Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power, Denmark has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating in the general political and economic integration of Europe. It joined NATO in 1949 and the EEC (now the EU) in 1973. However, the country has opted out of certain elements of the European Union's Maastricht Treaty, including the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), European defense cooperation, and issues concerning certain justice and home affairs.
The Kingdom of Denmark is geographically the smallest Nordic country and is part of the European Union. It is located in Scandinavia, which is in northern Europe. Denmark borders the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and consists of a peninsula attached to Northern Germany named Jutland (Jylland in Danish), the islands Funen and Zealand and many smaller islands. Denmark is north of Germany and Poland, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway. Additionally, the territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are under the Danish crown, while enjoying political home rule.
Most international car rental agencies are available in Denmark, e.g. in the airport of Copenhagen you find Avis, Budget Rent a Car Danmark, Europcar, Hertz.
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Photo from Denmark: The Danish Parliament building Chritiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, Danmark, with the Danish flag, Dannebro, in front of the blue sky.
Photographer: Soren Breiting (Søren Breiting) stock photography from A-Z Fotos and Biofoto picture agency.
Photo from Denmark: Old Danish mill of Hørsholm (Hoersholm) in North Sealand, Denmark (Nordsjælland, Danmark), renovated and functioning as a local museum.
Photographer: Soren Breiting (Søren Breiting) stock photography from A-Z Fotos and Biofoto picture agency.
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Denmark consists of the peninsula of Jutland (Jylland) and 405 named islands. Of these, 82 are inhabited, with the largest being Zealand (Sjælland) and Funen (Fyn). 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; the highest
natural point is Møllehøj, at 170.86 metres. 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).
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 enjoys a comfortable balance of payments surplus. Government objectives include streamlining the bureaucracy and further privatization of state assets.
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 Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), but Denmark has decided not to join 12 other EU members in the euro; even so, the Danish krone remains pegged to the euro. Growth in 2004 was sluggish, yet above the scanty 0.3% of 2003. Because of high GDP per capita, welfare benefits, a low Gini index, and political stability, the Danish people enjoy living standards topped by no other nation. A major long-term issue will be the sharp decline in the ratio of workers to retirees.
People lived in what is today Denmark more than 100,000 years ago, but they were likely forced to leave for a time because of the ice cap that covered the land for some of the intervening time during the ice age. It is thought that people have lived continually in Denmark since around 12,000 BC. Agriculture made inroads around 3,000 BC. The Nordic Bronze Age period in Denmark was marked by a culture which buried its dead, with their worldly goods, beneath burial mounds. Many dolmens and rock tombs (especially "passage graves") date from this period. Among the many bronze finds from this period are beautiful religious artifacts and musical instruments, and the earliest evidence of social classes and stratification.
Occasionally people were killed and thrown in bogs during this time. They are known as bog bodiesToday these people are uncovered very well preserved and are valuable resources of information about the people who lived in Denmark during this period.
During the Pre-Roman Iron Age (500 BC - 1 AD), the climate in Denmark and southern Scandinavia became cooler and wetter, limiting agriculture and setting the stage for native groups to migrate southward into Germania. At around this time, people began to extract iron from the ore in peat bogs. Evidence of Celtic immigration and culture dates from this period in Denmark and much of northwest Europe, and is reflected in some of the older place names.
The Roman provinces, whose frontiers stopped well short of Denmark, nevertheless maintained trade routes and relations with Danish peoples, attested by finds of Roman coins. About AD 200 the first runic inscription appeared. Depletion of cultivated land in the last century BC seems to have contributed to increasing migrations in northern Europe and increasing conflict of Teutonic tribes with Roman settlements in Gaul. Roman artifacts are especially common in finds from the first century AD.
The Germanic Iron Age and the arrival of the Danes
The material culture of northern Europe during the mass migrations of the 5th-7th centuries is referred to as the Germanic iron age. Among the most well-known remains from the period are the "peat bog corpses," which appear to be the well-preserved bodies of two men deliberately strangled, perhaps as community sacrifices.
