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Kingdom of Denmark
CAPITAL: Copenhagen (København)
FLAG: The Danish national flag, known as the Dannebrog, is one of the oldest national flags in the world, although the concept of a national flag did not develop until the late 18th century when the Dannebrog was already half a millennium old. The design shows a white cross on a field of red.
ANTHEM: There are two national anthems—Kong Kristian stod ved hojen mast (King Christian Stood by the Lofty Mast) and Der er et yndigt land (There Is a Lovely Land).
MONETARY UNIT: The krone (Kr) of 100 øre is a commercially convertible paper currency with one basic official exchange rate. There are coins of 25 and 50 øre, and 1, 5, 10, and 20 kroner, and notes of 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 kroner. Kr1 = $0.16863 (or $1 = Kr5.93) as of 2005.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard, but some local units are used for special purposes.
HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Constitution Day, 5 June; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Prayer Day (4th Friday after Easter), Ascension, and Whitmonday.
TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.
Situated in southern Scandinavia, the Kingdom of Denmark consists of Denmark proper, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland. Denmark proper, comprising the peninsula of Jutland (Jylland) and 406 islands (97 of them inhabited), has an area of 43,094 sq km (16,638 sq mi) and extends about 402 km (250 mi) n–s and 354 km (220 mi) e–w. Comparatively, the area occupied by Denmark is slightly less than twice the size of the state of Massachusetts. The Jutland Peninsula accounts for 29,767 sq km (11,493 sq mi) of the total land area, while the islands have a combined area of 13,317 sq km (5,142 sq mi). Except for the southern boundary with Germany, the country is surrounded by water—Skagerrak on the n, Kattegat, Øresund, and Baltic Sea on the e, and the North Sea on the w. Denmark's total boundary length is 7,382 km (4,587 mi), of which only 68 km (42 mi) is the land boundary with Germany.
Bornholm, one of Denmark's main islands, is situated in the Baltic Sea, less than 160 km (100 mi) due e of Denmark and about 40 km (25 mi) from southern Sweden. It has an area of 588 sq km (227 sq mi) and at its widest point is 40 km (25 mi) across.
Denmark's capital city, Copenhagen, is located on the eastern edge of the country on the island of Sjaelland.
The average altitude of Denmark is about 30 m (98 ft), and the highest point, Yding Skovhoj in southeastern Jutland, is only 173 m (568 ft). In parts of Jutland, along the southern coast of the island of Lolland, and in a few other areas, the coast is protected by dikes. All of Denmark proper (except for the extreme southeast of the island of Bornholm, which is rocky) consists of a glacial deposit over a chalk base. The surface comprises small hills, moors, ridges, hilly islands, raised sea bottoms, and, on the west coast, downs and marshes. There are many small rivers and inland seas. Good natural harbors are provided by the many fjords and bays.
Denmark has a temperate climate, the mildness of which is largely conditioned by the generally westerly winds and by the fact that the country is virtually encircled by water. There is little fluctuation between day and night temperatures, but sudden changes in wind direction cause considerable day-to-day temperature changes. The mean temperature in February, the coldest month, is 0°c (32°f), and in July, the warmest, 17°c (63°f). Rain falls fairly evenly throughout the year, the annual average amounting to approximately 61 cm (24 in).
Plants and animals are those common to middle Europe. There are many species of ferns, flower, fungi, and mosses; common trees include spruce and beech. Few wild or large animals remain. Birds, however, are abundant; many species breed in Denmark and migrate to warmer countries during the autumn and winter. Fish and insects are plentiful. As of 2002, there were at least 43 species of mammals, 196 species of birds, and over 1,400 species of plants throughout the country.
Denmark's most basic environmental legislation is the Environmental Protection Act of 1974, which entrusts the Ministry of the Environment, in conjunction with local authorities, with anti-pollution responsibilities. The basic principle is that the polluter must pay the cost of adapting facilities to environmental requirements; installations built before 1974, however, are eligible for government subsidies to cover the cost of meeting environmental standards.
Land and water pollution are two of Denmark's most significant environmental problems although much of Denmark's household and industrial waste is recycled. In the mid-1990s, Denmark averaged 447.3 thousand tons of solid waste per year. Animal wastes are responsible for polluting both drinking and surface water. Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution threaten the quality of North Sea waters. A special treatment plant at Nyborg, on the island of Fyn, handles dangerous chemical and oil wastes. The nation has about 6 cu km of renewable water resources with 43% of annual withdrawals used for farming and 27% for industrial purposes.
Remaining environmental problems include air pollution, especially from automobile emissions; excessive noise, notably in the major cities; and the pollution of rivers, lakes, and open sea by raw sewage. In the early 1990s Denmark ranked among 50 nations with the heaviest industrial carbon dioxide emissions. In 1996, emissions totaled 56.5 million metric tons per year. In 2000, the emissions total dropped to 44.6 million metric tons.
As of 2003, Denmark had at least 220 protected sites, with an area of over 1.3 million hectares, or about 34% of the total land area. The Ilulissat Icefjord is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site; there are 38 Ramsar wetland sites. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 4 types of mammals, 10 species of birds, 7 species of fish, 1 type of mollusk, 10 species of other invertebrates, and 3 species of plants. Endangered species include the coalfish whale, blue whale, loggerhead, leatherback turtle, and Atlantic sturgeon.
The population of Denmark in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 5,418,000, which placed it at number 108 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 15% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 19% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 98 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 2005–10 was expected to be 0.2%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 5,527,000. The population density was 126 per sq km (326 per sq mi).
The UN estimated that 72% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.28%. The capital city, København (Copenhagen), had a population of 1,066,000 in that year. Other large towns are Aarhus (Arhus), 291,258; Odense, 184,308; Aalborg (Alborg), 162,521; Esbjerg, 82,314; and Randers, 62,252.
Emigration is limited, owing mainly to the relatively high standard of living in Denmark. There are 500 refugees accepted every year by Denmark for resettlement. These refugees are those who need an alternative place to their first country of asylum, usually for protection-related reasons. An Integration Act took effect 1 January 1999. Under this act, most foreign nationals, including refugees, must participate in a three-year integration program, during which their social assistance is reduced. In 2004 Denmark received 65,310 refugees. The main countries of origin for these refugees were Bosnia and Herzegovina (25,395), Iraq (11,831), and Afghanistan (6,369). Also in 2004, Denmark received 3,235 asylum applications; of these, about 15% were given permission to stay. The countries of origin for asylum seekers were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Palestine, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Somalia, and Iran.
In April 1999 the government enacted a plan ("Lex Kosovo") to provide temporary protection for evacuees from Macedonia. (These were Kosovars who had already sought asylum in Denmark but whose cases were pending or had been rejected.) Under this plan, all were granted temporary protection for a renewable six-month period. As of August 1999, 2,823 people had been evacuated from Macedonia to Denmark.
In 2005 the net migration rate was estimated as 2.53 migrants per 1,000 population.
The population of Denmark proper is of indigenous northern European stock, and the Danes are among the most homogeneous peoples of Europe. The population is comprised of Scandinavian, Inuit (Eskimo), and Faeroese peoples. There is also a small German minority in southern Jutland and small communities of Turks, Iranians, and Somalis.
Danish is the universal language. In addition to the letters of the English alphabet, it has the letters ae, ø, and å. A spelling reform of 1948 replaced aa by å, but English transliteration usually retains the aa. There are many dialects, but they are gradually being supplanted by standard Danish. Modern Danish has departed further from the ancient Nordic language of the Viking period than have Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish (to which Danish is closely related), and there is a substantial admixture of German and English words. Danish may be distinguished from the other Scandinavian languages by its change of k, p, and t to g, b, and d, in certain situations and by its use of the glottal stop. Faeroese and Greenlandic (an Eskimo dialect) are also used. Many Danes have a speaking knowledge of English and German, and many more are capable of understanding these languages.
About 84.3% of the people are nominally members of the official state religion, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is supported by the state and headed by the sovereign. Only about 3% of these Evangelical Lutherans are active members. Muslims are the next largest group with about 3% of the population. Protestants and Roman Catholics together make up another 3% of the population. Christian denominations represented in the country include Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Methodists, Seventh-Day Adventists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Anglicans, and Russian Orthodox. Copenhagen is the site of the European headquarters for the Church of Scientology, which is not officially recognized as a religion by the state. There are about 7,000 Jews in the country. An indigenous religion known as Forn Sidr was officially recognized in 2003; followers worship the old Norse gods. About 5.4% of the population claim no religious affiliation and 1.5% claim to be atheists.
Religious freedom is provided by the constitution and this right is generally respected in practice. As the official church of state, the Evangelical Lutheran Church is the only church which receives state funding. A number of other religious groups have complained that this system is unfair and contrary to religious equality. In 1999 an independent four-member council appointed by the government published guidelines and principles for official approval of religious organizations. The guidelines establish clear requirements that religious organizations must fulfill, including providing a full written text of the religion's central traditions, descriptions of its rituals, an organizational structure accessible for public control and approval, and constitutionally elected representatives who can be held responsible by authorities. The guidelines also forbid organizations to "teach or perform actions inconsistent with public morality or order." Official approval offers tax-exempt status to the organization and marriages within approved churches are automatically recognized by the state.
Transportation is highly developed in Denmark. The road system is well engineered and adequately maintained. Among the most important bridges are the Storstrom Bridge linking the islands of Sjaelland and Falster, and the Little Belt Bridge linking Fyn and Jutland. A new train and auto link joins Sjaell and Fyn (18 km/11 mi); a new series of bridges connecting Denmark to Sweden—spanning 4.9 mi across the Oresund Strait and costing Kr13.9 billion—opened in July 2000. The link reduces transit time between the two countries to 15 minutes for cars and trucks and less than 10 minutes for high-speed trains. Cars travel on the upper tier and trains on the lower. As of 2002, Denmark had 71,474 km (44,414 mi) of roadways, all of which were paved, including 880 km (547 mi) of expressways. In 2003, Denmark had 1,894,649 passenger cars and 428,949 commercial vehicles registered for use.
The railway system had a total of 2,628 km (1,635 mi) of standard gauge railroad in 2004, of which 595 km (370 mi) was electrified.
The Danish merchant fleet as of 2005 was composed of 287 ships of at least 1,000 GRT, for a total of 6,952,473 GRT. The majority of these vessels belonged to the Danish International Registry, an offshore registry program allowing foreign-owned vessels to sail under the Danish flag. Denmark, which pioneered the use of motor-driven ships, has many excellent and well-equipped harbors, of which Copenhagen is the most important. Denmark also had 417 km of navigable inland waterways, as of 2001.
