarne
David Heinemeier Hansson
David Heinemeier Hansson (
Ruby on Rails ); Lars Bak
, a pioneer in virtual machines (V8 , Java VM , Dart ). Physicist Lene
Vestergaard Hau is the first person to stop light, leading to advances
in quantum computing , nanoscale engineering and linear optics .
Taxation in Denmark
Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the Danish economy is
characterised by extensive government welfare provisions . Like other
Denmark has adopted the
Nordic Model , which
combines free market capitalism with a comprehensive welfare state and
strong worker protection . As a result of its acclaimed "flexicurity"
Denmark has the most free labour market in Europe, according to
the World Bank. Employers can hire and fire whenever they want
(flexibility), and between jobs, unemployment compensation is very
high (security). Establishing a business can be done in a matter of
hours and at very low costs. No restrictions apply regarding overtime
work, which allows companies to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a
Denmark has a competitive corporate tax rate of 24.5% and a
special time-limited tax regime for expatriates. The Danish taxation
system is broad based, with a 25% value-added tax , in addition to
excise taxes, income taxes and other fees. The overall level of
taxation (sum of all taxes, as a percentage of GDP) is estimated to be
46% in 2011.
As of 2014 , 6% of the population was reported to live below the
poverty line , when adjusted for taxes and transfers.
Denmark has the
2nd lowest relative poverty rate in the
OECD , below the 11.3% OECD
average. The share of the population reporting that they feel that
they cannot afford to buy sufficient food in
Denmark is less than half
OECD average. With an employment rate of 72.8%,
7th highest among the
OECD countries, and above the
OECD average of
66.2%. The number of unemployed people is forecast to be 65,000 in
2015. The number of people in the working age group, less disability
pensioners etc., will grow by 10,000 to 2,860,000, and jobs by 70,000
to 2,790,000; part-time jobs are included. Because of the present
high demand and short supply of skilled labour, for instance for
factory and service jobs, including hospital nurses and physicians,
the annual average working hours have risen, especially compared with
the recession 1987–1993. Increasingly, service workers of all kinds
are in demand, i.e. in the postal services and as bus drivers, and
The level of unemployment benefits is dependent on former employment
(the maximum benefit is at 90% of the wage) and at times also on
membership of an unemployment fund, which is almost always—but need
not be—administered by a trade union, and the previous payment of
contributions. However, the largest share of the financing is still
carried by the central government and is financed by general taxation,
and only to a minor degree from earmarked contributions. There is no
taxation, however, on proceeds gained from selling one's home
(provided there was any home equity (friværdi)), as the marginal tax
rate on capital income from housing savings is around 0%.
Energy in Denmark
Middelgrunden , an offshore
wind farm near
Denmark has considerably large deposits of oil and natural gas in the
North Sea and ranks as number 32 in the world among net exporters of
crude oil and was producing 259,980 barrels of crude oil a day in
Denmark is a long-time leader in wind power : In 2015 wind
turbines provided 42.1% of the total electricity power consumption.
in May 2011
Denmark derived 3.1% of its gross domestic product from
renewable (clean) energy technology and energy efficiency, or around
€6.5 billion ($9.4 billion).
Denmark is connected by electric
transmission lines to other European countries. On 6 September 2012,
Denmark launched the biggest wind turbine in the world, and will add
four more over the next four years.
Denmark\'s electricity sector has integrated energy sources such as
wind power into the national grid.
Denmark now aims to focus on
intelligent battery systems (V2G ) and plug-in vehicles in the
transport sector. The country is a member nation of the International
Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Transport in Denmark Great Belt Fixed Link, The
East Bridge as seen from
Copenhagen Airport is the
largest airport in
Scandinavia and 15th-busiest in
Significant investment has been made in building road and rail links
between regions in Denmark, most notably the
Great Belt Fixed Link
Great Belt Fixed Link ,
Funen . It is now possible to drive from
Frederikshavn in northern
Copenhagen on eastern Zealand
without leaving the motorway. The main railway operator is DSB for
passenger services and
DB Schenker Rail
DB Schenker Rail for freight trains. The
railway tracks are maintained by
Banedanmark . The
North Sea and the
Baltic Sea are intertwined by various, international ferry links.
