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Subject: Nordic FAQ - 3 of 7 - DENMARK
This article was archived around: 27 Jun 1998 16:44:28 GMT
A Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ) file for the newsgroup
S O C . C U L T U R E . N O R D I C
*** PART 3: DENMARK ***
Geography, climate, vegetation
Population & culture
The Danish language
The Danish alphabet
A chronology of important dates
A list of Danish monarchs
@ Denmark during world war II
@ Sønderjylland - The Duchy of Slesvig
Main tourist attractions
Getting there and getting around
Zealand and surrounding islands
Fyn and surrounding islands
Main tourist attractions
Faroese language and literature
Books for learning Danish
Subject: 3.1 Fact Sheet
Name: Kongeriget Danmark
Telephone country code: 45
Area: 43,075 km² / 16,631 sq mi.
Terrain: low and flat to gently rolling plains
Highest point: Yding Skovhøj, 173 m (568 ft)
Natural resources: crude oil, natural gas, fish, salt, limestone
Land boundaries: Germany
Population: 5,163,955 (1992)
Population density: 119.9 persons per km² (310.5 per sq mi.)
Distribution: 84% urban, 16% rural (1989)
Life expectancy: women 78; men 72 (1992)
Infant mortality: 7 per 1,000 live births (1992)
Capital: København (Copenhagen) (pop. 467,850)
[ pop. of Metropolitan area: 1.4 million ] (1989)
Other major towns: Århus (245,000),
Administrative units: 14 counties (amter)
Flag: white cross on red background (the "Dannebrog")
Type: Constitutional monarchy
Head of state: Queen Margrethe II
National anthem: Der er et yndigt land (Sound)
Royal anthem: Kong Christian stod ved højen mast
Currency: krone (Danish crown, DKK)
for the current exchange rate,
see the URL <http://www.dna.lth.se/cgi-bin/kurt/rates>
Climate: temperate sea-climate
average temperature in Copenhagen:
-3°C - 2°C in Feb., and 14°C - 22°C in June
Religion: Evangelic-Lutheran (91%, 1988) (official state-religion)
Exports: meat, dairy products, fish, machinery, electronics,chemicals, furnitu
Subject: 3.2 General information
3.2.1 Geography, climate, vegetation
Denmark is the southernmost of the Nordic countries. Located between
the North Sea on the west and the Baltic Sea on the southeast, Denmark
is separated from Norway by the Skagerrak and from Sweden by the
Kattegat and the Øresund. In the south, it shares a 68 km border with
Germany. It consists of the peninsula of Jutland (Jylland) in the
west, and an archipelago of 406 islands in the east, of which the most
important ones are Zealand (Sjælland) on which Copenhagen is located,
and Funen (Fyn). Denmark is part of Europe's temperate deciduous
forest belt. The natural vegetation in most of the country is a mixed
forest, with the beech most common tree. However, almost all parts of
the country are under cultivation today, and virtually all the
existing forests have been planted. Coniferous trees prevail in parts
of the former heath areas in western Jutland, and the dune areas have
been forested with spruce and pine. Denmark has a 12% forest cover.
Denmark is one of the smaller states of Europe, only slightly larger
than Switzerland. All of Denmark is very flat, the highest peak being
only 173 meters high. This, as well as the fertile soil and temperate
climate, makes it very suitable for agriculture; about 70% of
Denmark's land surface is used for agricultural production (but only
about 7% of the labor force is in agriculture). Barley is the most
important crop, followed by grass and green fodder, and root crops.
Most of the barley and root crops are grown primarily for use as
livestock feed (some, of course, goes to the worldfamous Danish
beers). About 90% of all farm income is derived from animal products;
sausages, bacon, cheese and butter are the most famous products of
Danish animal husbandry. Danish design is world famous. Denmark
doesn't have much natural resources, although limestone, clay, and
gravel are mined in many areas. In northern Jutland, salt deposits
have been exploited since World War II, and granite and kaolin are
mined on the island of Bornholm. Since 1972 petroleum and gas deposits
of the Danish sector of the North Sea have been exploited.
According to the constitution Denmark is a constitutional monarchy
with the legislative power jointly vested in the regent and the
Parliament, but the responsibility for the actions of the king/queen
solely taken by the ministers in the Cabinet. The Evangelical Lutheran
Church is supported by the State as a State Church.
The parliamentary system has been unicameral since 1953; the
parliament is called the 'Folketing'. The 179 members (of which two
are elected in Greenland and two in the Faroe Islands) are elected for
four-year terms. The Prime Minister can call an early election. For
the last 20 years there have never been fewer than 8 parties
represented in the Folketing.
Denmark is a member of the European Union, and elects 16 members of
the European parliament. The Faroes and Greenland, on the other hand,
are outside the EU.
Since 1955 Denmark has had an ombudsman, who oversees the conduct of
the cabinet and the decisions of the administration. All citizens have
the right to appeal government actions to the ombudsman.
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
3.2.4 Population & culture
Denmark was settled already 10,000 years ago, when the ice retreated
from Scandinavia. Danes descend from various Germanic tribes,
including the Jutes and Angles who settled England in the 5th century.