There were an estimated 97 airports in 2004, of which 28 had paved runways as of 2005. Kastrup Airport near Copenhagen is a center of international air traffic. Domestic traffic is handled by Danish Airlines in conjunction with SAS, a joint Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish enterprise. In 2003, about 5.886 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.
Although there is evidence of agricultural settlement as early as 4000 bc and of bronze weaponry and jewelry by 1800 bc, Denmark's early history is little known. Tribesmen calling themselves Danes arrived from Sweden around ad 500, and Danish sailors later took part in the Viking raids, especially in those against England. Harald Bluetooth (d.985), first Christian king of Denmark, conquered Norway, and his son Sweyn conquered England. During the reign of Canute II (1017–35), Denmark, Norway, and England were united, but in 1042, with the death of Canute's son, Hardecanute, the union with England came to an end, and Norway seceded. During the next three centuries, however, Danish hegemony was reestablished over Sweden and Norway, and in the reign of Margrethe (1387–1412) there was a union of the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish crowns. In 1523, the Scandinavian union was dissolved, but Norway remained united with Denmark until 1814.
The Reformation was established in Denmark during the reign of Christian III (1534–59). A series of wars with Sweden during the 17th and early 18th centuries resulted in the loss of Danish territory. Meanwhile, under Frederik III (r.1648–70) and Christian V (r.1670–99), absolute monarchy was established and strengthened; it remained in force until 1849. Freedom of the press and improved judicial administration, introduced by Count Johann von Struensee, adviser (1770–72) to Christian VII, were abrogated after his fall from favor. Having allied itself with Napoleon, Denmark was deprived of Norway by the terms of the Peace of Kiel (1814), which united Norway with Sweden; and as a result of the Prusso-Danish wars of 1848–49 and 1864, Denmark lost its southern provinces of Slesvig, Holstein, and Lauenburg. Thereafter, the Danes concentrated on internal affairs, instituting important economic changes (in particular, specialization in dairy production) that transformed the country from a nation of poor peasants into one of prosperous smallholders. Denmark remained neutral in World War I, and after a plebiscite in 1920, North Slesvig was reincorporated into Denmark.
Disregarding the German-Danish nonaggression pact of 1939, Hitler invaded Denmark in April 1940, and the German occupation lasted until 1945. At first, the Danish government continued to function, protecting as long as it could the nation's Jewish minority and other refugees (some 7,200 Jews eventually escaped to neutral Sweden). However, when a resistance movement developed, sabotaging factories, railroads, and other installations, the Danish government resigned in August 1943 rather than carry out the German demand for the death sentence against the saboteurs. Thereafter, Denmark was governed by Germany directly, and conflict with the resistance intensified.
After the war, Denmark became a charter member of the UN and of NATO. In 1952, it joined with the other Scandinavian nations to form the Nordic Council, a parliamentary body. Having joined EFTA in 1960, Denmark left that association for the EEC in 1973. Meanwhile, during the 1950s and 1960s, agricultural and manufacturing production rose considerably, a high level of employment was maintained, and foreign trade terms were liberalized. However, the expense of maintaining Denmark's highly developed social security system, growing trade deficits (due partly to huge increases in the price of imported oil), persistent inflation, and rising unemployment posed political as well as economic problems for Denmark in the 1970s and 1980s, as one fragile coalition government succeeded another.
Economic performance was strong after the mid-1990s. Annual growth of GDP was 3% between 1994 and 1998 although the rate dropped to 1.6% in 1999. (It was projected to be 2.3% in 2005–06.) Thanks to strong growth, unemployment fell from 12.2% in 1994 to 6% in 1999. In March 2000, the buoyant economic outlook prompted Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen to announce a referendum on Economic and Monetary Union to take place on 28 September 2000; it was rejected by 53.2% of the electorate. Voters narrowly rejected the Maastricht Treaty on European Union in 1992, but later approved it in 1993 after modifications were made in Denmark's favor. One of the special agreements was that Denmark could opt not to join EMU. For all practical purposes, however, Danish monetary policy has closely followed that of the European Central Bank and the Danish crown shadows the euro (the European single currency).
As with other European countries, Denmark in the 21st century sees illegal immigration as a major problem. The issue was a deciding one in the 20 November 2001 elections, with the right-wing xenophobic Danish People's Party (founded in 1995) gaining 12% of the vote and 22 seats to become the third-largest party in parliament. The new government composed of the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party formed by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen depended upon the Danish People's Party for legislative support. In June 2002, parliament passed a series of laws restricting the rights of immigrants, including the abolition of the right to asylum on humanitarian grounds, and cuts of 30–40% in the social benefits available to refugees during their first seven years of residency. In February 2005, Fogh Rasmussen won a second term as prime minister as his Liberal Party again formed a coalition with the Conservative Party. Rasmussen became the first Danish Liberal leader to win a second consecutive term. The Danish People's Party, although not part of the governing coalition, strengthened its presence in parliament by two seats.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. Legislative power is vested jointly in the crown and a unicameral parliament (Folketing), executive power in the sovereign—who exercises it through his or her ministers—and judicial power in the courts. The revised constitution of 1953 provides that powers constitutionally vested in Danish authorities by legislation may be transferred to international authorities established, by agreement with other states, for the promotion of international law and cooperation.
The sovereign must belong to the Lutheran Church. The crown is hereditary in the royal house of Lyksborg, which ascended the throne in 1863. On the death of a king, the throne descends to his son or daughter, a son taking precedence.
Executive powers belong to the crown, which enjoys personal integrity and is not responsible for acts of government. These powers are exercised by the cabinet, consisting of a prime minister and a variable number of ministers, who generally are members of the political party or coalition commanding a legislative majority. No minister may remain in office after the Folketing has passed a vote of no confidence in him or her.
The single-chamber Folketing, which has been in existence since 1953, is elected every four years (more frequently, if necessary) by direct and secret ballot by Danish subjects 18 years of age and older. Under the 1953 constitution there are 179 members, two of whom are elected in the Faroe Islands and two in Greenland. Of the remaining 175 members, 135 are elected by proportional representation in 17 constituencies, and 40 supplementary seats are divided among the parties in proportion to the total votes cast.
A parliamentary commission, acting as the representative both of the Folketing and of the nation, superintends civil and military government administration.
Until 1849, the Danish form of government was autocratic. The constitution of 1849 abolished privileges, established civil liberties, and laid down the framework of popular government through a bicameral parliament elected by all men over 30. In 1866, however, the National Liberal Party, composed largely of the urban middle class, succeeded in obtaining a majority for a constitution in which the upper chamber (Landsting) was to be elected by privileged franchise, the great landowners gaining a dominant position. This proved the starting point of a political struggle that divided Denmark until 1901. Formally, it concerned the struggle of the directly elected chamber, the Folketing, against the privileged Landsting, but in reality it was the struggle of the Left Party (made up largely of farmers, but after 1870 also of workers) to break the monopoly of political influence by the Right Party (consisting of the landowning aristocracy and the upper middle class). Meanwhile, the workers established trade unions, their political demands finding expression in the Social Democratic Party. In 1901, Christian IX called on the Left to form a government, and thereafter it was the accepted practice that the government should reflect the majority in the Folketing.
In 1905, the Left Party split. Its radical wing, which seceded, became a center party, the Social Liberals, and sought to collaborate with the Social Democrats. In 1913, these two parties together obtained a majority in the Folketing, and a Social Liberal government led Denmark through World War I. A new constitution adopted in 1915 provided for proportional representation and gave the vote to all citizens, male and female, 25 years of age and older (changed in 1978 to 18 years). In an attempt to obtain a broader popular base, the old Right Party adopted the name Conservative People's Party, and thenceforth this party and the Moderate Liberals (the old Left Party), the Social Liberals, and the Social Democrats formed the solid core of Danish politics. The Social Democrats briefly formed governments in 1924 and in 1929, in association with the Social Liberals.
During the German occupation (1940–45), a coalition government was formed by the main political parties, but increasing Danish popular resistance to the Germans led the Nazis to take over executive powers. From 1945 to 1957, Denmark was governed by minority governments, influence fluctuating between the Social Democrats on the one hand and the Moderate Liberals and Conservatives on the other, depending on which of the two groups the Social Liberals supported. In 1953, a new constitution abolished the Landsting and introduced a single-chamber system in which parliamentarianism is expressly laid down.
Aims of the Social Democratic Party are to nationalize monopolies, redistribute personal incomes by taxation and other measures, partition farm properties to form independent smallholdings, and raise working-class living standards through full employment. It supports the principle of mutual aid, as practiced in a combination of social welfare and widespread public insurance schemes. The Conservative Party advocates an economic policy based on the rights of private property and private enterprise and is firmly opposed to nationalization and restrictions, though it is in favor of industrial protection. It calls for a national contributory pensions scheme that would encourage personal initiative and savings. The major parties support the UN and NATO and favor inter-Scandinavian cooperation.
Issues in the 1970s focused less on international matters than on policies affecting Denmark's economy. The general elections of December 1973 resulted in heavy losses for all the established parties represented in the Folketing and successes for several new parties, notably the center-left Democratic Center Party and the "Poujadist" Progress Party led by Mogens Glistrup, an income tax expert who reputedly became a millionaire by avoiding taxes and providing others with advice on tax avoidance. The Progress Party, established early in 1973, advocated the gradual abolition of income tax and the dissolution of over 90% of the civil service. The Social Democrats, who had been in power, lost significantly in this election, and their chairman, Anker Jørgensen, resigned as prime minister. In mid-December, Poul Hartling was sworn in as prime minister, with a Liberal Democratic cabinet. The 22 Liberal members in the Folketing made up the smallest base for any government since parliamentary democracy was established in Denmark.
When it became clear in December 1974 that the Folketing would not approve the drastic anti-inflation program the Hartling government had announced, general elections were again called for. In the January 1975 balloting, the Liberals almost doubled their representation in the Folketing. However, because most of the other non-Socialist parties had lost support and because three of the four left-wing parties simultaneously gained parliamentary seats, the preelection lack of majority persisted, and Hartling resigned at the end of the month. After several attempts at a coalition by Hartling and Anker Jørgensen, the latter's alignment of Social Democrats and other Socialist-oriented minority parties finally succeeded in forming a new government. Jørgensen remained prime minister through general elections in 1977, 1979, and 1981. In September 1982, however, dissension over Jørgensen's plan to increase taxes in order to create new jobs, boost aid to farmers, and reduce the budget deficit led the government to resign. A four-party coalition led by Poul Schlüter, the first Conservative prime minister since 1901, then took power as a minority government, controlling only 66 seats out of 179. After the defeat of his 1984 budget, Schlüter called for new elections, which were held in January 1984 and increased the number of seats controlled by the coalition to 79. Following elections in September 1987, however, the number of seats held by the coalition fell to 70.
