Saturday, September 18, 2021

Denmark | Introduction

EuropeDenmarkDenmark | Introduction

Culture

Sports are popular in Denmark, with association football reigning supreme as the national sport, followed by gymnastics, (olympic) handball, and golf. Denmark, along with the other Nordic nations, as well as Germany and France, is one of the Handball superpowers, and matches between those teams, as well as world and European cups, are keenly watched by Handball fans.

Another characteristic of Danish culture, as every tourist brochure will tell you, is “Hygge,” which translates as “cozy or snug.” Danes will be quick to point out that this is a uniquely Danish idea that has nothing to do with reality, but it is likely to have a more prominent position in Danish society than in many other nations. It often consists of low-key meals at people’s homes, with lengthy talks over candlelight and red wine in the company of friends and family, although the term is used widely for social engagements.

Another significant element of Danish culture is understatement and humility, which is not only prevalent in Danish behavioral patterns but also a key feature of the renowned Danish design, which favors rigorous minimalism and functionalism over flashiness, and which translates well to the Danish people.

The Danes are a strongly patriotic people, but in a quiet, understated manner. They will gladly welcome tourists to show off their nation, which they are rightfully proud of, but any criticism, no matter how constructive, will not be taken lightly, although most Danes would cheerfully spend hours proving you wrong over a Carlsberg beer, rather than turning angry. It will not go you very far, and if you can persuade anybody of any faults other than taxes being too high, the weather being too terrible, or other trivialities, you should immediately return home and seek for political office. Outsiders on long-term stays are regarded with mistrust by many for the same reasons. As a homogeneous society is often thought to be the key to Denmark’s success, you will frequently hear resident foreigners complain about constant pressure to become more Danish, and the anti-immigrant Danish Peoples Party has seen increasing popularity over the years, taking 21 percent of the votes in the most recent election, making it Denmark’s second largest political party.

As a tourist, you may expect Danes to be polite and helpful, but they will seldom initiate contact and discussions with you on their own. People are often seen as cold, cynical, and even unpleasant, yet this is just on the surface. It may take some time to really become friends with a Dane. If nothing else, go to any pub in town and you’ll be welcomed cordially once the first few drinks have been had.

Drinking alcoholic drinks is, as odd it may seem, an important part of the social life there. Denmark has a relatively permissive stance toward alcohol use, especially when compared to the other Scandinavian nations, both in terms of what is socially and legally permissible. Many social events need alcohol (especially on weekends) and are regarded as a good motivator for relaxing the mood. Drinking is almost certainly the greatest way to get to know a Dane.

Environment

Denmark is often lauded as one of the world’s cleanest nations, yet apart from the ubiquitous bicycles, individual Danes are shockingly unconcerned about the environment, and are responsible for as much greenhouse gas emissions as most other nationalities. As with so many other things, it is viewed as a collective responsibility, and has thus been safely played into the hands of the government, which in turn, with great success under Social Democratic leadership, enacted a series of reforms, primarily green taxation, that made Danish society as a whole (particularly in industrial production) one of the most energy efficient in the world between 1993 and 2001. As it turned out, it was also excellent business, and green technology, including thermostats, wind turbines, and house insulation, has become one of the country’s biggest exports. As a result, green initiatives have exceptionally wide support among the general public and across the political spectrum. Renewable energy, mostly wind power, accounts for 20% of total energy output, a feat made feasible primarily by the shared Nordic energy market and a technologically sophisticated international power infrastructure. Aside from Danish wind energy, this system is also linked to huge hydro energy resources in Norway and Sweden, as well as some of Sweden’s nuclear energy, and it can easily be controlled up and down to compensate for inconsistent wind output.

At the present, wind energy generates more electricity during the night than Danish businesses can use, but not generating enough during the day to cover demand. Solar power installation in residential homes has been aided in recent years by targeted tax breaks to establish a supplementary renewable energy source that operates throughout the day. As a backup, the old coal and oil-based power facilities are maintained operational, and blackouts or brownouts are unimaginable for the Danish people.

Aside from energy production and efficiency, the green sectors of sustainability, re-use, and organic production are also highly prioritized and have been widely adopted in daily life. In terms of population size, the Danes consume the most organic goods in the world. Organically certified alternatives are available in almost all shops and supermarkets.

