Denmark is a prosperous and thriving nation of 5.5 million people – and as an independent country since the late 10th century, it is also one Europe’s oldest states. Denmark’s political system is one of constitutional monarchy, allowing it to combine its nearly 1,000 years of history and tradition with all the features of a modern democratic state.
Denmark is the southernmost country in Scandinavia, and its territory incorporates the Jutland Peninsula and around 406 islands (approximately 80 of which are inhabited). The largest of these islands is Zealand, which is also the site of the capital, Copenhagen. Denmark is bordered to the west by the North Sea, and its islands are located on the sea lane from the Baltic to the main oceans of the world, as well as the trade route from the Nordic countries to Central Europe. Throughout its entire history this position has influenced the development of Denmark’s trade, as well as Denmark’s political and military strategy.
Greenland and the Faroe Islands are parts of the kingdom of Denmark. Relations between Scandinavian Denmark and the two North Atlantic entities are close. Both Greenland and the Faroe Islands enjoy extended self rule.
Historically Denmark has had a tremendous impact particularly on England, as the Danish tribe the Angles (from which the word England is derived) and their cousins from northern Germany the Saxons conquered England in the 5th century. Further, at the time of the Vikings, Danes colonized much of England, forming an eastern tier of England. Indeed, Canute, a Danish Viking King created an empire that included either directly or by proxy England, Denmark, Norway, Scotland, and Ireland. Canute (Cnut in Danish) was known for bringing peace and prosperity to England and for his wisdom. Later in history, the Normans, who descended from Danish Vikings settling the area of Normandy and Brittany in France, went on to conquer and rule England.
Copenhagen is the capital of the Kingdom of Denmark and is known as the City of Beautiful Towers. Copenhagen is thousands of years old. It was important even prior to the time of the Vikings because it had a good harbor.
In ancient times it was called Kømædenes Havn or in English the Merchants harbor. The name over time was shortened to København, as it is now known to the Danes.
The warrior Bishop Absalon of Roskilde fortified the walls of København in 1167 AD. The area of Slotsholmen, or Old Copenhagen, dates back to this time.
Slotsholmen is on an island connected by 9 bridges. Nyhavn is what used to be the rough and tumble seaman’s section of town, but now it is a very fancy tourist attraction with numerous restaurants. The little mermaid is of course in tribute to one of Denmark’s greatest authors, Hans Christian Andersen.
Rådhuspladsen is the town hall, a popular meeting place to begin a night out on the town. Also above are Tivoli, a amusement park artfully made in the middle of Copenhagen next to the main train station.
Other sites about Denmark
Other sites about Copenhagen