Incursions into Denmark from the north increased in the 5th century. One of the most widely dominant was a tribe called the Danes (also known as Daner or Dani), who arrived from the southern area of Sweden known as Terra Scania, or Skåneland, around 500 AD. The name of the tribe was applied to the whole of Jutland, the Denmark peninsula (in old German, Denmark means "border region inhabited by Danes"), by the Germans living to the south.
Earliest literary sources
Widsith and Beowulf and by later Scandinavian writers, notably Saxo Grammaticus (c. 1200) provide some of the earliest descriptions of Danish culture. Much is mythical and legendary. Like Homer an earlier culture is described imperfectly from a later perspective. However, they may contain some historical facts.
People who became known as Vikings inhabited much of Denmark for the several hundred years from the 8th to the 11th century AD. They had a more complicated social structure than most previous societies to inhabit the areas and became famous for the raiding and trading throughout the rest of Europe.
During the Viking period, Denmark was a great power based on the Jutland Peninsula, the Island of Zealand, and the southern part of what is now Sweden. In the early 11th century, King Canute united Denmark and England for almost 30 years.
Christianity and the Establishment of Denmark
Various petty kingdoms existed throughout the area now known as Denmark for many years. It is thought that around 980, Harold Bluetooth established a unified kingdom of Denmark. Around the same time, he was visited by a German missionary who, according to legend, survived an ordeal by fire, which convinced Harold to convert to Christianity. The new religion, which replaced the old Norse mythology, had many advantages for the king. Christianity brought with it some support from the Holy Roman Empire. It also allowed the king to dismiss many of his opponents who were adherents to the old mythology. The church would bring a stable administration to his lands that he could hopefully use to exercise some control over them.
After the death of Canute the Great in 1035, England broke away from Danish control and Denmark fell into disarray for some time. Vikings from Norway raided Denmark sporadically. Canute’s nephew Sweyn Estridson (1020-1074) re-established strong royal authority and built a good relationship with the Archbishop of Bremen, who was at that time the Archbishop of all of Scandinavia.
In the early 12th century Denmark became the seat of an independent church province of Scandinavia. Not long after that, Sweden and Norway formed their own archbishoprics free of Danish control. The mid 12th century was a difficult time for the kingdom of Denmark. Civil wars rocked the land and created much strife. Eventually, Valdemar the Great (1131-82), gained control of the kingdom, stabilizing it and reorganizing the administration. He and Bishop Absalon rebuilt the country. During Valdemar’s reign, a castle was built in the village of Havn, leading eventually to the foundation of Copenhagen, the modern capital of Denmark. They built Denmark into a major power in the Baltic Sea, which competed with the Hanseatic League, the Counts of Holstein, and the Teutonic Knights for trade, territory, and influence throughout the Baltic. Valdemar and his successors launched various ‘crusades’ to claim territories, notably modern Estonia. Legend has it that the Danish flag, the Dannebrog fell from the sky during a battle in Estonia in 1219.
The Middle ages saw a period of close cooperation between the crown and the church. Thousands of churches were built throughout the country during that time. The economy expanded during the 12th century, based mostly on the lucrative herring trade, but the 13th century was a period of difficulty and the temporary collapse of royal authority.
Difficulties for the Kings
The kings of Denmark had difficulty maintaining their control of the kingdom in the face of opposition from the nobility and the church. There was an extended period of strained relations between the crown and the Popes of Rome known as the "archiepiscopal conflicts". By the late 13th century, royal power had waned, and the nobility forced the king to grant a charter, considered Denmark's first constitution. A weakened Denmark was a great benefit to both the Hanseatic League and the Counts of Holstein. The Holstein Counts gained control of large portions of Denmark because the king would grant them fiefs in exchange for money to finance their operations. Consequently, by the 1320s the king was largely bound by the wishes of these counts, who by then owned most of Denmark.
The kingdom continued to fall apart; the territory of Scania passed for a while to the King of Sweden. In 1340 the throne fell to Valdemar Atterdag, or "New Day." He was a skilled politician and was able to reunite the old kingdom of Denmark by turning the counts against each other. The Black Death, which came to Denmark during these years, also aided his campaign. His continued efforts to expand the kingdom after 1360 brought him into open conflict with the Hanseatic League. He conquered Gotlandia, much to the displeasure of the League, since Visby, an important trading town, was located there. Their alliance with Sweden to attack Denmark was initially a fiasco since Danish forces captured a large Hanseatic fleet, and ransomed them back for an enormous sum. Luckily for the League the Jutland Nobles revolted against the heavy taxes levied to fight the expansionistic war in the Baltic; the two forces worked against the king, forcing him into exile in 1370. For several years, the Hanseatic League controlled the fortresses on "the sound" between Scania and Zealand.
