Denmark is a small country on the Scandinavian peninsula in Northern Europe. It has a population of 5.6 million people, and its capital city is Copenhagen. Denmark has been an industrial powerhouse for more than 100 years, with an economy that relies heavily on exports of dairy products, meat products, canned fish, oil and gas production equipment and pharmaceuticals.
What is Denmark known for? It’s a Nordic country, Hans Christian Andersen and Lego. It’s been ranked by the UN as the happiest place on the Earth. Denmark’s national cuisine includes dishes such as pastries, pork meatballs. It is also known for its beautiful landscape, delicious cuisine, and friendly people. The Danes are often recognized for their good looks – they have the highest percentage of citizens with blonde hair! With all these great qualities, it’s no wonder Denmark has become a popular destination not only among tourists but also other countries looking to learn from their impressive social policies.”
The countries surrounding Denmark are Germany to the south; Sweden to the east; Norway to the north; and Finland across its southern coast that faces onto the Baltic Sea on its west side. The Danish landscape varies from lowland plains along its border with Germany to more rugged terrain in western Jutland (which makes up almost half of all territory) where there are patches of forest interspersed with heath and moorlands.
If you’re looking for some fun things to do while visiting this progressive nation, here are 15 Things Denmark is Known For.
- 1. Copenhagen
- 2. Hans Christian Andersen
- 3. Danish cuisine
- 4. Legoland
- 5. The Little Mermaid
- 6. Hygge
- 7. Cycling
- 8. Architecture
- 9. Nordic Country
- 10. Danish Language
- 11. Danish Culture
- 12. Burning More Candles Than Any Other Country
- 13. The Vikings
- 14. Happiest Country in the World
- 15. Danish Pastry / Layer Cake
- Final Words
Denmark’s capital city, Copenhagen, is also its cultural hub. Tivoli Gardens is the world’s second oldest amusement park (the older one is in Vienna).
The spectacular neo-Gothic cathedral; Nyhavn Canal with brightly painted 17th and 18th century townhouses; colorful murals lining pedestrian streets; and small cafes make this a must-see destination for tourists.
2. Hans Christian Andersen
The beloved Danish author of fairy tales has his own “genius loci” – an urban specialty commemorating famous people or events at a particular location.
It consists of five bronze casts depicting characters from his most popular stories: The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Red Shoes, Thumbelina and The Ugly Duckling. It’s located along the harbor in downtown Copenhagen.
3. Danish cuisine
Denmark is highly regarded for its cuisine, with a rich variety of local dishes and delicacies to choose from: smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches on rye bread), herring with sour cream, pickled cucumber and onions; fried plaice; pork or beef marinated in lager beer; frikadeller (meatballs); æbleskiver (round pancakes cut into wedges and coated with sugar); hot chocolate sauce topping ice cream; kringle (an oblong pasty filled with almond paste or other nuts surrounded by flaky crust); and a medley of pickled vegetables known as rødkål.
Denmark also provides for its citizens’ health care benefits through a national health service, and it’s been ranked by the UN as the happiest place on earth because of its generous social safety net.
Denmark is the home of Lego, the popular line of construction bricks that was first introduced in 1949. Originally, they were used for simple household items, but their popularity has exploded into a children’s building block toy that is available in over 140 countries.
The Danish toy company employs about 4500 people and produces about 36 billion plastic elements each year – enough to circle the earth 20 times.
5. The Little Mermaid
Located in downtown Copenhagen, the bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale character “The Little Mermaid” stands overlooking the harbor as she gazes out toward Sweden across the waters from Sweden, where her prince lives.
Hygge means “to have a relaxed social gathering with cozy and agreeable atmosphere.” In Denmark, they have a saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather.
Only the wrong clothes.” This explains why Danes love to gather indoors during their long winter nights, where they engage in hyggelit (cozy) activities together, such as card games and baking cakes, usually accompanied by a hot beverage.
In Denmark, it’s a way of life. Cycling is the most common form of transportation in this country where people ride their bikes to work and school.
In fact, there are more bikes than people in Denmark! For visitors who want to experience the Danish culture, you can also rent a bike from one of the many bicycle rental shops around town or join a local cycling group for social rides.
Denmark is home to many architectural marvels. The architecture of the Neoclassical style can be seen in Aarhus University; the Art Nouveau seen in the National Museum (formerly stock exchange); and Functionalism (better known as Scandinavian modernism), which was popular among architects like Arne Jacobsen, who designed the original Odense Zoo some 70 years ago with beautiful animal enclosures that even included penguins!
9. Nordic Country
Denmark is a part of the Nordic region, a group of countries known for a progressive and liberal social welfare system that includes free education and health care benefits.
The region consists of Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway , Finland and Faroe Islands. All four countries together form the Scandinavian Peninsula and Scandinavia.
10. Danish Language
Danes speak their own language, which they call “rigsdansk” or “real-Danish.” Although there are several dialects throughout the country, speakers from different regions understand each other well.
Danish is a North Germanic language closely related to Norwegian and Swedish as well as Icelandic and Faroese.
11. Danish Culture
Denmark is a culturally rich country with a vast indigenous art and design tradition. The Royal Danish Theatre has been entertaining audiences for more than 200 years, and in 1774, the first public music performance was given at a courtyard in a Copenhagen palace.
In 1871, when it staged its first drama tragedy, classical music concerts were held in Tivoli Gardens , which have been delighting visitors with light shows and outdoor entertainment ever since.
12. Burning More Candles Than Any Other Country
In Denmark, you have to be prepared to burn the midnight oil. Danes actually consume more candles per capita than any other country in the world – thanks to their passion for hygge!
To give you an idea of the sheer number of candles used during winter months, consider that nearly 20% of electricity is generated by coal power plants (for heat and electric), which are then burned at night, when most people are huddled up indoors.
13. The Vikings
Denmark was once home to fierce warriors known as Vikings. These Scandinavian pirates terrorized the coasts of Europe between 8th-12th century.
They attacked villages, towns and cities all over England, Ireland, France, Spain and Italy, where they got their name which means “men of the bays.” Their legacy can be experienced at The Viking Museum in Roskilde, which is home to one Europe’s largest collections of Viking artifacts.
14. Happiest Country in the World
Denmark was recently named the happiest country in the world for a second time by a study from Gallup. On average, Danes have been happy since 1973 when the concept of “happiness” was first included in public policy.
In fact, Danes are so laid back that they leave work at around 4 PM every Friday afternoon to enjoy extended weekend hours. The most popular place to be on a Friday afternoon is Dyrehaven, a forested area filled with trails where you can go biking or camping, and feel far away from it all even though you’re just outside of Copenhagen city center!
15. Danish Pastry / Layer Cake
It’s popular all over Europe but especially in Denmark where it was conceived! The concept behind this cake-like puff pastry is said to have originated from French croissants but Danes can’t even bear to look at a croissant now without feeling disgusted, or at least less-than!
The Danes have perfected this pastry with their signature æbleskiver, a “round pancake” filled with anything from apple to raspberry jam and topped with powdered sugar.
Denmark has plenty to brag about, isn’t that right? At least it’s something Denmark can be proud of. This article focused on 15 things Denmark is known for, but there are many more interesting facts that could have been included! Be sure to comment below and share what you learned about Denmark today! Thank You.
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