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Modern state: facts about Denmark

You can read more about Denmark, the Danish government and the Danish society on this page.

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The Kingdom of Denmark with Denmark proper (left), Greenland (top right) and Faroe Islands (bottom right).

The Kingdom of Denmark is a country that comprises Denmark proper in Northern Europe and two autonomous constituents - the Faroe Islands and Greenland - in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The population of Denmark is around 5.66 million inhabitants.

Denmark is a constitutional monarchy where the Danish monarch, who is the formal head of state, retains only ceremonial functions, the most significant of which is to appoint the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers on the basis of consultation with the leaders of the Danish political parties that has representation in the Danish parliament - Folketinget.

The Danish prime minister and the cabinet are responsible for the administration of the government.

Denmark ranks very highly in numerous comparisons of national performance and Danes have a very high standard of living. Denmark is consistently ranked as the happiest country in the world in cross-national studies of happiness.

Denmark is a Scandinavian country that share strong ties with its neighbours Sweden and Norway as well as the other Nordic countries of Finland and Iceland. Danish - the national language - is mutually intelligible with Swedish and Norwegian.

Denmark is a member of the European Union - however with certain opt-outs such as the Eurozone, even though the Danish currency - krone - is pegged to the euro through the ERM II policy. Denmark is also part of the Schengen Area.

Denmark is also member and co-founder of the United Nations, NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD and OSCE.

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Country facts

  • Capital: Copenhagen (1,990,036 inhabitants in metro area)
  • Land area: 42,915.7 km2 (Denmark proper only), 2,210,400.7 km2 (Kingdom of Denmark)
  • Population: 5,655,750 (2014 numbers)
  • Language: Danish
  • Religion: Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark (Christian Protestantism)
  • Currency: Kroner (DKK)
  • GDP: $347.196 billion (34th in the world - 2014 IMF numbers)
  • GDP per capita: $61,884 (6th in the world - 2014 IMF numbers)
  • Government type: Constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy
  • Head of State: Queen Margrethe II since 1972
  • Head of Government: Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Left, Denmark's Liberal Party)
  • Member of these international organizations (among others): United Nations, European Union, NATO, the Nordic Council, Council of Europe, the OECD, OSCE, WTO, Schengen Area and the Arctic Council.

Political system

The political system of Denmark is that of a multi-party structure, where several parties can be represented in the Danish Parliament - the Folketing. There are 179 members of the Danish parliament.

Typically the political party that has no majority of the parliament against its rule, will have the right to form the Danish government.

Danish governments are often characterised by minority administrations, aided with the help of one or more supporting parties. This means that Danish politics is based on consensus politics. Since 1909, no single party has had the majority in Parliament.

Danish government:

Since 26 June 2015, the Government has consisted of The Liberal Party. Lars Løkke Rasmussen from the Liberal Party is the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister: Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Liberal Party)
Minister of Foreign Affairs: Kristian Jensen (Liberal Party)

 

Danish parties in Parliament:


There are currently nine Danish parties represented in the Folketing.
From largest to smallest in terms of members in Parliament:The Social Democrats, The Danish People's Party, The Liberal Party, The Unity List - the Red-Green Alliance, Liberal Alliance, The Alternative, The Social Liberal Party, The Socialist People’s Party, The Conservative Party, Inuit Ataqatigiit , Siumut , Tjóðveldi, Javnaðarflokkurin.

 

 

Danish Constitution:

The Constitutional Act, originally verified in 1849 lays down the framework of Danish democracy. The Act outlines the citizens’ rights or human rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, which is intended to protect citizen’s against infringement of their rights by the State.

 

Economic and commercial information

Denmark is a welfare society - often referred to as the Scandinavian welfare model - where are all citizens have equal rights to social security. Within the Danish welfare system, a number of services are available to citizens, free of charge. This means that for instance the Danish health and educational systems are free. The Danish welfare model is subsidised by the state, and as a result Denmark has one of the highest personal taxation levels in the world - whereas company taxes remain very competitive in the EU-region.

The Danish economy is modern, prosperous and developed being the 31st largest economy in the world measured in GDP and the 6th highest in the world measured in GDP per capita.