All of these aspirational green initiatives do have a few practical consequences for travelers:

  • Plastic bags are expensive; DKK 1-5 are non-refundable, so carry a reusable bag with you when you go grocery shopping.
  • Cans and bottles carry a DKK 1-3 deposit, which is refundable at any location that sells bottled beverages.
  • Many toilets now feature half-flush and full-flush buttons; you figure out which to use.
  • Gasoline is subject to a 100 percent (DKK4) tax, with the total price often ranging between DKK9 and DKK11/L.
  • Many counties require you to segregate your trash into ‘biological’ and ‘burnable’ containers.

For the environmentally conscious or simply gastronomically interested traveller, it is worth noting that the rise of organic farming in Denmark has nurtured a thriving and lively grassroots food culture throughout the country, with many high-quality regional specialties made from a variety of agricultural products. Denmark has the world’s second largest consumption of organic goods, behind only Switzerland, and you can get all sorts of organic items, particularly farmer’s produce and dairy, at all major retail shops. Organic is referred to as kologisk in Danish, and organic state-certified goods are labeled in red. When purchasing imported goods, check for the EU-certification, which consists of tiny yellow stars outlining the form of a leaf.

Geography

Denmark is a country in Northern Europe that comprises of the peninsula of Jutland and 443 designated islands (1,419 islands larger than 100 square metres (1,100 sq ft) in total). There are 74 inhabited islands (as of January 2015), with the biggest being Zealand, North Jutlandic Island, and Funen. Bornholm is situated in the Baltic Sea, east of the rest of the nation. Many of the major islands are linked by bridges, including the resund Bridge, which links Zealand with Sweden, the Great Belt Bridge, which connects Funen with Zealand, and the Little Belt Bridge, which connects Jutland with Funen. The smaller islands are connected by ferries or light planes. Copenhagen, the capital of Zealand, Aarhus and Aalborg in Jutland, and Odense in Funen are the biggest cities with populations above 100,000.

The nation has a total land area of 42,924 square kilometers (16,573 sq mi) Inland water covers 700 km2 (270 sq mi), which has been variably reported as 500–700 km2 (193–270 sq m). The biggest lake is Lake Arres, which is located northwest of Copenhagen. Because the water continually erodes and adds material to the shoreline, as well as human land reclamation efforts, the precise amount of the land area cannot be specified (to counter erosion). Post-glacial rebound elevates the ground by less than one centimeter (0.4 inch) each year in the north and east, extending the shoreline. A circle covering the same area as Denmark would be 234 kilometers (145 miles) in diameter and 742 kilometers in circumference (461 mi). It has a 68-kilometer-long (42-mile) border with Germany to the south and is otherwise encircled by 8,750 kilometers (5,437 miles) of tidal coastline (including small bays and inlets). No place in Denmark is more than 52 kilometers from the shore (32 mi). The tide on Jutland’s south-west coast is between 1 and 2 m (3.28 and 6.56 ft), and the tideline swings outward and inward across a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) length. Denmark’s territorial waters cover an area of 105,000 square kilometers (40,541 square miles).

Skagen’s point (the north beach of the Skaw) is located at 57° 45′ 7″ northern latitude; Gedser point (the southern tip of Falster) is located at 54° 33′ 35″ northern latitude; Blvandshuk is located at 8° 4′ 22″ eastern longitude; and sterskr is located at 15° 11′ 55″ eastern longitude. This is in the Ertholmene archipelago, 18 kilometers (11 miles) north-east of Bornholm. The distance from east to west is 452 kilometers (281 miles), while the distance from north to south is 368 kilometers (229 mi).

The nation is flat with minimal elevation, with an average elevation of 31 meters above sea level (102 ft). Mllehj, at 170.86 metres, is the highest natural point (560.56 ft). A significant part of Denmark’s landscape is made up of rolling plains, while the shoreline is sandy, with huge dunes in northern Jutland. Although Denmark was formerly heavily wooded, it now comprises mostly of agricultural terrain. It is drained by a dozen or more rivers, the most important of which are the Guden, Odense, Skjern, Sus, and Vid, which runs along its southern border with Germany.

Greenland, the world’s biggest island, and the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean are both overseas possessions of the Kingdom of Denmark. These self-governing regions are part of the Danish Realm.

Climate

In comparison to other Scandinavian nations, Denmark’s weather is comparatively moderate, yet it is clearly separated into four seasons, each with their unique peculiarities. It is critical for a traveler to understand what to anticipate during their visit, how to dress, and how to organize their stay.

