Population: 5.564.219 (2011)
Area: 43.098 square kilometres
Population density: 126.4 pr. square kilometres
Geographic region: Scandinavia
Gross domestic product: DKK 1.658 billion (2009)
GDP pr. inhabitant: 300.241 DKK (2009)
Capital: Copenhagen 1.702.388 (2011)
Other major cities: Århus 311.235, Odense 190.448, Aalborg 199.437 (2011)
Form of state: Monarchy
Government: Coalition of the Liberals and the Conservatives, headed by the Liberals
Head of state: Queen Margrethe II (since 14 January 1972)
Head of government: Lars Løkke Rasmussen (since 5. April 2009)
Ethnic distribution: 4.996.980 Danes. Immigrants and their descendants constitute 567.932 (2011)
Life expectancy: Women 81,2 years, men 77,1 (2011)
Religion: 90% Protestant
Currency: Danish Kroner, DKK. 1 Krone = 100 Øre (5,3 DKK = 1 USD, 2011)
Member of: UN, OECD, EU, Nato, Schengen, OSCE, IMF, WTO and others
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark. Smallest of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark occupies the Jutland peninsula, a lowland area. The country also consists of several islands in the Baltic Sea; the two largest are Sjælland, the site of Copenhagen, and Fyn. The country forms a link between Europe and Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden). Denmark’s land border is with Germany. Its long coastline is surrounded by the North Sea and bordered by the Baltic Sea.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. The political system of Denmark is that of a multi-party structure, where several parties can be represented in Parliament at any one time. Danish governments are often characterised by minority administrations, aided with the help of one or more supporting parties. This means that Danish politics is based on consensus politics. Since 1909, no single party has had the majority in Parliament.
Denmark, with a mixed market capitalist economy and a large welfare state, ranks as having the world’s highest level of income equality. Denmark has frequently ranked as the happiest and least corrupt country in the world. This thoroughly modern market economy 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.
Danish is the official language. Faroese is spoken in the Faroe Islands and Greenlandic, an Inuit dialect, is spoken in Greenland. English is the main second language. The Danish language is closely related to Swedish and Norwegian, with which it shares strong cultural and historical ties.
The majority of the Danish people are Evangelical Lutherans; there are minorities of Protestants, Roman Catholics and Muslims.
Denmark is known for Danish pastries, open sandwiches (smorrebrod) and meatballs. Other traditional recipes are for rice porridge, dumplings and various fish dishes.
The climate is temperate coastal climate. January and February are the coldest months with an average temperature of 0.0°C and August the warmest with an average temperature of 15.7°C.
The culture of Denmark has some general characteristics often associated with Danish society and everyday culture. Modesty, punctuality but above all equality are important aspects of the Danish way of life. Indeed, deliberate attempts to distinguish oneself from others may be viewed with hostility in line with Jante’s Law, respected by some as an unofficial code of Scandinavian conduct. In Denmark, culture and the arts thrive as a result of the proportionately high amount of government funding they receive, much of which is administered by local authorities so as to involve citizens directly. Thanks to a system of grants, Danish artists are able to devote themselves to their work just as museums, theatres, and the film institutes receive national support.
The Danish flag is called Dannebrog and means ‘the flag of the Danes’ or ‘the red flag’. It’s much loved by the Danes and is associated with birthdays, holidays and national sports. To mark national events the Danish National Anthem ‘Der er et yndigt land (There is a lovely land) is also often sung or performed.
The public holidays in Denmark 2011 are:
1 January – New Year’s Day
21 April – Maundy Thursday
22 April – Good Friday
24 April – Easter Sunday
25 April – Easter Monday
20 May – Day of Prayer
2 June – Ascension Day
5 June – Constitution Day
12 June – Whit Sunday
13 June – Whit Monday
25 December – Christmas Day
26 December – Boxing Day
In Denmark, Christmas is celebrated on the evening of 24 December. Thus attractions and many shops are closed that day, as well as on New Year’s Eve, 31 December.