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Denmark , officially the Kingdom of Denmark (Danish: Kongeriget Danmark, ˈd̥ɛnmɑɡ̊]), is a sovereign state in Northern Europe, located south-west of Sweden, south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom has two autonomous constituent countries in the north Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. At 43,094 square kilometres (16,638.69 sq mi), and a population of around 5.6 million inhabitants, Denmark consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and the Danish archipelago of 407 islands, of which around 70 are inhabited, are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts with little elevation and a temperate climate. The national language, Danish, is closely related to Swedish and Norwegian.

  • Geographical data

    • Located in Northern Europe, Denmark consists of the peninsula of Jutland and 443 named islands (1,419 islands above 100 square metres (1,100 sq ft) in total). Of these, 72 are inhabited, with the largest being Zealand 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.

      Denmark occupies an area of 43,094 square kilometres (16,638.69 sq mi). The size of the land area of Denmark 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). It shares a border of 68 kilometres (42 mi) with Germany to the south and is otherwise surrounded by 7,314 km (4,545 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.

      Denmark's northernmost point is Skagen's point (the north beach of the Skaw) at 57° 45' 7" northern latitude; the southernmost is Gedser point (the southern tip of Falster) at 54° 33' 35" northern latitude; the westernmost point is Blåvandshuk at 8° 4' 22" eastern longitude; and the easternmost point is Østerskær at 15° 11' 55" eastern longitude. This is in the archipelago Ertholmene 18 kilometres (11 mi) north-east of Bornholm. The distance from east to west is 452 kilometres (281 mi), from north to south 368 kilometres (229 mi).

      The country is flat with little elevation; having an average height above sea level of 31 metres (102 ft). The highest natural point is Møllehøj, at 170.86 metres (560.56 ft). The area of inland water is 700 km2 (270 sq mi).

      Phytogeographically, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands) belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Arctic, Atlantic European, and Central European provinces of the Circumboreal Region. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the territory of metropolitan Denmark can be subdivided into two ecoregions: the Atlantic mixed forests and Baltic mixed forests. The Faroe Islands are covered by the Faroe Islands boreal grasslands, while Greenland hosts the ecoregions of Kalaallit Nunaat high arctic tundra and Kalaallit Nunaat low arctic tundra.

  • Demographics

    • 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—from neighbouring countries, 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.

      The median age is 41.4 years, with 0.97 males per female. 99% of the population (age 15 and up) is literate. The fertility rate is 1.73 children born per woman (2013 est.). Despite the low birth rate, the population is still growing at an average annual rate of 0.23%.

      Danish, Faroese, and Greenlandic are the official languages of mainland Denmark, the Faroes, and Greenland, respectively; German is an official minority language in the former South Jutland County near the German border. Danish is spoken throughout the kingdom and is the national language of Denmark. English and German are the most widely spoken foreign languages.

      Denmark is frequently ranked as the happiest country in the world in cross-national studies of happiness.

  • Administrative divisions

    • Denmark proper is divided into five regions (Danish: regioner, singular: region) and a total of 98 municipalities. The regions were created on 1 January 2007 to replace the former counties. At the same time, smaller municipalities were merged into larger units, cutting the number of municipalities from 270 to 98. Most municipalities have a population of at least 20,000 people to give them financial and professional sustainability, although a few exceptions were made to this rule.

      The most important area of responsibility for regions is the national health service. Unlike the former counties, the regions are not allowed to levy taxes, and the health service is primarily financed by a national health care contribution of eight per cent (Danish: sundhedsbidrag) combined with funds from both government and municipalities. Municipalities and regions are led by directly elected councils, elected every four years. The last Danish local elections were held on 19 November 2013.

      The easternmost land in Denmark, the Ertholmene archipelago, with a population of 92 (2013) and area of 39 hectares, is neither part of a municipality nor a region but belongs to the Ministry of Defence.

