Denmark is the most southerly of the Scandinavian countries. It is a sovereign state located south of Norway and southwest of Sweden. It is also bordered by Germany to the south. The Kingdom of Denmark also includes two autonomous countries located in the North Atlantic Ocean; these are Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Denmark, the country, is comprised of a peninsula and 443 small islands. The largest of these islands are Funen, Zealand, and North Jutlandic Island. Denmark and its surrounding islands have flat, arable land and scenic sandy beaches. The country’s climate is temperate. The population, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands, is around 5.7 million.
History of Denmark
Denmark has been inhabited since around 12,000 BC. Evidence of agriculture dates back to 3900 BC. Tribal Danes migrated south from the eastern Danish islands. Prior to their arrival, most of Jutland and the closest islands were inhabited by Jutes, who eventually migrated to Great Britain.
The Vikings were predominant in the Scandinavian region from the 8th through the 10th centuries, but during that time they also raided and colonized all parts of Europe. By this time, it was largely consolidated. Harold Bluetooth Christianized the Danes in 965. Current thought believes that Denmark adopted Christianity for political reasons, to avoid invasion from the rising Christian powers in Europe at the time.
During the Middle Ages, Denmark entered into a union with Sweden and Norway under Queen Margaret I. As part of the union, the three countries were treated equally. Sweden repeatedly broke away from the union and was re-conquered over the next 125 years. After Sweden broke away permanently, they tried to gain control over the country several times.
The Thirty Years War saw the Catholic army occupy Jutland, resulting in Denmark withdrawing from the war. Although the nation managed to avoid having to make territorial concessions, King Gustavus Adolphus’ intervention in Germany highlighted Sweden’s military power, while Denmark’s influence declined.
After many years of war and struggle, Denmark became a constitutional monarchy in 1849, after the previous year’s European revolutions. At peace for only a moment, Denmark was defeated in the Second Schleswig War of 1864, when it was forced to cede Holstein and Schleswig to Prussia. However, after this time, Denmark sought neutrality in Europe.
Denmark became industrialized during the second half of the 19th century. The 1950s saw the birth of the nation’s railroad system. Increasingly improved communications and international trade enabled industry to develop despite Denmark’s lack of natural resources.
Today, Denmark is considered one of the world’s most economically developed countries. The Danish people enjoy a high standard of living, and the nation ranks highly in a number of national performance metrics, such as education, protection of civil liberties, healthcare, human development, and prosperity. Denmark also proudly claims the highest level of income equality and social mobility in the world. The nation also has the world’s lowest level of corruption.
Denmark’s economy is based on a mixture of services and manufacturing and relies heavily on human resources. The country’s main exports include the manufacture of machinery, chemicals, and fuels, as well as meat and fish. Denmark is owed more money by foreign countries than it owes to others. However, the country increased its debt level in 2008 to compensate for deficits due to growing unemployment levels.
Denmark has a far-reaching welfare system which guarantees that all Danes receive tax-funded education and healthcare. Most of the vocational training and advanced academic education are privately funded. The nation has an unemployment insurance scheme which requires a paid membership to a state-recognized unemployment fund. These are financed through trade unions or by the state tax system.
Agriculture in Denmark
The Danes practice several different types of agricultural production, including cattle, dairy, poultry, pigs, and animals for fur (particularly mink). Denmark is also a leading producer of clover, grass, and horticultural seeds. Over the past few decades, largely due to their structural development, farms have become fewer and larger. Denmark is home to around 2.6 million hectares of arable land. There exist around 40,000 farms, of which one third are owned by full-time farmers.
Denmark has a rich artistic and intellectual heritage as is reflected in the astronomical breakthroughs of Tycho Brahe, Niels Bohr’s work in atomic physics, the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, and the works of authors such as Isak Dinesen and Herman Bang. Danish arts and culture are able to thrive thanks to the government funding they receive. Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is one of Europe’s most cultural capitals and is home to renowned landmarks such as the Tivoli gardens, Rosenborg Castle, and Copenhagen Cathedral.
Whether you live in Denmark, you are considering moving there, or you’re just visiting, the country will make a profound impression that you will never forget.