The 1994 election brought to power a three-party coalition of Social Democrats, Center Democrats, and Radical Liberals (they commanded a total of 76 seats in the 179-seat parliament). The 1994 election produced significant difficulties for the political right. The Conservatives were usually the major right-wing force with a legacy of heading governments but it saw its representation drop to 28 seats from 31 while the Liberal Party increased its share of the vote from 15.8% to 23.3% and thereby became the largest opposition party. The center-left coalition survived the departure of the Center Democrats in 1996, which rejected Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen's decision to seek support for the 1997 budget from the far left. The fragile two-party coalition stumbled from one crisis to another in 1997 and the 1998 election promised to bring a Liberal-Conservative cabinet back to power. In February 1998, the Social Democrats recovered in opinion polls and Nyrup Rasmussen called a snap election.
The election results were as follows: Social Democrats 35.9% (65 seats), Radical Liberals 3.9% (7 seats), Center Democrats 4.3% (8 seats), Christian People's Party 2.5% (4 seats), Socialist People's Party 7.6% (13), Unity Party 2.7% (5 seats), Liberals 23% (43), Conservatives 8.9% (17), Progress Party 2.4% (4), and Danish People Party 7.4% (13 seats). Following the 1998 election, the Social Democratic and Radical Liberal coalition remained intact with Nyrup Rasmussen as prime minister. The Conservatives suffered a dramatic defeat and saw their share of the vote drop from 15% to 8.9%. The two far right parties—the Danish People's Party and the Progress Party—recorded the biggest gains by taking votes from the mainstream right-wing parties. In March 2000, Nyrup Rasmussen reshuffled his cabinet to breathe new life into government and to respond to the pressures coming from the Danish People's Party, which accused the government of being soft on immigration. Campaigning on a platform "Denmark for the Danes," the People's Party attracted a large number of sympathizers.
The issue of immigration remained primary in the early elections called for by Nyrup Rasmussen on 20 November 2001. Nyrup Rasmussen's Social Democrats suffered a major defeat, gaining only 29.1% of the vote and 52 seats. Center-right parties gained their largest majority since 1926. The Liberal Party (31.3% of the vote and 56 seats) and the Conservative People's Party (9.1% and 16 seats) formed a minority government headed by Anders Fogh Rasmussen (no relation to Poul Nyrup Rasmussen) that depended upon the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party (12% and 22 seats) for legislative support. Other parties represented in the Folketing following the 2001 elections were as follows: Socialist People's Party, 6.4% (12 seats); Radical Left, 5.2% (9 seats); Unity List—the Red Greens, 2.4% (4 seats); Christian People's Party, 2.3% (4 seats); and the 2 representatives each from the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Elections for the Folketing were next held on 8 February 2005. The percentage of the vote gained by each party and distribution of seats was as follows: Liberal Party, 29% (52 seats); Social Democrats, 25.9% (47 seats); Danish People's Party, 13.2% (24 seats); Conservative Party, 10.3% (18 seats); Social Liberal Party, 9.2% (17 seats); Socialist People's Party 6% (11 seats); Unity List, 3.4% (6 seats); and the two representatives each from the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Anders Fogh Rasmussen led a Liberal-Conservative coalition for a second consecutive term as prime minister. After the election, Fogh Rasmussen pledged to continue a "fair and firm immigration policy."
A major reform of local government structure took effect on 1 April 1970. Copenhagen, Fredericksberg, and the regional municipality of Bornholm enjoy dual status as both local and county authorities. The previous distinction between boroughs and urban and rural districts was abolished, and the number of counties was reduced from 25 to 14 (the number in 2005 stood at 13). The primary local units (municipalities), reduced from 1,400 to 275 (271 as of 2005), are governed by an elected council (kommunalbestyrelse) composed of 9 to 31 members who, in turn, elect a mayor (borgmester) who is vested with executive authority. Each county is governed by an elected county council (amtsiåd), which elects its own chairman, or county mayor (amstborgmester). County councils look after local matters, such as road building and maintenance, health and hospital services, and general education.
A major restructuring of local government was planned for 2007. The government's proposal was for the counties to be replaced by five regions, and for a reduction of the municipalities to 98. The new municipalities were to take over most of the responsibilities of the former counties. Most of the new municipalities were expected to have populations exceeding 20,000 people.
The Faroe Islands and Greenland enjoy home rule, with Denmark retaining responsibility for foreign affairs, defense, and monetary matters. Representatives of the Faroe Islands announced plans to organize a referendum on independence from Denmark by fall 2000. The government's response was to threaten to cut off all aid to the Faroese if they opted for independence. The referendum planned for May 2001 was cancelled.
As a rule, cases in the first instance come before one of 82 county courts. Certain major cases, however, come under one of the two High Courts (Landsrettes), in Copenhagen and Viborg, in the first instance; otherwise these courts function as courts of appeal. The High Courts generally sit in chambers of three judges. In jury trials (only applicable in cases involving serious crimes) three High Court judges sit with 12 jurors. The Supreme Court (Hojesteret) is made up of a president and 18 other judges, sitting in two chambers, each having at least five judges; it serves solely as a court of appeal for cases coming from the High Courts. Special courts include the Maritime and Commercial Court. An Ombudsman elected by and responsible to parliament investigates citizen complaints against the government or its ministers.
The judiciary is fully independent of the executive and legislative branches. Judges are appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Minister of Justice and serve life terms. They may be dismissed only for negligence or for criminal acts. Denmark accepts compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice with reservations.
Since 1849 Danish military defense has been based on compulsory national service. All young men must register at the age of 18 and are subject to 9–12 months' service. Voluntary military service is popular because of educational benefits. Total active armed forces numbered 21,180 in 2005, including 680 Joint Service personnel. The Army consisted of 12,500 active members, with the Navy at 3,800, and the Air Force at 4,200. There were also 129,700 members in the reserves which included about 59,300 in the volunteer home guard. The Danish Army had 231 main battle tanks, 310 armored personnel carriers, and 860 artillery pieces (176 are towed). Denmark's navy operated three guided missile corvettes in addition to 67 patrol/coastal and six minewarfare vessels. The Danish Air Force operates 62 combat capable aircraft. Danish forces participated in NATO, UN, and European Union missions in 13 countries/regions around the globe, including support for Operation Enduring Freedom. Military expenditures for 2005 amounted to $3.17 billion.
Denmark became a charter member of the United Nations on 24 October 1945 and belongs to ECE and several nonregional specialized agencies. In association with WHO, Denmark has supported UN relief work by supplying medical personnel to assist developing countries. The European regional office of WHO is in Copenhagen. The country is a member of the WTO. Denmark participates actively in multilateral technical aid programs, and the Danish Council for Technical Cooperation provides additional aid to developing countries in Asia and Africa. The nation also assists the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Denmark is a member of NATO and of various inter-European organizations including the Council of Europe, the European Investment Bank, G-9, the Paris Club, and the OECD. Denmark is a member of the European Union and an observer in the OAS.
As a member of the Nordic Council, Denmark cooperates with other northern countries—Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—in social welfare and health insurance legislation and in freeing its frontiers of passport control for residents of other Scandinavian countries. The nation also participates in the regional Council of the Baltic Sea States and the Barents Council. Denmark has observer status in the Western European Union.
Denmark belongs to the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group), the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and the Nuclear Energy Agency. In environmental cooperation, Denmark is part of the Antarctic Treaty; the Basel Convention; Conventions on Biological Diversity, Whaling, and Air Pollution; Ramsar; CITES; the London Convention; International Tropical Timber Agreements; the Kyoto Protocol; the Montréal Protocol; MARPOL; the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.
Denmark was traditionally an agricultural country. After the end of World War II, manufacturing gained rapidly in importance and now contributes 25.5% of national income, compared with 2.2% for agriculture. As of 2004, the service sector accounted for over 72.3% of GDP. Important service sectors are communications and information technologies, management consulting, and tourism. Shipping remains the most important service sector in Denmark: Denmark has always been a prominent maritime nation, and since much Danish shipping operates entirely in foreign waters, it contributes considerably to the nation's economy. Denmark also has important investments abroad.
Danish living standards and purchasing power are among the highest in the world, but the domestic market is limited by the small population, and most important industries must seek foreign markets in order to expand. Natural resources are limited, and therefore Denmark must export in order to pay for the raw materials, feeds, fertilizers, and fuels that must be imported. Integration into the EU's common agricultural policy has considerably improved Danish terms of trade by providing higher prices.
Productivity increased greatly in the postwar period. In agriculture the volume index for production rose steadily, while the agricultural labor force decreased. Similarly, improved techniques and mechanization in industry enabled production to increase, despite a percentage decline in the number of persons employed. In the 21st century, high-tech agriculture is a mark of Denmark's thoroughly modern market economy. As well, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, a stable currency, and a high dependence upon foreign trade all contribute to Denmark's prosperity.
From 1961 to 1971, the average annual rate of price increases in Denmark was 6.1%; in 1972, it was 6.6%; in 1973, 9.3%; and in 1974, partly because of rising oil costs, 15.2%. Throughout the remainder of the 1970s and through 1982, inflation remained in the 9–12% bracket. It then dropped from 6.9% in 1983 to 1.3% in 1993. By 1995, it had increased to 3.3% but in 1998 was down again to 1.8%. The inflation rate averaged 2% over the 2001–05 period.
Economic activity slackened during the 1970s, with GDP growth at 2.3% a year, down from a rate of about 4.5% during 1960–70. Growth remained moderate during the 1980s, averaging 2% a year. The GDP grew by 2.2% in 1990, but only at 1% in 1991, 1.2% in 1992, and 1.1% in 1993. In 1994, growth began to rebound, with GDP growing by 3.1%; in 1998 growth was 2.6%. In 2001, GDP growth was only 0.9%, down from 3% in 2000, largely due to the global economic slowdown and poor domestic demand. GDP growth recovered in 2004, helped by income tax cuts, and was forecast to remain solid in 2005–06. GDP growth was estimated at 2.9% in 2005, falling gradually to 2.6% in 2006 and 2.1% in 2007. This rapid economic expansion is being driven by strong household demand for goods and services, as well as healthy investment growth.