Denmark stands out as one of the most free economies in several international indexes and also one of the most competitive in the world according to among others World Economic Forum and IMF.

Income inequality in Denmark is among the world's lowest according to the World Bank.

There are few mineral resources available in Denmark, except mature oil and gas wells in the North Sea. Therefore the country relies on a large part on its well-educated and skilled human resources.

As of 2014 Denmark is among the countries with the highest credit rating amongst the largest credit rating houses.

 

Large multinational corporations:

Danish companies are known worldwide for their expertise in shipping, pharmaceuticals, sustainable energy solutions, food and agriculture products as well as design and innovation.

Many large multinational corporations are headquartered in Denmark including but not limited to:

Maersk Group (shipping), Novo Nordisk (pharmaceuticals), Carlsberg (brewery), Lego Group (toys), Pandora (jewellery), Kopenhagen Fur (fur products and auctioning), Arla (dairy products), Danish Crown (meat products), ISS (facility services), Vestas (wind turbines), Chr. Hansen (food ingredients and enzymes), Danske Bank (banking), DONG Energy (power and natural gas), ECCO (shoes), Lundbeck (pharmaceuticals), FLSmidth (global supplier of equipment and services to the cement and minerals industries), Coloplast (pharmaceuticals), Danfoss (climate and energy), Grundfos (pump manufacturer), GN Store Nord (hearing aids and hands free communication), Genmab (biotechnology), Jyske Bank (banking), William Demant (hearing aids), TDC (telecommunications), Bestseller (clothing) and Bang & Olufsen (hi-fi equipment).


 

Foreign affairs policy of Denmark

Denmark is an integral part of the European Union, which the country joined in 1973. It has held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on several occasions, most recently from January to June 2012.

Denmark is today pursuing an active foreign policy, where Danish values and interests are promoted actively. The focus of Danish foreign policy is three guide posts:

1. Security - to protect Denmark and Danish interest against threats in a wide sense. This is primarily Danish territorial integrity but also concerns other threats such as terrorism and cyber attacks that can challenge the Danish security. Conflicts and unrest abroad will also affect Danish security just as they affect the people directly affected.

2. Prosperity - to develop the foreign policy in order to create progress and economic growth for Danish companies, Danish citizens and the Danish society in general. It is also creating the frame work for a sustainable growth in the developing countries, so they will experience less poverty.

3. Values - to promote the fundamental values that Danish society is built up on and to have a global responsibility to create a better world. This is primarily concerning human rights, democracy, poverty alleviation, equal rights, sustainable development and an international legal order, where relations between countries follow judicial procedures - wherein countries solve territorial and other disputes peacefully.

 

Trade policy:

The government of Denmark and the Danish population in general strongly supports a free trade policy. This policy is pursued in multilateral forums such as the WTO as well as in the EU's bilateral free trade agreements.

The Danish economy is very integrated in the world economy and the prosperity of Denmark is dependant on Danish trade.

Denmark's largest trading partners are: Germany, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom, USA and China.

 

International peacekeeping:

Denmark is a strong supporter of international peacekeeping. Denmark contributes to many international peacekeeping missions such as South Sudan (UNMISS), Liberia (UNMIL), the Middle East (UNTSO), Afghanistan (UNAMA), Korea (UNCMAC), Mali (MINUSMA) and Syria (OPCW-UN).

The Arctic

The Kingdom of Denmark is centrally located in the Arctic. The three parts of the Kingdom – Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands – share a number of values and interests and all have a responsibility in and for the Arctic region. The Arctic makes up an essential part of the common cultural heritage, and is home to part of the Kingdom’s population.

It is the Kingdom of Denmark's objective that the Arctic and its current potential must be developed to promote sustainable growth and social sustainability. This development must take place firstly to the benefit of the inhabitants of the Arctic and go hand in hand in safeguarding the Arctic’s environment.

With new opportunities come new challenges. The Arctic has to be managed internationally on the basis of international principles of law to ensure a peaceful, secure and collaborative Arctic.

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Content responsible
Ms. Eva Marie Bagge Steenberg
Counsellor, Team Leader Foreign & Domestic Affairs, Coordinator Political Diplomacy
Email: evabag@um.dk  
Phone: +86 (10) 8532 9912