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Facts About Denmark

Torben Laurberg, M.Sc. in Surveying, Planning, and Cadastral Management

Denmark seen
from foreign land...

The Danish scientist Piet Hein (1905 - 1996) wrote these words about Denmark: "Denmark seen from foreign land Looks but like a grain of sand. Denmark as we Danes conceive it Is so big you won't believe it. Why not let us compromise About Denmark's proper size? Which will truly please us all Since it's greater than it's small."

Listed below are some facts from about my mother country Denmark.

Smallest of the Scandinavian countries (half the size of Maine), Denmark occupies the Jutland peninsula, a lowland area. The country also consists of several islands in the Baltic Sea; the two largest are Sjælland, the site of Copenhagen, and Fyn.

Constitutional monarchy.

From 10,000 to 1500 B.C., the population of present-day Denmark evolved from a society of hunters and fishers into an agricultural one. Called Jutland by the end of the 8th century, its mariners were among the Vikings, or Norsemen, who raided western Europe and the British Isles from the 9th to 11th century.

The country was Christianized by Saint Ansgar and Harald Blaatand (Bluetooth)—the first Christian king—in the 10th century. Harald's son, Sweyn, conquered England in 1013. His son, Canute the Great, who reigned from 1014 to 1035, united Denmark, England, and Norway under his rule; the southern tip of Sweden was part of Denmark until the 17th century. On Canute's death, civil war tore apart the country until Waldemar I (1157–1182) reestablished Danish hegemony over the north.

In 1282, the nobles won the Great Charter, and Eric V was forced to share power with Parliament and a Council of Nobles. Waldemar IV (1340–1375) restored Danish power, checked only by the Hanseatic League of north German cities allied with ports from Holland to Poland. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden united under the rule of his daughter Margrethe in 1397. But Sweden later achieved autonomy and in 1523, under Gustavus I, independence.

Denmark supported Napoléon, for which it was punished at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 by the loss of Norway to Sweden. In 1864, the Prussians under Bismarck and the Austrians made war on Denmark as an initial step in the unification of Germany. Denmark was neutral in World War I.

In 1940, Denmark was invaded by the Nazis. King Christian X reluctantly cautioned his fellow Danes to accept the occupation, but there was widespread resistance against the Nazis. Denmark was the only occupied country in World War II to save all its Jews from extermination, by smuggling them out of the country.

Beginning in 1944, Denmark's relationship with its territories changed substantially. In that year, Iceland declared its independence from Denmark, ending a union that had existed since 1380. In 1948, the Faeroe Islands, which had also belonged to Denmark since 1380, were granted home rule, and in 1953, Greenland officially became a territory of Denmark.

Immigration to Denmark fell dramatically in 2002, after Denmark's center-right government instituted more restrictive laws for asylum-seekers. Because of Denmark's social welfare benefits, it had become a much sought-after haven for refugees.

Kingdom of Denmark

National name: Kongeriget Danmark

Sovereign: Queen Margrethe II (1972)

Prime Minister: Anders Fogh Rasmussen (2001)

Area: 16,639 sq mi (43,094 sq km)1

Population (2003 est.): 5,384,384 (growth rate: 0.1%); birth rate: 11.5/1000; infant mortality rate: 4.9/1000; density per sq mi: 324

Capital and largest city (1992): Copenhagen, 1,339,395

Other large cities (1992): Århus, 204,139; Odense, 140,886; Ålborg, 114,970

Monetary unit: Krone

Languages: Danish, Faeroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect), small German-speaking minority

Ethnicity/race: Scandinavian, Eskimo, Faeroese, German

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 91%, other Protestant and Roman Catholic 2%, other 7%

Literacy rate: 99% (1980)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2001 est.): $149.8 billion; per capita $28,000.

Real growth rate: 1.1%.

Inflation: 2.4%.

Unemployment: 5.3% (2000).

Arable land: 55.74%. <

Agriculture: barley, wheat, potatoes, sugar beets; pork, dairy products; fish. Labor: 2.856 million; services 79%, industry 17%, agriculture 4% (2000 est.). Industries: food processing, machinery and equipment, textiles and clothing, chemical products, electronics, construction, furniture, and other wood products, shipbuilding, windmills.

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, fish, salt, limestone, stone, gravel and sand.

Exports: $52.4 billion (f.o.b., 2001): machinery and instruments, meat and meat products, dairy products, fish, chemicals, furniture, ships, windmills.

Imports: $44.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001): machinery and equipment, raw materials and semimanufactures for industry, chemicals, grain and foodstuffs, consumer goods.

Major trading partners: EU, U.S., Norway.

Telephones: main lines in use: 4.785 million (1997); mobile cellular: 1,444,016 (1997).
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 355, shortwave 0 (1998).
Radios: 6.02 million (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 26 (plus 51 repeaters) (1998).
Televisions: 3.121 million (1997).
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 13 (2000).
Internet users: 2.93 million (2001).

Railways: total: 2,859 km (508 km privately owned and operated) (1998).
Highways: total: 71,474 km; paved: 71,474 km (including 880 km of expressways); unpaved: 0 km (1999).
Waterways: 417 km.
Ports and harbors: Abenra, Alborg, Arhus, Copenhagen, Esbjerg, Fredericia, Kolding, Odense, Roenne (Bornholm), Vejle. Airports: 116 (2001).

International disputes:
Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark, 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; Faroese are considering proposals for full independence.

1. Excluding Faeroe Islands and Greenland.

Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (the Danish Liberals) visited George Bush Jr. in 2002.

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BOOKMARK Torben Laurberg
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