Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in Denmark and in the region of Southern Schleswig in northern Germany, where it has minority language status. Minor Danish-speaking communities are found in Norway, Spain, the United States, Canada and Argentina. Due to immigration and language shift in urban areas, around 15–20% of the population of Greenland speak Danish as their first language. Along with the other North Germanic languages, Danish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples who lived in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. Danish, together with Swedish, derives from the East Norse dialect group, while the Middle Norwegian language before the influence of Danish and Norwegian Bokmål are classified as West Norse along with Faroese and Icelandic. A more recent classification based on mutual intelligibility separates modern spoken Danish and Swedish as "mainland Scandinavian", while Icelandic and Faroese are classified as "insular Scandinavian".
Until the 16th century, Danish was a continuum of dialects spoken from Schleswig to Scania with no standard variety or spelling conventions. With the Protestant Reformation and the introduction of printing, a standard language was developed, based on the educated Copenhagen dialect, it spread through use in the education system and administration, though German and Latin continued to be the most important written languages well into the 17th century. Following the loss of territory to Germany and Sweden, a nationalist movement adopted the language as a token of Danish identity, the language experienced a strong surge in use and popularity, with major works of literature produced in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, traditional Danish dialects have all but disappeared, though regional variants of the standard language exist; the main differences in language are between generations, with youth language being innovative. Danish has a large vowel inventory comprising 27 phonemically distinctive vowels, its prosody is characterized by the distinctive phenomenon stød, a kind of laryngeal phonation type.
Due to the many pronunciation differences that set apart Danish from its neighboring languages the vowels, difficult prosody and "weakly" pronounced consonants, it is sometimes considered to be a difficult language to learn and understand, some evidence shows that small children are slower to acquire the phonological distinctions of Danish. The grammar is moderately inflective with strong and weak inflections. Nouns and demonstrative pronouns distinguish neutral gender. Like English, Danish only has remnants of a former case system in the pronouns. Unlike English, it has lost all person marking on verbs, its syntax is V2 word order, with the finite verb always occupying the second slot in the sentence. Danish is a Germanic language of the North Germanic branch. Other names for this group are the Scandinavian languages. Along with Swedish, Danish descends from the Eastern dialects of the Old Norse language. Scandinavian languages are considered a dialect continuum, where no sharp dividing lines are seen between the different vernacular languages.
Like Norwegian and Swedish, Danish was influenced by Low German in the Middle Ages, has been influenced by English since the turn of the 20th century. Danish itself can be divided into three main dialect areas: West Danish, Insular Danish, East Danish. Under the view that Scandinavian is a dialect continuum, East Danish can be considered intermediary between Danish and Swedish, while Scanian can be considered a Swedified East Danish dialect, Bornholmsk is its closest relative. Danish is mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Swedish. Proficient speakers of any of the three languages can understand the others well, though studies have shown that speakers of Norwegian understand both Danish and Swedish far better than Swedes or Danes understand each other. Both Swedes and Danes understand Norwegian better than they understand each other's languages; the reason Norwegian occupies a middle position in terms of intelligibility is because of its shared border with Sweden resulting in a similarity in pronunciation, combined with the long tradition of having Danish as a written language which has led to similarities in vocabulary.
Among younger Danes, Copenhageners are worse at understanding Swedish than Danes from the provinces, in general, younger Danes are not as good at understanding the neighboring languages as are Norwegian and Swedish youths. The Danish philologist Johannes Brøndum-Nielsen divided the history of Danish into a period from 800 AD to 1525 to be "Old Danish", which he subdivided into "Runic Danish", Early Middle Danish and Late Middle Danish. By the eighth century, the common Germanic language of Scandinavia, Proto-Norse, had undergone some changes and evolved into Old Norse; this language was called the "Danish tongue", or "Norse language". Norse was written in the runic alphabet, first with the elder futhark and from the 9th century with the younger futhark. From the seventh century, the common Norse language began to undergo changes that did not spread to all of Scandinavia, resulting in the appearance of two dialect areas, Old West Norse and Old East Norse. Most of the changes separating East Norse from West Norse started as innovatio
Norway the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres and a population of 5,312,300; the country shares a long eastern border with Sweden. Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, the Skagerrak strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the Barents Sea. Harald V of the House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway. Erna Solberg has been prime minister since 2013. A unitary sovereign state with a constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the parliament, the cabinet and the supreme court, as determined by the 1814 constitution; the kingdom was established in 872 as a merger of a large number of petty kingdoms and has existed continuously for 1,147 years.
From 1537 to 1814, Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, from 1814 to 1905, it was in a personal union with the Kingdom of Sweden. Norway was neutral during the First World War. Norway remained neutral until April 1940 when the country was invaded and occupied by Germany until the end of Second World War. Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels: counties and municipalities; the Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Norway maintains close ties with both the United States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, the Nordic Council. Norway maintains the Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system, its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals; the Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, lumber and fresh water.
The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle East; the country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World IMF lists. On the CIA's GDP per capita list which includes autonomous territories and regions, Norway ranks as number eleven, it has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of US$1 trillion. Norway has had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world since 2009, a position held between 2001 and 2006, it had the highest inequality-adjusted ranking until 2018 when Iceland moved to the top of the list. Norway ranked first on the World Happiness Report for 2017 and ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, the Democracy Index. Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Norway has two official names: Norge in Noreg in Nynorsk; the English name Norway comes from the Old English word Norþweg mentioned in 880, meaning "northern way" or "way leading to the north", how the Anglo-Saxons referred to the coastline of Atlantic Norway similar to scientific consensus about the origin of the Norwegian language name.
The Anglo-Saxons of Britain referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 as Norðmanna land. There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway had the same etymology as the English form. According to the traditional dominant view, the first component was norðr, a cognate of English north, so the full name was Norðr vegr, "the way northwards", referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, contrasting with suðrvegar "southern way" for, austrvegr "eastern way" for the Baltic. In the translation of Orosius for Alfred, the name is Norðweg, while in younger Old English sources the ð is gone. In the 10th century many Norsemen settled in Northern France, according to the sagas, in the area, called Normandy from norðmann, although not a Norwegian possession. In France normanni or northmanni referred to people of Sweden or Denmark; until around 1800 inhabitants of Western Norway where referred to as nordmenn while inhabitants of Eastern Norway where referred to as austmenn. According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow" or "northern", referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land.
The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would have been due to folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; the form Nore is still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake Norefjorden in Buskerud county, still has the same meaning. Among other arguments in favour of the theor
Sweden the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre; the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats and Swedes and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia; the climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, the sovereign state of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture and languages; this led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and the Swedish Empire was formed; this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs; the union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 moved towards cooperation with NATO. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum, it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens, it has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality and human development.
The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power. Before Sweden's imperial expansion, Early Modern English used Swedeland. Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes"; this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland. Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi and Rootsi are used, names considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, who were known as the Rus', through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia; the etymology of Swedes, thus Sweden, is not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", referring to one's own Germanic tribe. Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød oscillation, a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology. Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD. In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes as a powerful tribe with ships that had a prow at each end. Which kings ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC; as for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts of male names, demonstrating th
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original