  • Economy

    • Denmark has a modern, prosperous and developed mixed market economy, ranking 21st in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 10th in nominal GDP per capita. A liberalisation of import tariffs in 1797 marked the end of mercantilism and further liberalisation in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century established the Danish liberal tradition in international trade that was only to be broken by the 1930s. Property rights have enjoyed strong protection. Denmark's economy stands out as one of the most free in the Index of Economic Freedom and the Economic Freedom of the World. The economy has high levels of international trade and Denmark is known as a free trade advocate in the European Union. Denmark is one of the most competitive economies in the world according to World Economic Forum 2008 report, IMD and The Economist.

      As a result of its acclaimed "flexicurity" model, Denmark has the most free labour market in Europe, according to the World Bank. Employers can hire and fire whenever they want (flexibility), and between jobs, unemployment compensation is very high (security). The World Bank ranks Denmark as the easiest place in Europe to do business. Establishing a business can be done in a matter of hours and at very low costs. Denmark has a competitive company tax rate of 25% and a special time-limited tax regime for expatriates. The Danish taxation system is broad based, with a 25% VAT, in addition to excise taxes, income taxes and other fees. The overall tax burden (sum of all taxes, as a percentage of GDP) is estimated to be 46% in 2011.

      Denmark has a labour force of about 2.9 million. Denmark has the fourth highest ratio of tertiary degree holders in the world. GDP per hour worked was the 13th highest in 2009. Denmark has the world's lowest level of income inequality, according to the World Bank Gini (%), and the world's highest minimum wage, according to the IMF. In July 2013 the unemployment rate was at 6.7%, which was below the EU average of 10.9%.

      Denmark's currency, the krone, is pegged at approximately 7.46 kroner per euro through the ERM. Although a September 2000 referendum rejected adopting the euro, the country in practice follows the policies set forth in the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union and meets the economic convergence criteria needed to adopt the euro. The majority of the political parties in the parliament are for the euro, but as yet a new referendum has not been held, despite plans; scepticism of the EU among Danish voters has historically been strong. Denmark is known for the Danish cooperative movement within among others farming, the food industry (Danish Crown), dairy production (Arla Foods), retailing (Brugsen), wind turbine cooperatives and co-housing associations.

      Support for free trade is high – in a 2007 poll 76% responded that globalisation is a good thing. 70% of trade flows are inside the European Union. Denmark has the 9th highest export per capita in the world. Denmark's main exports are: industrial production/manufactured goods 73.3% (of which machinery and instruments were 21.4%, and fuels (oil, natural gas), chemicals, etc. 26%); agricultural products and others for consumption 18.7% (in 2009 meat and meat products were 5.5% of total export; fish and fish products 2.9%). Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy and has for a number of years had a balance of payments surplus while battling an equivalent of approximately 39% of GNP foreign debt or more than 300 billion DKK.

      StatBank is the name of a large statistical database maintained by the central authority of statistics in Denmark. Online distribution of statistics has been a part of the dissemination strategy in Denmark since 1985. By this service, Denmark is a leading country in the world regarding electronic dissemination of statistics. There are about 2 million hits every year.

  • Culture

    • Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbours, has historically been one of the most socially progressive cultures in the world. In 1969, Denmark was the first country to legalise 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.

      The astronomical discoveries of Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), Ludwig A. Colding's (1815–1888) neglected articulation of the principle of conservation of energy, and the brilliant contributions to atomic physics of Niels Bohr (1885–1962) indicate the range of Danish scientific achievement. The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875), the philosophical essays of Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), the short stories of Karen Blixen (penname Isak Dinesen), (1885–1962), the plays of Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754), and the dense, aphoristic poetry of Piet Hein (1905–1996), have earned international recognition, as have the symphonies of Carl Nielsen (1865–1931). From the mid-1990s, Danish films have attracted international attention, especially those associated with Dogme 95 like those of Lars Von Trier.

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