Construction of the
Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link , connecting
Germany with a second link, will start in 2015.
Copenhagen has a
rapid transit system, the
Copenhagen Metro , and an extensive
electrified suburban railway network, the
S-train . In the four
largest cities –
Aalborg – light
rail systems are planned to be in operation around 2020.
Cycling in Denmark
Cycling in Denmark is a very common form of transport, particularly
for the young and for city dwellers. With a network of bicycle routes
extending more than 12,000 km and an estimated 7,000 km of
segregated dedicated bicycle paths and lanes ,
Denmark has a solid
bicycle infrastructure .
Private vehicles are increasingly used as a means of transport.
Because of the high registration tax (150%),
VAT (25%), and one of the
world's highest income tax rates, new cars are very expensive. The
purpose of the tax is to discourage car ownership. In 2007, an attempt
was made by the government to favour environmentally friendly cars by
slightly reducing taxes on high mileage vehicles. However, this has
had little effect, and in 2008
Denmark experienced an increase in the
import of fuel inefficient old cars, as the cost for older
cars—including taxes—keeps them within the budget of many Danes.
As of 2011 , the average car age is 9.2 years.
Norway and Sweden,
Denmark is part of the Scandinavian Airlines
flag carrier .
Copenhagen Airport is Scandinavia's busiest passenger
airport, handling over 25 million passengers in 2014. Other notable
Billund Airport ,
Aalborg Airport , and
Aarhus Airport .
Demographics of Denmark
Population by ancestry (Q1 2016) People of Danish origin (88.67%)
Immigrant (9.47%) Descendant of an immigrant (2.86%)
The population of Denmark, as defined by
Statistics Denmark , was
estimated in January 2017 to be 5,748,769. The median age is 41.4
years, with 0.97 males per female. The total fertility rate is 1.73
children born per woman; despite the low birth rate, the population is
still growing at an average annual rate of 0.22%. The World Happiness
Report frequently ranks Denmark's population as the happiest in the
world. This has been attributed to the country's highly regarded
education and health care systems, and its low level of income
Denmark is an historically homogeneous nation. However, as with its
Denmark has recently transformed from a
nation of net emigration , up until World War II, to a nation of net
immigration. Today, immigration to
Denmark consists particularly of
asylum seekers and persons who arrive as family dependants. In
Denmark annually receives a number of citizens from Western
countries , notably Nordic countries, the EU, and North America, who
seek residency to work or study for a definite period of time.
Recently, substantial numbers of workers—several tens of
thousands—from the new EU accession countries , especially Poland
and the Baltic nations, have arrived to perform menial labour in
construction, agriculture, consumer industries, and cleaning.
Overall, the net migration rate in 2015 was 2.2 migrant(s)/1,000
population, comparable to the
United Kingdom and well below other
North European countries, except the Baltic states.
There are no official statistics on ethnic groups , but according to
2016 figures from Statistics Denmark, approximately 86.9% of the
population was of Danish descent, defined as having at least one
parent who was born in
Denmark and has Danish citizenship. The
remaining 13.1% were of a foreign background, defined as immigrants or
descendants of recent immigrants. With the same definition, the most
common countries of origin were
Romania , Syria , Somalia , Iran ,
Afghanistan , and Balkan states.
LARGEST CITIES IN DENMARK (AS OF 1 JANUARY 2016 )
Capital Region of Denmark
Central Denmark Region
Region of Southern Denmark
North Denmark Region
North Denmark Region
Region of Southern Denmark
Central Denmark Region
Region of Southern Denmark
Central Denmark Region
Region of Southern Denmark
Source: Statistics Denmark
Languages of Denmark
Languages of Denmark
Danish is the de facto national language of Denmark. Faroese and
Greenlandic are the official languages of the
Faroe Islands and
Greenland respectively. German is a recognised minority language in
the area of the former South
Jutland County (now part of the Region of
Denmark ), which was part of the German Empire prior to the
Treaty of Versailles . Danish and Faroese belong to the North
Germanic (Nordic) branch of the
Indo-European languages , along with
Icelandic , Norwegian , and Swedish . There is a limited degree of
mutual intelligibility between Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish . Danish
is more distantly related to German, which is a West Germanic
language. Greenlandic or "Kalaallisut" belongs to the Eskimo–Aleut
languages ; it is closely related to the
Inuit languages in Canada,
Inuktitut , and entirely unrelated to Danish.
