|Denmark||Introduction||Back to Top|
Denmark, constitutional monarchy, north-western Europe, the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries. Officially the Kingdom of Denmark (in Danish, Kongeriget Danmark), it is bordered on the north by the Skagerrak, an arm of the North Sea; on the east by the Kattegatt (an extension of the Skagerrak) and the Øresund (in English, The Sound), a strait linking the Kattegatt and the Baltic Sea; on the south by the Baltic Sea, the Fehmarn strait, and Schleswig-Holstein, Germany; and on the west by the North Sea. Denmark comprises most of the Jutland, or Jylland, peninsula (extending about 338 km/210 mi in a north and south direction), and more than 400 islands in the Baltic and North seas. The principal islands lie between Jutland and Sweden. Sjaelland (in English, Zealand) is the largest in size, followed by Fyn (in English, Funen), Lolland, Falster, Langeland and Møn. About 130 km (80 mi) to the east of Sjaelland, in the Baltic, is the Danish island of Bornholm.Official Name - Kingdom of Denmark
|Denmark||Provinces||Back to Top|
metropolitan Denmark - 14 counties (amter, singular - amt) and 2 kommunes*; Arhus, Bornholm, Fredericksberg*, Frederiksborg, Fyn, Kobenhavn, Kobenhavns*, Nordjylland, Ribe, Ringkobing, Roskilde, Sonderjylland, Storstrom, Vejle, Vestsjalland, Viborg
|Denmark||People||Back to Top|
86 percent of the Danish population lives in urban areas. The population of Denmark proper is 5,352,815 (2001 estimate), giving the country an overall population density of 124 persons per sq km (322 per sq mi).
Denmark is almost entirely inhabited by ethnic Danes. Very few Faeroese or Greenlanders have settled in continental Denmark, despite their status as Danish citizens. Small German, Jewish, and Polish minorities, on the other hand, have been long established and are substantially assimilated. In the 1960s an economic expansion required more labour than the nation could supply, and “guest workers” (gæstearbejdere) made their way into Denmark. In the late 1980s the most numerous ethnic minorities in Denmark were Turks, Yugoslavs, Iranians, and Pakistanis.
|Denmark||History||Back to Top|
Knowledge of Danish antiquity is derived largely from archaeological research. Some historians believe that Danes inhabiting the southern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula migrated to the Jutland Peninsula and the adjacent islands in the Baltic Sea in the 5th and 6th centuries. Evidence of major public structures—including a canal, a long bridge, and the ramparts across the neck of Jutland now called the Danevirke—in the 8th century attests to the presence of a fairly strong central authority in Jutland on the eve of the Viking age. Within a century of their first raid on the British Isles in the 780s, the Danes were masters of the part of England that became known as the Danelaw. Under King Harold Bluetooth in the 10th century, political consolidation increased, and the Christianization of the Danes was begun. Harold’s son, Sweyn I, conquered all of England in 1013 and 1014. Sweyn’s son, Canute II, who ruled England (1016-1035) and Denmark (1018-1035), completed the Christianization of Denmark.
After 500 BC, bronze was gradually replaced by iron, and a village society developed in a landscape of bogs, meadows, and woods with large clearings. The villages appear to have been moved and the fields abandoned with each new generation. Chiefs and rich farmers lived in houses between 40 and 100 feet in length, the climate now being colder and wetter; as in the Bronze Age, objects of great value were laid as offerings in the bogs. The period up to AD 400 was marked by the large number of villages, and splendidly equipped graves suggest that political power was gathered in fewer hands. More or less fixed trading connections were established with the Romans; about AD 200 the first runic inscription appeared, possibly developed under the influence of the Latin alphabet. The period from 400 to 800 is known as the Germanic Iron Age, but the finds have been few, indicating a time of decline, unrest, and bubonic plague in the 6th century. The first trading markets appeared at Hedeby (near what is now Schleswig, Ger.) and Ribe in the 8th century, and written sources mention the existence of slaves.
In 1380 Denmark and Norway were joined in a union under one king, Olaf II, a grandson of Waldemar IV, and with Norway came Iceland and the Faroe Islands. After Olaf’s death in 1387, his mother, Margaret I, reigned in his stead. In 1389 she obtained the crown of Sweden and began the struggle, completed successfully in 1397, to form the Union of Kalmar, a political union of the three realms. Denmark was the dominant power, but Swedish aristocrats strove repeatedly—and with some success—for Sweden’s autonomy within the union. The Kalmar Union lasted until 1523, when Sweden won its independence in a revolt against the tyrannical Christian II led by Gustav Vasa, who was elected king of Sweden as Gustav I in that year.
|Denmark||Culture||Back to Top|
Denmark is famous for beautifully designed ceramics, silverware, porcelain, and home furnishings. Copenhagen has a permanent exhibition of arts and crafts where artisans from all over the country may display and sell their work. All major cities and most provincial towns have public libraries, with about 50 million volumes on the shelves. The Royal Library, in Copenhagen, founded in 1673, serves as the national library of Denmark. It contains collections of music, manuscripts, maps, and pictures. Among the collections are 5,000 incunabula, books printed in the second half of the 15th century.
