October 15th, 2015
In the recent U.S. democratic presidential debate on October 13, 2015, candidate Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont mentioned Denmark as the bastion of healthy social programs for its people. According to Sanders: “We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.” In this week’s blog, we’ve decided to put the spotlight on Denmark and share a few facts on this Scandinavian country.
1. The Danes are a homogenous Gothic-Germanic People who have inhabited Denmark since prehistoric times.
2. Denmark is the smallest of the Scandinavian countries (half the size of Maine). It is in northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula north of Germany (Jutland); also includes several major islands (Sjaelland, Fyn, and Bornholm).
3. Denmark is a Constitutional Monarchy. The Danish royal family is probably the oldest uninterrupted European monarchy. It traces back its roots to legendary kings in the Antiquity. Gorm the Old, the first king of the “official line”, ruled from 934 C.E.
4. The population of Denmark is 5,581,503 (July 2015 est.) which include Scandinavian, Inuit, Faroese, German, Turkish, Iranian, and Somali.
5. The capital of Denmark is Copenhagen with a population of 1.206.million (2011 est.)
6. The flag of Denmark, Dannebrog, is the oldest state flag in the world still in use by an independent nation. It was adopted in 1219.
7. The principal language in Denmark is Danish but English is a required subject in school and fluency in English is high.
8. Education is compulsory from ages 7 to 16 and is free through the university level.
9. Denmark has had no less than 14 Nobel laureates, including 4 in Literature, 5 in Physiology or Medicine, and one Peace prize. With its population of about 5 million, it is one of the highest per capita ratio of any country in the world.
10. Denmark boasts a literacy rate of 99%.
11. The Danish company Bang & Olufsen (B&O) manufactures some of the most upscale audio products, television sets, and telephones in the world.
12. Denmark guarantees religious freedom and 95% of Danes claim religious affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Islam is the second-largest religion in Denmark.
13. In 1989, Denmark became the first country to legalize same-sex unions (although same-sex marriage was not granted until 2012).
14. Denmark’s Industries include: iron, steel, nonferrous metals, chemicals, food processing, machinery and transportation equipment, textiles and clothing, electronics, construction, furniture and other wood products, shipbuilding and refurbishment, windmills, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment.
15. Denmark’s Natural resources include: petroleum, natural gas, fish, salt, limestone, stone, gravel and sand.
16. Denmark has the highest employment rate in Europe (75%).
17. In 2012 Denmark enjoyed the 2nd highest nominal GDP per capita in the European Union, after Luxembourg. At purchasing power parity (PPP), Denmark was ranked in 8th position within the EU.
18. Separate studies have ranked Danish people as the happiest in the EU (2007 Cambridge University study), and happiest people in the world (2006 Leicester University study) or 2nd happiest in the world (World Database of Happiness 2000-2009).
19. The Danish prince Hamlet, the fictional character of William Shakespeare’s famous play, was inspired by an old Danish myth of the Viking Prince Amled of Jutland.
20. The world famous building toys Lego are from Denmark.
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