Margaret and the Kalmar Union
Main Article: Kalmar Union
Margaret I was the daughter of Valdemar Atterdag. She was married to Håkon VI of Norway in an attempt to join the two kingdoms, along with Sweden, since Håkon was related to the Swedish royal family. Originally her son, Olaf III was intended to rule the three kingdoms, but due to his early death she took on the role. During her life, the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (including the Faroe Islands, as well as Iceland, Greenland, and present-day Finland) were unified under her capable rule, in what was called the Kalmar Union, made official in 1397.
Her successor, Eric of Pomerania, lacked his predecessor's skill and was directly responsible for the breakup of the Kalmar Union. However, there was still some enthusiasm for the idea, so when Christopher of Bavaria, a distant relative came to the throne, he managed to be elected in all three kingdoms, briefly reuniting Scandinavia. The Swedish nobility grew increasingly unhappy with Danish rule and the union soon became merely a legal concept with little practical application. In the early 16th century, Christian II came to power. He is quoted as saying, "If the hat on my head knew what I was thinking, I would pull it off and throw it away." This is apparently in reference to his devious and machiavellian political dealings. He had conquered Sweden in an attempt to reinforce the union, and had about 100 leaders of the Swedish anti-unionist forces, as well as many ordinary citizens, women, and children killed in what came to be known as the Stockholm Bloodbath. The bloodbath continued during the following months in other parts of the country, with about 500 more killed, and it destroyed any lingering hope of Scandinavian union.
The Reformation, which originated in Germany from the ideas of Martin Luther, had a strong impact on Denmark; today the national Church of Denmark is Lutheran. The Reformation was introduced in Denmark in 1536. As elsewhere in Europe, the spread of protestantism was made possible by the powerful combination of popular enthusiasm for the reform of the church and the enthusiasm of the government for the opportunity for increased independence from Rome. No small incentive for independence from Rome involved seizure of Church lands by the King. In Denmark this increased royal revenues by 300%.
There was widespread dissatisfaction
with the established Roman church and in the early 1530s the people were incited
to attack monasteries and churches. When Frederick I died in 1533, a council
of Bishops took control of the country and refused to allow the election of
Christian III whom they feared would welcome Lutheranism. Armed opposition from
nobles and the mayor of Lübeck forced them to accept Christian as king,
and sure enough, church lands were soon confiscated (to pay for the armies that
had enforced his election) and priests were forced to convert their allegiance
to Lutheranism. Denmark quickly became part of the heartland of Lutheranism.
The seventeenth century became a period of strict Lutheran
This webpage use extracts from http://en.wikipedia.org Wikipedia the free encyclopedia about Denmark
in Norway, Sweden and Denmark
[ISBN 1562611364], Paperback, [1994-12], John Muir Publications
in Norway, Sweden and Denmark af Rick Steves
[ISBN 0912528834], Paperback, [1991-12], John Muir Publications
History Of Denmark af Martin Schwartz-Lausten
[ISBN 0754603075], Hardback, [2002-07], Ashgate Publishing Group
Study Of Firefighting Arrangements In Britain, Denmark, The Netherlands And
[ISBN 0113410433], Paperback, [1992-11], The Stationery Office Books
History Of Gullah Jack Pritchard And The Denmark Vesey Slave Insurrection Of
1822 af Lois A. Walker, Susan R. Silverman
[ISBN 0773476628], Hardback, [2001-03], The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
Of Denmark af Knud J.V. Jespersen
[ISBN 033365918X], Paperback, [2004-04], Pan Macmillan
Of Denmark af Derek Raymond
[ISBN 1852423153], Paperback, [1994-06], Serpents Tail
In Denmark af F.Richard Thomas
[ISBN 080931536X], Hardback, [1990-12], Southern Illinois University Press
Denmark, Queen Of England af Leeds Barroll
[ISBN 0812235746], Hardback, [2001-01], University of Pennsylvania Press
[ISBN 0393316394], Paperback, [1997-01], W.W. Norton & Company Ltd
Denmark-Norway And The House Of Stuart 1603-1660 af Steve Murdoch
[ISBN 1862321825], Paperback, [2000-12], Tuckwell Press Ltd
In Denmark af Miles, Beryl
John Murray, London. 1958
Maritime Delimitation In The Area Between Greenland And Jan Mayen (Denmark V.
