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DENMARK – GENERAL INFORMATION

   
                      Fig.1 – Denmark Flag

GEOGRAPHY

Located in Northern Europe, Denmark consists of the peninsula of Jutland and 443 named islands (1,419 islands above 100 square meters (1,100 sq ft) in total). Of these, 72 are inhabited, with the largest being Zealand, the North Jutlandic Island, and Funen. The island of Bornholm is located east of the rest of the country, in the Baltic Sea. Many of the larger islands are connected by bridges; the Øresund Bridge connects Zealand with Sweden; the Great Belt Bridge connects Funen with Zealand; and the Little Belt Bridge connects Jutland with Funen. Ferries or small aircraft connect to the smaller islands. The largest cities with populations over 100,000 are the capital Copenhagen on Zealand; Aarhus and Aalborg in Jutland; and Odense on Funen.

The country occupies a total area of 43,094 square kilometres (16,639 sq mi) The area of inland water is 700 km2 (270 sq mi). The size of the land area cannot be stated exactly since the ocean constantly erodes and adds material to the coastline, and because of human land reclamation projects (to counter erosion). A circle enclosing the same area as Denmark would be 234 kilometres (more than 145 miles) in diameter with a circumference of 742 km (461 mi). It shares a border of 68 kilometres (42 mi) with Germany to the south and is otherwise surrounded by 8,750 km (5,437 mi) of tidal shoreline (including small bays and inlets). No location in Denmark is further from the coast than 52 km (32 mi). On the south-west coast of Jutland, the tide is between 1 and 2 m (3.28 and 6.56 ft), and the tideline moves outward and inward on a 10 km (6.2 mi) stretch.

HISTORY

Credit: Central Intelligence Agency

The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. Danish rule over the personal Kalmar Union, established in 1397, ended with Swedish secession in 1523. The following year, Denmark entered into a union with Norway until its dissolution in 1814. Denmark inherited an expansive colonial empire from this union, of which the Faroe Islands and Greenland are remnants. Beginning in the 17th century, there were several sessions of territory; these culminated in the 1830s with 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 industrialized exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labor-market reforms in the early 20th century, making the basis for the present welfare state model with a highly developed mixed economy.

THE PEOPLE

According to 2012 figures from Statistics Denmark, 89.6% of Denmark’s population of over 5,580,516 is of Danish descent (defined as having at least one parent who was born in Denmark and has Danish citizenship). Many of the remaining 10.4% are immigrants—or descendants of recent immigrants—that came mainly from Turkey, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Asia and the Middle East. Of the 10.4%, approximately 200,000 (34%) are of a Western background, and approx. 390,000 (66%) have a non-Western background (primarily Turkey, Iraq, Romani, Somalia, Pakistan, Iran, and Thailand).

Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the country ranks highly in numerous comparisons of national performance, including education, health care, protection of civil liberties, democratic governance, prosperity and human development. Denmark is frequently ranked as the happiest country in the world in cross-national studies of happiness. The country ranks as having the world’s highest social mobility, a high level of income equality, has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, and has one of the world’s highest personal income tax rates. A large majority of Danes are members of the National Church, though the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

Religion:

On January 2014, 78.4% of the populations of Denmark were members of the Church of Denmark (Den Danske Folkekirke), the officially established church, which is Lutheran in tradition. This is down 0.7% compared to the year earlier and 1.3% down compared to two years earlier. Despite the high membership figures, only 3% of the populations regularly attend Sunday services.

Roskilde Cathedral has been the burial place of Danish royalty since the 15th century. In 1995 it became a World Heritage Site.

The Constitution states that a member of the Royal Family must be a member of the Church of Denmark, though the rest of the population is free to adhere to other faiths. In 1682 the state granted limited recognition to three religious groups dissenting from the Established Church: Roman Catholicism, the Reformed Church and Judaism, although conversion to these groups from the Church of Denmark remained illegal initially. Until the 1970s, the state formally recognized “religious societies” by royal decree. Today, religious groups do not need official government recognition; they can be granted the right to perform weddings and other ceremonies without this recognition.

Denmark’s Muslims make up approximately 3% of the population and form the country’s second largest religious community and largest minority religion. As of 2009 there are nineteen recognized Muslim communities in Denmark. As per an overview of various religions and denominations by the Danish Foreign Ministry, other religious groups comprise less than 1% of the population individually and approximately 2% when taken all together.

According to a 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, 28% of Danish citizens polled responded that they “believe there is a God”, 47% responded that they “believe there is some sort of spirit or life force” and 24% responded that they “do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force”.

SOCIAL CONVENTIONS

Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbors, has historically been one of the most socially progressive cultures in the world. In 1969, Denmark was the first country to legalize pornography, and in 2012, Denmark replaced its “registered partnership” laws, which it had been the first country to introduce in 1989, with gender-neutral marriage. Modesty, punctuality, but above all, equality are important aspects of the Danish way of life.