Although snow cover is not always assured throughout the winter months, due to the northern location, daylight hours are almost usually considerably more rare than the lengthy pitch dark nights. Even when the sun is supposed to be shining, the sky are often depressingly gloomy, with thick clouds and little sunshine. These circumstances last for three months, from December through February, with a little respite in November and March. A fortunate day with four to five hours of sunshine may occur once in a while, although temperatures are typically around freezing. The Christmas month of December, on the other hand, may be fascinating for travelers, as the centers of most major towns are adorned and tiny stores spring up in the streets offering mulled wine, pancakes, sugarglazed almonds, and other local specialties. Winter is unquestionably the greatest season for indoor socializing.

Spring arrives in late March or early April, when both the number of daylight hours and the temperature rise rapidly. Warm clothes, as well as rainwear, are still required. Many individuals get a cold at this time of year because their brains are fooled into believing summer has come as soon as the sun shines for a couple of days straight. No, not yet. May is when the trees burst into leaf, and walking through a beech forest during leaf-burst is an unforgettable experience.

Summer came in June, and now the daytime hours greatly outnumber the dark hours. The longest day of the year occurs in late June, lasting up to 18 hours. The sun lies lower on the horizon in these latitudes, so not all hours are as bright as midday, but the Danish summer is defined by “bright nights” (Danish: lyse ntter), and outdoor activities and parties may easily continue into the small hours without anybody noticing the time. If you need to reset your internal clock after a lengthy trip, or if you have early morning meetings and appointments, carry a sleeping mask to block out the light. Summer temperatures in Denmark are moderate; it is seldom too cold (requiring a thick coat) and it is very rarely too hot (over 30-32 degrees Celsius), preventing you from engaging in any outside activity. You may assume that these circumstances make for the ideal summer, but you need keep in mind that the weather changes nearly unexpectedly. Rainy and gloomy days may come and go throughout the summer, so if you intend to visit at this period, be sure you can alter your outdoor plans for inside activities whenever poor weather hits, and you will make the most of your stay. Even while gloomy, overcast, and rainy days, or a sudden burst of thunderclouds, may derail your beach or picnic plans, you can depend on weekly local predictions to a great extent. Change occurs on a daily basis, therefore glancing at the sky in the morning will give you a good and dependable indication of what the day will be like.

Autumn begins to come in September, but bright, sunny days may frequently be found into October, making these months ideal for a visit. Just be sure to pack appropriate clothing, since colder and windier weather is becoming more frequent. November signals the unmistakable end of any summer; the trees are now all red, yellow, and orange, and cold fall winds will soon sweep the leaves away.

Demographics

Denmark’s population, as defined by Statistics Denmark, was projected to be 5,707,251 in January 2016. The median age is 41.4 years, and there are 0.97 men for every female. The overall fertility rate is 1.73 children born per woman; despite the low birth rate, the population continues to increase at a 0.22 percent yearly pace. Notably, Denmark has relatively few Down Syndrome infants, with 98 percent of DS pregnancies terminated in 2014. Denmark’s population is often ranked as the happiest in the world by the World Happiness Report. This is due to the country’s highly respected education and health-care systems, as well as its low degree of economic disparity.

Denmark has a long history of homogeneity. However, Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbors, has lately transitioned from a net emigration country until World War II to a net immigration nation. Today, the majority of immigrants to Denmark are asylum seekers and those who come as family members. Furthermore, Denmark welcomes a large number of people from Western nations, particularly the Nordic countries, the EU, and North America, who seek residence to work or study for a certain length of time. Several tens of thousands of employees from the new EU accession countries, particularly Poland and the Baltic states, have recently come to do menial labor in construction, agriculture, consumer sectors, and cleaning. Overall, the net migration rate in 2015 was 2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population, which was similar to the United Kingdom but much lower than other North European nations, with the exception of the Baltic states.

There are no official statistics on ethnic groupings, however according to Statistics Denmark data from 2016, about 87.7 percent of the population was of Danish ancestry, defined as having at least one parent born in Denmark and holding Danish citizenship. The remaining 12.3 percent were of a foreign origin, classified as recent immigrants or their descendants. Poland, Turkey, Germany, Iraq, Romania, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia and its successor nations were the most frequent countries of origin, according to the same criteria.

Religion

In January 2016, 76.9 percent of the Danish population belonged to the Church of Denmark (Den Danske Folkekirke), the country’s legally recognized Lutheran church. This is a 0.9 percent decrease from the previous year and a 1.5 percent decrease from two years ago. Despite the high membership numbers, just 3% of the population attends Sunday services on a regular basis, and only 19% of Danes regard religion to be a significant part of their lives.