There is a small German minority living in southern Jutland and a
Danish minority living in North Germany. Danish is a Germanic language
of the Nordic branch, mutually intelligible (with some practice) with
Norwegian and Swedish.
The kingdom of Denmark includes also the autonomous areas of Greenland
(area: 2.2 mill. km², pop. 53,000) and Faroe Islands (area: 1,400 km²,
pop. 48,000). The inhabitants speak a language (Faroese) resembling
Icelandic and some Western Norwegian dialects. Eskimos speaking
Greenlandic (a language based on a mid-19th century creation of a
single literary language out of many Inuit dialects) form the largest
group of Greenlanders; the inhabitants of Faroe Islands descend from
the Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century and the Irish monks
and slaves who also made it to the Island.
As can be expected Danish culture could be called more Central
European in character than that of other Nordic countries.
Particularly it could be noted that mentality and food are rather
similar from Holland to Scania.
Important figures include e. g. the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard
(1813-55), the composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931), the astronomer Tycho
Brahe (1546-1601), the authors Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75) and
Karen Blixen (1885-1962), the architect Jørn Utzon (1918-), the
painter P. S. Krøyer (1851-1909), the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen
(1768-1844), and the physicist and Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr
3.2.5 The Danish language
This is a brief description of some of the characteristics of the
Danish language and some of the differences and similarities between
Danish and the other North Germanic languages.
How do I identify a Danish text if I don't know the language?
Look for the letters æ, ø, and å. If you find all three of them, you
have narrowed your choices down to Danish or Norwegian (both bokmål
and nynorsk). Telling written Danish from Norwegian (especially
bokmål) can be fairly difficult; you sometimes come across whole
sentences that are absolutely identical in the two languages. The
easiest might be to look for double consonants at the end of words,
Norwegian often has words ending in -ss, -kk, etc. while this is never
the case in Danish.
How is Danish pronunciation different from Swedish/Norwegian?
The spoken Danish has a rather poor reputation for some reason. The
many soft d's and g's are often a cause of much amusement among other
Nordics (of course, _their_ languages sound pretty funny in our ears
The soft Danish d's and g's are reasonably close to their Spanish (!)
equivalents; this might give you an idea about the pronunciation. D's
and g's tend to get soft between vowels but never at the beginning of
On the other hand, contemporary Danish does not have the Swedish or
Norwegian "soft k" (in Swedish/Norwegian a k/kj is pronounced
something like sh/ch before a front vowel - e, i, y, ä/æ, or ö/ø). In
Danish (probably due to German influence) the k is always pronounced
as a "hard k", i.e. like the English "key". However, this is a fairly
recent thing; old spellings like "Kjøbenhavn" indicate that also
Danish had "soft k" (only a century ago?). And also the dialects of
Bornholm and Northern Jutland (these areas are often the last to pick
up pronunciation trends originating in the capital) still follow
"Swedish pronunciation rules" with regard to k (and g).
The glottal stop ("stød" in Danish) is another characterstic feature.
It is similiar to the non-pronunciation of "tt" in the Cockney
Genders and definite articles.
Like Swedish, Danish has two genders: The common gender (originally
there were both masculine and feminine) and the neuter gender. Some
Danish dialects (e.g. in North Jutland) still have all three genders;
dialects in western and southern Jutland have only the common gender.
Like the other North Germanic languages Danish has the definite
article at the end of the word, thus "a man" = "en mand", but "the
man" = "manden". Surprisingly, dialects of western and southern
Jutland follow the more usual system of English, German, French, etc.:
"A man" = "en mand", "the man" = "æ mand". It is not clear why one of
Europe's most significant linguistic borders (separating areas having
the definite article before/after the word) is running straight
3.2.6 The Danish alphabet
Danish has three additional letters compared to the English alphabet:
æ, ø, and å (see the section 1.8 on the Nordic graphemes for more
A question often asked by non-Danes is: "Why are Århus and Ålborg
sometimes spelt with double-a and sometimes with a-with-circle? What's
the difference?" Well, it is a matter of old and new spelling
conventions. According to Søren Hornstrup <firstname.lastname@example.org> the
"Nudansk ordbog" (Concurrent Danish) quotes "Retskrivningsordbogen"
for the proper usage of å versus aa:
The letter å was substituted for aa in 1948 as the token for
å-sound. It is still possible to use aa for å in Danish personal
and place names. In personal names you should follow the way the
named person uses. [...]
In Danish place names Å, å is always the correct spelling, e.g.,
Århus, Tåstrup, Grenå. Only if you want to respect strong local
traditions you could use Aa, aa, e.g., Ålborg or Aalborg, Åbenrå or
Aabenraa. In Nordic place names you should use Å, å, e.g., Ålesund,
And from "Håndbog i Nudansk":
It is always correct to use å in Danish place names. But you should
know that you might offend the local residents. [...]
Until 1984 the central administration (statsadministrationen) had
to use å, but in 1984 it was allowed to follow local traditions.