Recessions in 1974–75 and 1980–81 spurred a substantial rise in unemployment. From a rate of 0.9% in 1973, unemployment reached 12.3% in 1993. By 1995, it had decreased to 10.2%, still quite high compared to the United States, but about the same as other EU countries. By 1998, however, it fell to an estimated 6.5%. The unemployment rate stood at 6% in 2003 and 6.2% in 2004, among the lowest of EU countries.
Throughout the 1970s and through most of the next six years, Denmark's trade balance was in chronic deficit, but a surplus was registered in 1987 and continued through 1997. Denmark's vulnerability to the Asian and Russian financial crises in the late 1990s resulted in a balance of payments deficit in 1998. As of 2005, the current account had been in surplus since 1998. The current account balance as a percentage of GDP over the 2001–05 period was 2.8%.
Although Denmark easily met all of the criteria for membership in the European economic and monetary union (EMU), it opted to stay out of the euro zone. Denmark participates in the exchange-rate mechanism (ERM 2), which pegs the Danish krone to the euro. A referendum to ratify the EU constitutional treaty had been postponed indefinitely as of December 2005.
The government was likely to continue an expansionary fiscal policy in 2006, and the general government budget surplus was forecast to narrow. The Danish government lowered income and corporate taxes in 2004. Government debt remains high, at 47.4% of GDP in 2003, albeit down from the 2000–02 period.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Denmark's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $182.1 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $33,500. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2.2%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 1.9%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 2.2% of GDP, industry 24%, and services 73.8%.
According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $941 million or about $175 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.4% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted about $8 per capita.
The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Denmark totaled $100.33 billion or about $18,624 per capita based on a GDP of $211.9 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 1.7%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 16% of household consumption was spent on food, 11% on fuel, 3% on health care, and 17% on education.
In 2005, Denmark's labor force was estimated at 2.9 million. Of those employed in 2002, an estimated 79% were in the services sector, 17% in industry, and 4% in agriculture. The Danish unemployment rate in 2005 was estimated at 5.7%. The 1982–90 period brought a 1.3% decline in agricultural employment, a slight decrease in employment in manufacturing, and a large increase in employment in services, especially government services (education, social welfare, etc.). With the aim of holding down unemployment, the government offers the option of early retirement, apprenticeship and trainee programs, and special job offerings for the long-term unemployed.
As of 2005, an estimated 78% of all wage-earners were organized into trade unions. These unions are independent of the government or political parties. Most unions are limited to particular trades. Most workers are entitled to strike and that option is exercised often. Collective bargaining is practiced widely. Military personnel and the police are also allowed to form and join a union.
Although there is no nationally mandated minimum wage rate, the average net wage (including pension benefits) for adult workers was $29 per hour in 2004, which was sufficient to provide a decent standard of living for a family. The typical private sector workweek, as set by contract, not law, was 37 hours in 2005. Overtime is not compulsory. The minimum age for full-time work is 15 years, although children as young as 13 can work part-time, although there are limits imposed as to the tasks they can perform and the hours worked. Health and safety standards are set by law and cover school-age children in the workplace.
About 54% of the land in 2002 was cultivated, most of it for feed and root crops. In 2003, agriculture engaged 3.4% of the labor force. Although agriculture is of great significance to the Danish economy, its relative importance declined from 19% of the GDP in 1961 to 2.1% in 2003.
The majority of farms are small and medium-sized; about 63% are smaller than 50 hectares (124 acres). In 2004, there were 45,624 Danish farms. Thousands of smallholdings have been established since 1899 under special legislation empowering the state to provide the land by partitioning public lands, by expropriation, and by breaking up large private estates. In the more newly established holdings, the farmer owns only the buildings (for which the state advances loans), the land being owned by the state and the smallholder paying an annual rent fixed under the land-tax assessment. Comparatively few new holdings have been established since 1951.
Grain growing and root-crop production are the traditional agricultural pursuits, but considerable progress has been made in recent decades in apple growing and the production of field, forage, flower, and industrial seeds. Although the soil is not particularly fertile and holdings are kept deliberately small, intensive mechanization and widespread use of fertilizers and concentrated feeds result in high yields and excellent quality. In 2002 there were 123,000 tractors and 97,000 harvester-threshers.
The crop yields of major crops for 2004 were (in thousands of tons): barley, 3,590; wheat, 4,759; rye, 146; sugar beets, 2,829; rapeseed (canola), 469; and corn for fodder, 4,381.
Agricultural exports supplied 17.2% of the value of Danish exports in 2004. Farm products provide materials for industrial processing, and a significant share of industry supplies the needs of domestic agriculture.
The Danish government devotes particular effort to maintaining the volume, price, quality, and diversity of agricultural products, but internal regulation is largely left to private initiative or exercised through private organizations, notably the cooperatives.
Denmark is generally regarded as the world's outstanding example of intensive animal husbandry. It maintains a uniformly high standard of operations, combining highly skilled labor, scientific experimentation and research, modern installations and machinery, and versatility in farm management and marketing. The excellent cooperative system guarantees the quality of every product of its members. Meat, dairy products, and eggs contribute a most important share of Danish exports. There is a close relationship between cost of feed and export prices.
The livestock population in 2004 included 1,646,000 head of cattle (including 563,000 dairy cows), 13,233,000 hogs, 141,000 sheep, 39,000 horses, and 16,136,000 chickens. Mink, fox, polecat, finnraccoon, and chinchilla are raised for their pelts. In 2004, 12.6 million pelts were processed, valued at Kr2.7 billion.
The value of exported meat and animal products in 2004 amounted to $4.6 billion, consisting primarily of live pigs and pork, cheese, and canned meat. Production in 2004 included 4,569,000 tons of milk, 46,700 tons of butter, and 335,500 tons of cheese. In addition, egg production was 81,000 tons in 2004. Some 50% of all eggs consumed domestically are produced by alternative methods, a phrase that generally refers to layers raised organically or in free-range. The government's goal is for all eggs to ultimately be produced by noncaged layers. Organic milk is also a growing market. Organically produced feed's share of the domestic market is also increasing.
The country's long coastline, conveniently situated on rich fishing waters, provides Denmark with excellent fishing grounds. Fishing is an important source of domestic food supply, and both fresh and processed fish are important exports. During 1990–95, the government financially supported fleet reduction in order to alleviate structural problems in the industry, and 605 vessels left the fleet during those years. At the beginning of 2005, there were 2,180 Danish fishing vessels, with a combined 95,685 GRT. The catch is composed mainly of herring and sprat, cod, mackerel, plaice, salmon, and whiting; but sole and other flatfish, tuna, and other varieties are also caught. In 2004, total Danish landings were 984,037 tons.
Denmark is one of the world's leading seafood exporters. In 2003, fish exports were valued at $3.2 billion, up 17% from 2000.
A law of 1805 placing all forestland under reservation stated that "where there is now high forest there must always be high forest." Various measures were adopted to maintain forest growth. Later revisions of the law compelled all woodland owners to replant when trees are felled and to give adequate attention to drainage, weeding out of inferior species, and road maintenance. As a result, forests, which occupied only 5% of Denmark's land area and were actually in danger of extinction at the beginning of the 19th century, now make up 10% of the land and are in excellent condition. The total forest area in 2000 was 486,000 hectares (1,200,000 acres). Spruce and beech are the most important varieties. The government would like to increase forest area to 800,000 hectares (1,977,000 acres), nearly 20% of Denmark's total area, during the next 80 years.
Roundwood harvested in 2003 amounted to 1.8 million cu m (64 million cu ft), of which about 75% came from conifers and 25% came from broadleaf species. Denmark is a large importer of softwood lumber, especially from the other Scandinavian countries, and is a large particleboard consumer. Total Danish wood trade in 2003 amounted to $2.3 billion, consisting of imports of $1.9 billion and exports totaling $391.5 million. Pine logs account for about 60% of the total value of imported wood, much of it used by the furniture industry. Danish furniture exports in 2004 amounted to more than $2.5 billion.
On 3 December 1999, the first hurricane ever recorded in Denmark destroyed large tracts of its forested areas. Estimated loss of trees amounted to 150% of Denmark's normal annual timber harvest.
Denmark's industrialized market economy depended on imported raw materials, its mineral resources were mainly fossil fuels in the North Sea, and the nonfuel minerals industry included mining and quarrying of chalk, clays, diatomite, limestone (agricultural and industrial), and sand and gravel (onshore and offshore). The industrial minerals sector was particularly active. There were some 90 pits in Denmark from which clay was mined; this material was used primarily by the cement, brick making, and ceramic tile industries. The production of sand, gravel, and crushed stone has become more important in recent years, not only in meeting domestic demand, but also as an export to Germany and other Scandinavian countries. Kaolin, found on the island of Bornholm, was used mostly for coarse earthenware, furnace linings, and as filler for paper; production was 2,500 metric tons in 2004, unchanged from 2000. There were important limestone, chalk, and marl deposits in Jutland. Chalk production totaled 1,950,000 tons in 2004. Limonite (bog ore) was extracted for gas purification and pig iron production. Large deposits of salt were discovered in Jutland in 1966; in 2004, 610,000 metric tons were mined. The country also produced fire clay, extracted moler, lime (hydrated and quicklime), nitrogen, peat, crude phosphates, dimension stone (mostly granite), and sulfur. According to the constitution, subsurface resources belonged to the nation, and concessions to exploit them required parliamentary approval.
Denmark's energy sector is marked by negligible sources of waterpower, and no nuclear power plants. However, the country has significant oil and natural gas reserves located in the North Sea, and it is also turning to wind power as an important source of electrical power generation.
In 2002, Denmark's electrical generating capacity totaled 12.746 million kW. Of that total, conventionally fueled capacity accounted for 10.049 million kW. Geothermal/other fuel based capacity was next at 2.868 million kW and hydropower based capacity at 0.011 million kW. In that same year, Denmark generated 36.367 billion kWh of electric power, of which thermal fuel powered generation accounted for 29.319 billion kWh, followed by geothermal/other powered generation at 29.319 billion kWh, and hydropower generation at 0.032 billion kWh. Imports of electrical power in 2002 totaled 8.900 billion kWh, with exports for that year at 11.100 billion kWh. The Danish electrical generating sector is marked by its use of alternative or geothermal/other power sources, most notably, wind-driven generation. Although 80% of the nation's electric power was generated by fossil fuels, slightly more than 19% was generated by alternative sources. According to a report by BusinessWeek online, dated 30 April 2001, around 13% of Denmark's electric power is wind generated, and the country has become a leader in the manufacturing of wind powered generating equipment.