A large majority (86%) of
Danes speak English as a second language,
generally with a high level of proficiency . German is the second-most
spoken foreign language, with 47% reporting a conversational level of
Denmark had 25,900 native speakers of German in 2007
(mostly in the South
Religion in Denmark
Religion in Denmark
Christianity is the dominant religion in Denmark. In January 2017,
75.9% of the population of
Denmark were members of the Church of
Denmark (Den Danske Folkekirke), the officially established church,
Protestant in classification and
Lutheran in orientation.
This is down 1.0% compared to the year earlier and 1.9% down compared
to two years earlier. Despite the high membership figures, only 3% of
the population regularly attend Sunday services and only 19% of
Danes consider religion to be an important part of their life.
CHURCH OF DENMARK
STATISTICAL DATA: 1984, 1990–2017, SOURCE: KIRKEMINISTERIET
Roskilde Cathedral has been the burial place of Danish royalty
since the 15th century. In 1995 it became a
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site .
The Constitution states that a member of the Royal Family must be a
member of the Church of Denmark, though the rest of the population is
free to adhere to other faiths. In 1682 the state granted limited
recognition to three religious groups dissenting from the Established
Church: Roman Catholicism , the Reformed Church and Judaism ,
although conversion to these groups from the Church of Denmark
remained illegal initially. Until the 1970s, the state formally
recognised "religious societies" by royal decree . Today, religious
groups do not need official government recognition, they can be
granted the right to perform weddings and other ceremonies without
this recognition. Denmark\'s Muslims make up approximately 3.7% of
the population and form the country's second largest religious
community and largest minority religion. The Danish Foreign Ministry
estimates that other religious groups comprise less than 1% of the
population individually and approximately 2% when taken all together.
According to a 2010
Eurobarometer Poll, 28% of Danish citizens
polled responded that they "believe there is a God", 47% responded
that they "believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 24%
responded that they "do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God
or life force". Another poll, carried out in 2009, found that 25% of
Jesus is the son of God , and 18% believe he is the
saviour of the world.
Education in Denmark The oldest surviving Danish
lecture plan dated 1537 from the
Royal Danish Library in
All educational programmes in
Denmark are regulated by the Ministry
of Education and administered by local municipalities. Folkeskole
covers the entire period of compulsory education, encompassing primary
and lower secondary education . Most children attend folkeskole for
10 years, from the ages of 6 to 16. There are no final examinations,
but pupils can choose to go to a test when finishing ninth grade
(14–15 years old). The test is obligatory if further education is to
be attended. Pupils can alternatively attend an independent school
(friskole), or a private school (privatskole), such as Christian
schools or Waldorf schools .
Following graduation from compulsory education, there are several
continuing educational opportunities; the Gymnasium (STX) attaches
importance in teaching a mix of humanities and science, Higher
Technical Examination Programme (HTX) focuses on scientific subjects
Higher Commercial Examination Programme emphasises on subjects
Higher Preparatory Examination (HF) is similar to
Gymnasium (STX), but is one year shorter. For specific professions,
there is vocational education , training young people for work in
specific trades by a combination of teaching and apprenticeship .
The government records upper secondary school completion rates of 95%
and tertiary enrollment and completion rates of 60%. All university
and college (tertiary) education in
Denmark is free of charges; there
are no tuition fees to enrol in courses. Students aged 18 or above may
apply for state educational support grants, known as Statens
Uddannelsesstøtte (SU), which provides fixed financial support,
disbursed monthly. Danish universities offer international students a
range of opportunities for obtaining an internationally recognised
qualification in Denmark. Many programmes may be taught in the English
language , the academic lingua franca , in bachelor\'s degrees ,
master\'s degrees , doctorates and student exchange programmes .
Health care in Denmark
As of 2015 ,
Denmark has a life expectancy of 80.6 years at birth
(78.6 for men, 82.5 for women), up from 76.9 years in 2000. This
ranks it 27th among 193 nations, behind the other
Nordic countries .
