country in Northern Europe

Denmark (Danish: Danmark), officially named the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe. It is the furthest south of the Scandinavian countries, to the northwest of North America, to the south of Norway and south-west of Sweden (which it is connected to by a bridge). It has a south border with Germany and a northeast border with Canada. It borders the Arctic Ocean, to the north-northwest, the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast, North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the east. Denmark is a developed country with a large welfare state;[13] In 2006 and 2007, surveys[14] ranked Denmark as "the happiest place in the world," based on standards of health, welfare, and education.

Kingdom of Denmark
Kongeriget Danmark  (Danish)
Der er et yndigt land
(English: "There is a lovely country")

Kong Christian stod ved højen mast[N 1]
(English: "King Christian stood by the lofty mast")
Location of the Kingdom of Denmark (green), including Greenland, the Faroe Islands (circled), and Denmark proper
Location of the Kingdom of Denmark (green), including Greenland, the Faroe Islands (circled), and Denmark proper
Location of  Denmark proper  (dark green) – on the European continent  (green & dark grey) – in the European Union  (green)
Location of  Denmark proper  (dark green)

– on the European continent  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)

and largest city
55°43′N 12°34′E / 55.717°N 12.567°E / 55.717; 12.567
Official languagesDanish
Recognised regional languagesFaroese
German[N 2]
Ethnic groups

Indigenous status:

Minority status:


75.8% Christianity
—74.3% Church of Denmark[N 3]
—1.5% Other Christian
19.1% No religion
4.4% Islam
0.7% Others
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary
constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Frederik X
Mette Frederiksen
c. 8th century[6]
5 June 1849
24 March 1948[N 4]
1 January 1973
• Denmark proper
42,933 km2 (16,577 sq mi) (130th)
• Entire kingdom
2,220,930 km2 (857,510 sq mi)
• Q3 2020 estimate
Increase 5,837,213[7] (114th)
• Faroe Islands
• Greenland
• Density (Denmark)
137.65/km2 (356.5/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
• Total
$299 billion[10] (52nd)
• Per capita
$51,643[10] (19th)
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
• Total
$370 billion[10] (34th)
• Per capita
$63,829[10] (6th)
Gini (2019)Positive decrease 27.5[11]
HDI (2019)Increase 0.940[12]
very high · 10th
CurrencyDanish krone[N 5] (DKK)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
[N 6]
Driving sideright
Calling code
3 calling codes
  • +45      (Denmark)
  • +298    (Faroe Islands)
  • +299    (Greenland)
ISO 3166 codeDK
Internet TLD
3 TLDs

The origin of the name Denmark (Danish: Danmark) is uncertain. In Old Norse, the country was called Danmǫrk, referring to the Danish March (the marches of the Danes).

The capital city of Denmark is Copenhagen, on the island of Zealand. Denmark is a constitutional monarchy (meaning the head of state is a monarch who has few established powers) with a King, Frederik X.[15] Denmark is a parliamentary state, meaning the people appoint a parliament to make decisions for them, and it has a democratic government headed by an elected Prime Minister, who currently is Mette Frederiksen since 2019.



Denmark was first united in the 10th century, during the Viking period, by king Harald Bluetooth (c. 985), who first converted Denmark to Christianity. The Vikings are well known for invading countries. In the 11th century, the Danish Vikings controlled England (the Danelaw) for a while. In 1397 Denmark, Sweden and Norway became a single country with one queen (this country was called the Kalmar Union) Sweden became a separate country again in 1523. Denmark and Norway (called Denmark-Norway) stayed united, until 1814. Denmark-Norway controlled many islands in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. Iceland became independent from Denmark in 1944.

Meeting to write the constitution, 1848.

Denmark became a constitutional monarchy on June 5, 1849 when it adopted a constitution which took away powers from the King and gave rights to ordinary Danish people. June 5 is now a holiday in Denmark, called "Constitution Day".

Over the years Denmark lost many of the lands that it controlled in battle. Denmark's biggest war defeat was the Second Schleswig War (in 1864) when the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were conquered by the Kingdom Prussia (now a part of Germany). This was a big loss for Denmark and, consequently, it began a policy of neutrality after the loss, meaning it would no longer take part in any wars or support other countries. Denmark did not take part in the First World War.

