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About Denmark

Denmark is the smallest Scandinavian country (official name is Kingdom of Denmark).

It is almost totally surrounded by water, consisting as it does of the Jutland Peninsula and 407 islands, of which c. 79 are inhabited (2009). Its only land border is with Germany. The country's capital city, lovely and lively Copenhagen, occupies the biggest of the offshore islands. With all the water it is not surprising that Denmark is very reliant on shipping and fishing; the country also has an important agricultural sector, though, and is famed in particular for its dairy products.

Denmark has a temperate marine climate, which is mild for its latitude. The country receives the heating effect of the North Atlantic Drift, part of the warm Gulf Stream. The mean temperature for February, the coldest month, is -0.4 deg C (31 deg F), and for July, the warmest month, 20 deg C.

Because of Denmark's northern location, the length of the day with sunlight varies greatly. There are short days during the winter with sunrise coming around 8 a.m. and sunset 3:30 p.m., as well as long summer days with sunrise at 3:30 a.m. and sunset at 10 p.m. The shortest and longest days of the year have traditionally been celebrated.

Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and has been a member of the European Union since joining the European Economic Community in 1973.

Denmark is a rich country with a high material standard of living. Also the gap between rich and poor is smaller than in many other rich countries in the North. Even poor people in Denmark have a relatively high material standard of living compared to the general world population.

Denmark has about 5,5 million inhabitants (2009), of which one-quarter live in Copenhagen. Denmark is almost entirely inhabited by ethnic Danes. Very few Faeroese or Greenlanders have settled in continental Denmark, despite their status as Danish citizens. Immigrants and their descendants now constitute 9.1% of a population.

85% of the population lives in towns. Greater Copenhagen accounts for c. 1,16 million inhabitants. The second city is Århus (237,551 inhabitants). In addition the entire country is otherwise covered by a network of medium-sized towns.

Denmark is well provided with traffic systems. The road network is good everywhere in the country; railways and air links provide quick transport, and the islands are connected by ferries and a large number of bridges.

The language spoken is Danish. It has many vowels – including the special letters æ, ø and å – and many significant glottal stops, which make it difficult for foreigners to learn Danish.

Religious freedom is an unchallenged value in Denmark. Roman Catholic churches and Jewish synagogues have long existed in the larger cities. About 90 percent of all Danes, however, are at least nominally members of the state Evangelical Lutheran church.

Danes are generally a reserved people, though they are often considered positively outgoing compared to their northern cousins in Norway and Sweden. Danes are fun loving, as a trip through any town on a Friday night can attest, but hard working when there's something to be done. Danes like the idea of 'civilized' nature. They are generally compassionate, articulate, and clean.

Common to all Danes is their tendency to take the ups and downs of life with a touch of irony, often self-irony.

The cuisine of Denmark, like that in the other Scandinavian countries (Sweden and Norway) is traditionally heavy and rich in fat, consisting mainly of carbohydrates, meat and fish. Traditional Danish food includes frikadeller (fried meatballs, often served with potatoes and various sorts of gravy), karbonader (another sort of fried meatballs), steaks and so on, mostly eaten with potatoes, which is slightly less popular nowadays in Denmark. Fish is also widely eaten, especially on the west coast of Jutland.

When we talk about Denmark, we have to say, that this country has always been well-known because of her cultural life. Hans Christian Andersen is known beyond Denmark for his moralistic fairy tales, such as "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", and "The Ugly Duckling".