TOP-50 interesting facts about Denmark and the Danes
Denmark is a European country with many similarities to its Nordic neighbours. At the same time, however, it is a unique country, with its own customs, history and culture. In this article, we’ve collected 50 interesting facts about the country and its people, which will help you form a first impression and plan your holiday in Denmark in a fun way.
The 50 most amazing facts about Danes and Denmark
Here’s a journey through the history, traditions and sights of this fascinating country.
Facts of History
1. The earliest human settlements on the Jutland Peninsula date back some 70,000 years. Agriculture developed here 6 thousand years ago.
2. In the fourth century, the Jutes and the Angles arrive in this land and later move to the British Isles. They were succeeded by the tribes of the Danes, who gave the country its name.
3. In the 8th century, the Viking Age begins. These great warriors raided France, England and even Italy and traded with Gardarica, as Russia was then called.
4. The plot of the Vikings series is based on the adventures of the Danish konung Ragnar Lothbrok, a real-life historical figure who actually took Paris and created the Munsö dynasty.
5. Denmark became a kingdom in 889 and has remained one ever since. It is the oldest monarchy in Europe and the second oldest in the world, after Japan.
6. The period of paganism in Denmark ended in 960, when King Harald Bluetooth was baptised. He made Christianity the official religion.
7. In 1397 the Kalmarunionen was formed, uniting Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland into one state. Its ruler became the Danish Queen Margrethe, and the capital was in Copenhagen.
8. After the breakdown of the Kalmarunionen in 1523, a long confrontation began between Denmark and Sweden, which culminated in the Seven Years’ War of 1563-1570.
9. The great Danish scientist Tycho Brahe in the 16th century built Europe’s first observatory, which he named «Uraniborg», and discovered a supernova.
10. After World War II, Denmark became a founding member of the United Nations and NATO.
11. Modern Denmark continues to be a kingdom where the monarch’s power is limited, but he remains involved in the legislative process.
12. The country is a senior member of the Danish Royal Commonwealth, which also includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland. In the past, Denmark was called the largest state in Western Europe because of Greenland.
13. Until 2007, the Kingdom was divided into 14 Amts, or regions, but has since been divided into five administrative regions.
14. There is military obligation in Denmark, but for many years already most of the vacancies in the army are occupied by volunteers, and the remaining conscripts are selected by lot.
15. The Church of the Danish People operates in the country. This is the state Lutheran Church, of which 75% of the population is considered to be members.
16. The population of Denmark is 6 million people. More than 600 thousand of them live in the capital, Copenhagen.
17. The Kingdom has one of the most progressive pension systems in Europe. The Danes retire at 67 years old and the average amount of payments is 2500 dollars per month.
18. The fact that buses in Denmark are tilted to the right, which makes it easier for wheelchair users to get in and out, is another sign of the Danes’ concern for the elderly and disabled.
19. The most famous landmark in Copenhagen and all of Denmark is the statue of The Little Mermaid, the heroine of Andersen’s fairy tale. This 125-centimetre-high copper sculpture adorns Copenhagen harbour. Eriksen donated the entire fee for the Little Mermaid to a religious charity.
20. In the town of Elsinore, not far from the capital, is Kronborg Castle. It was Shakespeare’s inspiration when he described Hamlet’s palace. The castle now houses the Maritime Museum.
21. Copenhagen’s main town hall is known not only for its interesting architecture, but also for the clock that shows the time, date, phases of the moon and the church calendar.
22. The city of Billund has an enormous Legoland theme park built entirely from parts of a popular construction set. Some 46 million pieces were used to build it.
23. The autonomous region of Christiania, an iconic destination for hippies the world over, is the capital city. Traffic is banned, streets are filled with drawings and installations, and cannabis sales are legalised.
24. On the island of Zeeland, you’ll find the Vallée Castle. It’s famous because it has been owned mainly by women for its entire five-century history. And now it is home to a social shelter for unmarried women.