Denmark's position flanking the North Sea has given the nation a share of the significant oil and natural gas reserves that have been discovered there. As of 1 January 2002, Denmark had proven oil reserves of 1.23 billion barrels. By the end of 2004, according to British Petroleum (BP), Denmark's proven oil reserves rose to 1.3 billion barrels. In 2002, Denmark produced an average of 370,760 barrels per day of crude oil. In 2004, that total rose to an average of 394,000 barrels per day, according to BP. In addition, between 1999, and 2005, a number of new fields have begun to produce, boosting the country's crude oil output. However, starting in 1997, Denmark's oil consumption has steadily fallen, according to BP. In that year the consumption of all oil products dropped to 229,000 barrels per day, from 235,000 barrels per day in 1996. In 2003, total oil product consumption fell to 193,000 barrels per day, and in 2004 fell 1.8% to 189,000 barrels per day.
Denmark has proven reserves of natural gas, as of end 2004, of 0.09 trillion cu m, and output has steadily risen over the previous three decades. According to BP, in 2002, Denmark produced 8.4 billion cu m of natural gas. In 2004, output rose to 9.4 billion cu m.
Denmark has no proven coal reserves and must therefore import all the coal it consumes. In 2002, imports of hard black coal totaled 6,946,000 tons.
Manufacturing greatly expanded after the end of World War II and now accounts for a greater share of national income than does agriculture. In 2004, manufacturing (including mining and utilities) accounted for 25.5% of the GDP, employing approximately 17% of the total working population. In the important food and drink industry, which tends to be relatively stable, the pattern differs for various branches, but meat packing has developed remarkably. The chemical, metalworking, and pharmaceutical industries have made notable progress. Handicrafts remain important, and Danish stone, clay, glass, wood, and silver products are world famous. Other important industries include: iron, steel, machinery and transportation equipment, textiles and clothing, electronics, construction, furniture, shipbuilding and refurbishment, and windmills.
In the world market, Danish manufacturers, having a limited supply of domestic raw materials, a relatively small home market, and a naturally advantageous geographic position, have concentrated on the production of high-quality specialized items rather than those dependent on mass production. For example, Denmark became the world's largest supplier of insulin, the raw materials for which come from livestock intestines; the Danish company Novo Nordisk is the world leader in insulin and diabetes care. Denmark by the early 2000s produced some 20–25% of the world's hearing aids.
Machinery, by far the most important industrial export, includes cement-making machinery, dairy machinery, diesel engines, electric motors, machine tools, and refrigeration equipment. Other important exports include meat and meat products (especially pork and pork products—Denmark is the world's largest exporter of pork), fish, dairy products, chemicals, furniture, ships, and windmills.
The Ministry of Research is the central administrative unit for research policy. Among advisory bodies to it are the Danish Council for Research Policy, the Danish Natural Science Research Council, the Danish Medical Research Council, the Danish Agricultural and Veterinary Research Council, the Danish Technical Research Council, and the Danish Committee for Scientific and Technical Information and Documentation. The chief learned societies are the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters (founded in 1742) and the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences (founded in 1937). Denmark also has 29 specialized learned societies in the fields of agricultural and veterinary science, medicine, natural sciences, and technology. Among the principal public research institutions are the universities Aalborg, Aarhus, Copenhagen, Odense, and Roskilde; the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University at Frederiksberg; the Technological University of Denmark near Copenhagen; the National Hospital in Copenhagen; the Risø National Laboratory near Roskilde; the Danish Institute for Fisheries and Marine Research at Charlottenlund; and the Danish Meteorological Institute at Copenhagen. In 1987–97, science and engineering students accounted for 25% of university enrollment. In 2002, a total of 10.6% of all bachelor's degrees awarded were for the sciences (natural sciences, mathematics and computers, and engineering). Many of the world's preeminent theoretical nuclear physicists have worked at the Niels Bohr Institute for Astronomy, Physics, and Geophysics of Copenhagen University. Copenhagen has museums of geology and zoology and botanical gardens.
Research and development (R&D) expenditures in 2002 totaled $4,178.639 million or 2.51% of GDP. For that same year, there were 3,153 technicians and 4,822 researchers per million people actively engaged in R&D. In 2001, business provided 61.5% of all funding for R&D activities, followed by government at 28%, foreign sources at 7.8% and higher education at 2.6%. Total R&D spending that year came to $3,877.477 million, or 2.40% of GDP. In 2002, high-tech exports were valued at $8.089 billion and accounted for 22% of manufactured exports.
Large units are becoming more common in wholesale as well as retail trade, ordering directly from local manufacturers and foreign suppliers. Retail operations now include purchasing organizations, various types of chains, cooperatives, self-service stores, supermarkets, and department stores. Chain stores are gaining dominance in the nonfood retail goods market. The food retail sector is dominated by Dansk Supermarked, Coop Danmark, and about 30 other independent food import establishments. A 25% value-added tax applies to most goods and services.
Danish retail trade is marked by keen competition between independent retailers, manufacturers' chains, and consumer cooperatives. About 30% of all Danish retail establishments are in the greater Copenhagen area, and these account for almost 40% of all retail sales.
Business opening hours vary between 8 and 9 am; closing is between 5:30 and 7 pm for stores and 4 to 4:30 pm for offices. Early closing (1 pm) on Saturdays is now standard. Banking hours are from 9:30 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday; also, 4 to 6 pm on Thursday.
General, trade, and technical periodicals are important media, and direct-mail, television, and film advertising are used extensively. The most important trade exhibition, the International Fair, takes place every spring in Copenhagen.
The Danish economy depends heavily on foreign trade. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy. Raw materials for use in production used to account for more than half the value of imports, but have seen a considerable decline in recent years. Farm products traditionally comprised the bulk of total Danish exports, but since 1961, industrial exports have greatly exceeded agricultural exports in value. In 2003, industrial products accounted for 81%
|Italy-San Marino-Holy See||1,942.3||2,300.7||-358.4|
|(…) data not available or not significant.|
of Denmark's total commodity exports by value (of which machinery and instruments covered 35%); agricultural and fishing exports accounted for 10% (of which pork and pork products covered 48%—Denmark is the world's largest exporter of pork). Raw materials and semi-manufactures accounted for 43% of imports, consumer goods 29%, capital equipment 14%, transport equipment 7%, fuels 5%, and other imports 2%.
Denmark's trading partners in 2003 (according to percent of total trade in goods) included Germany (21%), Sweden (13%), the United Kingdom (8%), the United States (5%), Norway (5%), Japan (2%), and eastern European countries (5%).
To curb domestic demand, the government introduced several fiscal restraint measures in 1986, resulting in a decline in imports. Such measures and a tight-money policy have curbed inflation and made Danish exports more competitive, leading to trade surpluses in the late 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. In 2004, total exports were $75.6 billion and imports were $67.2 billion, for a trade surplus of $8.4 billion.
A great producer of food, Denmark's commodity exports include meat, fresh fish, and cheese, each of which command a substantial percentage of the world's food exports in their categories. The country also exports fine furniture and medicaments.
The decline in Denmark's trade balance since the end of World War II resulted in a serious deterioration in the balance-of-payments position, particularly after 1960. In the late 1960s, the course of Denmark's international economic activity paralleled trends in continental Europe, with high trade and capital flow levels being accompanied by a deteriorating current-account position; this condition continued into the early 1970s. The Danish government had hoped that Denmark's entry into the EC would reduce the country's persistent deficit and bring the balance on current account into a more favorable position, but this was not
|Balance on goods||10,142.0|
|Balance on services||3,811.0|
|Balance on income||-3,981.0|
|Direct investment abroad||-1,314.0|
|Direct investment in Denmark||2,908.0|
|Portfolio investment assets||-21,938.0|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||6,012.0|
|Other investment assets||-9,983.0|
|Other investment liabilities||19,832.0|
|Net Errors and Omissions||3,075.0|
|Reserves and Related Items||-4,674.0|
|(…) data not available or not significant.|
the case in the late 1970s. Although current account deficits were reduced somewhat in 1980–81, thanks to the devaluation of the krone and the restrictive income and fiscal policies implemented in 1979–80, the deficit again increased in 1982 and by 1985 was at the highest level since 1979.
In 1990, after a century of deficits, the balance of payments showed a surplus of $1.3 billion, and rose to $4.7 billion in 1993. In 1994 the surplus dropped to $2.7 billion, but by 2002 it stood at $8.4 billion. The surplus has allowed Denmark to begin repaying its large foreign debt, which peaked in 1988 at $44 billion, or 40% of GDP. (External debt stood at $21.7 billion in 2000.) Net interest payments on debt continue to be a burden, accounting for about 10% of goods and services export earnings.
As of 2005, except for one year—1998—Denmark had had comfortable current account surpluses for 15 years. The current account surplus stood at $6.5 billion in 2004.
By an act of 7 April 1936, the Danish National Bank, the bank of issue since 1818, was converted from an independent to an official government corporation. Its head office is in Copenhagen, and it has branches in provincial towns. The Nationalbank performs all the usual functions of a central bank, and it holds almost all the nation's foreign exchange reserves. Commercial banks provide short-term money to business and individuals, almost always in the form of overdraft credits, which are generally renewable.
Danish banks, hit particularly hard by the Nordic banking crisis of 1991–93, have rebounded. By the end of the decade, they had rebounded completely. Their recovery was bolstered in large part by continuing capital gains in securities markets. In mid-2003, there were 187 commercial and savings banks, eight mortgage credit institutions, 30 investment companies, 138 nonlife insurance companies, and 94 life assurance companies and multi-employer pension funds.
Credit and mortgage societies are active in Denmark. In 1982, index-linked real estate loans were introduced, initially carrying nominal interest rates of 2.5% per year, with balance and installments adjusted yearly according to variations in the consumer price index and wage indexes. In the mid-1990s, the lending rate was about 12%. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 1999, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate commonly known as M1—were equal to $54.7 billion. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $97.5 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 3.37%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 3%.
The stock exchange (or Bourse) in Copenhagen was built during 1619-30 by Christian IV. He subsequently sold it to a Copenhagen merchant, but it reverted to the crown and in 1857 was finally sold by Frederik VII to the Merchants' Guild. Although it is the oldest building in the world built as an exchange and still used as one, the nature of the business transacted in it has greatly changed. Originally a commodity exchange equipped with booths and storage rooms, the Bourse is now almost exclusively a stock exchange. In 1970, the Stock Exchange was placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Commerce with a governing committee of 11 members. Only a few bond issues are made by manufacturing firms each year. In 1980, Denmark took the initial step toward becoming the first country to convert the issuing of stock, share, and bond certificates into a computer account registration system. As of 2004, a total of 178 companies were listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange, which had a total capitalization of $151.342 billion. In that same year, the KFX Copehagen rose 0.7% from the previous year to 286.7.
