Denmark Country Profile
Denmark is the smallest of the five nations in the Nordic Region, with a total land mass approximately the same size as Finnmark County in Norway. On the other hand, Denmark has plenty of good arable land, and makes the most of this natural resource. With around 5.5 million inhabitants, Denmark is the most densely populated country in the Region. Approx. 1.2 million people live in and around the capital city, Copenhagen.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. Queen Margrethe II has no real political power, and the parliament, Folketinget, is the country’s highest authority. Denmark is a member of the EU, but has retained the crown as its currency. The country is also a member of NATO.
The most important sources of revenue in Denmark are oil and other forms of energy, the medical industry, agricultural produce, shipping and IT services.
- Kingdom of Denmark
- Capital: Copenhagen
- Population 5.6 million
- Area 43,098 sq km (16,640 sq miles)
- Major language Danish
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 77 years (men), 81 years (women)
- Currency krone
Denmark Queen: Margrethe II
Queen Margrethe became monarch only because a change in the law in 1953 allowed a woman to ascend to the throne. She succeeded on the death of her father, King Frederick IX, in 1972.
The queen is a skilled artist, clothes designer and translator. She speaks English, French and German, in addition to her native Danish, and her work as an illustrator has been widely published. Prince Henrik died in 2018.
Denmark Prime Minister: Lars Lokke Rasmussen
Lars Lokke Rasmussen formed a minority government consisting solely of his centre-right Venstre – or Liberal – Party after elections in June 2015, ousting the centre-left government of Helle Thorning Schmidt.
His government hoped to pass laws with support from different parties at different times. In 2016, it formed a coalition with two other parties to expand its parliamentary support and reduce the risk of an early election, while still falling short of a full majority.
Mr Rasmussen served as prime minister in 2009-2011, when he narrowly lost an election to Helle Thorning Schmidt – Denmark’s first female head of government.
Denmark’s public broadcaster, Danmarks Radio (DR), operates two TV networks and national and regional radio stations. It is funded by a licence fee.
TV2, a government-owned commercial broadcaster, operates regional outlets and an internet-based on-demand service. Private stations broadcast via satellite and cable.
There are some 250 local commercial and community radio stations, as well as national and semi-national commercial networks.
Some key dates in Denmark’s history:
- 10th century – Kingdom of Denmark unified and Christianity introduced.
- 1397 – Union of Kalmar unites Denmark, Sweden and Norway under a single monarch. Denmark is the dominant power.
- 1729 – Greenland becomes Danish province.
- 1814 – Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden.
- 1849 – Denmark becomes constitutional monarchy; two-chamber parliament established.
- 1914-18 – Denmark is neutral during World War I.
- 1930s – Welfare state established by governments dominated by social democrats.
- 1939 – Denmark signs 10-year non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany.
- 1940 – Nazi invasion meets virtually no initial resistance. Government accepts occupation in exchange for measure of control over domestic affairs.
- 1943 – A determined campaign by the Danish resistance prompts Germany to take over full control of Danish affairs. Thousands of Danish Jews manage to escape to Sweden.
- 1945 – Germany surrenders and occupation ends. Denmark recognises Iceland’s independence.
- 1949 – Denmark joins Nato.
- 1952 – Denmark becomes founder member of Nordic Council.
- 1959 – Denmark joins European Free Trade Association.
- 1973 – Denmark joins the European Economic Community.
- 1979 – Greenland is granted home rule. Denmark retains control over Greenland’s foreign affairs and defence.
- 2000 – Danes reject adoption of the euro as their national currency.