The National Institute of Public Health of the
University of Southern
Denmark has calculated 19 major risk factors among
contribute to a lowering of the life expectancy; this includes
smoking, alcohol, drug abuse and physical inactivity . Although the
obesity rate is lower than in North America and most other European
countries, the large number of
Danes becoming overweight is an
increasing problem and results in an annual additional consumption in
the health care system of DKK 1,625 million. In a 2012 study, Denmark
had the highest cancer rate of all countries listed by the World
Cancer Research Fund International ; researchers suggest the reasons
are better reporting, but also lifestyle factors like heavy alcohol
consumption , smoking and physical inactivity.
Denmark has a universal health care system , characterised by being
publicly financed through taxes and, for most of the services, run
directly by the regional authorities. One of the sources of income is
a national health care contribution (sundhedsbidrag) (2007–11:8%;
'12:7%; '13:6%; '14:5%; '15:4%; '16:3%; '17:2%; '18:1%; '19:0%) but it
is being phased out and will be gone from January 2019, with the
income taxes in the lower brackets being raised gradually each year
instead. Another source comes from the municipalities that had their
income taxes raised by 3 percentage points from 1 January 2007, a
contribution confiscated from the former county tax to be used from 1
January 2007 for health purposes by the municipalities instead. This
means that most health care provision is free at the point of delivery
for all residents. Additionally, roughly two in five have
complementary private insurance to cover services not fully covered by
the state, such as physiotherapy . As of 2012 ,
Denmark spends 11.2%
of its GDP on health care; this is up from 9.8% in 2007 (US$3,512 per
capita). This places
Denmark above the
OECD average and above the
other Nordic countries.
Culture of Denmark
Culture of Denmark See also:
LGBT rights in Denmark
LGBT rights in Denmark
Denmark shares strong cultural and historic ties with its
Sweden and Norway. It has historically been
one of the most socially progressive cultures in the world. In 1969,
Denmark was the first country to legalise pornography , and in 2012,
Denmark replaced its "registered partnership " laws, which it had been
the first country to introduce in 1989, with gender-neutral marriage
. Modesty and social equality are important parts of Danish culture.
Statue of philosopher
The astronomical discoveries of
Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), Ludwig A.
Colding 's (1815–88) neglected articulation of the principle of
conservation of energy , and the contributions to atomic physics of
Niels Bohr (1885–1962) indicate the range of Danish scientific
achievement. The fairy tales of
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875),
the philosophical essays of
Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55), the short
Karen Blixen (penname
Isak Dinesen ), (1885–1962), the
Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754), and the dense, aphoristic
poetry of Piet Hein (1905–96), have earned international
recognition, as have the symphonies of
Carl Nielsen (1865–1931).
From the mid-1990s, Danish films have attracted international
attention, especially those associated with
Dogme 95 like those of
Lars von Trier .
A major feature of Danish culture is Jul (Danish
Christmas ). The
holiday is celebrated throughout December, starting either at the
beginning of Advent or on 1 December with a variety of traditions,
culminating with the
Christmas Eve meal.
There are five Danish heritage sites inscribed on the
Heritage list in Northern
Christiansfeld , a Moravian Church
Settlement, the Jelling Mounds (Runic Stones and Church) , Kronborg
Roskilde Cathedral , and The par force hunting landscape in
Cinema of Denmark and
Television in Denmark
Danish mass media date back to the 1540s, when handwritten fly sheets
reported on the news. In 1666,
Anders Bording , the father of Danish
journalism, began a state paper . In 1834, the first liberal, factual
newspaper appeared, and the 1849 Constitution established lasting
freedom of the press in
Denmark . Newspapers flourished in the second
half of the 19th century, usually tied to one or another political
party or trade union. Modernisation, bringing in new features and
mechanical techniques, appeared after 1900. The total circulation was
500,000 daily in 1901, more than doubling to 1.2 million in 1925. The
German occupation during
World War II
World War II brought informal censorship;
some offending newspaper buildings were simply blown up by the Nazis.