The Danish insurance industry is regulated by the Danish Supervisory Authority of Financial Affairs. Danish companies do most stock insurance business. Some government-owned insurance companies sell automobile, fire, and life insurance and handle the government's war-risk insurance program. In Denmark, third-party auto insurance, workers' compensation, nuclear power station insurance, hunter's liability, dog liability, third-party aircraft liability and mortgaged property insurance are compulsory. The two primary pieces of legislation affecting the insurance industry are the Insurance Companies Act and the Insurance Contracts Act. The first contains regulations for establishing and operating insurance companies and describes the public supervision of the insurance business. The second governs relations between insurance companies, policy holders, and claimants. In 2003, the value of all direct premiums written totaled $16.737 billion, with life premiums accounting for the largest portion at $10.944 billion. Denmark's top nonlife insurer that same year was Tryg Skade, with gross nonlife premiums written of $1,177.9 million. Danica Pension was the country's top life insurer in 2003 with gross life premiums written of $1.772.4.
The finance bill is presented to the Folketing yearly; the fiscal year follows the calendar year. As a general rule, the budget is prepared on the "net" principle, the difference between receipts and expenditures—surplus
|Revenue and Grants||532,687||100.0%|
|General public services||137,385||27.2%|
|Public order and safety||13,265||2.6%|
|Housing and community amenities||8,257||1.6%|
|Recreational, culture, and religion||11,417||2.3%|
|(…) data not available or not significant.|
or deficit—of public undertakings being posted to the revenue accounts. By far the largest amounts of public expenditure are for social security, health, education and research, unemployment insurance, pensions, allowances, and rent subsidies. Under a new tax reform plan, agreed upon by the government and the Danish People's Party in March 2003, Danish citizens received tax relief in 2004, although at a lesser rate than originally was hoped. Denmark has yet to accept the euro as its currency, although it meets all the criteria set forth by the European Monetary Union to do so. The 1993 Finance Act serves as an example of how revenue is only to a limited degree spent on the public sector's own operational and initial expenditure, but mainly repaid to citizens. Out of the Kr340 billion the government had at its disposal in 1993, 46% was to be sent back to individual citizens as income transfers. In addition, the government transferred 12% of the budget to municipalities in the form of block grants, which also will largely end up as transfer payments to individuals.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Denmark's central government took in revenues of approximately $148.8 billion and had expenditures of $142.6 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately $6.2 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 40.4% of GDP. Total external debt was $352.9 billion.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were Kr532,687 million and expenditures were Kr504,284 million. The value of revenues was us$80,857 million and expenditures us$76,546 million, based on a market exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = Kr6.588 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 27.2%; defense, 4.6%; public order and safety, 2.6%; economic affairs, 6.8%; housing and community amenities, 1.6%; health, 0.9%; recreation, culture, and religion, 2.3%; education, 12.6%; and social protection, 41.3%.
Denmark's taxes are among the highest in the world. Danish residents are liable for tax on global income and net wealth. Nonresidents are liable only for tax on certain types of income from Danish sources.
The corporate income tax in Denmark is 30%, which must be prepaid during the income tax year to avoid a surcharge. Capital gains are also taxed at the 30% rate.
Personal income tax is collected at state, county and local levels. A tax ceiling ensures that combined income taxes do not exceed 59% of income. Income tax rates are progressive: 39% on income up to €22,118; 45% on income between €22,118 and €36,025; and 60% on income above €36,025. Several kinds of deductions or reductions can be applied to taxable income. Dividends are taxed at 28% up to the amount of personal allowance, after which the rate goes to 43%. Royalties are subject to a 30% tax rate. There is also a voluntary church tax with an average rate of 0.8%. The social security contribution from employee earnings is 9%, 8% for unemployment insurance and 1% for special pension scheme savings. The voluntary church tax and social security contributions do not count toward the 59% tax ceiling. Tax is withheld at the source. Foreign researchers and key employers may qualify for a gross tax of 25% on their salary instead of paying regular income tax. They are still liable for 9% social security contributions.
Denmark's main indirect tax in the value-added tax (VAT) first introduced in March 1967 with a standard rate of 10%. The current standard rate of 25% was introduced in January 1992. Daily newspapers and a few other goods and services are exempt from the VAT.
Denmark—a consistent advocate of free and fair conditions of international trade—had until recently the lowest tariff rate in Europe. However, owing to shortages of foreign currency, Denmark did impose quantitative restrictions on imports, and as late as 1959 about 64% of Danish industrial production was so protected. On joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on 8 May 1960, Denmark began eliminating tariff rates and quantitative restrictions on industrial products from other EFTA countries. By 1 January 1970, those that remained were abolished. On 1 January 1973, Denmark ended its membership in EFTA and became a member of the European Community, which not only represents a free trade area but also seeks to integrate the economies of its member states.
Denmark adheres to provisions of GATT on import licensing requirements although certain industrial products must meet Danish and EC technical standards. Denmark converted to the Harmonized System of import duties on 1 January 1988. Most products from European countries are duty-free. Duty rates for manufactured goods range from 5–14% of CIF value, and a 25% VAT is applied to imported, as well as domestic, products. Basic necessities and foodstuffs are given a 0% rate. Agricultural products are governed by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a system of variable levies, instead of duties.
Denmark is a rich, modern society with state-of-the art infrastructure and distribution system. A highly-skilled labor force and a northern location in Europe make it attractive to foreign investors wishing to have access to markets in Scandinavia, the Baltics, and other northern European destinations. Denmark is a firm advocate of liberal trade and investment policies and actively courts foreign investment.
Foreign investors are treated on an equal footing with Danish investors; investment capital and profits may be freely repatriated. After the late 1950s, Denmark attracted a moderate amount of foreign investment. In 1998, however, annual FDI inflows jumped from $2.8 billion to $7.7 billion and then soared to $32.3 billion in 2000. In terms of success in attracting FDI, Denmark went from the 62nd ranked country (out of 140 countries studied) on UNCTAD's Inward FDI Performance Index for the period 1988 to 1990 to the 12th ranked country for the period 1998–2000. Denmark's ranking in terms of potential for inward FDI increased from 10th place in the world to 8th place. In the economic slowdown of 2001and in decline in FDI inflows that followed the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, annual FDI inflow fell to about $14 billion in 2001 and to an estimated $7.7 billion in 2002.
The total stock of FDI in Denmark increased by 79% from 1998–2003, and corresponded to approximately 25% of GDP in 2003 (at $54 billion). Danish investment abroad amounted to 27% of GDP. The corporate tax is relatively low by EU-15 standards, at 28%. There is no additional local tax, franchise, or net wealth tax. The corporate tax is paid after deductions for expenses.
The largest foreign investors in Denmark are the United States, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The main sources of FDI stock in Denmark in 2003 were the United States (28%), Sweden (20%), the United Kingdom (10%), Norway (9%), and Germany (4%). The main destinations of Danish investment abroad in 2003 were the United Kingdom (12%), Norway (10%), Sweden (9%), the United States (6%), and Germany (6%).
For many years, Danish governments followed a full-employment policy and relied chiefly on promotion of private enterprise to achieve this end. Beginning in the late 1970s, however, the government increased its intervention in the economy, in response to rising unemployment, inflation, and budget deficits. Inflation has been curbed and budget deficits reduced. This bolstered the currency from devaluation, but at the cost of restraining growth, and unemployment continued to rise.
Government influence on private enterprise through the exercise of import and export licensing has diminished in recent years. The discount policy of the National Bank is of major importance to the business community. Control of cartels and monopolies is flexible. The government has in recent years sold part or whole interest in many business entities, including the national telecommunications company TDC, Copenhagen airports, and the government's computer services company, Datacentralen. Most of the country's power stations are owned and operated by local governments and municipalities.
Capital incentives are available to assist new industries, mainly in the less-developed areas of Denmark. Municipalities also provide infrastructure, industrial parks, or inexpensive land. Under a 1967 provision, the Regional Development Committee (composed of representatives of a number of special-interest organizations and central and local authorities) can grant state guarantees or state loans for the establishment of enterprises in less developed districts.
In 1978, Denmark reached the UN target for official development assistance (ODA) in the mid-1970s: 0.7% of GNP. It reached 0.96% of GNP in 1991, second only to Norway, and 1.01% in 2001, when it led the world in ODA. In 2004, Denmark set aside 0.84% of its GNP for ODA, third highest behind Norway and Luxembourg. Denmark's official assistance to developing countries amounted to $2 billion in 2004.
Unemployment was at a 25-year low in 2002, and the economy weathered the global economic recession fairly well. (Unemployment was also low in 2004, at 6.2%.) The government ran fiscal surpluses in order to prepare for the costs of an aging population. Nevertheless, state spending to total economic activity remains one of the highest in the world. Small and medium-sized businesses characterize the private sector, with companies with less than 50 employees accounting for approximately half of total employment, and only 12% of the workforce work in firms with more than 500 employees. Women are highly represented in the labor force.
The government was likely to continue an expansionary fiscal policy in 2006, and the general government budget surplus was forecast to narrow. The Danish government lowered income and corporate taxes in 2004, and announced in 2005 that it was working on simplifying the rules governing the taxation of dividends. Government debt remains high, but the public budget was in surplus in 2005.
Denmark was one of the first countries in the world to establish efficient social services with the introduction of relief for the sick, unemployed, and aged. Old age benefits date back to 1891. Social welfare programs include health insurance, health and hospital services, insurance for occupational injuries, unemployment insurance and employment exchange services, old age and disability pensions, rehabilitation and nursing homes, family welfare subsidies, general public welfare, and payments for military accidents. Maternity benefits are payable up to 52 weeks. In 2004 the retirement age increased to 69 years for residents.
According to the constitution, any incapacitated person living in Denmark has a right to public relief. Benefits such as maintenance allowances for the children of single supporters, day care, and others, involve neither repayment nor any other conditions; some others are regarded as loans to be repaid when possible. Family allowances are paid to families with incomes below a certain threshold; rent subsidies require a means test. Denmark has a dual system of universal medical benefits for all residents and cash sickness benefits for employees. All Danish citizens over 67 years of age may draw old age pensions. Disability pensions, equal in amount to old age pensions plus special supplements, are paid to persons with a stipulated degree of disablement.