On April 9, 1940, Denmark was invaded by Nazi Germany and the Nazis stayed in Denmark throughout World War II. During the war, in 1943, Danes helped over 8,000 Jews to escape from Denmark into Sweden after the Nazis tried to arrest them.

After the liberation of Denmark, one part of the country was not. That was the island of Bornholm. The German Commandant von Kamptz who was stationed there, refused to surrender to the Soviets as the German were fleeing to Bornholm and further to Sweden. The Soviets then bombed the two biggest towns Rønne and Nexø. After the Germans were captured on May 9, 1945, the Soviet Army occupied the island until April 6, 1946.

After World War Two, Denmark became a member of NATO and the European Union. Greenland and the Faroe Islands are now part of the Kingdom of Denmark and have their own governments and limited power.


Map of Denmark

Denmark is the smallest of the Scandinavian countries. The neighbours are Canada (to the northwest) Germany (to the south), Sweden (to the east), Norway (to the north) and the United Kingdom (to the west). The country is surrounded by the sea except for Jutland (Jylland), the second largest part of Denmark after Greenland. It is connected to Germany and Canada by land. To the south-east there is the Baltic Sea, to the west the North Sea, to the north-west the island of Greenland, to the north the Skagerrak and to the north-east the Kattegat.

The western part of Denmark is the peninsula of Jutland (Danish: Jylland, pronounced yoo´-land), bordering Germany. This is the only part of Denmark that is not an island. The rest of Denmark includes 77 islands people live on, and many tiny islands. The largest islands are Greenland (Grønland) Zealand (Sjælland), and Funen (Fyn). To the east is the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, the only place in Denmark where the bedrock can be seen. To the northwest is the island of Greenland, the onyl place in Denmark where the ice can be seen.

The country is quite flat. The highest hill or mountain is Møllehøj, which is 170.86 metres (560.56 ft) tall.[16] There are many small hills, lakes, creeks, forests and farmland. Denmark's shore line covers 7,314 km (4,545 mi).[17] Nobody in Denmark lives more than 60 km from the coast. The longest river in Denmark is the Gudenå.



The weather in Denmark is quite windy and rainy. In the winter, it does not get very cold; in most years, there are only a few weeks of snow. Every ten years or so, the sea around the islands freezes over, but in most winters, it does not. The climate and topography are not good for winter sports.

Most summers are not very hot. People always dress to be ready for rain or wind. There are also very sunny times, but nobody can know ahead of time when these will be. The best time of the year for outdoor activities is the months of May and June until midsummer.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Denmark was 36.4 °C (97.5 °F), on 10 August 1975 in Holstebro. And the lowest temperature ever recorded in Denmark was −31.2 °C (−24.2 °F), on 8 January 1982 in Hørsted or −69.6 °C (−93.3 °F) on 11 January 1984 in Greenland.[18]

Top 5 warmest days

Rank Temperature Date Location
1. 36.4 °C (97.5 °F) 10 August 1975 Holstebro
2. 35.9 °C (96.6 °F) 20 July 2022, 25 June 2006 Abed, Odense
3. 35.8 °C (96.4 °F) 13 August 1911 Slagelse
4. 35.5 °C (95.9 °F) 29 June 1947 Hillerød
5. 35.0 °C (95.0 °F) 3 July 1883 Flintholm Gods

Top 5 coldest nights

Rank Temperature Date Location
1. −31.2 °C (−24.2 °F) 8 January 1982 Hørsted
2. −31.0 °C (−23.8 °F) 26 January 1942 Løndal
3. −30.3 °C (−22.5 °F) 29 January 1941 Viborg
4. −29.6 °C (−21.3 °F) 18 January 1893 Holbæk
5. −28.5 °C (−19.3 °F) 30 January 1947 Bronderslev


Margrethe II has been the Queen of Denmark since 1972
Mette Frederiksen, current Prime Minister of Denmark since 2019

Denmark has three branches of power; the judiciary (the courts), the executive (the Prime Minister and the cabinet) and the legislature (the Danish parliament). The current Prime Minister of Denmark is Mette Frederiksen, who was elected in June 2019.

Denmark is a Kingdom which means it has a monarch (a king or queen). The current monarch is Queen Margrethe II. Margrethe II does not have a lot of power (she does not make any important decisions) and has a symbolic role. Denmark became a constitutional monarchy in 1849.