During the war, the underground produced 550 newspapers—small,
surreptitiously printed sheets that encouraged sabotage and
Lars von Trier , who co-created the Dogme
Danish cinema dates back to 1897 and since the 1980s has maintained a
steady stream of product due largely to funding by the state-supported
Danish Film Institute . There have been three big internationally
important waves of Danish cinema: erotic melodrama of the silent era ;
the increasingly explicit sex films of the 1960s and 1970s; and
Dogme 95 movement of the late 1990s, where directors often
used hand-held cameras to dynamic effect in a conscious reaction
against big-budget studios. Danish films have been noted for their
realism, religious and moral themes, sexual frankness and technical
innovation. The Danish filmmaker Carl Th. Dreyer (1889–1968) is
considered one of the greatest directors of early cinema .
Other Danish filmmakers of note include
Erik Balling , the creator of
the popular Olsen-banden films;
Gabriel Axel , an Oscar -winner for
Babette\'s Feast in 1987; and
Bille August , the Oscar -, Palme d\'Or
- and Golden Globe -winner for
Pelle the Conqueror
Pelle the Conqueror in 1988. In the
modern era, notable filmmakers in
Lars von Trier , who
co-created the Dogme movement, and multiple award-winners Susanne Bier
Nicolas Winding Refn .
Mads Mikkelsen is a world-renowned Danish
actor, having starred in films such as King Arthur , Casino Royale ,
the Danish film The Hunt , and the American TV series Hannibal .
Another renowned Danish actor
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is internationally
known for playing the role of
Jaime Lannister in the critically
acclaimed HBO series
Game of Thrones .
Danish mass media and news programming are dominated by a few large
corporations. In printed media
JP/Politikens Hus and Berlingske Media
, between them, control the largest newspapers
Politiken , Berlingske
Jyllands-Posten and major tabloids B.T. and Ekstra Bladet
. In television , publicly owned stations DR and TV 2 have large
shares of the viewers. DR in particular is famous for its high
quality TV-series often sold to foreign broadcasters and often with
strong leading female characters like internationally known actresses
Sidse Babett Knudsen and
Sofie Gråbøl . In radio, DR has a near
monopoly, currently broadcasting on all four nationally available FM
channels, competing only with local stations.
Music of Denmark A sample from
Carl Nielsen 's
Wind Quintet with the theme from Min Jesus, lad mit hjerte få
Copenhagen and its multiple outlying islands have a wide range of
folk traditions . The
Royal Danish Orchestra is among the world's
oldest orchestras. Denmark's most famous classical composer is Carl
Nielsen , especially remembered for his six symphonies and his Wind
Quintet , while the
Royal Danish Ballet
Royal Danish Ballet specialises in the work of the
August Bournonville .
Danes have distinguished
themselves as jazz musicians, and the
Jazz Festival has
acquired an international reputation. The modern pop and rock scene
has produced a few names of note internationally, including
MØ , Aqua
Lukas Graham ,
Oh Land ,
The Raveonettes , Michael Learns to
King Diamond ,
Alphabeat , Kashmir , Mew and
Volbeat , among
Lars Ulrich , the drummer of the band
Metallica , has become
the first Danish musician to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame .
Roskilde Festival near
Copenhagen is the largest music festival in
Europe since 1971 and
Denmark has many recurring music
festivals of all genres throughout, including
Jazz Festival ,
Skanderborg Festival , The Blue Festival in Aalborg,
Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival and
Skagen Festival among
ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
Architecture of Denmark and
Grundtvig\'s Church in Copenhagen. An example of expressionist
Denmark's architecture became firmly established in the Middle Ages
when first Romanesque , then Gothic churches and cathedrals sprang up
throughout the country. From the 16th century, Dutch and Flemish
designers were brought to Denmark, initially to improve the country's
fortifications, but increasingly to build magnificent royal castles
and palaces in the Renaissance style. During the 17th century, many
impressive buildings were built in the Baroque style, both in the
capital and the provinces. Neoclassicism from
France was slowly
adopted by native Danish architects who increasingly participated in
defining architectural style. A productive period of Historicism
ultimately merged into the 19th-century
National Romantic style .
