For alternative meanings, see Denmark (disambiguation).

The Kingdom of Denmark is the smallest Nordic country, situated in Scandinavia, in northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula and a number of islands north of Germany and Poland, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway. Additionally, the territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are under Danish sovereignty, while enjoying home rule.

Kongeriget Danmark
(In Detail)
Motto of the Queen: The help of God, the love of people, the greatness of Denmark.''
Official languageDanish1
MonarchMargrethe II of Denmark
Prime MinisterAnders Fogh Rasmussen
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 130th
43,094 km²
 - Total (2001)
 - Density
Ranked 104th
Independenceprehistoric age, before 8th century
Time zoneUTC +1
National anthemDer er et yndigt land
Internet TLD.DK
Calling Code45
Electricity230V, 50 Hz
(1) Co-official with Inuktitut in Greenland.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Counties
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External Links


Main article: History of Denmark

Denmark was first united by Harold Bluetooth (Harald Blåtand) around 980. Up into the 11th century the Danes were known as Vikings, colonizing, raiding and trading in much of Europe.

At various times Denmark has controlled England, Norway, Sweden, parts of the Baltic coast and what is now northern Germany. Scania was part of Denmark for most of its early history, but was lost to Sweden in 1658. The union with Norway was dissolved in 1814, when Norway entered a new union with Sweden (until 1905).

The Danish liberal and national movement gained momentum in the 1830s, and after the European revolutions of 1848 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy in 1849.

After the Second War of Schleswig in 1864 Denmark was forced to cede Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia, in a defeat that left deep marks in the Danish national identity. After this point Denmark adopted a policy of neutrality, following which Denmark stayed neutral in World War I.

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


Main article: Politics of Denmark

In 1849 Denmark became a constitutional monarcy with the adoption of a new constitution. The monarch is formally head of state, a role which is mainly ceremonial: Executive power is exercised by the cabinet ministers, with the prime minister as the first among equals (primus inter pares). Legislative power is vested in the parliament, known as the Folketing, which consists of (no more than) 179 members. The courts of Denmark are functionally and administratively independent of the executive and the legislature.

Elections for parliament are usually held every four years; but the prime minister can call for an earlier election, if he so decides.


Main article: Counties of Denmark

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

Three municipalities have county privileges:

Copenhagen County comprise the municipalities in 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 2 seats in the parliament.


Main article: Geography of Denmark

Denmark consists of the Jutland peninsula (Jylland) and 405 named islands, of which 82 are inhabited, the most important are Funen (Fyn) and Zealand (Sjælland). The island of Bornholm is located somewhat east of the rest of the country, in the Baltic Sea. Many of the islands are connected by bridges; the Øresund Bridge connects Zealand with Sweden, and the Great Belt Bridge connects Funen with Zealand.

The country is mostly flat with little elevation (highest points are Ejer Baunehøj and Yding Skovhøj, both at about 173 meters). The climate is temperate, with mild winters and cool summers. Main cities are the capital Copenhagen (on Zealand), Aarhus (on Jutland) and Odense (on Fyn).


Main article: Economy of Denmark

This thoroughly modern market economy features high-tech agriculture, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, comfortable living standards, a stable currency, and high dependence on foreign trade. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy and has a comfortable balance of payments surplus. The government has been successful in meeting, and even exceeding, the economic convergence criteria for participating in the third phase (a common European currency) of the European Monetary Union (EMU), but Denmark, in a September 2000 referendum, reconfirmed its decision not to join the 11 other EU members in the euro. Even so, the Danish currency remains pegged to the euro.


Main article: Demographics of Denmark

The majority of the population is of Scandinavian descent, with small groups of Inuit (from Greenland), Faroese, and immigrants. According to official statistics in 2003 immigrants made up 6.2% of the total population.

Danish is spoken in the entire country, although a small group near the German border speaks German.

According to official statistics from January 2002 84.3% of Danes are members of the state church, the Danish People's Church (Den Danske Folkekirke), a form of Lutheranism; the rest are primarily of other Christian denominations or are Muslims.


Main article: Culture of Denmark

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

Other well known Danes include:

See also:
NOTE: Not all of these are work holidays.
DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
January 1New Year's DayNytårsdag 
Seven weeks before Easter SundayCarnivalFastelavnChildren dress up in costumes and go door-to-door in search of sweets.
The Thursday before Easter SundayMaundy ThursdaySkærtorsdag 
The Friday before Easter SundayGood FridayLangfredag 
March/AprilEaster SundayPåskesøndagThe Danish celebrate three days of Easter.
The day after Easter SundayEaster Monday2. Påskedag 
May 1Labour DayArbejdernes kampdagNot everybody has this day off.
June 5Constitution DayGrundlovsdagThe signing of the Danish constitution in 1849.
Varies St. BededagA collection of minor christian holy days consolidated into one holy day.
40 days after EasterAscension DayKr. Himmelfartsdag 
7 weeks after EasterPentecostPinseThe Danish celebrate two days of Pentecost.
November 10The Feast of Saint MartinMortensaftenDanes eat goose traditionally this evening.
December 24Christmas EveJuleaftenThe children get presents on the eve before Christmas day.
December 25Christmas DayJuledagThe Danish celebrate three days of Christmas.
December 262. Christmas Day2. Juledag 

Miscellaneous topics

External Links

Nordic Council:

Denmark  |  Finland  |  Iceland  |  Norway  |  Sweden
Åland  |  Faroe Islands  |  Greenland

European Union:
Austria  |  Belgium  |  Denmark  |  Finland  |  France  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Ireland
Italy  |  Luxembourg  |  Netherlands  |  Portugal  |  Spain  |  Sweden  |  United Kingdom

Countries acceding to membership on May 1, 2004:
Cyprus  |  Czech Republic  |  Estonia  |  Hungary  |  Latvia  |  Lithuania  |  Malta  |  Poland  |  Slovakia  |  Slovenia

Countries of the world  |  Europe  |  Council of Europe