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Kongeriget Danmark
Flag of Denmark Coat of arms of Denmark
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: (none)1
Anthem: Der er et Yndigt Land (national),
Kong Christian (royal)
Location of Denmark
Capital Copenhagen
55°43′ N 12°34′ E
Largest city Copenhagen
Official language(s) Danish2
Prime Minister
Constitutional monarchy
Margrethe II
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
• Total

• Water (%)

43,094 km² ( 131st3)
{{{areami²}}} mi²

• 2005 est.
• (N/A) census

• Density

5,415,978 ( 108th3)

126/km² ( 62nd3)
• Total
• Per capita
2005 estimate
8 billion3 ( 43rd)
,7183 ( 8th)
HDI ( 2003) 0.941 ( 14th) – high
Currency Danish krone ( DKK)
Time zone
• Summer ( DST)
CET3 ( UTC+1)
CEST3 ( UTC+2)
Internet TLD .dk3
Calling code +453
1 Motto of the Queen: Guds hjælp, Folkets kærlighed, Danmarks styrke (English: God's help, the People's love, Denmark's strength).
2 Co-official with Greenlandic in Greenland, and Faroese in the Faroe Islands. German is recognised as a protected minority language in the South Jutland area of Denmark. Danish is recognised as a protected minority language in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany.
3 Information for Denmark excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Margrethe II Queen of Denmark
Margrethe II
Queen of Denmark
The Kingdom of Denmark ( Danish: Kongeriget Danmark) is the geographically smallest and southernmost Nordic country and is also the oldest. Located north of Germany (its only land neighbour), southwest of Sweden, and south of Norway, it lies at 56°00′00″N, 10°00′00″E in Scandinavia which is in northern Europe, but not on the Scandinavian Peninsula.Denmark borders the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and consists of a peninsula named Jutland (Jylland) attached to Northern Germany, the islands Funen (Fyn), Zealand (Sjælland), Bornholm (Bornholm) and many smaller islands, the waters of which are often referred to as the Danish Archipelago.Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and is part of the European Union. Greenland and the Faroe Islands are Crown territories of Denmark, each with political home rule.

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Politics and government

History - Contents

The exact origin of Denmark has been lost in history. The oldest Danevirke is from the seventh century, appearing at the same time as the new Runic alphabet. The oldest town, Ribe, was founded around the year 700.Up until the 10th century the Danes were known as Vikings, together with Norwegians and Swedes, colonising, raiding and trading in all parts of Europe. Viking explorers first discovered Iceland by accident in the ninth century, en route to the Faroe Islands.At various times the King of Denmark has ruled parts of England and Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, France, especially Normandy and the Virgin Islands, Tranquebar in India, Estonia and what is now Northern Germany. Scania, Blekinge and Halland were part of Denmark for most of its early history, but were lost to Sweden in 1658. The union with Norway was dissolved in 1814, when Norway entered a new union with Sweden (until 1905).The Danish liberal and national movement gained momentum in the 1830s, and after the European Revolutions of 1848 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy June 5, 1849.After the Second War of Schleswig (Danish: Slesvig) in 1864 Denmark was forced to cede Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia, in a defeat that left deep marks in the Danish national identity. After this point Denmark adopted a policy of neutrality, as a result of which Denmark stayed neutral in World War I. Following the defeat of Germany, Denmark was offered by the Versailles powers the return of Schleswig-Holstein. Fearing German irredentism Denmark refused to consider the return of Holstein and insisted on a plebiscite concerning the return of Schleswig. In 1920, following the plebiscite, Northern Schleswig was recovered by Denmark.Despite its continued neutrality Denmark was invaded by Germany ( Operation Weserübung), on April 9, 1940. Though at first accorded self-rule (which ended in 1943 due to a mounting resistance movement), Denmark remained militarily occupied throughout World War II. The Danish sympathy for the Allied Cause was strong; 1,900 Danish Police Officers were arrested by the Gestapo and sent, under guard, to be interned in Buchenwald. After the war, Denmark became one of the founding members of NATO and, in 1973, joined the European Economic Community (later, the European Union).

Politics and government - Contents

Denmark is the oldest monarchy in Europe. In 1849, it 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, while exercised by the monarch, is exercised through the cabinet ministers, with the prime minister acting as the first among equals ( primus inter pares). Legislative power is vested in both the monarch and the Danish parliament, known as the Folketing, which consists of (no more than) 179 members. The judiciary power rests with the court.Elections for parliament must be held at least every four years; but the prime minister can call for an earlier election. Should parliament succeed in a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister the entire government resigns. The country is often run by minority governments.Denmark practices universal suffrage and in all matters, women are considered equal to men by Danish law.The death sentence was abolished in Denmark in 1930. It was briefly reintroduced after World War II, by popular demand. 46 people were executed for war crimes, after which the death sentence saw no use for years. In 1978 it was finally abolished again. It is illegal per Danish law to extradite citizens to countries where the citizen would face the death sentence.

Counties - Contents

Denmark is divided into 13 counties ( amter, singular: amt), and 271 municipalities ( kommuner, singular kommune). Three municipalities have county privileges - Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, and Bornholm. The coming Danish Municipal Reform will replace the counties with five new regions and reduce the number of municipalities to 98. The new municipalities will take over most of the responsibilities of the former counties. Most of the new municipalities will have a population of at least 20,000 people. The reform will be implemented on 1 January 2007.
  1. Copenhagen (København) (municipality)
  2. Frederiksberg (municipality)
  3. Copenhagen (København)
  4. Frederiksborg
  5. Roskilde
  6. West Zealand (Vestsjælland)
  7. Storstrøm
  8. Funen (Fyn)
  9. South Jutland (Sønderjylland)
  10. Ribe
  11. Vejle
  12. Ringkjøbing
  13. Viborg
  14. North Jutland (Nordjylland)
  15. Aarhus (Århus)
  16. Bornholm (regional municipality)
Copenhagen County comprises the municipalities of metropolitan Copenhagen, except Copenhagen Municipality and Frederiksberg Municipality. Bornholm Regional Municipality comprise the five former municipalities on the island Bornholm and the island's former county. Greenland and the Faroe Islands also belong to the Kingdom of Denmark, but have autonomous status and are largely self-governing, and are each represented by two seats in the parliament.