Danes traditionally faced life from the security of the nuclear family, as has been true throughout Europe. During the late 20th century, substantial changes have taken place. For example, marriage is no longer entered into by young adults as an almost inevitable social institution. Historically, the Danes easily tolerated sexual relations between individuals who were engaged to be married. In earlier centuries it was not uncommon for marriage to take place after a baby was born, although it was considered immoral and unacceptable not to marry eventually. Now, the inevitability of marriage has fallen away. Cohabitation without the formalities of engagement and wedding is common. Nearly one-fifth of all unions in Denmark are by cohabitation rather than formal marriage. Consistent with the decline of contracted marriages, the incidence of divorce has risen. One marriage in four may be expected to end in dissolution.
Forty percent of live births now take place out of wedlock, as compared with only 10 percent a generation ago. These children are not necessarily raised by single parents, however. Children are born to approximately 40 percent of consensual unions, and two children or more are found in 15 percent of such relationships. The changes in marriage and divorce statistics and the growing incidence of consensual unions are primarily due to the changed role of women in society. Women have experienced greater independence as well as increased responsibility for economic survival and child care. They are educated on a more equal basis with men, and they participate more equally in the job market, although not yet with equal pay. The availability of contraceptive methods and free abortions has also increased women's options. In the mid-1960s slightly fewer than 50 percent of married women between the ages of 20 and 50 engaged in paid employment. Twenty years later more than 80 percent of married women were working. The ability to earn their own incomes has made marriage less necessary for women to provide security for themselves and their children. It has also made divorce less punitive in socioeconomic terms.
|Denmark||Life||Back to Top|
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, in Copenhagen, houses a collection of paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings by Danish artists, as well as works of 19th- and 20th-century Norwegian and Swedish artists. The capital is the home of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Orchestra, and the Royal Danish Ballet. Danish composer Carl August Nielsen was conductor of the Royal Society and the Music Society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He wrote operas, symphonies, and music for piano, violin, and string quartet.
|Denmark||Land||Back to Top|
The basic contours of the Danish landscape were shaped at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch by the last glaciation of the Ice Age, the so-called Weichsel glaciation. This great glacial mass withdrew temporarily during several warmer interstadial periods, but it repeatedly returned to cover the land until it retreated to the Arctic north for the last time about 10,000 years ago. As a result, the barren layers of chalk and limestone that earlier constituted the land surface acquired a covering of soil that built up as the Weichsel retreated, forming low, hilly moraines that diversify the otherwise flat landscape.
|Denmark||Plants and Animal||Back to Top|
wild vegetation remains in Denmark, because much of the land is under cultivation. In the forests, which cover 10.7 percent of the country, are conifers, beech, oak, birch, and ash. Several varieties of ferns and mosses common to middle Europe also are found. Natural animal life is limited to deer and such small mammals as the fox, squirrel, and hare; wildfowl and other birds; and numerous species of freshwater fish.
|Denmark||Economy||Back to Top|
Denmark has traditionally been an agrarian country. Since the end of World War II (1939-1945), however, manufacturing and services have gained in importance. The proportion of the labor force in agriculture declined from an estimated 14 percent in 1965 to 4 percent in 1998. Danish ships, which operate in foreign waters, contribute substantially to the economy. The country is also profitably involved in foreign investments, shipbuilding, and foreign construction. The national budget in 1998 included $66.91 billion in revenues and $65 billion in expenditures. Denmark’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 1999 was $174.3 billion.
The only Nordic country to do so, Denmark joined the European Economic Community in 1973, at the same time as the United Kingdom, then its most important trading partner. At the same time, economic collaboration among the Nordic countries continues. No passports are required for travel by Scandinavians within the region, and communication among the various agencies of government is direct and need not be channeled through their respective embassies. Scandinavians enjoy a common labour market that includes reciprocal social welfare benefits and the right to vote in local elections in the neighbouring country of residence. There is capital mobility, supported by the Nordic Investment Bank. Uniform legislation, particularly with regard to commercial law, dates to the 19th century.
