Denmark (/ˈdɛnmɑːrk/ ( listen); Danish: Danmark,
pronounced [ˈdanmɑɡ] ( listen)), officially the
Kingdom of Denmark,[N 9] is a Nordic country and a sovereign state.
The southernmost of the Scandinavian nations, it is south-west of
Sweden and south of Norway,[N 10] and bordered to the south by
Germany. The Kingdom of
Denmark also comprises two autonomous
constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands
Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an
archipelago of 443 named islands,[N 2] with the largest being
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 5.78 million (as of 2018[update]).
The unified kingdom of
Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a
proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic
Norway were ruled together under the
Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in
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
Denmark remained neutral during 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
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
members of 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 most economically and socially
developed countries in the world.
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, the fifth-most developed in the world, has one of the world's
highest per capita incomes, and one of the world's highest personal
income tax rates.
2.2 Viking and Middle Ages
2.3 Early modern history (1536–1849)
Constitutional monarchy (1849–present)
4 Administrative divisions
Greenland and the Faroe Islands
5.2 Law and judicial system
5.3 Foreign relations
6.1 Science and technology
6.2 Public policy
8.3 Architecture and design
8.4 Literature and philosophy
8.5 Painting and photography
9 See also
12 External links
Main article: 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 Schleswig.
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
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" ([danmɒrk]) on the large stone, and genitive
ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚱᚴᛅᚱ "tanmarkar" (pronounced [danmarkaɽ]) on
the small stone. The inhabitants of
Denmark are there called
"tani" ([danɪ]), or "Danes", in the accusative.
Main article: History of Denmark
See also: History of
Greenland and History of the Faroe Islands
The gilded side of the
Trundholm sun chariot
Trundholm sun chariot dating from the Nordic
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 Denmark
was marked by burial mounds, which left an abundance of findings
including lurs and the Sun Chariot.
Pre-Roman Iron Age
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
Angles and Saxons, who formed the
Anglo-Saxons. The remaining Jutish population in
in with the settling Danes.
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 Denmark
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 and
British Isles and Western Europe. They conquered and settled
England (known as the Danelaw) under King
Sweyn Forkbeard in
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 Harald Bluetooth
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 to Gorm the Old, who established his reign in the early 10th
century. As attested by the Jelling stones, the
Christianised around 965 by Harald Bluetooth, the son of Gorm. It is
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 a further 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,
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
Schleswig and 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–
Norway and Danish colonial empire
Battle of Öland
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
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
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 the
Lutheran states in
Germany but suffered a crushing defeat at the
Battle of Lutter. The result was that the Catholic army under
Albrecht von Wallenstein
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 the Denmark–
Denmark was the dominant partner, and
eventually gained rule over
Norway and Norwegian dependencies (Faroe
Iceland and Greenland).
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
on Bremen-Verden. This led to a massive Danish defeat and the armies
Charles X Gustav
Charles X Gustav of
Sweden conquered both Jutland, Funen, and
Zealand before signing the Peace of
Roskilde in February 1658,
Sweden control of Scania, Blekinge, Trøndelag, and the
island of Bornholm.
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
Danish-British 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
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
Iceland (which retained the Danish monarchy until 1944), the Faroe
Islands and Greenland, all of which had been governed by
centuries. Apart from the Nordic colonies,
Denmark continued to
rule over Danish
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
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,
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
Holstein to 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. 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 Germany
Denmark on 9 April 1940 and the Danish government
World War II
World War II in
Denmark was 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 safety in Sweden
Germans could send them to death camps. Some Danes
Nazism by joining the Danish Nazi Party or volunteering to
Germany as part of the Frikorps Danmark. Iceland
severed ties to
Denmark and became an independent republic in 1944;
Germany surrendered in May 1945; in 1948, the
Faroe Islands gained
home rule; in 1949,
Denmark became a founding member of NATO.
Denmark became a member of the
European Union in 1973 and signed the
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
the Outer Seven, as opposed to the
Inner Six of what was then the
European Economic Community
European Economic Community (EEC). In 1973, along with Britain and
Denmark joined the
European Economic Community
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
Danish People's Party
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.
