Country Profile: Denmark
43,094 sq km
Winter ~0 degrees
Summer ~20 degrees
5,484,723 (0.2% growth rate),
LanguagesDANISH, English, Faroese, Greenlandic, German
ReligionsEvangelical Lutheran 95%
Economic SummaryGDP: $181.6 billion
Of labour force (2.9 million): Agriculture 3%, Industry 21%, Services 76%
Main industriesFuels, Manufacturing,
Ship Building, Electronics,
Major trading partnersUSA, Germany, Sweden, UK, Netherlands, Norway, France, Italy, China
Denmark has a free market capitalist economy and between 2006 and 2008 was ranked as the happiest country in the world. It is a founding member of NATO, as well as the EU. The economy centres on free markets and few restrictions on trade, making it a prosperous country by global standards. The country has a strong telecommunication infrastructure, and houses such multinational companies as Lego, Bang and Olufsen and Carlsberg.
Denmark faces a number of environmental problems, which its government is committed to finding solutions for in the coming years. They include nitrogen and phosphorous pollution on the North Sea, contamination of drinking water by animal wastes and pesticides and air pollution from vehicle emissions and power plants. They have signed many global agreements, including the Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol and Endangered Species Act - and these measures have helped to start to decrease its CO2 levels, making it now the 10th greenest country in the world.
A brief history of Denmark
Before 1500BC, Denmark was populated mainly by fishermen and hunters turned farmers. By the end of the 8th century, it was called Jutland. During the 9th to 11th centuries, the Vikings sailed around Western Europe invading and plundering. The country was Christianised in the 10th century by Harald Blaatand and Saint Ansgar.
Canute the Great reigned in the early 11th century and united Denmark, Norway and England; after his death civil war ensued until Waldemar I in 1157.
In 1282 a Parliament and Council of Nobles was established after the signing of the Great Charter. Later, in 1397, Margrethe I united Norway, Sweden and Denmark. However, by 1523, Sweden gained independence.
At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Norway lost to Sweden and Denmark regretted its support of Napoleon. In the early twentieth century, when World War I broke out, Denmark remained neutral. However, in 1940 it was invaded by Germany, when King Christian X advised his population to accept the occupation. Denmark was the only country occupied during WWII that saved all of its Jewish residents by smuggling them out of the country.
In 1944, Iceland gained independence from Denmark, having been a Danish territory since 1380. In 1948, the Faroe Islands were also granted independence. In 1953, Greenland became a territory of Denmark.
Denmark was one of the founding members of the United Nations, and after a public referendum, joined the European Union with Britain and Ireland.
The cuisine of Denmark mainly consists of meat and fish; traditional food includes frikadeller (fried meatballs), kribinetter (breaded and fried mincemeat) and steaks and potatoes. There is a traditional condiment, remoulade, which is eaten with a variety of dishes. Smoked fish is also popular. Smorrebrod is typical of Danish culture - a lunch with different small dishes such as fish dishes followed by meat sandwiches, followed by cheese served with radishes, nuts or grapes. Lager is normally the drink of choice.
Denmark is famous for producing Hans Christian Anderson, a writer of many favourite children's stories, and also the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, who was a very strong influence on existentialism.
Football is the most popular sport in Denmark, but also popular are gymnastics, sailing and other watersports, handball and badminton.
A notable classical composer from Denmark is Carl Nielsen, and the Royal Danish Orchestra is one of the oldest orchestras in the world.
A locally popular genre, heavily attacked by critics, is folkekomedie (folk-comedy); important examples of this include Barken Margrethe (1934), De Rode Heste (1950), Far til Fire (1953) and Olsen-banden (1968).
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