Country of the World Denmark

About the country Denmark, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Denmark, in northern Europe, is composed of the northern part of the peninsula of Jutland (which it shares with West Germany), and two groups of islands. To the east lies the main archipelago of some 400 islands, only about 100 of which are inhabited. On the largest of these, in the extreme east, is the capital of Copenhagen. To the west of the peninsula are the Faeroe Islands and, much further, Greenland, whose status changed in 1953 from colony to an integral part of Denmark. In Denmark proper, no one lives more than 33 mi. from the sea. The land is highly cultivated and extremely flat. The highest mountain is 568 ft. above sea level (less than half the height of the Empire State Building). It is a land lacking in spectacular natural beauty, but it offers instead soft landscapes of beech trees, meadows carpeted with flowers, thatched farmhouses, and little red-roofed towns.

Size: 16,629 sq. mi. (43,069 sq. km.).

Population: 5.1 million.

Who Rules: Denmark is a parliamentary democracy. The historical monarchy remains (presently in the person of Queen Margrethe II) but has no significant power. The parliament, called the Folketing ("the people's council") is a single-chamber body of 179 members drawn in recent years from between 9 and 13 parties, the Social Democrats and the Progress party holding the most seats. Parliamentary rule is constitutionally guaranteed by the provision that no government minister may remain in office after a vote of no confidence. If a vote of censure is passed against the prime minister (i.e., the government), the government must resign or appeal to the country. Measures to safeguard minorities include provision for referenda on parliamentary bills when demanded by one third of the Folketing's members.

Who REALLY Rules: Although Denmark is to a large extent ruled by its elected representatives, corporate interests also wield considerable power. Contrary to popular American belief, Denmark is not a socialist country. Hospitals, most transportation, and radio and television are nationalized, but there are no nationalized factories and no socialized medicine (there is a national health-insurance plan) and there is minimal public housing.

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