Portal:Denmark

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Introduction

National Coat of arms of Denmark.svg

Denmark (Danish: Danmark, pronounced [ˈdanmɑɡ] (About this sound listen)), officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. The sovereign state is south-west of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5,781,190 ().

The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway were ruled together as one realm under the Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523. The areas of Denmark and Norway remained under the same monarch until 1814, often referred to as the Dano-Norwegian Realm, or simply Denmark-Norway. After the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was ceded to Sweden, while Denmark kept the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. Beginning in the 17th century, there were several devastating wars with the Swedish Empire, ending with large cessions of territory to Sweden. In the 19th century there was a surge of nationalist movements, which were defeated in the 1864 Second Schleswig War. Denmark remained neutral during World War I. In April 1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945. An industrialised exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms in the early 20th century that created the basis for the present welfare state model with a highly developed mixed economy.

The Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy, which had begun in 1660. It establishes a constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary democracy. The government and national parliament are seated in Copenhagen, the nation's capital, largest city, and main commercial centre. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs. Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948; in Greenland home rule was established in 1979 and further autonomy in 2009. Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community (now the EU) in 1973, maintaining certain opt-outs; it retains its own currency, the krone. It is among the founding members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, and the United Nations; it is also part of the Schengen Area.

Selected biography

Ole Rømer.

Ole Rømer (September 25, 1644 – September 19, 1710) was a Danish astronomer who made the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light (1676).

Rømer was employed by the French government: King Louis XIV made him teacher for the Dauphin, and he also took part in the construction of the magnificent fountains at Versailles.

In 1681, he returned to Denmark and was appointed professor of Astronomy at Copenhagen University. He was active also as an observer, both at the University Observatory at the Rundetårn and in his home, using improved instruments of his own construction. Unfortunately, his observations have not survived: they were lost in the great fire of Copenhagen in 1728. However, a former assistant (and later an astronomer in his own right), Peder Horrebow, loyally described and wrote about Rømer's observations.


Recently selected: Hans Christian Ørsted - Bjørn Lomborg - Tycho Brahe


Selected image

Coat of arms of King Christian III of Denmark. Illustration from the first Danish-language Bible (1550).
The first Danish language Bible was published in 1550. One page shows the coat of arms of Denmark's first Protestant monarch; King Christian III.

Image credit: Jakob Binck. 1550

Selected article

Mærsk group container ship Edith Maersk (11.000 TEU/156,907 tons DW) in the Suez Canal
The A. P. Moller-Maersk Group (Danish: A.P. Møller-Mærsk Gruppen) is an international business conglomerate more commonly known simply as Maersk. Maersk has activities in a variety of business sectors, primarily transportation (container shipping fleet) and energy (offshore oil exploration and transportation). It is the largest container ship operator and supply vessel operator in the world.

Maersk is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has subsidiaries and offices in more than 130 countries worldwide. The group has around 110,000 employees. It stood as number 138 on the Fortune Global 500 list for 2007.

Maersk's activities are organised into four main business segments: Container shipping and related activities; APM Terminals; Tankers, offshore and other shipping activities; Oil and gas activities; Retail acivity; and Shipyards, other industrial companies, interest in Danske Bank, etc.

Selected place

A view over Frederikshavn
Frederikshavn is a town in Frederikshavn municipality, Region Nordjylland on the northeast coast of the Jutland peninsula in northern Denmark. Its name translates to "Frederik's harbour". Frederikshavn has a population of 23,331 (1 January 2010), and is an important traffic portal with its ferry connections to Sweden and Norway. The town is well known for fishing, and its fishing and industrial harbours. The Danish term "frederikshavner" ("Someone from Frederikshavn") is used to denote a quality plaice fish, probably the most popular eating fish in Denmark.

Due to its advantageous proximity to the entrance to the Baltic Sea, Frederikshavn has historically been a naval base of some strategic importance. Peder Tordenskjold barricaded himself here in the fortress that German troops had already built in the 17th century.

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