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Der er et yndigt land...

"[The Iranian government] decided to boycott all Danish products. Now - I'm not sure they were making a roaring trade in pornography, beer and bacon before."
Jimmy Carr, The Most Offensive Joke In The World

Denmark (Danish: Danmark), officially known as the Kingdom of Denmark (Danish: Kongeriget Danmark), is a country in Northern Europe, bordered by Germany and Sweden, the latter by bridge Denmark is the southernmost Nordic country, and the smallest one in terms of area.

A democratic constitutional monarchy, it is a member of NATO and The European Union, but retains its own currency, the krone.note  In 1969 it became the first country in the world to legalise hardcore Pornography, which contributed to attracting a certain kind of tourist.

Denmark has one of the oldest known national flags, the Dannebrog, which dates back to the 14th century at least. The flag is flown (and miniature paper flags used for decoration) at festive occasions such as birthdays and Christmas. Danes tend to perceive their flag as an icon of joy and celebration first, and only secondarily as a symbol for their country. They may have trouble grasping why displaying a flag in celebration could be interpreted as a nationalist gesture. The Danish anthem, "Der er et yndigt land", or "There is a lovely country", is one of the very few to include references to ancient (Viking) religions. Its poetry is also quite beautiful.

The Danes (as the Vikings were usually known at the time) struck terror into much of Northern Europe from the 9th to the 11th centuries. They made a particularly strong mark on the British Isles, ruling half of Englandnote  and much of Scotland and Ireland in the 9th and 10th centuries. The Danish kings even managed to grab hold of the throne of all England from 1016 through 1042 (the Danish king who managed it, known in English as "Canute" and in Danish as "Knud", is one of only two monarchs in each country to get the epithet "the Great"note ). Since then, however, Denmark has generally been content to trade peacefully, barring the odd scuffle with their neighbor and nemesis, Swedennote . For a while during the 15th century, the Union of Kalmar united Denmark, Norway and Sweden under one king, but it couldn't last. Sweden left and Norway decided to join Denmark properly.

More wars with Sweden followed, with Denmark-Norway losing more than winning, leading Sweden to graudually chip away at their territory, most importantly annexing the the Skåne/Scandia area from Denmark. Denmark's defeats caused the Danish nobility, the supposed defenders of the realm, to gradually lose their popularity and political standing. Eventually in 1660, after yet another lost war to Sweden, the Danish state was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and trust in the nobility had bottomed out with both the Danish burghers and the clergy. Leveraging their increased power in the Danish society, they decided to strike a deal with King Frederik III, to have their privileges expanded, in exchange for the nobility having theirs curtailed, and their support for reforming the government into an absolute monarchy, modelled somewhat after the French King Louis XIV's own absolutist reformation of the Kingdom of France, where the king was the ultimate head of the state, and the inheritance of the crown to the king's oldest son was uncontestednote . The agreement was eventually ratified in the King's Law of 1665, thereby making Denmark the only European kingdom where the absolute monarchy was enshrined in a constitutional document.

Denmark, headed by their subsequent kings, would from hereon out attempt to navigate a path of relative neutrality in European politics. Denmark enjoyed a prolonged time of peace as a result, but this period came crashing down with The Napoleonic Wars. King Frederik VI had attempted to stay in a state of armed neutrality alongside Sweden and Russia, but he ended up being forced to decide much of Denmark's future fate when the United Kingdom posed an impossible ultimatum: the full surrender of the Danish fleet into the hands of the British. Frederik VI rejected this ultimatum, and had, as such, no real option than to throw his lot in with Napoléon Bonaparte and the French side. This resulted in two major humiliations for Danish military power. The first was Slaget på Reden/The Battle of Copenhagen in April 1801 where the English fleet, under the command of Horatio Nelson, delivered a crushing defeat to the Danish fleet, which up until then been the undefeated pride of the nation. The second was when the English fleet would return to Danish waters in the late-summer of 1807, where it proceeded to bomb the city of Copenhagen itself This is generally considered the first recorded historical instance of a state-sanctioned terror bombardment against a civilian population. With Napoleon and the French Empire's ultimate defeat, Denmark would ultimately end on the losing side, and as a result Norway was ceded to Sweden in 1814.

