Denmark profile - Overview

Map of Denmark

The Kingdom of Denmark has, despite its relatively small size, 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.

The Social Democrats led coalition governments for most of the post-war period until the 1980s, consolidating the country's liberal reputation, although concerns at high taxation levels and tension over immigration put the centre-right in office from 1982-1993, 2001-2011, and since 2015.

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.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Seafarers from Denmark have spread the country's influence throughout the world