Women make up roughly half of the work force. Laws guarantee equal pay for equal work, and women have and use legal recourse if they feel discriminated against. Spousal rape and spousal abuse are criminal offenses. There are crisis centers that counsel and shelter victims of domestic violence. Children's rights are well protected.
The constitution provides for freedom of the press and speech, assembly and association, and for religious freedom, and generally respects these rights. Discrimination based on sex, creed, race, or ethnicity is prohibited by law.
Denmark's health care system has retained the same basic structure since the early 1970s. The administration of hospitals and personnel is dealt with by the Ministry of the Interior, while primary care facilities, health insurance, and community care are the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Anyone can go to a physician for no fee and the public health system entitles each Dane to his/her own doctor. Expert medical/surgical aid is available, with a qualified nursing staff. Costs are borne by public authorities, but high taxes contribute to these costs. As of 2004, there were an estimated 366 physicians and 972 nurses per 100,000 people. In addition, there were 90 dentists, 49 pharmacists, and 25 midwives per 100,000 people.
The total fertility rate in 2000 was 1.7, while the maternal mortality rate was 10 per 100,000 live births. Approximately 63% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception. Cardiovascular diseases and cancer were the leading causes of death. Denmark's cancer rates were the highest in the European Union. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.20 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 5,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 100 deaths from AIDS in 2003.
Danish citizens may choose between two systems of primary health care: medical care provided free of charge by a doctor whom the individual chooses for a year and by those specialists to whom the doctor refers the patient; or complete freedom of choice of any physician or specialist at any time, with state reimbursement of about two-thirds of the cost for medical bills paid directly by the patient. Most Danes opt for the former. All patients receive subsidies on pharmaceuticals and vital drugs; everyone must pay a share of dental bills. Health care expenditure was estimated at 8.4% of GDP.
Responsibility for the public hospital service rests with county authorities. Counties form public hospital regions, each of which is allotted one or two larger hospitals with specialists and two to four smaller hospitals where medical treatment is practically free. State-appointed medical health officers, responsible to the National Board of Health, are employed to advise local governments on health matters. Public health authorities have waged large-scale campaigns against tuberculosis, venereal diseases, diphtheria, and poliomyelitis. The free guidance and assistance given to mothers of newborn children by public health nurses have resulted in a low infant mortality rate of 4.56 per 1,000 live births (2005). Medical treatment is free up to school age, when free school medical inspections begin. As of 2001, children up to one year of age were vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (99%) and measles (92%). In 2005, life expectancy at birth was 77.62 years. The overall death rate was 11 per 1,000 people.
In recent decades, especially since the passage of the Housing Subsidy Act of 1956, considerable government support has been given to housing. For large families building their own homes, government loans have been provided on exceptionally favorable terms, and special rent rebates have been granted to large families occupying apartments in buildings erected by social building societies or in buildings built with government loans since 1950. Subject to certain conditions, housing rebates have been granted to pensioners and invalids. An annual grant is made to reduce householders' maintenance expenses. This extensive support helped to reduce the wartime and immediate postwar housing shortage.
In 2005, there were 2,633,886 dwellings in the nation; 94% were occupied. About 38% were detached, single-family homes; another 35% were detached, multi-family homes and 12% were terraced or linked dwellings. Of the occupied dwellings, about 51% were owner occupied. About 26% of all dwellings consist of five rooms and a kitchen; only about 48,892 dwellings do not have a kitchen at all. During the period 1991–2004, less than 20,000 new homes were built each year. About 17,778 new dwellings were built in 2004, mostly by private builders. Approximately 231,906 dwellings were built before 1900. About 40% of the housing stock was built 1950–79.
Primary, secondary, and most university and other higher education are free. Preschools are operated by private persons or organizations with some government financial aid. Education has been compulsory since 1814; currently, it is compulsory for nine years, for children ages 7 to 16. The Danish primary school system, known as the Folkeskole, covers the nine required years and many opt for an additional 10th year. English is included in the curriculum from the fifth grade. After basic schooling, two-thirds of the pupils apply for practical training in a trade or commerce at special schools. The remaining one-third enroll in secondary schools, which finish after three years with student examination and pave the way for higher education at universities. Municipal authorities, with some financial aid from the central government, have been responsible for providing schools for these children.
In 2001, about 90% of children between the ages of three and six were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 100% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 96% of age-eligible students. Most students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 10:1 in 2000; the ratio for secondary school was also about 10:1.
Adult education exists side by side with the regular school system. Founded as early as 1844, the folk high schools are voluntary, self-governing high schools imparting general adult education. In addition, there are hundreds of schools for higher instruction of pupils without previous special training. There are 12 universities, including the University of Copenhagen (founded in 1479), the University of Aarhus (founded as a college in 1928 and established as a university in 1933), the University of Odense (opened in 1966), and the University Center at Roskilde (founded in 1970). Attached to the various faculties are institutes, laboratories, and clinics devoted primarily to research, but also offering advanced instruction. There are about 100 specialized colleges with professional programs. Many specialized schools and academies of university rank provide instruction in various technical and artistic fields. All these institutions are independent in their internal administration. In 2003, about 67% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for has been estimated at nearly 100%.
As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 8.5% of GDP, or 15.4% of total government expenditures.
Denmark's national library, the Royal Library in Copenhagen, founded by Frederik III in 1653, is the largest in Scandinavia, with over 4.6 million volumes. The manuscript department of the Royal Library holds an extensive collection of the manuscripts and correspondence of Hans Christian Andersen and the Søren Kierkegaard Archives (manuscripts and personal papers). The National Museum of Photography (over 25,000 pieces) and the Museum of Danish Cartoon Art are also housed at the Royal Library. Three other large libraries are the University Library in Copenhagen, Copenhagen Public Libraries, and the State Library at Aarhus. The Regional Library of Northern Jutland includes a central library, 17 branch locations and 3 mobile units. As of 2002, there were 250 free public libraries throughout the country with 892 points of service. That year, the public libraries had a total of more than 31.4 million volumes. The Danish Library Association was founded in 1905. The Danish Union of Librarians had about 5,500 members in 2005.
Among the largest museums are the National Museum (with rare ethnologic and archaeological collections), the Glyptotek (with a large collection of ancient and modern sculpture), the State Art Museum (containing the main collection of Danish paintings as well as other Scandinavian artists), the Thorvaldsen Museum, the Hirshsprung Collection, and the Rosenborg Palace, all in Copenhagen, and the National Historical Museum in Frederiksborg Castle, at Hillerod. Among the newer facilities is the Amalienborg Museum in Copenhagen, which opened in 1994 and houses treasures of the royal family. The National Museum of Science and Technology in Elsinore includes the Teknisk Museum (Museum of Technology) and the Trafikmuseum (Transport Museum); the Kommunikationsmuseum (Museum of Communications) in Aalborg is an extension of the Teknisk Museum.
Although the government telephone service owns and operates long-distance lines and gives some local service, the bulk of local telephone service is operated by private companies under government concession with government participation. In 2003, there were an estimated 669 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 883 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people. Telegraph services are owned and operated by the government.
The radio broadcasting services are operated by the Danish State Radio System, on long, medium, and short waves. Television broadcasting hours are mainly devoted to current and cultural affairs and to programs for children and young people. There is no commercial advertising on radio or television; owners of sets pay an annual license fee. As of 1998 there were 2 AM and 355 FM radio stations and 26 television stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 1,400 radios and 859 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 236.7 of every 1,000 people are cable subscribers. In 2003, there were 576.8 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 513 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 1,724 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.
The largest daily newspapers (with their political orientation and 2002 circulation totals) are Ekstra Bladet (independent/social-liberal, 159,500), Politiken (independent/social-liberal, 153,500), Berlingske Tidende (independent/conservative, 160,100), B.T. (independent/conservative, 144,900), Aarhus Stiftstidende (independent, 176,400), Vendsyssel Tidende (independent, 114,000), Aalborg Stiftstidende (independent, 72,700), and Fyens Stiftstidende (independent, 66,400).
Complete freedom of expression, including that in print and electronic media, is guaranteed under the constitution. The media in Denmark are largely independently operated and are free from government interference.
Nearly every Danish farmer is a member of at least one agricultural organization and of one or more producer cooperatives. The oldest agricultural organization, the Royal Agricultural Society of Denmark, was established in 1769, but most of the other organizations have been founded since 1850. They promote agricultural education and technical and economic development. Local societies have formed provincial federations, which in turn have combined into two national organizations, the Federation of Danish Agricultural Societies and the Federation of Danish Smallholders Societies. The Cooperative Movement of Denmark comprises three groups: agricultural cooperatives, retail cooperatives, and urban cooperatives. Owners of estates and large farms belong to separate organizations specializing in the affairs of larger agricultural units. Most consumers' cooperative societies belong to the Danish Cooperative Wholesale Society, which makes bulk purchases for member societies and also manufactures various products.
The Federation of Danish Industries and the Industrialists' Association in Copenhagen represent industrial undertakings and trade associations, safeguard and promote the interests of industry, and deal with trade questions of an economic nature. The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions has also been influential. The Council of Handicrafts represents various crafts, trades, and industries, and gives subsidies to technical and trade schools. The leading organizations of the wholesale trade are the Copenhagen Chamber of Commerce and the Provincial Chamber of Commerce. There are also active professional societies representing a broad range of career fields.
The scholarly and cultural organization of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters was founded in 1742. A wide variety of organizations exist to promote research and education in medical and scientific fields, such as Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, the Danish Dental Association, the Danish Medical Society, and the Danish Cancer Society. The Danish Council of Ethics is appointed by the government to conduct research and offer legislative recommendations on bioethical issues.
A number of national and regional cultural organizations are active, as are associations representing popular sports and recreational activities. The Danish Athletic Federation represents about 30,000 athletes nationwide. The Danish Youth Council is an umbrella organization representing about 62 youth organizations with a combined membership of over one million youth. Youth organizations include the Conservative Youth of Denmark, Danish 4-H Youth, Danish Socialist Democratic, Faroe Islands Youth Council, Greenland Youth Council (SORLAK), scouting programs, and YMCA/YWCA.
Dozens of castles, palaces, mansions, and manor houses, including the castle at Elsinore (Helsingør)—site of Shakespeare's Hamlet —ware open to the public. Tivoli Gardens, the world-famous amusement park, built in 1843 in the center of Copenhagen, is open from May through mid-September. Copenhagen is an important jazz center and holds a jazz festival in July. The Royal Danish Ballet, of international reputation, performs in Copenhagen's Royal Theater, which also presents opera and drama. Greenland, the world's largest island, is part of the Kingdom of Denmark and attracts tourists to its mountains, dog sledges, and midnight sun.