The modern Danish state was born in 1848, as a part of the liberal revolutions that swept through Europe at the time, though in Denmark it happened through a Velvet Revolution. Hoping to avoid the violent revolutions that had rocked much of Europe, the recently-crowned Frederick VII met in March with representatives from the Danish national-liberal movement and made an agreement to peacefully end the absolute monarchy. This agreement was eventually ratified through the formal signing of a constitution on 5 June, 1849, reforming the Danish state into a constitutional monarchy with a democratically elected parliament, and a substantial list of constitutionally guaranteed civil rights, chiefly freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association.

Unfortunately for Denmark, the advent of modern nationalism was also a consequence of the revolutions of the 1840s, and this was especially felt in the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein in the southernmost parts of Denmark, which were — due to various Binding Ancient Treaties — not formally a part of the Danish state proper, but rather a part of the realm of the Danish Crown. Schleswig especially was split by a predominantly culturally Danish population in the Northern Schleswig/Southern Jutland area which desired to be a full and equal part of Denmark, and a predominantly culturally German population in Southern Schleswig who began agitating to leave Denmark, and some even arguing for the formation of a free republic with their fellow Germans in Holstein. Like most countries do when faced with secessionism, Denmark cracked down, which provoked the German Republicans to rise in rebellion. What Denmark didn't count on, however, was the other German states, most prominently the military powerhouse of Prussia, interfering on the rebels' side, which sparked the First Schleswig War. Denmark eventually managed to hold on and thanks to international mediation, headed by Russia, England, and France, Prussia eventually withdrew from the war. Denmark then proceeded to strike down the rebellion and win the war in 1851.

However, the nationalistic disagreements that had sparked the conflict in the first place had not been resolved by the peace settlement, only temporarily tabled, as France, England, and Russia, themselves monarchies and very much against the changing winds at the time, forced Denmark to restore the pre-war status quo. Denmark made continued attempts to forcibly "Danify" southern Schleswig and Holstein, but this predictably only managed to spark even more local resistance. And in 1863, the conflict was reignited, when the Danish government once again made movements to alter the status of the duchies through an amendment of the Danish constitution, despite this being a willful breach of international treaties drafted after the war. Many historians have considered it a stupid move in hindsight, but to the Danish government it really did look like a good idea of the time, as the Minister President of Prussia Otto von Bismarck had implied that his country would not interfere this time. But this was a carefully planned deception on Bismarck's behalf — done by deliberately using highly ambiguous language. Bismarck, in fact, wanted a war for internal political reasons. In early 1864, Bismack's trap sprung shut, when Prussia and its ally, Austria, declared the Second Schleswig War. Alone and facing an enemy who was superior in both manpower and technology, Denmark would suffer a couple of humiliating and traumatic defeats in the spring of 1864, and was ultimately forced to cede Schleswig and Holstein to Prussia and Austria (who then almost immediately afterwards proceeded to fight a war over the spoils).

Effectively reduced to a rump state through the traumatic loss of what was seen as part of their core territories, and having learned the hard way that warfare was no longer a viable way to enforce its political goals, Denmark now began gradually rebuilding itself into a modern nation-state, under the motto "Hvad udad tabes, skal indad vindes" ("What is lost outwards must be gained inwards"). Knowing that Denmark military-wise was but a small fish in a large pond, squeezed in-between the ambitions of Germany, Sweden and the UK, the Danish foreign policy in the late 19th century and the early 20th century became focused on trade with the greater powers and careful attempts at maintaining neutrality.

Denmark ultimately managed to remain neutral throughout World War I. The largest naval battle ever, the Battle of Jutland, happened in the North Sea off the country's coasts. In the wake of the war, the President of the United States Woodrow Wilson's enforcement of his famous Fourteen Points, chiefly amongst these securing national self-determination and democracy amongst the people of Europe, resulted in the Southern Jutland area choosing to rejoin with Denmark in 1920 through a plebiscite and an amicable agreement between the Danish government and the Weimar Republic.

Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1940 and got virtually its entire Jewish population out before the Nazis could get their hands on them. It was not liberated before the German surrender in 1945.

Denmark is made up of a peninsula (Jutland, or Jylland to the Danes), and a whole bunch of islands. The biggest island is Zealand (Sjælland), on which stands Copenhagen (København). The country is notable for its flatness; average elevation stands at 34 m, just piggybacking the Netherlands (which goes with the absolutely abysmal 30 m), while the highest point in the country itself is a television tower called the Rø Transmitter, which stands on a hill giving it a 431.3 m height, while the highest natural point is a hill called Møllehøj (170.86 m), with a millstone marking it for good measure. The "mountainous Scandinavia" that most people associate when they think about the region actually characterizes Norway and the Lapland parts of Sweden and Finland better. So, if you ever see any film depicting Denmark with mountains, waterfalls, boreal forests, and the like, suffice to say you've been lied to.

Like the United Kingdom, Denmark has the concept of constituent countries, which make up the much-larger "Kingdom of Denmark". Other than the continental part, the Kingdom includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland, both of which have received home rule and thus function as independent countries except in the matters of foreign affairs. It also formerly included Iceland until 1918 when it became a separate Kingdom with a shared royal house with Denmark (not unlike the Commonwealth), followed by a British/American invasion in 1940 to prevent it falling into German hands, and the creation of the current day Republic of Iceland.

Denmark is famous as the home of LEGO, and the LEGOLAND theme park in Billund, central Jutland (also home to The LEGO Group's headquarters) is one of the country's major tourist attractions; in parodies, it's common to jokingly depict LEGO as Denmark's currency. Denmark is also a major producer of dairy goods and pork and bacon - "Danish Bacon" is one of the premium brands in Britain. Several varieties of cheese have their origins in Denmark, of which Havarti is probably the best-known. Another one of its main tourist attractions is the annual Roskilde Festival, which has been held since 1971.

The second most recent notable event to take place in Denmark is the massive controversy over some cartoons. Danish-born British comedienne Sandi Toksvig commented that she never thought she would see anyone burning Danish flags, such was the cozy, inoffensive reputation of the country (and why would you burn an icon of joy and celebration anyway? - disregarding that it is accepted that the only way to get rid of an old flag without dishonoring it, is to burn it). The first most recent notable event was the recent climate change conference.

The current monarch of Denmark is Queen Margrethe II, and the current prime minister is Mette Frederiksen. Margrethe II is a descendant of King Christian IX who is known as the "father-in-law of Europe" because, similar to Queen Victoria, many of his children married into other royal families across Europe. His oldest son and successor Frederick VIII married Princess Louise of Sweden. The other children are: Alexandra, Queen consort of the United Kingdom; George I of Greecenote ; Maria Feodorovna, Empress consort of Russia; Thyra, Crown Princess of Hanover; while his youngest child Prince Valdemar married French Princess Marie of Orleans. Other descendants of Christian IX in the modern era other than Margrethe II include former Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; Philippe of Belgium; Harald V of Norway, Felipe VI of Spain; Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg; Constantine II of Greece; Queen Anne-Marie of Greece; and Queen Sofia of Spain.

For the Danish Defence, see Danes With Drakens.

Denmark in fictional media:

Famous Danes:

