The Kingdom of Denmark lies between Central Europe and Scandinavia. The only land border of the peninsula and island state is with Schleswig-Holstein, where a small Danish minority also lives. The capital Copenhagen is located on the island of Zealand in the Öresund.
Denmark has a highly developed fishery and agriculture with predominant livestock breeding. Important branches of the predominantly processing industry are the food and beverage industry, shipbuilding, the furniture industry and mechanical and plant engineering. A well-developed transport network underlines the state’s bridging function. Denmark includes the self-governing areas of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, which, unlike the mother country, are not part of the European Union.
Abbreviated as DK by ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Denmark is a bridge between Central Europe and Scandinavia (Fig. 1). Except for the common land border with Germany in the south, Denmark is a peninsula and island state between two seas: in the west the country borders on the North Sea, in the north and northeast on the Baltic Sea exits Skagerrak and Kattegatt. The eastern part of the country and the offshore islands as well as the island of Bornholm are in the western Baltic Sea. The capital Copenhagen is located on the island of Zealand in the Öresund. Denmark is part of the European Union, but not the euro area. The national territory also includes the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic and Greenland, which is geographically part of North America. who both govern themselves.
The Jutland peninsula accounts for almost two thirds of Denmark’s land area. The remaining third consists of about 480 islands, of which around 100 are inhabited. The largest islands are Læsø in the North Sea, Zealand, Fyn, Langeland, Møn, Lolland and Falster between the Kattegat and the Baltic Sea, as well as the Baltic Sea island Bornholm off southern Sweden.
Between Jutland, which ends with Cape Skagen in the north, and southern Sweden, three straits lead through the large islands into the Baltic Sea: the Little Belt, the Great Belt and the Øresund. In large parts Denmark is lowland, a continuation of the North German lowlands. That is why the surface forms here also consist of ice and post-ice age deposits. In the west lie the Jutland heathland, interspersed with Geest islands and leveled ground moraines . In the east there are more strongly formed ground moraines with fertile loam hills. There is also the highest point in the country at 173 m.
The coastal forms are differentiated: the wadden and marshland coast near the German border is followed by a compensatory coast with dune-covered spits on the North Sea. The coasts of the Baltic Sea islands often have a lagoon character, while the east coast of Jutland is the continuation of the north German fjord coast with good natural harbors. Only on Bornholm was the basement exposed by the inland ice in the Pleistocene. That is why granite and gneiss come to light here.
Climate and vegetation
Denmark has a maritime climate with prevailing westerly and southwest winds with cool summers and mild winters and a relatively high humidity (Fig. 3). The mean temperatures are around 16 to 18 °C in summer and around 0 °C in winter. The annual precipitation totals decrease from the west by about 800 mm to the east (on Bornholm 450 mm).
Denmark lies on the northern border of the Central European deciduous forest region. However, only a good 10% of the country is forested. Almost two thirds of the land area is used for agriculture and horticulture today.
Self-governing areas in the cold north
The Faroe Islands are located in the North Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland. Of the 25 rock islands and numerous skerries with a total area of 1399 km², only 17 are inhabited. 45400 people live on them. On the largest island, Streymoy, is the capital Tórshavn, where around a third of the island’s residents live. The Faroese language, which is closely related to Icelandic, is an official language alongside Danish.
Due to the effects of the Gulf Stream, the climate is relatively mild despite the high latitude, but very humid. Treeless moors and heaths therefore determine the landscape. The mostly steep coasts are strongly divided by fjords. The main branch of business and industry is fishing, especially for cod and herring, and fish processing, even before sheep farming, which used to dominate . With an area of around 2.2 million km², Greenland is the largest island on earth. Geographically, it belongs to the arctic part of North America.
The Vikings, who were the first Europeans to discover the island around 875, called it “green land” (Danish: Grønland). At that time, the climatic conditions apparently were even more favorable than today.
There are currently around 56,000 Greenlanders living on the island. The capital Nuuk, in Danish Godthåb, is located on the southwest coast of the island.
Greenland is more than 80% covered by ice all year round. The ice-free area is mainly close to the coast, where high marginal mountains rise up to 3700 m in the east in Gunnbjørns Fjeld. The ice sheet reaches a thickness of more than 3 km. In the north and west, the glaciers reach the coast and slide into the sea. Here they “calve” huge icebergs through the breaking ice. There is a polar climate in the ice sheet and in the north . Even in summer, the average temperature does not exceed 0 °C. The south has a somewhat milder climate with July temperatures around 7 °C and a February mean of around –8 °C.