25. The Copenhagen Zoo is famous not only for its extensive display of a variety of animals, but also for the fact that at the beginning of the last century its cages were used to exhibit humans, representatives of «wild» peoples: Eskimos, Indians, Kirghiz.
26. There are many places in Denmark which remind of Hans Christian Andersen’s life and works. For example, the Round Tower in Copenhagen, mentioned in the fairy tale «Ognivo». And Andersen’s original fairy tales are preserved in the Royal Library, which is shaped like a black diamond.
27. the Øresund Bridge connects Denmark and Sweden. It is the longest structure in the world, combining a bridge and a tunnel. The total length of the bridge is 7,800 meters, and its cable-stayed part is 490 meters.
28. Nearby Amalienborg is the Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Church. It did not appear in Copenhagen by chance, as the wife of the Novgorod prince was the Danish princess Fredericka.
The character and traditions of the Danes
29. The Danes are considered to be a very disciplined people, always following the rules and laws. They always queue carefully and do not take up space for the elderly in transport.
30. The Danes seem serious, but they are no strangers to a sense of humour. However, Danish humour is often «black». The Danish people are the happiest and most relaxed people in the world.
31. The country has a cult of cleanliness, but the walls in flats and houses are always white, they are not wallpapered. Nor is it customary to hide bed linen under the covers.
32. The Danish language has no word for «please».
33. Pickled herring is one of the favourite dishes in the country. Danes also like pickled licorice, and they drink it with cold milk.
34. They also have a sweet tooth. Danish pastry shops are everywhere, and Danish pastries are very popular all over the world.
35. The Danes also have the highest alcohol consumption rate in Europe. Every year, every resident drinks 11–12 litres of alcohol.
36. The Danes are bicycle fans. The country has more than 12 thousand kilometres of bicycle roads, and 60% of the residents of Copenhagen use bicycles for commuting to work.
37. The Danes are a very tolerant nation. Same-sex marriage has been legalized since 1989 and porn can be freely bought at every petrol station.
38. At the same time, the Danes have a fairly free attitude towards marriage. Nearly one in five couples in the country does not legalize their relationship.
39. Danish weddings last from 3 to 7 days, and the bride and groom are married separately.
40. At a Danish wedding, you won’t hear shouts of «Hooray». Instead, the guests start banging the dishes loudly to demand a kiss. At weddings, the custom is to kiss by climbing on a chair.
41. An amusing wedding tradition is to remove the boot from the groom’s foot. After that, it is obligatory to cut off the tip of his sock. It is believed that the man with the hole in his sock belongs only to the bride.
42. A marzipan cake decorated with fresh fruit and candles is considered a traditional wedding dish.
43. Secondary education in the kingdom is free, and the school curriculum must include a course in swimming.
44. In Denmark, they value freedom very much, and that is why it is not a crime to run away from prison. The guards are charged with it, and the prisoner who is caught is simply sent to serve out his sentence.
45. One of Denmark’s symbols is the protesting pig, a special breed officially registered in 1954. Its colouring is reminiscent of the Danish flag: a white cross on a red background. In the past, the pig was placed at the doors of the Town Hall to protest against a decision by the authorities.
46. Another symbol of the country is the Danish breed of Leghart geese. They are very beautiful snow-white birds that are bred all over the world.
47. The Mute Swan is another feathered symbol of the Kingdom. Much credit is due to Anderson and his tale «The Wild Swans».
48. Denmark is situated on a peninsula and its surrounding islands. So no matter where you are in the country, it’s no more than 52 kilometres to the coast of the sea.
49. Nevertheless, the country has rivers and lakes. Surprisingly, the country’s largest lake, Lake Arreseau, is on the island of Zeeland. It covers an area of 40 square kilometres.
50. The whole country is a lowland plain. Its highest point rises only 180 metres above sea level. Therefore, global warming and rising sea levels threaten Denmark more than many other countries in the world.
Friends! If you know more interesting facts about the Danes and Denmark, please share them in the comments. The country is full of amazing stories, culture and traditions and many would be pleased to learn something new. We would be very grateful!