The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







The Kingdom of Denmark is geographically the smallest Nordic country and is part of the European Union. It is located in Scandinavia, which is in northern Europe. Denmark borders the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and consists of a peninsula attached to Northern Germany named Jutland (Jylland in Danish) and many smaller islands. Denmark is north of Germany and Poland, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway. Additionally, the territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are under the Danish crown, while enjoying political home rule.

Kongeriget Danmark
Flag of Denmark Denmark Coat of Arms
(In Detail)
Motto of the Queen: Guds hjælp, Folkets kærlighed, Danmarks styrke
(Danish: God's help, the love of the people, Denmark's strength)
Location of Denmark
Official language Danish1
Capital Copenhagen
Largest City Copenhagen
Monarch Margrethe II
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen
- Total
 - % water
Ranked 130th
43,094 km²
- Total (2004)
- Density
Ranked 108th
GDP (2003)
- Total (PPP)
- Total
- GDP/capita (PPP)
- GDP/capita

$170 billion (41st)
$212 billion (23rd)
$31,630 (5th)
$39,429 (4th)
Currency Danish krone
Time zone
 - in summer
National anthem Der er et yndigt land
Royal anthem Kong Kristian
Internet TLD .dk
Calling Code +45
1 Co-official with Greenlandic in Greenland, and Faroese in the Faroe Islands, as well as German, which is a recognised and protected minority language in southern Denmark.


Main article: History of Denmark

The origin of Denmark is lost in prehistory. Prior to being populated by Scandinavians, Denmark was home to Celts - as evidenced by the discovery of ritualistic bog murders and burials. The oldest Danevirke is from the 7th century, at the same time as the new Runic alphabet.

Denmark was originally a union of the states: (lands:) Jutland, Funen, Langeland, Lolland, Zealand, Scania and perhaps Halland and some not well-known border districts in east and north. But the (North) Dane living outside Denmark on west coast of the peninsula of Scandinavia.

Up into the 11th century the Danes were known as Vikings, colonising, raiding and trading in much of Europe.

At various times Denmark has ruled England, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, and parts of the Virgin Islands, Tranquebar in India, parts of the Baltic coast and what is now northern Germany. Scania was part of Denmark for most of its early history, but was 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 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, following which Denmark stayed neutral in World War I.

On April 9, 1940, Denmark was invaded by Nazi Germany (Operation Weserübung) and remained occupied throughout World War II, despite some internal resistance. After the war, Denmark became a member of NATO and, in 1973, 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 courts of Denmark are functionally and administratively independent of the executive and the legislature.

Elections for parliament must be held a 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.


Main article: Counties of Denmark

Denmark is divided into 13 counties (amter), and 271 municipalities (kommuner):

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.

It should be noted that as of July 2004, the government is in the process of a structural reform (the Municipality Reform, Kommunalreformen). The 13 counties (amter) will be replaced with 5 new regions (regioner), while the 271 municipalities will be consolidated into around 100 larger units of at least 20,000 inhabitants and take over most of the responsibilities of the current counties.

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, 82 are inhabited, 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 islands are connected by bridges; the Øresund Bridge connects Zealand with Sweden, and the Great Belt Bridge connects Funen with Zealand.

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 (on Jutland) and Odense (on Fyn).


Main article: Economy of Denmark

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 labor 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 company's board of directors. Rules on work schedules and pay are negotiated between unions and employers, with minimal government involvement (there is no minimum wage, for example).

The government has been 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.


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.

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 3% are Muslims.


Main article: Culture of Denmark

The Dane most well-known in other countries is probably Hans Christian Andersen, a writer mostly famous for his fairy tales, such as The Emperor's New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling.

Other well known Danes include:

Miscellaneous topics

See also


External links

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