LANGUAGES

Danish is the de facto national language of Denmark and the official language of the Kingdom of Denmark. Faroese, and Greenlandic are the official regional languages of the Faroe Islands and Greenland respectively. German is a recognized minority language in the area of the former South Jutland County (now part of the Region of Southern Denmark), which was part of the German Empire prior to the Treaty of Versailles.

Danish and Faroese belong to the North Germanic (Nordic) branch of the Indo-European languages, along with Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish. The languages are so closely related that it is possible for Danish, Norwegian and Swedish speakers to understand each other with relatively little effort. Danish is more distantly related to German, which is a West Germanic language. Greenlandic or “Kalaallisut” belongs to the Eskimo–Aleut languages; it is closely related to the Inuit languages in Canada, such as Inuktitut, and entirely unrelated to Danish.

A large majority (86%) of Danes speak English as a second language. German is the second-most spoken foreign language, with 47% reporting a conversational level of proficiency. Denmark had 25,900 native German speakers in 2007 (mostly in the Southern Jutland region).

GOVERNMENT

The Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy which had begun in 1660. It establishes a constitutional monarchy—the current monarch is Queen Margrethe II—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. Denmark became a member of the European Union 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.

TIME ZONE

Local time is GMT/ITC +1 hour
ELECTRICITY

Denmark uses Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)

Primary Socket Type: Danish

Others sometimes found: Europlug

Adapter for “Type K” Danish SRAF 1962/DB

Adapter for “Type C” European CEE 7/16 Europlug

CLIMATE

Denmark has a temperate climate, characterized by mild winters, with mean temperatures in January of 1.5 °C (34.7 °F), and cool summers, with a mean temperature in August of 17.2 °C (63.0 °F).  Denmark has an average of 179 days per year with precipitation, on average receiving a total of 765 millimetres (30 in) per year; autumn is the wettest season and spring the driest.

Because of Denmark’s northern location, there are large seasonal variations in daylight. There are short days during the winter with sunrise coming around 8:45 am and sunset 3:45 pm (standard time), as well as long summer days with sunrise at 4:30 am and sunset at 10 pm (daylight saving time).

The Faroe Islands has a mean temperature in January of 4.5 °C (40.1 °F), in July the mean temperature was 10.1 in 2012 and all that year it was 6.7 °C (44.1 °F). In 2012 the Faroe Islands had 195 days with precipitation and received a total of 1,262 millimeters (50 in) that year.

Clothes to Wear:

Lightweight clothes during summer months. Sweaters and/or light coats are needed on some days and for evenings. Waterproofs are advised yearround. Winter months are cold and often wet, so normal winter wear will be required.

LOGISTICAL

Entry & Exit Requirements:

Denmark is a party to the Schengen Agreement. As such, U.S. citizens may enter Denmark for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. For further details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen Fact sheet.

For all other purposes, you need a visa, which you must get from a Danish Embassy or Consulate before entering Denmark. For further information concerning visas and entry requirements for Denmark, you may contact the Embassy of Denmark at 3200 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008, or via telephone at (202)234-4300.

Embassy Locations:

Embassy for the United States

Dag Hammarskjölds Allé 24,

2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

+45 33 41 71 00

Embassy for Canada

Kr. Bernikows Gade 1

1105 Copenhagen, Denmark

+45 33 48 32 00

Health:

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or via the CDC website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.  For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/topics/ infectious_diseases/en/.  The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

 Banks & Currency:

The krone (sign: kr.; code: DKK) is the official currency of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, introduced on 1 January 1875. The ISO code “DKK” and currency sign “kr.” are in common use; the former precedes the value, the latter in some contexts follows it. The currency is sometimes referred to as the Danish crown in English, since krone literally means crown. Historically, krone coins have been minted in Denmark since the 17th century.

One krone is subdivided into 100 øre; the name øre possibly deriving from Latin aureus meaning “gold coin”. Altogether there are eleven denominations of the krone, with the smallest being the 50 øre coin, which is valued at one half of a krone. Formerly there were more øre coins, but those were discontinued due to inflation.

The krone is pegged to the euro via the ERM II, the European Union’s exchange rate mechanism. Adoption of the euro is favoured by the major political parties, however a 2000 referendum on joining the Eurozone was defeated with 46.8% voting yes and 53.2% voting no.

International credit cards are accepted in major establishments. As in all of Europe carries some cash for small purchases.

You can withdraw cash from bank ATMs in Denmark with Visa, Cirrus, Euro or MasterCard and you will be notified, before the withdrawal, of any charges you may incur. Most ATMs can be used 24/7.