Norway) af International Court Of Justice
[ISBN 011909486X], Paperback, [1988-12], The Stationery Office Books
Passage Through The Great Belt (Finland V. Denmark)
[ISBN 0119100150], Paperback, [1991-12], The Stationery Office Books
And The Best Of Denmark af Norman Renouf
[ISBN 1588433552], Paperback, [2003-05], Hunter Publishing
Guide To Germany And Denmark af Brian Navin
[ISBN 0852884141], Paperback, [2001-02], Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson
Shock! Denmark af M. Strange
[ISBN 1857331591], Paperback, [2003-11], Kuperard
Denmark af Bernard, Louis
Fremad, Denmark. 1950
Of The Heads Of State And Government, Meeting Within The European Council, Concerning
Certain Problems Raised By Denmark On The Treaty On European Union With Associated
Conclusions Of The Council And Declarations
[ISBN 010122222X], Paperback, [1993-12], The Stationery Office Books
[ISBN 0119842386], Paperback, [1995-12], International Monetary Fund
af W.Glyn Jones, Kirsten Gade
[ISBN 0713642742], Paperback, [1997-04], A & C Black (Publishers) Ltd
[ISBN 011984740X], Paperback, [1997-05], International Monetary Fund
af Eugene Fodor
[ISBN 0676902014], Paperback, [2002-06], Random House USA Inc
af Martin Symington
[ISBN 1841573280], Paperback, [2003-04], Thomas Cook Publishing
af Robert T. Anderson
[ISBN 0870737392], Paperback, [1975-12], Transaction Publishers
[ISBN 1400013216], Paperback, [2004-04], Ebury Press
af Sitwel, Sacheverell
B.T.Batdford, London. 1956
And Sweden With Iceland And Finland af Stefansson, Jon
Anden, [1916-01], T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd
Denmark During The German Occupation af Børge Outze
In The Thirty Years' War, 1618-1648 af Paul Douglas Lockhart
[ISBN 0945636768], Hardback, [1996-05], Associated University Presses
[ISBN 0101437323], Paperback, [1999-06], The Stationery Office Books
Today, The World Of The Danes af ,
Anden, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs. 1979
Vesey af Lillie Johnson Edwards
[ISBN 1555466141], Paperback, [1990-08], Chelsea House Publishers
Vesey af David Robertson
[ISBN 0679762183], Paperback, , Random House USA Inc
"Hamlet" And Shakespeare af Cay Dollerup
[ISBN 0773405151], Paperback, [1975-12], The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
An Official Handbook af ,
Anden, Krak. 1974
Kingdom Of Reason af Rothery, Agnes
Anden, The Viking Press, New York. 1937
The Land Of H.C.Andersen af Clissold, Stephen
Anden, Hutchinson. 1955
Around Denmark af Robert Spark
[ISBN 0947890068], Paperback, [1993-12], Trafton Publishing
[ISBN 0112706894], Paperback, [1989-07], The Stationery Office Books
Summaries:Scandinavia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland af
[ISBN 1903684250], Paperback, [2001-11], Pearson Professional Education
Events Of The War Between Denmark And England From The 30Th Of March Til The Cessation Of Hostilities On The 2D. April S.Y., From Official Reports And Ocular Witnesses af Seidelin, H.K.