Main article: Geography of Denmark
Also related: Geography of the
Faroe Islands and Geography of
A satellite image of
Jutland and the Danish islands
Located in Northern Europe, Denmark[N 2] 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
Sweden; the Great Belt Bridge connects
Funen with Zealand; and the
Little Belt Bridge connects
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; Aarhus
Aalborg in Jutland; and
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 northwest of
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
Denmark would 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
Aarhus viewed from southern Djursland
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 forested, today
Denmark largely consists of arable
land. It is drained by a dozen or so rivers, and the most significant
include the Gudenå, 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 the
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) in
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 changes.
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
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
Further information: 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
Beech trees are common throughout Denmark, especially in the sparse
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
Roe deer occupy the countryside in growing numbers, and large-antlered
red deer can be found in the sparse woodlands of Jutland.
also home to smaller mammals, such as polecats, hares and
hedgehogs. Approximately 400 bird species inhabit
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
Change-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
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
United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The environmental areas
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
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 stocks, placing
Denmark among the worst performing countries of the world.
Greenland and the Faroe Islands, kill
approximately 650 whales per year.
Regions of Denmark
Regions of Denmark and Municipalities of Denmark
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, 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.
Capital Region of Denmark
Region of Southern Denmark
Source: Regional and municipal key figures
Greenland and the Faroe Islands
Further information: The unity of the Realm
Kunoy island, Faroe Islands
The Kingdom of
Denmark is a unitary state that comprises, in addition
Denmark proper, two autonomous constituent countries in the North
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
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
Main article: 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.[N 11] 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,[N 12] 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.
Folketing and 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
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
Denmark is a representative democracy with universal suffrage.[N 13]
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, 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 represented.
Law and judicial system
Law of Denmark and Courts of Denmark
See also: Crime in Denmark
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
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, Greenland
another, and the
Faroe Islands a third. However, decisions by the
highest courts in
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
Main article: Foreign relations of Denmark
Denmark wields considerable influence in Northern
Europe and is a
middle power in international affairs. In recent years, Greenland
Faroe Islands have been guaranteed a say in foreign policy
issues such as fishing, whaling, and geopolitical concerns. The
foreign policy of
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.[N 14] 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,
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
As a member of
Development Assistance Committee
Development Assistance Committee (DAC),
Denmark has 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.[N 15] 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 Denmark
Danish 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
Royal Danish Navy and 6,050 in the Royal
Danish Air Force (all including conscripts). The
Danish Emergency Management Agency
Danish Emergency Management Agency employs 2,000 (including
conscripts), and about 4,000 are in non-branch-specific services like
Danish Defence Command and the
Danish Defence Intelligence
Service. Furthermore, around 55,000 serve as volunteers in the Danish
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
NATO SNMCMG1. Danish forces were heavily engaged in
the former Yugoslavia in the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR), with
IFOR, and now SFOR. Between 2003 and 2007, there were
approximately 450 Danish soldiers in Iraq.
Denmark also strongly
supported American operations in
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. 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 OECD
average, but after public cash transfers the income
inequality is very low. According to the 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 was 68%.
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
Denmark is a member of the 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
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[update], Denmark's
largest export partners are Germany, Sweden, the
United Kingdom and
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
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
and Novo Nordisk.
Science and technology
See also: Internet in Denmark
With an investment of 8.5 million euros over the ten-year construction
Denmark confirms 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,
participating in many high-profile international science and
technology projects, including CERN, ITER, ESA, ISS and E-ELT.
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 of
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 develop
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
Zealand and 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
Hejlsberg (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.
Flexicurity and 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 year.
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[update], 6% of the population was reported to live below
the poverty line, when adjusted for taxes and transfers.
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 of the
OECD average. With an employment rate of 72.8%,
Denmark ranks 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 academics.
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%.
Main article: Energy in Denmark
Middelgrunden, an offshore wind farm near Copenhagen
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[update]
Denmark derived 3.1% of its
gross domestic product from renewable (clean) energy technology and
energy efficiency, or around €6.5 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.[needs update]
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
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Main article: Transport in Denmark
Great Belt Fixed Link, The East Bridge as seen from Zealand
Copenhagen Airport is the largest airport in
15th-busiest in Europe.
Significant investment has been made in building road and rail links
between regions in Denmark, most notably the Great Belt Fixed Link,
Zealand and 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 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 – Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense,
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[update], the average car age is 9.2 years.