The 20th century brought along new architectural styles; including
expressionism , best exemplified by the designs of architect Peder
Vilhelm Jensen-Klint , which relied heavily on Scandinavian brick
Gothic traditions; and
Nordic Classicism , which enjoyed brief
popularity in the early decades of the century. It was in the 1960s
that Danish architects such as
Arne Jacobsen entered the world scene
with their highly successful Functionalist architecture . This, in
turn, has evolved into more recent world-class masterpieces including
Jørn Utzon 's
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House and
Johan Otto von Spreckelsen
Johan Otto von Spreckelsen 's
Grande Arche de la Défense in Paris, paving the way for a number of
contemporary Danish designers such as
Bjarke Ingels to be rewarded for
excellence both at home and abroad.
Danish design is a term often used to describe a style of
functionalistic design and architecture that was developed in the
mid-20th century, originating in Denmark.
Danish design is typically
applied to industrial design, furniture and household objects, which
have won many international awards. The Royal Porcelain Factory is
famous for the quality of its ceramics and export products worldwide.
Danish design is also a well-known brand, often associated with
world-famous, 20th-century designers and architects such as Børge
Finn Juhl ,
Hans Wegner ,
Arne Jacobsen , Poul Henningsen
Verner Panton . Other designers of note include Kristian Solmer
Vedel (1923–2003) in the area of industrial design, Jens Quistgaard
(1919–2008) for kitchen furniture and implements and Ole Wanscher
(1903–1985) who had a classical approach to furniture design.
LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY
Danish literature and
Danish philosophy A
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen (1836), by Christian Albrecht
The first known
Danish literature is myths and folklore from the 10th
and 11th century.
Saxo Grammaticus , normally considered the first
Danish writer, worked for bishop
Absalon on a chronicle of Danish
Gesta Danorum ). Very little is known of other Danish
literature from the
Middle Ages . With the
Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment came
Ludvig Holberg whose comedy plays are still being performed.
In the late 19th century, literature was seen as a way to influence
society. Known as the
Modern Breakthrough , this movement was
Georg Brandes ,
Henrik Pontoppidan (awarded the Nobel
Prize in Literature ) and J. P. Jacobsen .
Romanticism influenced the
renowned writer and poet
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen , known for his
stories and fairy tales , e.g.
The Ugly Duckling , The Little Mermaid
The Snow Queen . In recent history
Johannes Vilhelm Jensen was
also awarded the
Nobel Prize for Literature
Nobel Prize for Literature .
Karen Blixen is famous
for her novels and short stories. Other Danish writers of importance
Herman Bang ,
Gustav Wied ,
William Heinesen , Martin Andersen
Nexø , Piet Hein ,
Hans Scherfig ,
Klaus Rifbjerg ,
Dan Turèll ,
Tove Ditlevsen ,
Inger Christensen and
Peter Høeg .
Danish philosophy has a long tradition as part of Western philosophy
. Perhaps the most influential Danish philosopher was Søren
Kierkegaard , the creator of
Christian existentialism . Kierkegaard
had a few Danish followers, including
Harald Høffding , who later in
his life moved on to join the movement of positivism . Among
Kierkegaard's other followers include
Jean-Paul Sartre who was
impressed with Kierkegaard's views on the individual, and
Rollo May ,
who helped create humanistic psychology . Another Danish philosopher
of note is Grundtvig , whose philosophy gave rise to a new form of
non-aggressive nationalism in Denmark, and who is also influential for
his theological and historical works.
PAINTING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Danish art and
Photography in Denmark
Photography in Denmark Woman in
front of a Mirror, (1841), by
Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Danish art was influenced over the centuries by trends in
Germany and the Netherlands, the 15th- and 16th-century church frescos
, which can be seen in many of the country's older churches, are of
particular interest as they were painted in a style typical of native
Danish Golden Age , which began in the first half of the 19th
century, was inspired by a new feeling of nationalism and romanticism,
typified in the later previous century by history painter Nicolai
Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg was not only a productive
artist in his own right but taught at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine
Arts where his students included notable painters such as Wilhelm
Christen Købke ,
Martinus Rørbye ,
Constantin Hansen , and
Wilhelm Marstrand .
