Denmark is home to incredible coastlines and ancient legends. Learn more about this island Nordic country below.
Facts About Denmark
The Vital Stats:
Official Name: Kingdom of Denmark
Population: 5.8 million (2019)
Area: 42,993 sq km – (130th in the world, similar to Switzerland or the Netherlands)
Area of Entire Kingdom: 2,220,930 sq km (12th in the world, includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands)
Largest City: Copenhagen
Official Languages: Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic, German
Say Hello: Hej
Currency: Danish krone
Driving Side: Right side of the road
Anthem: Der er et yndigt land, ("There is a lovely country")
Time Zone: UTC+1
Human Development Index: 0.930 (very high – 11th in the world)
The Flag of Denmark
DID YOU KNOW?
The flag with the white cross on a red background has been in use by kings of Denmark since the 14th Century.
Located in Helsingør, Kronborg Castle has been immortalized as 'Elsinore' in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. Kronborg is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Welcome to Denmark!
The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen
A brief history of Denmark
Denmark has been inhabited since 12,500 BCE and there is evidence of farming there dating back to 3900 BCE. During the time of the Romans, the Danes traded with the outlying Roman territories, and some Roman coins have been found in Denmark.
The kingdom of Denmark came about in the 8th century. With so much coastline, Denmark was destined to be a nation of sailors, explorers, and fishermen! For several centuries, Denmark (and Sweden) fought for control over access to the nearby Baltic Sea and all its resources.
Denmark was also one of the places where Vikings came from! Around the 8th to the 10th centuries, Danish Vikings traveled to southern Britain and Western Europe where they raided and traded with the locals, and sometimes settled to live. According to the Jelling stones (see picture) Denmark became a Christian nation in 965 CE under King Harald Bluetooth and it is thought that they did this to avoid being invaded by the Holy Roman Empire. Another important Danish ruler is Cnut the Great (or ‘Canute’) who invaded and controlled England and Norway in the 11th Century.
In the 14th century, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway were together in the Kalmar Union under one ruler. The Union lasted until the Swedish left in 1523 but the nation of Denmark-Norway stayed under the same ruler. They fought with Sweden over the next few centuries and in the early 19th century ended up losing Norway to Sweden. However, Denmark kept the lands of Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland.
Denmark became a constitutional monarchy in 1849 and got its first railway in the 1850s. Denmark remained a neutral country during World War I but was invaded by Germany in World War II. During the 1960s, Denmark became closer economically to Europe, and in 1973 joined the European Economic Community which would later become the European Union. Denmark is currently ruled by Her Majesty Margrethe II who has reigned since 1972. Today, Denmark is an economically and socially developed country and ranks highly in many measures of national success.
The Jelling stones are carved rune stones from the 10th century. The older of the two Jelling stones was raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger of the two stones was raised by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth, in memory of his parents, celebrating his conquest of Denmark and Norway, and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity.
Our 'TOP SPOTS' Map of Denmark
The Geography of Denmark
Denmark is located in northern Europe with Germany directly to the south. It is made up of the large peninsula of Jutland as well as 443 islands. The largest island is Zealand. To the north and east is Sweden which is connected to Denmark by the Oresund bridge.
No location in Denmark is farther from the coast than 52 km, and the land is very flat. The highest point is only 171m above sea level! Most of the country consists of rolling plains and the coastline is sandy. There were once many forests on Denmark, but today much of it is farmland.
Lake Arresø northwest of Copenhagen is the largest lake and Gudenå on Jutland is the longest river.
The Kingdom of Denmark includes the Faroe Islands which are in the North Atlantic Ocean and also Greenland, the largest island in the world.
The Öresund Bridge is a combined railway and motorway bridge across the Öresund strait between Sweden and Denmark. The bridge runs nearly 8 kms from the Swedish coast to the artificial island Peberholm in the middle of the strait. The crossing is completed by the 4 km Drogden Tunnel from Peberholm to the Danish island of Amager.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ribe, the oldest town of Denmark, was founded about 700 CE
The Environment of Denmark
Denmark is known to be forward-thinking and in 1973 were the first country in the world to pass a law for protecting their environment. Even today, Denmark continues to rank very highly in many environmental measures.
About 12% of Denmark is covered with forests. Beech trees and Norway spruce are the most common. Denmark is a major producer of Nordmann fir trees which are sold as highly prized Christmas trees all over Europe.
Denmark is home to deer as well as many smaller mammals like ferrets and hares. There are over 400 species of birds as well and in the sea, harbour porpoises are common. Sometimes orcas and even blue whales visit! Denmark’s fishing industry is important for the country and around the islands cod, herring, and plaice are common fish.
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen - the second oldest amusement park in the world!
The Danish People
Denmark is the home of Lego! The world headquarters are in Billund. They are also a major producer of pork and export more pork products than anyone else in the EU. They have high minimum wage and according to many sources are one of the best countries in the world for looking after workers’ rights. Other products that Denmark makes include wind turbines, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment. Wind turbines now produce almost half of Denmark’s electricity needs.
The UN’s World Happiness Report often ranks Denmark as the happiest country in the world. This is because they have excellent education and health care systems, and low levels of income inequality. Most people in Denmark were born there with only 10% of the population being immigrants. Danish is the national language but almost 90% speak English as a second language. Education (including university and college education) is free of charge and so is the universal healthcare system.
Denmark shares strong cultural and historic ties with its Scandinavian neighbours Sweden and Norway. A common idea in Denmark is the concept of ‘hygge’. It is hard to translate, but it means a feeling of ‘everyday togetherness”. Hygge is about “creating cosy social gatherings and intimate get-togethers with family and friends. It's the feeling of well-being and warm atmospheres.”.
The Danish love Christmas! Even before Christianity made it Christmas, the mid-winter celebration of Jul was an important part of Scandinavian culture. In Denmark, the family comes together for the most important day of celebrations on the 24th of December.
The most recognised Danish writer is Hans Christian Andersen, who wrote many fairy tales including The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling.
The national sport is soccer, but handball and cycling are also popular in Denmark. Many Danes cycle to work and to generally get around. There are over 12,000 kilometres of bike paths available.
When you visit Denmark try something uniquely Danish!
Visit the Little Mermaid Stature in Copenhagen
Climb the Råbjerg Mile – a moving sand dune
Visit Kronborg Castle – where Shakespeare’s Hamlet is set
Go to Tivoli Gardens – a historic fun park
A major event in Denmark 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.
Fun facts about Denmark
Bluetooth is a wireless technology named after Harald Bluetooth, a king of Denmark and Norway who died in 986 CE. The name is based on the idea that Bluetooth technology would unite devices the way Harald Bluetooth united the tribes of Denmark into a single kingdom.
When it comes to picking the happiest country on Earth, Denmark often makes the top of the list!
Denmark is so flat that the tallest point is only 171 m above sea level.
The flag of Denmark (“Dannebrog”) holds the world record for being the oldest continuously used national flag.
A popular treat in Denmark is salted liquorice. SPOILER: It is delicious!
Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843 in Copenhagen and is the second oldest amusement park in the world. The oldest is Bakken, in nearby Klampenborg. It opened in 1583!
There is no direct translation for the word ‘please’ in Danish.
The world-famous LEGO bricks were invented by Ole Kirk Christiansen in the town of Billund in 1949.
download a sample recipe and activity from the
Denmark: Explore-the-World-from-Home Guide