Studies In Denmark 1953-1973 af Piø, Iørn And Others
Anden, Danish Folklore Archives. 1974
Denmark af Darwin Porter, Danforth Prince
[ISBN 0764524658], Paperback, [2003-05], John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Prince Of Denmark af William Shakespeare
[ISBN 1404307249], Hardback, [2002-04], Indypublish.com
Prince Of Denmark af William Shakespeare, Henriette Fox
[ISBN 0954043901], Hardback, [2001-07], Fama Publishing
Prince Of Denmark af William Shakespeare, Philip Edwards
[ISBN 0521532523], Paperback, [2003-05], Cambridge University Press
Prince Of Denmark af William Shakespeare
[ISBN 1404365907], Hardback, [2003-06], Indypublish.com
Dictionary Of Denmark af Alastair H. Thomas, P.Oakley Stewart
[ISBN 0810835444], Hardback, [1999-03], Scarecrow Press
Life In Denmark, The Faroe Islands And Greenland af Kost, Mogens
Anden, The Foundation For Internationalæ Understanding, Copenhagen. 1987
On Sweden, Norway, And Denmark af Mary Wollstonecraft
[ISBN 1404313729], Hardback, [2002-05], Indypublish.com
Written During A Short Residence In Sweden, Norway And Denmark af Mary
[ISBN 0900001518], Paperback, [2004-08], Open Gate Press
Know Something About Denmark af Olsen, Erling
Anden, Erling Olsen, Denmark. 1984
Planet Denmark af Glenda Bendure, Ned Friary
[ISBN 1740590759], Paperback, [2002-02], Lonely Planet Publications Ltd
Book Project: Non-Fiction: Level A: Children Around The World Topic: Growing
Up In Denmark af Anne, Bobbie Neate
[ISBN 0582358183], Paperback, [1999-06], Pearson Schools
Orally-Performed Ballads: The Medieval Ballads Of Denmark af Piø,
Anden, Odense Universitet. 1977
Dane In Denmark af Fenger, Vagn
Anden, J.Jørgensen, Copenhagen.
Road Map: Denmark
[ISBN 0540079316], Paperback, [2000-04], Philip's
in Denmark af Jim Pollard
[ISBN 190238220X], Paperback, [1999-04], Smith/Doorstop Books
Analecta Romana Instituti Danici I, Serlio And Denmark af Norn, Otto
Anden, Munksgaards Forlag. 1960
European Act Between The Kingdom Of Belgium, The Kingdom Of Denmark, The Federal
Republic Of Germany, The Hellenic Republic, The Kingdom Of Spain, The French
Republic, Ireland, The Italian Republic, The Grand-Duchy Of Luxembourg, The
Kingdom Of The
[ISBN 0101975805], Paperback, [1986-12], The Stationery Office Books
Denmark In The Usa af Rife, Joanne
Anden, The Book Loft. 1987
In Denmark af Brian Patrick Mcguire
[ISBN 0879078359], Hardback, [1989-01], Cistercian Publications
Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income) (Denmark) Order 1996
[ISBN 0110634837], Paperback, [1996-12], The Stationery Office Books (Agencies)
Development Of Denmark And Norway Since 1870 af Karl Gunnar Persson
[ISBN 1852786833], Hardback, [1993-09], Edward Elgar Publishing Limited
Of Denmark af Anders Fischer, Kristian Kristiansen
[ISBN 185075697X], Hardback, [2002-11], Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
Of Denmark af Jorgen Jensen
[ISBN 041511957X], Paperback, [1983-04], Taylor & Francis Ltd
Of Denmark af Graham Holderness
[ISBN 1902806123], Paperback, [2002-05], University of Hertfordshire Press
Veterinary And Agricultural University Its Contribution To Rural Education And
Research In Denmark,
Between The Kingdom Of Belgium,The Kingdom Of Denmark,The Federal Republic Of
Germany,The Hellenic Republic,The Kingdom Of Spain,The French Republic,Ireland,The
Italian Republic,The Grand Duchy Of Luxembourg,The K Of The Netherlands,The
[ISBN 0101260628], Paperback, [1994-12], The Stationery Office Books
To Denmark 1872, 1874 af Gosse, Edmund
John Murray London. 1911
Population In Denmark 1965-1973, A Survey Of The Non-Breeding Population Of
Ducks. Swans And Coot And Their Shooting Utilization af Joensen, Anders
Danish Rewiev Of Game Biology Vol 9 No .1. 1974
To Denmark af Dennis-Jones, H.
Anden, Funk & Wagnalls, New York. 1969
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