The Royal Family is required under the Constitution to be members of the Church of Denmark, although the rest of the population is free to practice their religion. In 1682, the state gave limited recognition to three religious organizations that disagreed with the Established Church: Roman Catholicism, the Reformed Church, and Judaism, but conversion from the Church of Denmark to these groups remained illegal at the time. The state officially recognized “religious societies” by royal edict until the 1970s. Religious organizations no longer need formal government registration; they may be given the authority to conduct marriages and other ceremonies without it. Muslims in Denmark constitute about 3.7 percent of the population, making them the country’s second biggest religious group and largest minority religion. According to the Danish Foreign Ministry, other religious groups account for less than 1% of the population individually and about 2% when considered as a whole.

According to a 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, 28 percent of Danish people questioned “think there is a God,” 47 percent “feel there is some kind of spirit or life force,” and 24 percent “do not believe there is any form of spirit, God, or life force.” Another survey, conducted in 2009, showed that 25% of Danes think Jesus is God’s son, and 18% believe he is the world’s savior.

Economy

Denmark has a sophisticated mixed economy that the World Bank classifies as a high-income country. It is ranked 18th in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 6th in terms of nominal GDP per capita. Denmark’s economy is ranked among the freest in the Index of Economic Freedom and the World Economic Freedom Index. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014–2015, it is the 13th most competitive economy in the world and the 8th most competitive in Europe.

Denmark has the world’s fourth highest proportion of postsecondary degree holders. In terms of workers’ rights, the nation ranks first in the world. In 2009, GDP per hour worked was the 13th highest in the world. The nation has market income disparity that is similar to the OECD average, but income inequality after governmental cash transfers is extremely low. Denmark has the world’s highest minimum wage, according to the International Monetary Fund. [109] Because Denmark has no minimum wage law, the high pay floor has been ascribed to trade union strength. Workers at McDonald’s and other fast food chains, for example, earn the equivalent of US$20 per hour as a result of a collective bargaining agreement between the 3F trade union and the employers group Horesta, which is more than double what their counterparts earn in the United States, and have access to five weeks’ paid vacation, parental leave, and a pension plan.

Previously a mainly agricultural nation due to its arable terrain, Denmark has significantly increased its industrial base after 1945, with industry contributing about 25% of GDP in 2006 and agriculture contributing less than 2%. Iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, and construction are all major industries. The following are the country’s major exports: industrial production/manufactured goods (73.3 percent), equipment and instruments (21.4 percent), and fuels (oil, natural gas), chemicals, etc. (26 percent); agricultural products and others for consumption (18.7 percent) (in 2009 meat and meat products were 5.5 percent of total export; fish and fish products 2.9 percent ). Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy, and it has had a balance-of-payments surplus for many years while carrying a foreign debt equal to roughly 39% of GDP, or more than DKK 300 billion.

The end of mercantilism was marked by the relaxation of import duties in 1797, and subsequent liberalisation in the 19th and early 20th centuries created the Danish liberal heritage in international commerce, which was only destroyed by the 1930s. Even when other countries, such as Germany and France, increased agricultural protection due to increased American competition, resulting in much lower agricultural prices after 1870, Denmark maintained its free trade policies because the country profited from cheap imports of cereals (used as feedstuffs for cattle and pigs) and could increase exports of butter and meat. Denmark is now a member of the European Union’s internal market, which has more than 508 million customers. Several local business policies are influenced by agreements between European Union (EU) members and EU law. The Danish population strongly supports free trade; in a 2007 survey, 76 percent said globalization is a positive thing. 70% of trade flows are inside the European Union. Denmark’s top export partners in 2014 were Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Norway.

Denmark’s currency, the krone (DKK), is linked to the euro at about 7.46 kroner per euro through the ERM. Although a vote in September 2000 rejected adopting the euro, the nation follows the objectives outlined in the European Union’s Economic and Monetary Union and fulfills the economic convergence requirements required to join the euro. The majority of political parties in the Folketing favor adopting the euro, but despite preparations, a fresh referendum has yet to be conducted; Danish voters’ skepticism of the EU has traditionally been high.

Denmark is home to a number of global corporations, including A.P. Mller-Mrsk (international shipping), Arla Foods (dairy), Lego Group (toys), Danfoss (industrial services), Carlsberg Group (beer), Vestas (wind turbines), and the pharmaceutical firms Leo Pharma and Novo Nordisk.