A valid passport is required of all visitors except for Scandinavian nationals. Visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days.
Approximately 1,294,477 tourists visited Denmark in 2003. There were 41,729 hotel rooms with 106,080 beds and an occupancy rate of 35% in that year.
In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the cost of staying in Copenhagen at $288 per day.
Denmark's greatest classic writer and the founder of Danish literature is Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754), historian, philologist, philosopher, critic, and playwright, whose brilliant satiric comedies are internationally famous. Another important dramatist and poet is Adam Gottlob Oehlenschlaeger (1779–1850). The two most celebrated 19th-century Danish writers are Hans Christian Andersen (1805–75), whose fairy tales are read and loved all over the world, and the influential philosopher and religious thinker Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55). Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig (1783–1872), noted theologian and poet, was renowned for his founding of folk high schools, which brought practical education to the countryside. The leading European literary critic of his time was Georg Morris Brandes (Cohen, 1842–1927), whose Main Currents in 19th-Century European Literature exerted an influence on two generations of readers. Leading novelists include Jens Peter Jacobsen (1847–85); Martin Anderson Nexø (1869–1954), author of Pelle the Conquerer (1906–10) and Ditte (1917–21); and Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (1873–1950), who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1944 for his series of novels. Karl Adolph Gjellerup (1857–1919) and Henrik Pontoppidan (1857–1943) shared the Nobel Prize for literature in 1917. Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen, 1885–1962) achieved renown for her volumes of gothic tales and narratives of life in Africa. Jeppe Aaksjaer (1866–1930), poet and novelist, is called the Danish Robert Burns. A great film artist is Carl Dreyer (1889–1968), known for directing The Passion of Joan of Arc, Day of Wrath, and Ordet. Famous Danish musicians include the composers Niels Gade (1817–90) and Carl Nielsen (1865–1931), the tenors Lauritz Melchior (1890–1973) and Aksel Schiøtz (1906–75), and the soprano Povla Frijsh (d.1960). Notable dancers and choreographers include August Bournonville (1805–79), originator of the Danish ballet style; Erik Bruhn (1928–86), who was known for his classical technique and was director of ballet at the Royal Swedish Opera House and of the National Ballet of Canada; and Fleming Ole Flindt (b.1936), who has directed the Royal Danish Ballet since 1965. The sculptor Bertel Th orvaldsen (1770–1844) is the artist of widest influence. Jørn Utzon (b.1918) is an architect best known for his design of the Sydney Opera House.
Notable scientists include the astronomers Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) and Ole Rømer (1644–1710); the philologists Ramus Christian Rask (1787–1832) and Otto Jespersen (1860–1943); the physicist Hans Christian Ørsted (1777–1851), discoverer of electromagnetism; Nobel Prize winners for physics Niels Bohr (1885–1962) in 1922 and his son Aage Niels Bohr (b.1922) and Benjamin Mottelson (b.1926) in 1975; Niels Rybert Finsen (b.Faroe Islands, 1860–1904), August Krogh (1874–1949), Johannes A. G. Fibiger (1867–1928), and Henrik C. P. Dam (1895–1976), Nobel Prize-winning physicians and physiologists in 1903, 1920, 1926, and 1944, respectively. Jens Christian Skou (b.1918) shared the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1997. Frederik Bajer (1837–1922) was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1908. Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen (1879–1933), explorer and anthropologist born in Greenland, was an authority on Eskimo ethnology.
Queen Margrethe II (b.1940) became sovereign in 1972.
The Faroe Islands (Faerøerne in Danish and Føroyar in the Faroese language), whose name stems from the Scandinavian word for sheep (får), are situated in the Atlantic Ocean, due n of Scotland, between 61°20′ and 62°24′n and 6°15′ and 7°41′w. The 18 islands, 17 of which are inhabited, cover an area of 1,399 sq km (540 sq mi). Among the larger islands are Streymoy (Strømø) with an area of 373 sq km (144 sq mi), Eysturoy (Østerø) with 286 sq km (110 sq mi), Vágar (Vaagø) with 178 sq km (69 sq mi), Suduroy (Syderø) with 166 sq km (64 sq mi), and Sandoy (Sandø) with 112 sq km (43 sq mi). The maximum length of the Faroe Islands is 112 km (70 mi) n–s and the maximum width is 79 km (49 mi) ne–sw. The total coastline measures 1,117 km (694 mi).
The estimated population in July 2002 was 46,011. Most Faroese are descended from the Vikings, who settled on the islands in the 9th century. The Faroes have been connected politically with Denmark since the 14th century. During World War II (1939–45), they were occupied by the British, and in this period important political differences emerged. The Faroese People's party advocated independence for the islands; the Unionists preferred to maintain the status quo; and the Faroese Social Democrats wanted home rule. After the war, it was agreed to establish home rule under Danish sovereignty, and since 23 March 1948, the central Danish government has been concerned only with matters of common interest, such as foreign policy and foreign-currency exchange. The Faroes have their own flag, levy their own taxes, and issue their own postage stamps and banknotes. The Faroese language, revived in the 19th century and akin to Icelandic, is used in schools, with Danish taught as a first foreign language.
The Faroese parliament, or Logting, dates back to Viking times and may be Europe's oldest legislative assembly. Members are elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from 7 constituencies to the 32-member Logting; representation has been fairly evenly divided among the four major parties. After the April 2002 election, the Union Party had 8 seats; Republican Party, 8; Social Democrats, 7; People's Party 7. The Independence Party and the Center Party had one seat each. The islands elect two representatives to the Folketing (Danish parliament).
In keeping with the islands' name, sheep raising was long the chief activity, but in recent years the fishing industry has grown rapidly. The total fish catch was nearly 360,000 metric tons in 1996; fisheries exports generated 94% of the territory's $471 million in exports in 1999. Principal varieties of fish caught are cod, herring, and haddock; almost the entire catch is exported. Exports go mainly to Denmark (32%), the United Kingdom (21%), France (9%), Germany (7%), Iceland (5%), and the United States (5%). Imports valued at $469 million in 1999, come mainly from Denmark (28%), Norway (26%), Germany (7%), Sweden (5%), and Iceland (4%). Agriculture is limited to the cultivation of root vegetables, potatoes, and barley, and contributed 27% to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 1999.
The economy is regulated by an agreement with Denmark whereby the central government facilitates the marketing of Faroese fisheries products and guarantees to some extent an adequate supply of foreign currency.
Greenland (Grønland in Danish, Kalaallit Nunaat in Greenlandic) is the largest island in the world. Extending from 59°46′ to 83°39′ n and from 11°39′ to 73°8′w, Greenland has a total area of 2,166,086 sq km (836,330 sq mi). The greatest n–s distance is about 2,670 km (1,660 mi), and e–w about 1,290 km (800 mi). Greenland is bounded on the n by the Arctic Ocean, on the e by the Greenland Sea, on the se by the Denmark Strait (separating it from Iceland), on the s by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the w by Baffi n Bay and Davis Strait. The coastline measures 44,087 km (27,394 mi). The ice-free strip along the coast, rarely exceeding 80 km (50 mi) in width, is only 410,449 sq km (158,475 sq mi) in area. The rest of the area, covered with ice measuring at least 2,100 m (7,000 ft) thick in some places, amounts to 1,755,637 sq km (677,855 sq mi). Greenland has a typically arctic climate, but there is considerable variation between localities, and temperature changes in any one locality are apt to be sudden. Rainfall increases from north to south, ranging from about 25 to 114 cm (10–45 in). Land transport is very diffi cult, owing to the ice and rugged terrain, and most local travel must be done by water. SAS operates flights on the Scandinavia-US route via Greenland, and tourists are being attracted by Greenland's imposing scenery.
The population, grouped in a number of scattered settlements of varying sizes, was estimated at 56,376 in 2002, down from 58,203 in 1996. Greenlanders are predominantly Eskimos, with some admixture of Europeans. The Greenlandic language, an EskimoAleut dialect, is in official use. Most native Greenlanders were engaged in hunting and fishing, but a steadily increasing number are now engaged in administration and in private enterprises. The Europeans chiefly follow such pursuits as administration, skilled services, and mining.
The Vikings reached Greenland as early as the 10th century. By the time Europeans rediscovered the island, however, Norse culture had died out and Greenland belonged to the Eskimos. Danish colonization began in the 18th century, when the whale trade flourished off Greenland's western shore. In 1933, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague definitively established Danish jurisdiction over all Greenland. Up to 1953, the island was a colony; at that time it became an integral part of Denmark. Greenland held that status until 1979, when it became self-governing after a referendum in which 70% of the population favored home rule. The 31 members in the Landsting (parliament) are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation. In the election held November 2001, the left-wing Siumut Party won 10 seats; Inuit Ataqatigiit, 8; the right-wing Atassut Party, 7; the Demokratiit, 5; and the Katusseqatigiit, 1. Greenland elects two representatives to the Folketing; following the December 2002 election, the representatives were from the Siumut and Inuit Ataqatigiit parties.
Fishing, hunting (mainly seal, and to a lesser extent fox), and mining are the principal occupations. Greenland's total fish catch in 1994 was 112,576 tons, and fisheries exports were valued at $267 million. Agriculture is not possible in most of Greenland, but some few vegetables are grown in the south, usually under glass.
At Ivigtut, on the southwest coast, a deposit of cryolite has long been worked by a Danish government-owned corporation, but reserves are believed to be nearing depletion. The government has a controlling interest in the lead-zinc mine at Mestersvig, on the east coast. Production began in 1956 and has continued sporadically. Low-grade coal mined at Disko Islands, midway on the west coast, is used for local fuel needs. Mining activities ceased in 1990 but exploration activity has revealed the potential for economic exploitation of antimony, barite, beryllium, chromite, coal, colombium, copper, cryolite, diamond, gold, graphite, ilmenite, iron, lead, molybdenum, nickel, platinum-group metals, rare earths, tantalum, thorium, tungsten, uranium, zinc, and zirconium. Fish and fish products make up the bulk of exports. Raw materials are administered jointly by a Denmark-Greenland commission. Underground resources remain in principle the property of Denmark, but the Landsting has veto power over matters having to do with mineral development.
A US Air Force base is situated at Thule, in the far north along the west coast, only 14°from the North Pole; Greenland also forms part of an early-warning radar network. An international meteorological service, administered by Denmark, serves transatlantic flights. In 1960, a 1,500-kW atomic reactor was set up in northern Greenland to supply electric power to a new US scientific base built on the icecap, 225 km (140 mi) inland from Thule.
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