Holger Drachmann and
Karl Madsen visited
Skagen in the far
Jutland where they quickly built up one of Scandinavia's most
successful artists\' colonies specialising in Naturalism and Realism
rather than in the traditional approach favoured by the Academy.
Hosted by Michael and his wife Anna , they were soon joined by P.S.
Carl Locher and
Laurits Tuxen . All participated in painting
the natural surroundings and local people. Similar trends developed
Funen with the
Fynboerne who included
Johannes Larsen , Fritz
Syberg and Peter Hansen , and on the island of
Bornholm with the
Bornholm school of painters including
Niels Lergaard , Kræsten
Oluf Høst .
Painting has continued to be a prominent form of artistic expression
in Danish culture, inspired by and also influencing major
international trends in this area. These include impressionism and the
modernist styles of expressionism , abstract painting and surrealism .
While international co-operation and activity has almost always been
essential to the Danish artistic community, influential art
collectives with a firm Danish base includes
De Tretten (1909–1912),
Linien (1930s and 1940s), COBRA (1948–51),
Fluxus (1960s and 1970s),
De Unge Vilde (1980s) and more recently
Superflex (founded in 1993).
Most Danish painters of modern times have also been very active with
other forms of artistic expressions, such as sculpting, ceramics, art
installations, activism, film and experimental architecture. Notable
Danish painters from modern times representing various art movements
Theodor Philipsen (1840–1920, impressionism and naturalism),
Anna Klindt Sørensen (1899–1985, expressionism), Franciska Clausen
(1899–1986, Neue Sachlichkeit, cubism, surrealism and others), Henry
Heerup (1907–1993, naivism),
Robert Jacobsen (1912–1993, abstract
Carl Henning Pedersen (1913–2007, abstract painting),
Asger Jorn (1914–1973, Situationist, abstract painting), Bjørn
Wiinblad (1918–2006, art deco, orientalism),
Per Kirkeby (b. 1938,
neo-expressionism, abstract painting),
Per Arnoldi (b. 1941, pop art),
Michael Kvium (b. 1955, neo-surrealism) and Simone Aaberg Kærn (b.
Danish photography has developed from strong participation and
interest in the very beginnings of the art of photography in 1839 to
the success of a considerable number of
Danes in the world of
photography today. Pioneers such as
Mads Alstrup and Georg Emil Hansen
paved the way for a rapidly growing profession during the last half of
the 19th century. Today Danish photographers such as Astrid Kruse
Jacob Aue Sobol are active both at home and abroad,
participating in key exhibitions around the world.
Smørrebrød – a variety of
Danish open sandwiches piled high with delicacies
The traditional cuisine of Denmark, like that of the other Nordic
countries and of Northern
Germany , consists mainly of meat, fish and
potatoes. Danish dishes are highly seasonal, stemming from the
country's agricultural past, its geography, and its climate of long,
The open sandwiches on rye bread, known as smørrebrød , which in
their basic form are the usual fare for lunch, can be considered a
national speciality when prepared and decorated with a variety of fine
ingredients. Hot meals traditionally consist of ground meats , such as
frikadeller (meat balls of veal and pork) and hakkebøf (minced beef
patties), or of more substantial meat and fish dishes such as
flæskesteg (roast pork with crackling) and kogt torsk (poached cod)
with mustard sauce and trimmings.
Denmark is known for its Carlsberg
Tuborg beers and for its akvavit and bitters .
Since around 1970, chefs and restaurants across
introduced gourmet cooking, largely influenced by
French cuisine .
Also inspired by continental practices, Danish chefs have recently
developed a new innovative cuisine and a series of gourmet dishes
based on high-quality local produce known as New
Danish cuisine . As
a result of these developments,
Denmark now have a considerable number
of internationally acclaimed restaurants of which several have been
awarded Michelin stars . This includes Geranium and Noma in
Sport in Denmark
Michael Laudrup , named the best
Danish soccer player of all time by the
Danish Football Association
Sports are popular in Denmark, and its citizens participate in and
watch a wide variety. The national sport is football (soccer), with
over 320,000 players in more than 1600 clubs .