This thoroughly modern market economy features high-tech agriculture, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, comfortable living standards, and high dependence on foreign trade. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy and has a comfortable balance of payments surplus. The center-left coalition government has reduced the formerly high unemployment rate and attained a budget surplus as well as followed the previous government's policies of maintaining low inflation and a stable currency. The coalition has lowered marginal income tax rates and raised environmental taxes thus maintaining overall tax revenues. Problems of bottlenecks, and longer term demographic changes reducing the labor force, are being addressed through labor market reforms. 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 Monetary Union (EMU), but Denmark, in a September 2000 referendum, reconfirmed its decision not to join the 11 other EU members in the euro. Even so, the Danish currency remains pegged to the euro.
|Denmark||Communications||Back to Top|
excellent telephone and telegraph services domestic: buried and submarine cables and microwave radio relay form trunk network, 4 cellular mobile communications systems international: 18 submarine fiber-optic cables linking Denmark with Norway, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Canada; satellite earth stations - 6 Intelsat, 10 Eutelsat, 1 Orion, 1 Inmarsat (Blaavand-Atlantic-East); note - the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) share the Danish earth station and the Eik, Norway, station for worldwide Inmarsat access (1997)
|Denmark||Languages||Back to Top|
Lutheranism, the established religion of Denmark, is adhered to by most Danes; however, complete toleration is extended to all religions. Danish is the official language, and many Danes also speak a second language, usually English. See Danish Language.
|Denmark||Politics||Back to Top|
Center Democratic Party [Mimi JAKOBSEN]; Christian People's Party [Jann SJURSEN]; Conservative Party (sometimes known as Conservative People's Party) [Bendt BENDTSEN]; Danish People's Party [Pia KJAERSGAARD]; Liberal Party [Anders Fogh RASMUSSEN]; Progress Party (now named Freedom 2000) [Kim BEHNKE]; Social Democratic Party [Poul Nyrup RASMUSSEN]; Social Liberal Party (sometimes called the Radical Left) [Marianne JELVED, leader; Johannes LEBECH, chairman]; Socialist People's Party [Holger K. NIELSEN]; Red-Green Unity List (bloc includes Left Socialist Party, Communist Party of Denmark, Socialist Workers' Party) [collective leadership]
|Denmark||Government||Back to Top|
Denmark is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy, governed under a constitution of 1953. Margrethe II succeeded to the throne on the death of her father, Frederick IX, in 1972. National executive power is nominally vested in the Danish sovereign, but the real head of government is the prime minister. The prime minister, appointed by the sovereign, must have the support of a majority of the legislature. Legislative power in Denmark is vested jointly in the sovereign and in a unicameral legislature, called the Folketinget. The concurrence of sovereign and Folketinget is necessary for the enactment of legislation, a declaration of war, and the signing of a peace treaty. The legislative term is four years, but the sovereign may dissolve the Folketinget before the end of the term.
|Denmark||Legal||Back to Top|
Legal system: civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal Executive branch: chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II (since 14 January 1972); Heir Apparent Crown Prince FREDERIK, elder son of the monarch (born 26 May 1968) head of government: Prime Minister Poul Nyrup RASMUSSEN (since 25 January 1993) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister and approved by Parliament elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Folketing (179 seats, including 2 from Greenland and 2 from the Faroe Islands; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms) elections: last held 11 March 1998 (next to be held by March 2002) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - progovernment parties: Social Democratic Party 65, Socialist People's Party 13, Social Liberal Party 7, Red-Green Unity List 5; opposition: Liberal Party 43, Conservative Party 17, Danish People's Party 13, Center Democratic Party 8, Christian People's Party 4, Progress Party 4; seats by party as of 1 January 2001: government coalition parties - Social Democrats 63, Social Liberals 7; pro-government parties - Socialist People's Party 13, Unity List 5; opposition - Liberals 42, Conservatives 16, Danish People's Party 13, Center Democrats 8, Christian People's Party 4, Progress Party 4 (now named Freedom 2000); does not include the 4 overseas seats Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the monarch for life)
|Denmark||organization||Back to Top|
AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MONUC, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOGIP, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNTAET, UNTSO, UPU, WEU (observer), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC
|Denmark||Education||Back to Top|
Elementary education has been compulsory since 1814 and is, for the most part, free. All children must attend school from age 7 to 16. Primary education consists of a nine-year comprehensive school. In the 1995 school year Denmark had 336,690 students enrolled in primary schools. All students may continue school through its tenth year, and gifted students are encouraged to continue their studies beyond that point. Denmark’s adult literacy rate is 99 percent.
|Denmark||Defence||Back to Top|
Military branches: Royal Danish Army, Royal Danish Navy, Royal Danish Air Force, Home Guard
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,292,619 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 1,106,094 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 29,212 (2001 est.)
|Denmark||International Disputes||Back to Top|
Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Iceland and the UK (Ireland and the UK have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area); dispute with Iceland over the Faroe Islands fisheries median line boundary within 200 NM; disputes with Iceland, the UK, and Ireland over the Faroe Islands continental shelf boundary outside 200 NM
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