Denmark

Denmark officially the Kingdom of Denmark is a Nordic country and a sovereign state. The southernmost of the Scandinavian nations, it is south-west of Sweden and south of Norway and bordered to the south by Germany. It is generally regarded as a part of the Scandinavian cultural space, Denmark is a unique country in too many ways to count. It’s not a large country, but it commands a lot of respect on the continent due to its strong economy, advanced legal system and very good record in terms of respect for rights of its own citizens and foreigners alike. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island.

As Europe’s oldest kingdom and the home of Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark is often marketed as a “fairy-tale country”.

Population: 5.6 million

Area : 43,098 sq km (16,640 sq miles)

Language: Danish

Religion: Christianity

Currency: Krone

Copenhagen frequently tops rankings of the world’s happiest, most liveable and best-designed cities. This is likely because the city strives for sustainability in nearly every aspect of policy and culture. While Denmark’s capital may not be perfect, its successes in a few key areas provide teaching points for metropolises around the world.

The importance of liveability in Danish culture is exemplified in the sustainable infrastructure of its capital city. Copenhagen is friendly to pedestrians, and perhaps even friendlier to cyclists. Nearly 480,000 people (40% of residents) commute by bike each day, causing some to call Copenhagen the number one cycling city in the world. The city’s bike-sharing program, Bycyklen København, provides bikes to locals and visitors for free, and Copenhagen has a network of about 350km of off-road bike paths, complete with traffic lights. Plus, there’s the S-tog commuter train, the Metro and an extensive bus system.

Sustainable architecture is also central to city policy. Most new buildings, for example, are required to have roofs covered with plants and vegetation, and most old buildings have been retrofitted to meet these standards. Green roofs reduce stormwater runoff and help control the building’s interior climate, reducing both utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, city plans say that by 2015, 90% of residents will be able to walk to a green space in just 15 minutes.

Tourism is a major economic contributor. Inbound tourists to Denmark mainly comprise people from neighbouring countries, especially from Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. Denmark has long stretches of sandy beaches, attracting many tourists in the summer, Swedish and Norwegian tourists often come to visit the relatively lively city of Copenhagen, while many young Scandinavians come for Denmark’s comparably cheap and readily accessible beer, wines and spirits.  While Copenhagen is a popular destination for its restaurants, architecture and notable spots and attractions such as Tivoli Gardens, the Freetown Christiania and Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, the rest of the country has much more to offer.

Visitors can explore Denmark’s many small islands to find traditional fishing villages and sandy beaches, at Bornholm Island or the charming chalk cliffs and gardens of Møn Island. Samsø island is also a very eco-friendly location, with its 3,806 inhabitants generating 100% of their electricity from wind. The island has also become a leader in sustainable and ecological agriculture. Responsible and eco-friendly travellers can benefit from a varied range of eco-lodge, farm stays and campsites that endorse environmentally responsible practices.

Denmark is a treasure-trove of eco-friendly experiences and home of the world’s most visionary climate policies, so If you enjoy the benefits of organic food, appreciate a good night’s sleep in an eco-certified hotel and have a soft spot for sustainable transportation like cycling or electric busses, then look no further.

Danish cuisine originating from the peasant population’s own local produce was enhanced by cooking techniques developed in the late 19th century and the wider availability of goods after the Industrial Revolution. The open sandwiches, known as smørrebrød, which in their basic form are the usual fare for lunch, can be considered a national speciality when prepared and decorated with a variety of fine ingredients. Hot meals are traditionally prepared from ground meats, such as frikadeller (meatballs) and medisterpølse, or from more substantial meat and fish dishes such as flæskesteg (roast pork with crackling) or kogt torsk (poached cod) with mustard sauce and trimmings. Denmark is known for its Carlsberg and Tuborg beers and for its akvavit and bitters, but amongst the Danes themselves, an imported wine has gained in popularity since the 1960s.

The defining aspect of culture here is hygge: spending quality time with friends or loved ones over good food and drink. When wandering about, don’t stray into the cycle lanes alongside most roads, and be aware that locals will always wait for the green “walk” light at pedestrian crossings – even when there isn’t a car in sight.