  • The author of fairy tales Hans Christian Andersen came from Odense.
  • Søren Kierkegaard, a writer, philosopher, and Lutheran theologian who is considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote a number of works using multiple pseudonyms and personae.
  • Mads Mikkelsen, who played Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006). He has been voted the sexiest man in Denmark multiple times. And was shot by Jesper Christensen, another Dane, who played Mr. White.
  • Lars Mikkelsen, Mads' older brother, known for playing Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels (and confirmed to be reprising his role in Ahsoka).
  • Viggo Mortensen has dual Danish-American citizenship (his father is Danish).
  • Connie Nielsen
  • Lars von Trier, art film director and winner of several Cannes awards.
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, quite well-known for his role as Jamie Lannister in the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones.
  • Lars Ulrich, drummer of the band Metallica.
  • Football players Peter Schmeichel (Manchester United) and his son Kasper (Leicester City), Jesper Grønkjær (Chelsea), Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, Brentford), and the Laudrup Brothers Michael (FC Barcelona) and Brian (Glasgow Rangers)
  • In a different type of football, Morten Andersen, Hall of Fame placekicker for multiple NFL teams, most notably the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.
  • Queen Margrethe herself is a noted illustrator and set/costume designer; her illustrations were used in the Danish translation of The Lord of the Rings.
  • Gitte Stallone Nielsen, actress and ex-wife of Sylvester Stallone.
  • Architects Jørn Utzon (Sydney opera house) and Johan Spreckelsen (Grande Arche in Paris).
  • Børge Rosenbaum, better known as Victor Borge, pianist and comedian.
  • Paprika Steen, actress (sometimes known as the queen of Dogme 95 - most known for The Celebration, The Idiots, Applause).
  • The famous 1990s band Michael Learns to Rock.
  • Nephew
  • Mew
  • Incredibly pretty Thure Lindhardt, who is famous nationally for his wide-ranging character roles on film, gained international recognition after his appearance as Chartrand in Angels & Demons.
  • Helena Christensen, early nineties supermodel, former Victoria's Secret Angel, and mother. Music fans of a certain generation will never forget her romp on the beach with Chris Isaak in the music video for "Wicked Game".
  • Renée Toft Simonsen, who won the Supermodel of the World contest in 1982, writes children´s books, works as a psychologist, and is the resident mother to 3 children. She was formerly married to Thomas Helmig, one of the most famous musicians in Danish history.
  • Now-retired tennis star Caroline Wozniacki (although she's ethnically Polish, both of her parents having been immigrants from Poland).

Politics of Denmark If you are a Libertarian, this is not the place for you. Denmark has some of the highest tax rates in the world. The population is largely content with this as it supports a large welfare state, public health care and education for every citizen. But Denmark also has some of the strictest immigration laws in Europe, which have gotten progressively stricter in recent years and which effectively limit the state's largesse. If you are a non-European, please notice that in Denmark, like most of Europe, the word "liberal" generally means being center/right-oriented, as opposed to being left-oriented as it is in the US.