Norway and Sweden,
Denmark is part of the Scandinavian Airlines
Copenhagen Airport is Scandinavia's busiest passenger
airport, handling over 25 million passengers in 2014. Other
notable airports are Billund Airport,
Aalborg Airport, and Aarhus
Main article: Demographics of Denmark
Population by ancestry (Q1 2016)
People of Danish origin (88.67%)
Descendant of an immigrant (2.86%)
The population of Denmark, as defined by Statistics Denmark, was
estimated in January 2017[update] 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%.
World Happiness Report
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 inequality.
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
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.[N 5] 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 Poland, Turkey, Germany, Iraq,
Romania, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Balkan states.
Largest cities in
Denmark (as of 1 January 2016[update])
Capital Region of Denmark
Region of Southern Denmark
Region of Southern Denmark
Region of Southern Denmark
Region of Southern Denmark
Source: Statistics Denmark
Main article: 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 Southern 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,
such as 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 proficiency.
Denmark had 25,900 native
speakers of German in 2007 (mostly in the South
Main article: 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
orientation.[N 16] 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:
Roskilde Cathedral has been the burial place of Danish royalty since
the 15th century. In 1995 it became a 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
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.
Main article: Education in Denmark
The oldest surviving Danish lecture plan dated 1537 from the
University of Copenhagen
Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen
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
See also: Health care in Denmark
As of 2015[update],
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
Denmark has calculated 19 major risk factors among Danes
that 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
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
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[update], 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
and above the other Nordic countries.
Main article: Culture of Denmark
See also: LGBT rights in Denmark
Denmark shares strong cultural and historic ties with its Scandinavian
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
Statue of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard
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 Europe: 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
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
Director Lars von Trier, who co-created the Dogme film movement
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
Denmark include Lars von Trier, who
co-created the Dogme movement, and multiple award-winners Susanne Bier
and 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.
Main article: 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
Royal Danish Orchestra
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
Danish choreographer 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, D-A-D, Oh Land, The Raveonettes, Michael Learns to Rock,
King Diamond, Alphabeat, Kashmir, Mew and Volbeat, among others. 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
Architecture of Denmark and Danish design
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
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House and 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
Mogensen, Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen,
Poul Henningsen and
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 portrait of
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
history (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
championed by Georg Brandes,
Henrik Pontoppidan (awarded the Nobel
Prize in Literature) and J. P. Jacobsen.
the renowned writer and poet Hans Christian Andersen, known for his
stories and fairy tales, e.g. The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid
and The Snow Queen. In recent history
Johannes Vilhelm Jensen
Johannes Vilhelm Jensen was also
awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Karen Blixen is famous for her
novels and short stories. Other Danish writers of importance are
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
Woman in front of a Mirror, (1841), by 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 painters.
The 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
Bendz, Christen Købke, Martinus Rørbye, Constantin Hansen, and
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
Funen with the
Fynboerne who included Johannes Larsen,
Fritz Syberg and Peter Hansen, and on the island of
Bornholm school of painters including Niels Lergaard, Kræsten
Iversen and 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
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
Jacob Aue Sobol are active both at home and abroad,
participating in key exhibitions around the world.
Main article: Danish cuisine
Smørrebrød – a variety of Danish open sandwiches piled high with
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
Main article: 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.
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 footballers include Allan Simonsen, named the best player in
Europe in 1977, 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; basketball—
Denmark joined the international
FIBA in 1951; rugby—the
Danish Rugby Union
Danish Rugby Union dates
back to 1950; hockey— often competing in the top division in
the Men's World Championships; rowing—
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
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
referred to as "
Denmark proper" (Danish: egentlig Danmark),
"metropolitan Denmark", or simply Denmark. In this article, usage
of "Denmark" excludes
Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
^ 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
Jutland area of Denmark.
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 to
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,
^ The TLD
.eu is shared with other
European Union countries. Greenland
(.gl) and the
Faroe Islands (.fo) have their own TLDs.
^ Danish: Kongeriget Danmark, pronounced [ˈkɔŋəʁiːəð
ˈdanmɑɡ] ( 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.
Church of Denmark
Church of Denmark is the established church (or state religion)
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 of
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^ a b c "
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contemporaneous Skivum stone.
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at fremme ligeværdighed og gensidig respekt i partnerskabet mellem
Danmark og Grønland.
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be sacrosanct." The
Constitution of Denmark
Constitution of Denmark – Section 13.
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Royal Assent not later than thirty days after it was finally passed."
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