Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula north of Germany (Jutland); also includes two major islands (Sjaeland and Fyn).
Denmark controls the Danish Straits (Skagerrak and Kattegat) linking the Baltic and North Seas. The area is approximately 43,094 sq km (42,394 sq km land and 700 sq km water). This includes the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea and the rest of metropolitan Denmark (the Jutland Peninsula, and the major islands of Sjaeland and Fyn), but excludes the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The terrain is low and flat to gently rolling plains. Natural hazard is flooding, which is a threat in some areas of the country (e.g., parts of Jutland, along the southern coast of the island of Lolland) that are protected from the sea by a system of dikes. Climate consists of cool summers, and mild, windy winters.
Population: About 5,724,456 people live in Denmark, with one-quarter of the population residing in greater Copenhagen (capital city).
The various ethnic groups include Scandinavian, Inuit, Faroese, German, Turkish, Iranian, Somali. Main languages spoken are Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect), German (small minority). English is the predominant second language.
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran, other Protestant denominations, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Serbian Orthodox Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim.
Agriculture: Products include barley, wheat, potatoes, sugar beets; pork, dairy products; fish.
Exports (commodities): Products include machinery and instruments, meat, dairy, fish, pharmaceuticals, furniture, and windmills.
Economy: This thoroughly modern market economy features a high-tech agricultural sector, state-of-the-art industry with world-leading firms in pharmaceuticals, maritime shipping and renewable energy, and a high dependence on foreign trade. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy, and enjoys a comfortable balance of payments surplus, but depends on imports of raw materials for the manufacturing sector.
Denmark's economy began slowing in 2007 with the end of a housing boom. Housing prices dropped markedly in 2008-09 and, following a short respite in 2010, have since continued to decline. The global financial crisis has exacerbated this cyclical slowdown through increased borrowing costs and lower export demand, consumer confidence, and investment. Denmark made a modest recovery in 2010, in part because of increased government spending; however, the country experienced a technical recession in late 2010-early 2011. An impending decline in the ratio of workers to retirees will be a major long-term issue.
Denmark maintained a healthy budget surplus for many years up to 2008, but the budget balance swung into deficit in 2009, where it remains. In spite of the deficits, the new coalition government delivered a modest stimulus to the economy in 2012. Nonetheless, Denmark's fiscal position remains among the strongest in the EU with public debt at about 46% of GDP in 2013.
Despite previously meeting the criteria to join the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), so far Denmark has decided not to join, although the Danish currency remains pegged to the euro.
Currency: Danish krone (DKK).
This page was last updated on 02 February, 2018