Denmark profile

Map of Denmark

The kingdom of Denmark has, despite its relatively small size, often punched above its weight internationally.

Vikings raiding from Denmark and the other Nordic nations changed the course of 9th- and 10th-century European history; in the Middle Ages, the Union of Kalmar united all of Scandinavia under Danish leadership.

In more recent times, Denmark has developed a highly-competitive service-based economy with high employment levels and a generous social security system.

Denmark's euroscepticism had put it at odds with many of its European Union partners. Voters rejected the Maastricht Treaty, which proposed monetary union and a common European defence force, and had to be granted opt-outs from these provisions before the treaty was approved in 1993.

It later rejected the euro as the national currency in another referendum in September 2000.

Oresund Bridge The Oresund Bridge is Europe's longest road and rail bridge. It connects the Danish capital Copenhagen with Sweden

At a glance

  • Politics: Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's first female PM, took office after 2011 elections ended a decade of centre-right rule
  • Economy: Denmark, an EU member, has rejected the euro but pegs the krone to the single currency. The economy is services-based
  • International: Denmark has backed key international peacekeeping efforts, and deployed troops in Afghanistan

Country profiles compiled by BBC Monitoring

The Social Democrats led coalition governments for most of the post-war period, consolidating the country's liberal reputation, although concerns at high taxation levels and tension over immigration helped the conservative People's Party into office from 1982-1993 and 2001-2011.

Danish television and cinema have won international recognition, not least for their willingness to experiment. Through the late 1990s and early 2000s Dogme movement directors used hand-held cameras to dynamic effect in a conscious reaction against high-tech, big-budget cinema.

Greenland and the Faroe Islands are self-governing territories of Denmark.

Copenhagen sea front Seafarers from Denmark have spread the country's influence throughout the world

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