Geography - Contents

Map of Denmark
Map of Denmark
Denmark consists of the peninsula of Jutland (Jylland) and 405 named islands. Of these, 323 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 larger islands are connected by bridges; the Øresund Bridge connects Zealand with Sweden, the Great Belt Bridge connects Funen with Zealand, and the Small Belt Bridge connects Jutland with Funen. Ferries connect one to the smaller islands.The country is mostly flat with little elevation; the highest natural point is Møllehøj, at 170.86 metres. The climate is temperate, with mild winters and cool summers. Main cities are the capital Copenhagen (on Zealand), Aarhus, Aalborg (on Jutland) and Odense (on Fyn).

Economy - Contents

This section incorporates text from the CIA World Factbook, which is in the public domain.
Danish Krone.
Danish Krone.
This thoroughly modern market economy features high-tech agriculture, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, comfortable living standards, a stable currency, and high dependence on foreign trade. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy and has a comfortable balance of payments surplus.The Danish economy is highly unionized; 75% of its labour force [1] are members of a union in the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions. Relationships between unions and employers are cooperative: unions have a day-to-day role in managing the workplace, and their representatives sit on most companies' board of directors. Rules on work schedules and pay are negotiated between unions and employers, with minimal government involvement.The government has been very successful in meeting, and even exceeding, the economic convergence criteria for participating in the third phase (a common European currency) of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (EMU), but Denmark, in a September 2000 referendum, reconfirmed its decision not to join the 12 other EU members in the euro. Even so, the Danish currency remains pegged to the euro.Denmark has also placed first on the Economist Intelligence Unit's "e-readiness" rankings for the past two years. "A country's "e-readiness" is a measure of its e-business environment, a collection of factors that indicate how amenable a market is to Internet-based opportunities."

Demographics - Contents

The majority of the population is of Scandinavian descent, with small groups of Inuit (from Greenland), Faroese, and immigrants. According to official statistics in 2003 immigrants made up 6.2% of the total population. Danish is spoken in the entire country, although a small group near the German border also speaks German. Many Danes are fluent in English as well, particularly those in larger cities and the youth, who are taught English in school.Of the religions in Denmark, according to official statistics from January 2002, 84.3% of Danes are members of the Lutheran state church, the Danish People's Church (Den Danske Folkekirke), also known as the Church of Denmark. The rest are primarily of other Christian denominations and also about 2% are Muslims.

Culture - Contents

Perhaps the most famous Dane is actually an English mythical figure: Hamlet, the title character of William Shakespeare's famous play, which was set in the real castle of Kronborg in Helsingør, north of Copenhagen. Another widely known Dane is Hans Christian Andersen, in Denmark referred to as H. C. Andersen, a writer mostly famous for such fairy tales as The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, and The Ugly Duckling.
Windmills, antique (pictured) and modern, accent the gently rolling meadowlands of Denmark.
Windmills, antique (pictured) and modern, accent the gently rolling meadowlands of Denmark.
Among other prominent Danes are:
  • Morten Andersen, NFL kicker
  • Bille August, film director
  • Vitus Bering, explorer and navigator
  • Karen Blixen, also known as Isak Dinesen, author
  • Niels Bohr, physicist and Nobel Prize laureate
  • Victor Borge, entertainer, pianist
  • Tycho Brahe, astronomer
  • Canute the Great, king of Denmark, Norway and England
  • Ole Kirk Christiansen, inventor of LEGO
  • Helena Christensen, supermodel
  • René Dif, member of the pop band Aqua
  • N.F.S. Grundtvig, poet, hymnalist, educationalist
  • Gus Hansen, professional poker player
  • Piet Hein, a scientist, mathematician, inventor, author, and poet ( polymath)
  • Anders Hejlsberg, computer scientist, inventor of the C# programming language
  • Georg Jensen, designer
  • Søren Kierkegaard, existentialist philosopher
  • Tom Kristensen, seven times winner of 24 hours of Le Mans
  • Michael Laudrup, footballer, winner of Confederations Cup 1995
  • Viggo Mortensen, actor
  • Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, transport and business mogul
  • Asta Nielsen, silent film actress
  • Connie Nielsen, actress
  • Brigitte Nielsen, actress
  • Carl Nielsen, composer
  • Bjarne Riis, professional road bicycle racer, winner of the 1996 Tour de France
  • Peter Schmeichel footballer (goalkeeper), winner of European Football Championship 1992, Confederations Cup 1995 and UEFA Champions League 1999
  • Allan Simonsen, 1977 European Footballer of the Year
  • Bjarne Stroustrup, computer scientist, inventor of the C++ programming language
  • Niels Stensen, 1638-1686, Scientist: Anatomy (Stensen's duct) and Geology
  • Lars von Trier, film director
  • Lars Ulrich, musician, member of heavy metal band Metallica
  • Jørn Utzon, architect
  • Hans Christian Ørsted, physicist, discoverer of electromagnetism
  • Rasmus Lerdorf, computer programmer and the author of the first version of the PHP web programming language
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