Denmark qualified six
times consecutively for the European Championships between 1984 and
2004, and were crowned European champions in 1992 ; other significant
achievements include winning the Confederations Cup in 1995 and
reaching the quarter-final of the 1998 World Cup. Notable Danish
Allan Simonsen , named the best player in Europe
Peter Schmeichel , named the "World's Best Goalkeeper" in
1992 and 1993, and
Michael Laudrup , named the best Danish player of
all time by the
Danish Football Association .
There is much focus on handball , too. The women\'s national team
celebrated great successes during the 1990s. On the men\'s side ,
Denmark has won eight medals—two gold (in 2008 and 2012), three
silver (in 2011, 2013 and 2014) and three bronze (in 2002, 2004 and
2006)—the most that have been won by any team in European Handball
In recent years,
Denmark has made a mark as a strong cycling nation,
Michael Rasmussen reaching
King of the Mountains status in the
France in 2005 and 2006. Other popular sports include
golf—which is mostly popular among those in the older demographic;
tennis —in which
Denmark is successful on a professional level;
Denmark joined the international governing body
Danish Rugby Union dates back to 1950; hockey —
often competing in the top division in the Men's World Championships;
Denmark specialise in lightweight rowing and are particularly
known for their lightweight coxless four, having won six gold and two
silver World Championship medals and three gold and two bronze Olympic
medals; and several indoor sports—especially badminton , table
tennis and gymnastics, in each of which
Denmark holds World
Championships and Olympic medals . Denmark's numerous beaches and
resorts are popular locations for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and
many other water-themed sports.
Index of Denmark-related articles
Denmark gives its name to the
Danian Age of the
Paleocene Epoch of
Outline of Denmark
Outline of Denmark
Faroe Islands portal
European Union portal
* ^ Kong Christian has equal status as a national anthem but is
generally used only on royal and military occasions.
* ^ A B C D The Kingdom of Denmark's territory in continental
Europe is referred to as "
Denmark proper" (Danish : egentlig Danmark),
"metropolitan Denmark", or simply Denmark. In this article, usage of
Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Tórshavn is the capital of the
Faroe Islands ; and
Nuuk is the
* ^ Faroese is co-official with Danish in the Faroe Islands.
Greenlandic is the sole official language in Greenland. German is
recognised as a protected minority language in the South
* ^ The
Faroe Islands became the first territory to be granted home
rule on 24 March 1948.
Greenland also gained autonomy on 1 May 1979.
* ^ A B C This data is for
Denmark proper only. For data relevant
Greenland and the
Faroe Islands see their respective articles.
* ^ In the
Faroe Islands the currency has a separate design and is
known as the króna , but is not a separate currency.
* ^ Other time zones used in
Greenland and the Faroe Islands
include: WET , EGT , WGT and AST .
Marginal DST time zones, offset by one hour, include: GMT , EGST ,
WGST , ADT * ^ The TLD
.eu is shared with other European Union
.gl ) and the
Faroe Islands (
.fo ) have their
* ^ Danish : Kongeriget Danmark, pronounced ( listen ). See also:
The unity of the Realm
* ^ The island of
Bornholm is offset to the east of the rest of the
country, in the Baltic Sea.
Denmark has a codified constitution . Changes to it require an
absolute majority in two consecutive parliamentary terms and the
approval of at least 40% of the electorate through a referendum.
* ^ The Constitution refers to "the King" (Danish : kongen), rather
than the gender-neutral term "monarch". In light of the restriction of
powers of the monarchy, this is best interpreted as referring to the
* ^ The
Economist Intelligence Unit , while acknowledging that
democracy is difficult to measure, listed
Denmark 5th on its index of
* ^ The Faroese declined membership in 1973;
Greenland chose to
leave the EEC in 1985, following a referendum .
* ^ As measured in official development assistance (ODA). Denmark,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway,
Sweden and the United Kingdom
exceeded the United Nations' ODA target of 0.7% of GNI.
* ^ The
Church of Denmark
Church of Denmark is the established church (or state
Denmark and Greenland; the Church of the Faroe Islands
became an independent body in 2007.
* ^ "Not one but two national anthems". Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Denmark . Retrieved 18 May 2014.
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