Elections to the parliament are held every four years, and the winner of the election is the party or coalition which gets the most votes and seats in the parliament. After the elections are done, several parties who are in agreement will group together to form a coalition government, and the leader of the largest party becomes the prime minister.

Here is a short summary of the biggest political parties in Denmark, from left to right on the political axis:

  • Red-Green Alliance (Danish: Enhedslisten), a far-left socialist party.
  • The Alternative (Danish: Alternativet), a green progressive party.
  • Socialist People's Party (Danish: Socialistisk Folkeparti), a socialist party.
  • Social Democrats (Danish: Socialdemokraterne), a left-wing party which is "social democratic" (slightly socialist).
  • Venstre, Liberal Party of Denmark (Danish: Venstre (meaning "left")), a liberal party.
  • Danish Social Liberal Party (Danish: Det Radikale Venstre), a radical left/borderline right-wing liberal party.
  • Conservative People's Party (Danish: Det Konservative Folksparti), a conservative party.
  • Liberal Alliance (Danish: Liberal Alliance), a right-wing liberal party.
  • Danish People's Party (Danish: Dansk Folkeparti), a right-wing political party who dislike immigration (people from other countries who come to live in Denmark).



Denmark, like the other Nordic countries. is well known for being a large welfare state.[13] The government provides many services to the public such as free health care, free education (school and college) and free housing for the poor. Danes pay high taxes to fund welfare.

Kingdom of Denmark

Flag of the Kingdom of Denmark

In geography, Denmark is the land in northern Europe, where the Danes live. In the political sense, the Kingdom of Denmark is the area which the Danish Monarch rules over. The Kingdom of Denmark includes Denmark and also includes the Faroe Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, and Greenland in North America. All three parts of the kingdom have different languages and culture. The Faroe Islands and Greenland are often considered to be separate countries but Denmark holds their sovereignty.

Regions, territories and municipalities

A map of the regions of Denmark

Denmark is divided into five regions (Danish: regioner or region for one) and two autonomous territories (Danish: selvstyrende territorium). The regions replaced the former counties (amter) in January 2007. The regions are in charge of hospitals and health care.

List of regions and territories
Danish name English name Largest city Population
(1 January 2008)
Pop. density
(per km²)
Region Hovedstaden Capital Region of Denmark Copenhagen 1,645,825 2,561 642.6
Region Midtjylland Central Denmark Region Århus 1,237,041 13,142 94.2
Region Nordjylland North Denmark Region Aalborg 578,839 7,927 73.2
Region Sjælland Region Zealand Roskilde 819,427 7,273 112.7
Region Syddanmark Region of Southern Denmark Odense 1,194,659 12,191 97.99
Færøerne Faroe Islands Torshavn 52,000 1,393 37.00
Grønland Greenland Nuuk 57,777 2,166,086 0.028
Entire country 5,534,955 2,210,573 2.5

The regions are then subdivided into municipalities (Danish: kommuner). There are currently 98 municipalities, but before January 2007 there were 275. The number of municipalities was decreased when it was decided that, to become more efficient, each should have a population of at least 20,000 .


Population changes in Denmark the last 45 years

The biggest part (90.5%) of Denmark's population of just under 5.4 million is of Danish descent, according to 2009 statistics. Of the rest 8.9% who are immigrants or descendent from recent immigrants, many come from South Asia or the Middle East. There are also small groups of Inuit from Greenland and Faroese.[19]

Minorities in Denmark include Turks, Poles, Syrians, Germans, Iraqis, Romanians and people from former Yugoslavia. There are also other Asian and African populations in the country. Small numbers of Roma and Hungarians live in Denmark. There is also a small Jewish population.[20]

The Danes speak the national language, Danish, which is very similar to the other Scandinavian languages. Swedish and Norwegian are so close to Danish that most Danes understand them.

As well as Danish, most Danes speak a foreign language too, such as English, which is popular as an international language, or German. In the southern part of Jutland, a German minority speaks German. On the Faroe Islands, Faroese is spoken, and people living in Greenland speak Inuit.

