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About Denmark

Denmark is a prosperous and thriving nation of some 5.3 million people - and as an independent country since the late 10th century, it is also one Europe's oldest states.

Denmark: A vibrant nation with a rich past

Denmark's political system is one of constitutional monarchy, allowing it to combine its nearly 1,000 years of history and tradition with all the features of a modern democratic state. Denmark is the southernmost country in Scandinavia, and its territory incorporates the Jutland Peninsula and around 406 islands (approximately 80 of which are inhabited). The largest of these islands is Zealand, which is also the site of the capital, Copenhagen. Denmark is bordered to the west by the North Sea, and its islands are located on the sea lane from the Baltic to the main oceans of the world, as well as the trade route from the Nordic countries to Central Europe.

Throughout its entire history this position has influenced the development of Denmark's trade, as well as Denmark's political and military strategy. Greenland and the Faroe Islands are parts of the kingdom of Denmark. Relations between Scandinavian Denmark and the two North Atlantic entities are close. Both Greenland and the Faroe Islands enjoy extended self rule.

Market economy, social safety

Denmark is a developed and industrialised country with a market economy; indeed many of its largest companies are household names across the world. At the same time, the country's state and other public authorities exercise considerable regulatory control in the social sphere (health, education and social security), providing comprehensive services to all citizens. By international standards Denmark has a high standard of living, and the differences between rich and poor are smaller than in many of the countries with which it is traditionally compared. Denmark is a member of the European Union, and its proximity to Europe's most powerful nation, Germany, has traditionally orientated the country to the south in an economic and political sense. Still, close cooperation with Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, with which Denmark has a passport union, also links it to the North.

Lay of the land

Denmark has a coastline of around 7,300 kilometres, and a 68-kilometre land border with Germany, and is also a distinctly low-lying country, with the highest point only 173 metres above sea level. The landscape is undulating and varied, but also highly developed; only occasionally is it possible to find undisturbed nature, as everywhere you look there are signs of human activity.

Administratively, the country is divided into 14 counties (amter) and 275 local authorities (kommuner), two of which (Copenhagen and Frederiksberg) also perform the functions of a county.

Most of Denmark (approximately 64 percent) is under cultivation, while 12 percent is covered by deciduous or coniferous forest. Meadow, heath, marshland, bogs, sand hills and lakes constitute around 10 percent of the country, with built-up areas making up the remaining 13 percent or so. The climate is temperate and the rainfall is sufficient to provide all the water needed.

Homogenous society

As mentioned above, Denmark's population is approximately 5.3 million, and the population density is around 120 persons per square kilometre. The number of foreign immigrants is approximately 290,000; in addition, the country has a small German minority in southern Jutland. The language all over the country is Danish, and the vast majority of the population has been baptised into the established Protestant Church. Denmark is therefore nationally and culturally a very homogeneous country.

Denmark is also a highly urbanised country, with around 85 percent of the population living in towns, and the greater Copenhagen region comprising approximately 1.79 million inhabitants. The country's second city is Ã…rhus (215,000 inhabitants), while a network of medium-size towns are dotted across the remainder of the country.

Danish agriculture is highly developed, and a large number of food products are exported to other countries; industry also plays a large role in the economy, particularly considering Denmark's relatively small size. In addition to agriculture, among the products that have made Denmark famous around the world are beer, medicines, furniture, shipping, advanced metal industry goods, and...Lego!

Merchants, travellers and traders

Danish agriculture and industry are both highly efficient, with agriculture and fisheries employing only 4 percent of the workforce, and industry and construction 24 percent. The remaining 72 percent are employed in the service sector, of which 31 percent work in the public sector and 41 percent in private enterprise, including the traditional shipping trade.

Denmark has a well-developed transportation system: it has an excellent road network connecting all parts of the country; railways and air links provide fast transport, while ferries and a large number of bridges connect the islands. Kastrup near Copenhagen is the largest international airport in the country, and is at the same time a hub for air traffic to and from other Scandinavian countries.

Denmark has an open economy and trade with the outside world is of great importance, with imports and exports of goods (in 1997) accounting for approximately 33 percent and 36 percent of GNP respectively. Of this, around 70 percent of foreign trade is with other EU member states, and the remainder divided among a number of trading partners, of which the USA and Norway are the most important.

For further information on Denmark please visit Denmark.dk - The official internet portal to Denmark
 
http://www.denmark.dk

Denmark.dk is aimed at fulfilling the information needs of a broad section of knowledge-seekers including professionals such as journalists, researchers, the business community, civil servants and politicians. Visitors are given a complete information service across the full panorama of subjects and issues, as well as access to daily news, background information and information on current affairs and events. Denmark.dk thus functions as an updated on-line encyclopaedia about Denmark.