International credit cards can be used in restaurants, hotels, petrol stations and shops, but the company has the right to charge you an extra fee. Not all of them do and you will be notified before making a payment, if an extra fee will be charged.

Many smaller shops and supermarkets do not accept international credit cards.

Blocking your credit card

If you lose your credit card, you can block its use by calling the relevant number below:

Acceptcard: +45 35 86 77 77

American Express: +45 80 01 00 21

Dankort: +45 44 89 29 29

Diners Club: +45 36 73 73 73

Eurocard: +45 44 89 27 50

Visa: +45 80 01 85 88

Communication:

International: Excellent telephone and telegraph services

Domestic: buried and submarine cables and microwave radio relay form trunk network, multiple cellular mobile communications systems

International: country code – 45; a series of fiber-optic submarine cables link Denmark with Canada, Faroe Islands, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and UK; satellite earth stations – 18 (6 Intelsat, 10 Eutelsat, 1 Orion, 1 Inmarsat (Blaavand-Atlantic-East));

Internet code: dk

 Cell Phone Usage:

Please contact your cell phone provider to determine whether your contract includes coverage in the country you are visiting. Depending on your contract you may have to add international services and/or country specific services.

ENTERTAINMENT

Food & Drink:

The cuisine of Denmark, like that of the other Nordic countries and of Northern Germany, consists mainly of meat and fish. This stems from the country’s agricultural past, its geography, and its climate of long, cold winters. With 145.9 kg (321.7 lb) of meat per person consumed in 2002, Denmark has the highest consumption of meat per person of any country in the world.

The open sandwiches, known as smørrebrød, which in their basic form are the usual fare for lunch, can be considered a national specialty when prepared and decorated with a variety of fine ingredients. Hot meals traditionally consist of ground meats, such as frikadeller (meat balls), or of more substantial meat and fish dishes such as flæskesteg (roast pork with crackling) or kogt torsk (poached cod) with mustard sauce and trimmings. In 2014, stegt flæsk was voted the national dish of Denmark. Denmark is known for its Carlsberg and Tuborg beers and for its akvavit and bitters although imported wine is now gaining popularity.

Danish chefs, inspired by continental practices, have in recent years developed an innovative series of gourmet dishes based on high-quality local produce. As a result, Copenhagen and the provinces now have a considerable number of highly acclaimed restaurants of which several have been awarded Michelin stars. Copenhagen restaurant Noma has been ranked best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Nightlife:

Nightlife in Copenhagen is a late affair and live gigs rarely get going on weekends until long after midnight. The city’s ever-changing range of clubs and bars caters to all tastes, though, from pop and cutting-edge dance music to world-class jazz . Copenhagen also offers a number of restaurant-to-bar ‘hybrids’ that change mood and function over the course of an evening. There is no one defined nightlife area, although Nyhavn, Boltens Gaard and Vesterbro are popular. Copenhagen This Week (www.ctw.dk) and Wonderful Copenhagen website (www.visitcopenhagen.com) both provide nightlife and cultural event listings.

Shopping:

Shops are generally open 9/10am – 5.30/6pm Monday to Thursday, closing later on Fridays (7/8pm) and earlier on Saturdays (1/2pm). Some shops stay open until 5pm on Saturdays in Copenhagen and larger towns.

Many grocery stores are open until 9pm. A few kiosks hold late hours, and the 7-11 chain is open 24 hours.

Sunday opening: Many larger shops and department stores are also open on Sundays, except on national and bank holidays, constitution day (5 June), Christmas Eve and until 3pm on New Years Eve. Super markets with a yearly turnover of less than DKK31.4 million are allowed to stay open every day of the year.

BAGGAGE

Baggage rules for international and domestic air travel have changed much in recent years, differ from carrier to carrier and these days even may cover your on-board bags. Checking luggage may cost a separate fee or may be free depending on your personal status with the carrier. We therefore encourage you to read your ticket’s small print and/or contact your carrier for exact rules.

TIPPING

As in most of Europe tipping isn’t expected in Denmark. However, if you receive exceptional service, which meets or exceeds your standards, tipping would be appropriate. People in the service industry may refuse your tip at first, but they are just being polite. If you want to leave a tip, insist.

LAUNDRY

Laundry service is available at most hotels in the main centers. Generally you should allow about 24-hours before the item is returned to you, however, some have an emergency service available at an extra charge.

PHOTOS & VIDEOS

In some countries you must refrain from photographing sites such as Military bases and industrial installations. Also be aware of cultural sensitivities when taking pictures of or near churches and other religious sites. It is always courteous to ask for permission before taking photographs of people.

USE OF DRONES 

The use of drones is being legislated by many countries. In some cases drones are already forbidden and their unauthorized use may carry severe penalties. If you plan to travel with a drone please contact the embassy or consulate of the country you wish to visit.

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