Religion does not play a large part in the life of most Danes and church attendance is very low. However, even though many Danes are atheist, 80.4%[21] are members of the Protestant "Church of Denmark" (Danish: Folkekirke, The National Church) which is the official "state church" of Denmark. The National Church is Lutheran, which means it separated from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th Century. Other important faiths include Judaism, Islam (the number of Muslims is increasing), other Protestant groups and Catholicism.


Great Belt Fixed Link is the biggest bridge in Denmark

Because of the many islands, Denmark has many bridges. The main parts of the country, and most of the bigger islands, are connected by roads and railroads. One of the world's longest bridges connects the eastern and the western parts of the country, and there is a large bridge to Sweden also. There is still no bridge across the Baltic Sea to Germany, but it will most likely be built in a few years. The bridge to Sweden was expensive, took a long time to build, and required much planning by engineers.

There are still many islands with no bridges to the mainland. People have to go by boat or airplane to reach these islands. Many islands will never be reached by bridges, because they are too small or too far away. If the island has too few people, bridges are often not built because it is expensive to build.

Cycling is very popular in Denmark because the ground is so flat. Copenhagen is a city that is very bicycle friendly, with bicycle lanes extending over 12,000 km.[22]



The people of Denmark have always depended on the sea. In earlier days, people could not travel anywhere unless they went by boat. Many Danes were fishermen or merchants. Even today, many Danes spend much time near or at the sea.

Farming has always been one of the main occupations. Because of the climate and the soil, Denmark is a good place for agriculture. Export of food to the neighbouring countries is one of the most important sources of income for the country. Danish hams and cookies are exported throughout the world.

Perhaps the most famous Dane is actually Hamlet, the title character of William Shakespeare's famous play, which was set in the real castle of Kronborg in Helsingør, north of Copenhagen. The play was based on an old Danish myth of the Viking Prince Amled of Jutland, and his quest for revenge against his father's killer. Another widely known Dane is Hans Christian Andersen, a writer mostly famous for such fairy tales as "The Little Mermaid", and "The Ugly Duckling". Also Karen Blixen, Tycho Brahe and the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard are well known worldwide. There are many famous Danish scientists, including Niels Bohr, the famous physicist who developed the first working model for the atom, and Ole Rømer, who discovered the speed of light. Hans Kirk, although less well known outside of Denmark, is the writer of the best-selling Danish novel of all time, The Fishermen.

Danes enjoy many different types of music, including ballets, jazz music, pop and rock. Denmark's most famous classical composer is Carl Nielsen. Famous Danish bands include Aqua, a pop band, and The Raveonettes, an indie rock band. The most famous Danish rock star is Lars Ulrich of the band Metallica.

Danish open sandwich (smørrebrød) on dark rye bread. A popular food item in Denmark.

The cuisine of Denmark shares much with the other Nordic countries (Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden) as well as northern Germany. Common meats are pork and fish. Traditional Danish food includes frikadeller (fried meatballs, often served with potatoes and various sorts of gravy). Fish is widely eaten, especially on the west coast of Jutland.



Christmas (Danish: Jul) is the main feast of the year. Christmas is traditionally celebrated on the eve, December 24, and this is when the main Christmas meal is eaten and presents are unwrapped.

In midwinter, a fast is celebrated. Children are dressed up, and go from house to house begging for money. This practice has in the recent years been taken over by Halloween, and most people give candy not money. A barrel filled with candy is smashed with clubs. The person who makes the candy fall out is appointed queen of cats and the person who hits the last stick is appointed king of cats.

Midsummer is celebrated with a huge bonfire in the evening of June 23. Most Danes have a three-week summer holiday in July or August.

Date English Name Local Name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day Nytårsdag
The Thursday before Easter Sunday Maundy Thursday Skærtorsdag
The Friday before Easter Sunday Good Friday Langfredag
March/April Easter Sunday Påskesøndag The Danish celebrate three days of Easter.
The day after Easter Sunday Easter Monday 2. Påskedag
May 1 Labor Day Arbejdernes kampdag Not everybody has this day off.
June 5 Constitution Day Grundlovsdag In remembrance of the signing of the Danish constitution in 1849.
Varies St. Bededag A collection of smaller Christian holidays into one full day.
40 days after Easter Ascension Day Kr. Himmelfartsdag  
7 weeks after Easter Pentecost Pinse The Danish celebrate two days of Pentecost.
December 24 Christmas Eve Juleaften The children get presents on the eve before Christmas Day.
December 25 Christmas Day Juledag The Danish celebrate three days of Christmas.
December 26 2. Christmas Day 2. Juledag



The most popular sport in Denmark is football (soccer). Sailing, swimming and other water sports are very popular because of the long coastline. Another common sport is cycling, (Copenhagen has been nicknamed the "City of Cyclists" because of the popularity of bicycles for moving around), which has become popular in Denmark partly because of the flat land all over the country. Indoor sports such as badminton and handball are also popular during the long winters.


Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (left) and her late husband, Prince Henrik (right).

Monarch is a word that means king or queen. Denmark is the oldest monarchy in Europe.[23] The current monarch is Queen Margrethe II, who has been the queen since 1972. Denmark does not currently have a King. Margrethe's husband was called a prince because he was the son-in-law, not the son, of the previous King. He died on 13. February 2018 at the age of 83. The royal couple have two children:

  • Crown Prince Frederik who married an Australian woman named Mary, and have 4 children:
    • Prince Christian
    • Princess Isabella
    • Prince Vincent & Princess Josephine (twins)
  • Joachim married a British woman from Hong Kong but later divorced in 2005 after being married for 10 years. He has two sons:
    • Prince Nikolai
    • Prince Felix

In 2008 Prince Joachim married for the second time. His new wife is from France and is called Marie, with whom he has a son and a daughter.

    • Prince Henrik
    • Princess Athena


  1. "Not one but two national anthems". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Archived from the original on 15 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  2. "Bekendtgørelse af ILO-konvention nr. 169 af 28. juni 1989 vedrørende oprindelige folk og stammefolk i selvstændige stater". 9 October 1997.
  3. "Den dansk-tyske mindretalsordning". Udenrigsministeriet.
  4. "Folkekirkens medlemstal" (in Danish). Kirkeministeriet. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  5. Arly Jacobsen, Brian (8 February 2018). "Hvor mange muslimer bor der i Danmark?" (in Danish). Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  6. Stone et al. 2008, p. 31.
  7. "Population and population projections". Statistics Denmark. Archived from the original on 30 October 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  8. "Faroe Islands Population". Hagstova Føroya. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  9. "2020 Population". Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Denmark". International Monetary Fund. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  11. "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income - EU-SILC survey". Eurostat. Archived from the original on 20 March 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  12. Human Development Report 2020 The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. pp. 343–346. ISBN 978-92-1-126442-5. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton University Press.
  14. News, A. B. C. (8 January 2009). "Great Danes: The Geography of Happiness". ABC News. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  15. "H.M. Kongen". Retrieved 2024-02-25.
  16. Dahlgaard, Jørgen. "Danmarks nye top" (PDF). Aktuel Naturvidenskab. 2005 (1): 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  17. "Nature & Environment". Archived from the original on 3 April 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  18. "Vejrekstremer_dk: DMI". Archived from the original on 2017-04-26.
  19. "Immigrants and their descendants and foreign nationals". Statistics Denmark. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  20. "Denmark - World Directory of Minorities & Indigenous Peoples". 2 November 2023.
  21. Membership Lutheran state church Archived 2012-01-19 at the Wayback Machine (Danish).
  22. "Cykelruter og regioner" (in Danish). Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  23. Danish Royal Family Archived 2013-10-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  1. Kong Christian has equal status as a national anthem but is generally used only on royal and military occasions.[1]
  2. Faroese is co-official with Danish in the Faroe Islands. Greenlandic is the sole official language in Greenland. German is recognised as a protected minority language in the South Jutland area of Denmark.
  3. The Church of Greenland is a diocese of the Church of Denmark that is the state church in Greenland, and the Church of the Faroe Islands is an independent but also Lutheran Church that is the state church in the Faroe Islands
  4. The Faroe Islands became the first territory to be granted home rule on 24 March 1948. Greenland also gained autonomy on 1 May 1979.
  5. In the Faroe Islands the currency has a separate design and is known as the króna, but is not a separate currency.
  6. Other time zones used in Greenland and the Faroe Islands include: WET, EGT, WGT and AST.
    Marginal DST time zones, offset by one hour, include: GMT, EGST, WGST, ADT
  7. The TLD .eu is shared with other European Union countries. Greenland (.gl) and the Faroe Islands (.fo) have their own TLDs.

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