Political Parties

  • Socialdemokraterne: A centre-left party (its name means "Social Democrats"), who currently have Keynesian economics and environmentalism as their main topics. It is an old labor party, and currently the political party with most seats in parliament. Is currently forms a single-party minority government, with support from a coalition of the left-wing parties.
  • Venstre: In spite of it's name ("venstre" means left in Danish) Vestre is the main liberal center-right party. It originated as the party of the Danish farmers (although it has moved a bit away from this demographic in newer times). While primarily running on a Keynesian economics platform resembling that of the Social Democrats, Venstre's value policies have a slightly more national-conservative bend, along with an emphasis on a more laissez-faire approach towards the private market.
  • Konservative: Another party placed on the right wing, being the main national-conservative party. Like Venstre, this party dates back to the signing of the constitution in 1848, and has historically been the party of the land-owners. Its original name was "Højre", which means "right" in Danish.
  • Socialistisk Folkeparti: A left-wing party that splintered from the Danish Kommunist Party, the Socialistic People's Party, or SF to most Danes, this party was for the people who felt that socialism didn't have to mean you followed the USSR blindly. Has moved a bit more to the right in recent years. They support the current government.
  • Det Radikale Venstre: The Social Liberal Party (the Danish name literally means "The Radical Left", although this is a reference to the party Venstre, whom they split from, and not left-wing politics), started out as the party for the Danish smallholders, and are about as close to the middle as Danish politics get, although since the 90s they have worked more closely with the left wing than the right (and was part of a coalition government with Socialdemokraterne until 2001 and again from 2011 to 2015).
  • Enhedslisten: The far left of Danish politics, this party was originally a coalition between Dansk Kommunistisk Parti (the Danish Communist Party), Socialistisk Arbejder Parti (the Socialistic Workers Party) and Venstresocialisterne (the Left Socialists), itself a coalition party. This is reflected in the name, which literally means "the Unity List", although internationally they prefer to use the Danish Red-Green Alliance. They are against Danish membership in the EU and NATO, and would like to abolish the monarchy and make Denmark a republic. It is noticeable in being the only party without a chairman, instead being led by an executive committee. In practice however they are represented by their political spokesperson. They have a rule that says a member can only run for elections for seven years, before having to step down from that. Supporting party of the Socialdemokraterne government.
  • Liberal Alliance: The second-newest party in the Danish parliament, being formed in 2007 under the name Ny Alliance (New Alliance). It is notable for wanting to make tax rates fixed at 40%, instead of being graduated between 8% and 63% as they are now, though they moderated those views when they were part of the former government until 2019.
  • Dansk Folkeparti: Probably one of the most controversial parties represented in the Danish Parliament, this party is the 3rd largest in Denmark, and was a supporting party for the V-LA-K government. Describes itself as a center party, but it is mostly viewed as a right-wing party with national-populist tendencies (its name means Danish People's Party after all). It believes that the best integration of aliens is total assimilation, has provided Denmark with harder immigration laws than the rest of Europe, and several prominent members of the party has been accused of racism and Islamophobia. Comparable to other populist parties in Europe.
  • Alternativet: A newer party. Translatable to "The Alternative", the party rose to popularity with the 2015 election on the general feeling of discontent towards the political climate with a promise of something wildly different. Officially a left-wing party, Alternativet prefers to stay outside the known formula for professional politics and instead focus on the changes they want for the Danish government, including, but not limited to, having a fixed amount of work-hours a week and investing heavily in green energy. The party has essentially collapsed following a terrible election in 2019 and the election of an unpopular leader. They are down to just 1 seat in Parliament.
  • Nye Borgerlige: The newest party, being elected in 2019. Translates into English as "New Right", the party was formed by people from Konservative who thought the existing parties on the right-wing, including Dansk Folkeparti, were not right-wing enough. They wish for a very hard line on immigration and wish for libertarian economic policies similar to Liberal Alliance. Comparable to the Republican party under Donald Trump.

There are other parties with no parliamentary representation, but on the ballot for the general election. In addition, there are 4 parties from Greenland and the Faroes each with 1 seat represented in Parliament.

See also:

The Danish Flag
Popularly known as the Dannebrog, the Danish flag is reputedly one of the oldest national flags in the world still in use. While its historical origins are unclear (the only thing most accounts agree on is that it was a papal banner), popular tradition attributes it to a turning point of the Battle of Lyndanisse of 1219 for the conquest and conversion to Christianity of the same-named town (modern-day Tallinn, Estonia) — initially fighting a losing battle against pagan Estonians, the Danes prayed desperately until the flag came down from heaven, which they interpreted as a sign of divine favor and inspired them to victory.

Coat of arms of Denmark
The coat of arms is the oldest coat of arms of a country as it was first documented in 1194 and went through several modifications, the last being on 5 July 1972. It is based on a seal used by King Canute VI with a crown added.

The Danish national anthems
Der er et yndigt land,
det står med brede bøge
nær salten østerstrand
Det bugter sig i bakke, dal,
det hedder gamle Danmark
og det er Frejas sal

Det bugter sig i bakke, dal,
det hedder gamle Danmark
og det er Frejas sal

Der sad i fordums tid
de harniskklædte kæmper,
udhvilede fra strid
Så drog de frem til fjenders mén,
nu hvile deres bene
bag højens bautasten

Så drog de frem til fjenders mén,
nu hvile deres bene
bag højens bautasten

Det land endnu er skønt,
thi blå sig søen bælter,
og løvet står så grønt
Og ædle kvinder, skønne møer
og mænd og raske svende
bebo de danskes øer

Og ædle kvinder, skønne møer
og mænd og raske svende
bebo de danskes øer

Hil drot og fædreland!
Hil hver en danneborger,
som virker, hvad han kan!
Vort gamle Danmark skal bestå,
så længe bøgen spejler
sin top i bølgen blå

Vort gamle Danmark skal bestå,
så længe bøgen spejler
sin top i bølgen blå
There is a lovely land
with spreading, shady beech-trees,
Near salty eastern shore
Its hills and valleys gently fall,
its name is ancient Denmark,
And it is Freya's hall.

