Denmark, also known as “Kongeriget Danmark” meaning “Kingdom of Denmark”, is located in northern Europe. It is between the North Sea (on the west) and the Baltic Sea (on the Southeast). In the south, it shares a 68-km border with Germany. To be exact, Denmark’s geographic location is 56?N and 10?E. The total area of Denmark is 43,094 km?, slightly less than twice the size of Massachusetts. Denmark has a population of 5,305,048, about 118 per km?.
There are 14 counties all together in Denmark; they include Arhus, Bornhoms, Frederiksborg, Fyns, Kobenhavns, Nordyjllands, Ribe, Ringkobing, Roskilde, Sonderjyllands, Staden Kobenhavn, Sotstorms, Vejle, Vestsjaellands, and Viborg. Greenland also belongs to Denmark. Its national capital is Copenhagen.
Denmark has a temperate, humid and overcast; mild, windy winters and cool summers. The mean temperature in summer is about 61?F and it is about 32?F in the winters. They have a low and flat to gently rolling terrain. The lowest point in Denmark is Lammefjord, which is 7 m. The highest is Ejer Bavenhoj which is 173 m. Petroleum, natural gas, fish, salt, limestone, sand, gravel, and stone are Denmark’s natural resources.
The Danish Flag is red with a white cross that extends to the edges of the flag. The vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side.
Denmark is a Constitutional Monarchy with the legislative power together vested in the regent and the Parliament, according to the constitution. They were first organized as a unified state and then became a Constitutional Monarchy in the 10th Century. They are actually the oldest monarchy in the world.
The parliamentary system has been unicameral since 1953. There are 179 members who are elected in four-year terms. The Prime Minister can call an early election if needed. There have never been less than eight parties represented in the Folketing (Parliament) in the last 20 years. All Danes who are 18 years of age who are permanent residents are eligible to vote and also stand for election to the Folketing.
The largest party of Denmark is the Social Democratic party, which was founded in 1871; it has a membership of about 100,000. Other governing parties include Conservative People’s party, Socialist People’s party, and Liberal party.
Right now the ruler of Denmark is Queen Margaret II. The Prime Minister is Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (Social Democrat).
10,000 years ago, when the ice retreated from Scandinavia, Denmark was already settled. It is said that Danes inhabiting the southern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula migrated to the Jutland Peninsula and the adjacent islands in the Baltic Sea in the 5th and 6th century.
The Danes invaded the British Isles in the 780s. They were actually masters of part of England that became known as the Danelaw. Sweyn I conquered all of England in 1013 and 1014. Sweyn’s son, Canute II, who ruled England and Denmark, completed the Christianization of Denmark. King Harold Bluetooth (Sweyn I’s dad) started the Christianization in the 10th Century.
The Danes extended to the east in the late 12th and 13th centuries. There they conquered the greater part of the southern coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. They established a powerful and wealthy realm twice the size of modern Denmark. Feudalism in Denmark attained its highest point in this era of expansion. The kingdom became even more prosperous and powerful then it ever was.
In 1282, disagreement grew between the Danish Crown and the nobility. This led to a struggle in which the nobility compelled King Eric V to sign a charter; this charter was sometimes referred as the Danish Magna Carta. The Danish Crown was made secondary to law, and the Danehof (the assembly of lords) was made a complete part of the administrative institutions, by the terms of this charter.
In 1332, Christopher II died because of a temporary decline in Danish power. The leading political power on the Baltic Sea was reestablished by Denmark, and was under the rule of Waldemar IV at that time. The Hanseatic League (a commercial federation of European Cities) however, controlled trade.
In 1380, Denmark and Norway were joined together in a union under one king, Olaf II. In 1389, Margaret I achieved the crown of Sweden and completed successfully to form the Union of Kalmar in 1397. Denmark was the dominant power until 1523 when the Swedish aristocrats strove repeatedly for Sweden’s independence within the union. Sweden won its independence in a revolt against Christian II.
Denmark started the colonization of Greenland in the 18th century. The Danish trade expanded in East Asia and also in the West Indies. There they acquired several small islands.
In 1953 a revised constitution was adopted, creating a unicameral parliament. This parliament permitted female accession to the throne. Greenland was also included as a complete part of Denmark, and was granted home rule in 1979.
Denmark is a thoroughly modern market in economy and features high-tech agriculture, up to date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, comfortable living standards, and high dependence on foreign trade. Denmark is also a net exporter of food.
The center-left coalition government is working hard to reducing the high unemployment rate (8.2%). The cause of the high employment is because they have very good welfare services. Another reason is because they have a very high salary; this causes the people in some families to depend on only one person who has a job.
