Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark is a Scandinavian country; its capital is Copenhagen. The southernmost of the Nordic countries, it shares a border with Germany in the south. Its national language is Danish, a Germanic language closely related to both Swedish and Norwegian. Its population is about 5.5 million, about 10% of whom live in the capital city.

The etymology of the name of Denmark is in dispute; it could have been named after a person called Dan, or Dani people. The most likely derivation seems to be from a Germanic word for flat land, related to German Tenne (threshing floor) and English den (cave). Mark means woodland or borderland. The name Denmark first appears on the runic Jelling stones, placed by King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson to honor his parents.

Like many European countries, Denmark is a constitutional monarchy as well as a parliamentary democracy. Its history goes back a long way; from the 8th to the 10th century the Danes were known to be Vikings. The Danes are thought to have converted to Christianity in the 10th century, most likely through the efforts of the same Harald Bluetooth who placed the Jelling stones. The Danes are well known for their efforts during World War II, when the Danish resistance evacuated virtually its entire Jewish population to Sweden days before the Nazis planned to round them up.

Denmark has a temperature climate, a prosperous economy thanks in part to oil reserves and leadership in wind energy, a skilled and well-educated work force, and an active cultural life. Famous Danes have included the astronomer Tycho Brahe, the physicist Niels Bohr, the writers Hans Christian Andersen and Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and the filmmaker Lars Von Trier.