Fishing for fish and seals are still the main sources of income. However, mining is becoming increasingly important. Large deposits of petroleum, copper, gold and other valuable raw materials have been discovered under the ice sheet. More are suspected.
The future prospects associated with mining have sustainably strengthened the independence movement on the island, but also called environmentalists on the scene due to the threat of environmental pollution.
Important data about the country
|43 094 km²
|125 residents / km²
|Growth of population:
|about 0.2% / year
(men / women)
|Form of government:
|Danish and Faroese as official languages
|Protestants 90%, Catholic and other minorities
|humid maritime climate with cool summers and precipitation decreasing to the east
|Arable land 59%, pasture land 4%, forest 10%
|Agriculture 2.1%, industry 26.4%, services 71.5%
|Meat and meat products, machines and apparatus, medical and pharmaceutical products, fishery products
|Gross domestic product:
|US $ 211,888 million (2003)
|Gross National Product:
|US $ 33,570 / residents (2003)
Economy and Transport
The former agricultural country of Denmark has developed into a modern industrial state after the Second World War. The efficiency of industry and the efficient service sector makes Denmark, measured by GNP / residents, One of the richest countries in the world.
In the Danish economy, agriculture and forestry, including fishing, are still of great importance, albeit with a decreasing trend. The intensive arable production on the fertile moraine landscapes produces mainly grain (barley and wheat) and root crops (potatoes, sugar beets). Nurseries that grow flowers and ornamental plants are playing an increasing role.
However, almost half of the total value of agricultural production comes from the livestock industry, which is also an important source of foreign currency for the country. Pig breeding is in the foreground. In Denmark, the so-called Bacon pig is bred for the British market.
Mining and industry
Denmark is a country poor in natural resources. The exception is the oil production off the North Sea coast, which is increasingly helping to reduce the country’s dependence on the export of energy sources. In addition, the use of renewable energy sources is promoted. Danish manufacturers have been leaders in the development and production of wind turbines for years.
In the diverse industry, the production of food and luxury goods such as canned food, sugar, margarine, chocolate, beer and other alcoholic beverages, and of consumer goods (textiles, clothing, furniture) traditionally play an important role. There is also an important metal processing industry with mechanical engineering and shipbuilding. The country’s chemical industry mainly produces fertilizers and pharmaceuticals.
By far the most important industrial location is the Copenhagen metropolitan area. The main trading partners are Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Norway and the USA. Tourism is of increasing importance for the country . Most of the tourists come from Sweden and Germany. Your preferred destinations are the dune areas and islands of West Jutland, the capital Copenhagen and the climatically favorable island of Bornholm rich in cultural monuments.
Denmark has, also due to its bridging function, a very well developed transport network. Bridges connect Jutland with the large islands and the islands with each other. Since 1998 there has been an approximately 18 km long system of bridges and tunnels that connect Fyn with Zealand. With the completion of the large Øresund Bridge in 1999, Central Europe is connected to Sweden via tunnels and bridges via Denmark. In addition, several ferry lines connect Denmark with Germany. They lead across the Fehmarnbelt (Vogelfluglinie) and from Gedser to Rostock. The largest port and center of air traffic is Copenhagen. Other important ports are in Århus, Frederikshavn, Esbjerg and Ålborg.
around 800: King GÖTTRIK forms an early Danish state.
around 1016: Under KNUD THE GREAT, the Danish North Sea Empire, to which Norway, England and parts of northern Germany belonged, reached its greatest extent.
1397 to 1523: The Danish Queen MARGARET brings about the Kalmar Union, which includes the three Scandinavian kingdoms Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
1536: Beginning of the introduction of the Reformation in Denmark.
1814: Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden and Heligoland to Great Britain.
1848/50: 1st German-Danish war for the annexation of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein to Denmark, which ends with the victory of the Danes
1864: The 2nd German-Danish War ends after the defeat of Denmark with the cession of the two duchies and the principality of Lauenburg on the Elbe to Prussia and Austria.
1918: Iceland separates from Denmark and becomes an independent kingdom.
1940–45: Occupation by German troops during World War II.
1972: MARGARETHE II becomes queen.
1973: Accession to the EC, later (1993) to the EU
2000: In a referendum, the Danes reject joining the euro zone.