Its hills and valleys gently fall,
its name is ancient Denmark,
And it is Freya's hall.

There in the ancient days
sat armoured giants rested
Between their bloody frays
Then they went forth the foe to face,
now found in stone-set barrows,
Their final resting place.

Then they went forth the foe to face,
now found in stone-set barrows,
Their final resting place.

This land is still as fair,
the sea is blue around it,
And peace is cherished there
Strong men and noble women still
uphold their country's honour
With faithfulness and skill.

Strong men and noble women still
uphold their country's honour
With faithfulness and skill.

Hail king and fatherland!
Hail citizens of honour,
who do the best they can
Our ancient Denmark shall remain,
as long as beech tops mirror
in waves of blue their chain!

Our ancient Denmark shall remain,
as long as beech tops mirror
in waves of blue their chain!

Kong Christian stod ved højen mast
i røg og damp;
hans værge hamrede så fast,
at gotens hjelm og hjerne brast.
Da sank hvert fjendtligt spejl og mast
i røg og damp.
Fly, skreg de, fly, hvad flygte kan!
hvo står for Danmarks Christian
hvo står for Danmarks Christian
i kamp?

Niels Juel gav agt på stormens brag.
Nu er det tid.
Han hejsede det røde flag
og slog på fjenden slag i slag.
Da skreg de højt blandt stormens brag:
Nu er det tid!
Fly, skreg de, hver, som véd et skjul!
hvo kan bestå mod Danmarks Juel
hvo kan bestå mod Danmarks Juel
i strid?

O, Nordhav! Glimt af Wessel brød
din mørke sky.
Da ty'de kæmper til dit skød;
thi med ham lynte skræk og død.
Fra valen hørtes vrål, som brød
den tykke sky.
Fra Danmark lyner Tordenskjold;
hver give sig i himlens vold
hver give sig i himlens vold
og fly!

Du danskes vej til ros og magt,
sortladne hav!
Modtag din ven, som uforsagt
tør møde faren med foragt
så stolt som du mod stormens magt,
sortladne hav!
Og rask igennem larm og spil
og kamp og sejr før mig til
og kamp og sejr før mig til
min grav!

King Christian stood by the lofty mast
In mist and smoke;
His sword was hammering so fast,
Through Gothic helm and brain it passed;
Then sank each hostile hulk and mast,
In mist and smoke.
"Flee!" shouted they, "flee, he who can!
Who braves of Denmark's Christian,
Who braves of Denmark's Christian,
The stroke?"

Niels Juel gave heed to the tempest's roar,
Now is the hour!
He hoisted his blood-red flag once more,
And smote upon the foe full sore,
And shouted loud, through the tempest's roar,
"Now is the hour!"
"Flee!" shouted they, "for shelter flee!
"Who can defy of Denmark's Juel,
Who can defy of Denmark's Juel,
The power?"

North Sea! a glimpse of Wessel rent
Thy murky sky!
Then champions to thine arms were sent;
Terror and Death glared where he went;
From the waves was heard a wail, that rent
Thy murky sky!
From Denmark thunders Tordenskiol',
Let each to Heaven commend his soul,
Let each to Heaven commend his soul,
And fly!

Path of the Dane to fame and might!
Dark-rolling wave!
Receive thy friend, who, scorning flight,
Goes to meet danger with despite,
Proudly as thou the tempest's might,
Dark-rolling wave!
And amid pleasures and alarms,
And war and victory, be thine arms,
And war and victory, be thine arms,
My grave!

  • Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
    • Monarch: Margrethe II
    • Prime Minister: Mette Frederiksen

  • Capital and largest city: Copenhagen
  • Population: 5,840,045
  • Area: 42,933 km² (16,577 sq mi) (130th)
  • Currency: Danish krone (kr.) (DKK)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: DK
  • Country calling code: 45
  • Highest point: Møllehøj (171 m/561 ft) (190th)
  • Lowest point: Lammefjord (−7 m/−23 ft) (24th)