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Introduction

National Coat of arms of Denmark.svg

Denmark (Danish: Danmark, pronounced [ˈdanmɑɡ] (About this sound listen)), officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. The sovereign state is south-west of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5,781,190 ().

The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway were ruled together as one realm under the Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523. The areas of Denmark and Norway remained under the same monarch until 1814, often referred to as the Dano-Norwegian Realm, or simply Denmark-Norway. After the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was ceded to Sweden, while Denmark kept the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. Beginning in the 17th century, there were several devastating wars with the Swedish Empire, ending with large cessions of territory to Sweden. In the 19th century there was a surge of nationalist movements, which were defeated in the 1864 Second Schleswig War. Denmark remained neutral during World War I. In April 1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945. An industrialised exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms in the early 20th century that created the basis for the present welfare state model with a highly developed mixed economy.

The Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy, which had begun in 1660. It establishes a constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary democracy. The government and national parliament are seated in Copenhagen, the nation's capital, largest city, and main commercial centre. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs. Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948; in Greenland home rule was established in 1979 and further autonomy in 2009. Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community (now the EU) in 1973, maintaining certain opt-outs; it retains its own currency, the krone. It is among the founding members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, and the United Nations; it is also part of the Schengen Area.

Selected biography

Ole Rømer.

Ole Rømer (September 25, 1644 – September 19, 1710) was a Danish astronomer who made the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light (1676).

Rømer was employed by the French government: King Louis XIV made him teacher for the Dauphin, and he also took part in the construction of the magnificent fountains at Versailles.

In 1681, he returned to Denmark and was appointed professor of Astronomy at Copenhagen University. He was active also as an observer, both at the University Observatory at the Rundetårn and in his home, using improved instruments of his own construction. Unfortunately, his observations have not survived: they were lost in the great fire of Copenhagen in 1728. However, a former assistant (and later an astronomer in his own right), Peder Horrebow, loyally described and wrote about Rømer's observations.


Recently selected: Hans Christian Ørsted - Bjørn Lomborg - Tycho Brahe


Selected image

Coat of arms of King Christian III of Denmark. Illustration from the first Danish-language Bible (1550).
The first Danish language Bible was published in 1550. One page shows the coat of arms of Denmark's first Protestant monarch; King Christian III.

Image credit: Jakob Binck. 1550

Selected article

Lego bricks
Lego (trademarked LEGO) is a line of construction toys manufactured by the Lego Group, a privately held company based in Billund, Denmark. The company's flagship product, Lego, consists of colorful interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of gears, minifigures and various other parts. Lego bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects. The bricks, originally manufactured from cellulose acetate, were a development of traditional stackable wooden blocks that locked together by means of several round studs on top and a hollow rectangular bottom. The blocks snapped together, but not so tightly that they required extraordinary effort to be separated.

The toys were originally designed in the late 1940s in Denmark and have achieved an international appeal, with an extensive subculture that supports Lego movies, games, video games, competitions, and four Lego themed amusement parks.

Selected place

View of The Old Town
The Old Town in Aarhus is an open-air village museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country. In 1914 the museum opened for the first time as the worlds’ first open-air museum of its kind and till this day it remains one of just a few top rated Danish museums outside Copenhagen serving some 3.5 million visitors every year.

The museum buildings are organized into a small village of chiefly half-timbered structures originally erected between 1550 and the late 1800s in various parts of the country and later moved to Aarhus during the 1900s. There are several groceries, diners and workshops spread throughout the village with museum staff working in the roles of typical village figures i.e. merchant, blacksmith etc. adding to the illusion of a "living" village.

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