The marginal income taxes have been lowered by the coalition while maintaining overall tax revenues. They have also boosted industrial competitiveness through labor market and tax reforms, increased research and development funds, and improved welfare services for neediest while cutting paperwork and delays.
Denmark’s GPD for purchasing power parity is $118.2 billion. Their GPD for real growth rate is 2%. Their GPD per capita for purchasing power parity is $22,700. Their GPD composition by sector for Agriculture is 4%, Industry is 27%, and for services its 69%.
Denmark’s budget for revenues is $62.1 billion. Theirs expenditures are $66.4 billion. Their external debt that Denmark owes is $44 billion.
Denmark’s exports are machinery and instruments (25%), meat and meat products (food), dairy products (food), fish (food), fuels (crude oil), ships, and chemicals. The total value of the income is $47.6 billion. Their partners Germany (22.5%), Sweden (11.7%), U.K. (7.9%), Norway (5.9%), France (5.4%), Netherlands (4.4%), and the U.S. (4.0%). Denmark’s imports are machinery and equipment, petroleum (25%), chemicals, grain and foodstuffs, textiles, and paper. The total value of what they pay for imports is $42.4 billion. Their partners are Germany (21.7%), Sweden (11.7%), Netherlands (7%), U.K. (6.6%), France (5.2%), Norway (4.9%), U.S. (4.7%), Japan (3.5%), and F.S.U. (1.7%).
Denmark’s currency uses krones (DKr), 1 krone equals 100 oere. Their exchange rates are 6.117 equals to 1 U.S. dollar.
Most 15 years and over can read and write. Actually 99% of their population can read.
The Elementary Education in Denmark has been mandatory since 1814. All children of the age 7-14 must attend school. Their primary education consists of a nine-year comprehensive school, all students may continue through the tenth year. Gifted students are encouraged to continue their studies. Gifted students are strongly encouraged to continue in their studies.
In the early 1990s Denmark had about 2,217 primary and secondary schools. They had a total enrollment of more than 613,000 students! Also 360 folk high schools, agricultural schools, home economics schools, other specialized high schools, and vocational schools had a total yearly enrollment of about 223,000 students. The state contributes to their support, but most of the schools are private.
Almost all Danes devote Lutheranism, the established religion of Denmark. All other religions are also tolerated. 91% of the Danish people are Evangelical Lutheran (Lutheranism), 2% are Protestant and Roman Catholic, and other beliefs of religion are 7%.
Culture plays an important part in all countries. The Danish like to watch dramas, operas, ballet, and soccer (an all time favorite). The Danes also like to fly-fish, wrestle or watch wrestling, folk dance, and watch hockey and play. They also love to hear music (most, anyway). Den mark is also famous for beautifully designed ceramics, silverware, porcelain, and home furnishings.
Literature plays an important part in the Danish Culture. Lot of the writers is known worldwide! The literary father of Denmark is said to be Ludvig Holberg. His poetry and drama pioneered the wide recognition of the Danish language. A 19th century Danish writer is Hans Christian Anderson, he is best known for his fairy tales. They are considered classics of children’s literature. Another 19th century thinker and writer (who still remain influential) is the Danish philosopher S?ren Kierkegaard. Novelist Hendrik Pontoppidan and Johannes V. Jensen were both awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in the first half of the 20th century.
Danish food is not very exotic, but very delicious! It is mostly based on bread, beef and potatoes. The Danes consider dining one of the most important times of the day, a time to relax and talk with the family.
The most dishes are the open faced sandwiches (called sm?rre?br?d) and Danish meatballs (called frikadellar). A nice simple meal is the regional South Jutlandic p?lseret. Christmas is the time of the year when the Danes eat the most, and the best. In December, and throughout the winter, a popular dish is easy to make, rice porridge.
Danes are really big on desserts. The Danish Pastry is so good that you will never be satisfied with what bares the name. Rice pudding called by the French sounding name “ris a l’amande”. This dish is a traditionally server at the Christmas dinner. A great snack to munch on while sitting around the table with friends and a cup of coffee is ?bleskiver-danish doughballs. They are usually served at Christmas season, and then it goes down with a glass of Swedish glogg (spiced red wine).
The Danish have really good sportsmanship for watching soccer (unlike the British and Germans). They fanatically follow their national team and gather in boisterous crowds. These fans are the “Roligans”. They have even won an award for their model sportsmanship behavior. This kind of positive attitude has earned them international recognition. In 1985, they became the first soccer fans to be awarded UNESCO’s Fair Play diploma for loyal and sportsmanship behavior!
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