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Location of Denmark within Europe

Denmark is the smallest and southernmost of the Nordic countries. Unified in the 10th century, it is also the oldest. Located north of its only land neighbour, Germany, south-west of Sweden, and south of Norway, it is located in northern Europe. From a cultural point of view, Denmark belongs to the family of Scandinavian countries although it is not located on the Scandinavian Peninsula. The national capital is Copenhagen.

Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland, which borders Schleswig-Holstein, and many islands, most notably Zealand, Funen, Vendsyssel-Thy, Lolland, and Bornholm, as well as hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark has historically controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea, and those waters are also known as the Danish straits.

Denmark has been a constitutional monarchy since 1849 and is a parliamentary democracy. It became a member of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1973. The Kingdom of Denmark also encompasses two off-shore territories, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, both of which enjoy wide-ranging home rule. The Danish monarchy is the oldest existing monarchy in Europe, and the national flag is the oldest state flag in continuous use.

Selected biography

Knud Rasmussen.
Knud Rasmussen.

Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen (June 7, 1879–December 21, 1933) was a Greenlandic polar explorer and anthropologist. He has been called the "father of Eskimology" and was the first to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled.

Rasmussen was born in Jakobshavn, Greenland, the son of a Danish missionary and Inuit mother. He spent his early years in Greenland among the Inuit where he learned from an early age to speak the language, hunt, drive dog sleds and live in harsh Arctic conditions. "My playmates were native Greenlanders; from the earliest boyhood I played and worked with the hunters, so even the hardships of the most strenuous sledge-trips became pleasant routine for me." He was later educated in Lynge, North Zealand, Denmark. Between 1898 and 1900 he pursued an unsuccessful career as an actor and opera singer.

He went on his first expedition in 19021904, known as "The Literature Expedition", with Jørgen Brønlund, Harald Moltke and Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen, to examine Inuit culture. After returning home he went on a lecture circuit and wrote The People of the Polar North (1908), a combination travel journal and scholarly account of Inuit folk-lore. In 1908 he married Dagmar Andersen.

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Selected picture

Street in Møgeltønder
An empty pedestrian street in the southern Jutland township of Møgeltønder. Møgeltønder is known for the housing of Schackenborg Castle - the residence of the danish prince Joachim.

Selected article

Smørrebrød
Danish cuisine (Danish: Dansk køkken), originating from the peasant population's own local produce, was enhanced by cooking techniques developed in the late 19th century and the wider availability of goods after the Industrial Revolution. The open sandwiches, known as smørrebrød, which in their basic form are the usual fare for lunch, can be considered a national speciality when prepared and decorated with a variety of fine ingredients. Hot meals traditionally consist of ground meats, such as frikadeller (meat balls), or of more substantial meat and fish dishes such as flæskesteg (roast pork with crackling) or kogt torsk (poached cod) with mustard sauce and trimmings. Denmark is known for its Carlsberg and Tuborg beers and for its akvavit and bitters although imported wine is now gaining popularity.

Danish chefs, inspired by continental practices, have in recent years developed an innovative series of gourmet dishes based on high-quality local produce. As a result, Copenhagen and the provinces now have a considerable number of highly acclaimed restaurants, of which several have been awarded Michelin stars.

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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