More from the same book:
The Danish alphabet has 29 letters in the following order:
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z æ ø å (aa)
The letter aa is placed in parentheses. This is because it is not
normally used in the language, only in names. Also note that the
capitalization of the double-a is "Aa" and not "AA".
Århus was among the first cities to adopt the a-ring; Ålborg on the
contrary, has been insisting on using the double-a. Since the central
administration between 1948 and 1984 only recognized the å-spelling,
all road signs etc. said "Ålborg". After 1984 when a number of cities
successfully readopted the old spelling with double-a, the new road
signs said "Aalborg". So if you see a sign with the old spelling
(double-a) it is probably a new sign, and if you see a sign with the
new spelling (a-ring) it is probably an old sign ... confused?
Surprisingly perhaps, the reason for cities like Ålborg, Åbenrå, and
Grenå to readopt the double-a is not one of internationalization
(though double-a is surely more "ASCII-friendly" than a-ring) but
rather one of nostalgia, it seems.
The alphabetical sorting is not affected by the aa/å controversy;
Danish person names and place names with aa are alphabetized as if
they were spelt with å (i.e. last in the alphabet), but _only_ when
the aa represents the å sound rather than a "long a". Thus, in a
Danish encyclopedia the city Aabenraa and the author Jeppe Aakjær are
at the end of the encyclopaedia, while the German city Aachen and
Finnish architect Alvar Aalto are found in the beginning!
< A comment from Byrial Ole Jensen: >
This is not quite correct. aa should be alphabetized as å when it is
pronounced as one sound even if it is an "a" sound. So the right place
to search for Aachen in a Danish encyclopaedia is a little after
Åbenrå near the end of the encyclopaedia.
This is according to official rules for the Danish language which is
found in Retskrivningsordbogen (The Dictionary of Correct Writing??).
But I must admit that only few people know this alphabetizing rule and
it is likely that even not dictionaries follow it in order to not
confuse people not knowing the rule. Retskrivningsordbogen itself
places the word "kraal" BOTH between "kr." and "krabask" AND between
"krøsus" and "kråse".
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
Subject: 3.3 History
3.3.1 A chronology of important dates
(circa) Saxo Grammaticus, in Gesta Danorum, says that the
Danish King Frode raised a huge united army from many conquered
lands and defeated a king of the Huns.
As Western Europe was threatened by the Huns (A.D. 406~436
- their most famous king was called Attila) and the Roman
Empire wasn't capable of holding its position on the British
islands any more, the Angles were (according to The Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle) asked to come and participate in the war against the
Picts. The Angles are believed to have lived somewhere in the
area of Southern Jutland and the estuary of river Elbe, or
maybe further north on Jutland.
The Jutes, the Saxons and more Angles participate in the war on
Britain. Soon the Britons are fought by the new-comers.
The first Danish king known from contemporary sources is killed
during a military attack against the Frankish Empire. Name:
Huglik [or Chocillaicus in Gregor of Tours' annals].
(circa) Danevirke is founded.
Charlemagne begins the Frankish expansion to the North. The
deep woods of Holstein do however protect the Danes for several
Danes raid e.g England, France and Spain. The beginning of the
Viking era is by convention dated to the raid at Northumbria
A.D. 793 (referred to in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that too,
although the same source says that the first ships of the
Danish men that sought the land of the English nation came
(circa) The Danes defeat Slavic tribes.
During the war the market at Haithabu is abandoned to the
Slavic Vends. Haithabu /Hedeby/ is situated at the very same
bay as the later town Schleswig /Slesvig, on the narrowest part
of south Jutland, the short-cut between the Baltic Sea and the
As Charlemagne extended his realm in the late 8th century he
came to meet a united Danish army which successfully defended
Danevirke. A Danish-Frankish border was established at the
River Eider A.D. 811. Haithabu is regained.
Frankish sources, for instance Annales regni Francorum against
the year 811, gives a rather good picture of the Danish realm.
Godfred, or perhaps a predecessor, seems to have brought the
lands of the South- and North Danes together shortly before
800. And to end the war between the Franks and the Danes a
hostage was sent to Charlemagne in Aachen. That Danish hostages
came from Southern Jutland, Zealand and Scania ("Osfrid de
Sconaowe"). Probably also southern Norway was held by the kings
of Denmark of that time.
Hamburg is raided and burned by Danish Vikings. As a
consequence Arch-bishop Ansgar moves the Cathedral to Bremen.
The Danes get control of northern and eastern England.
A separate kingdom of Haithabu was established by the Viking
chieftain Olaf from Svealand. Olaf's son Gnupa was however
killed in battle (against the Danish King Hardeknud?), and his
kingdom vanished. King Gorm is said to have regained Haithabu
(circa) Rollo, a Danish Viking chieftain, is granted Normandy
as a Duchy by the Frankish king Charles the Simple.
A bishopric is established in Slesvig.
Harald Gormsson (a.k.a. "Black-tooth") unites Denmark and
Norway as a single kingdom. Scania, Jutland and the islands
in-between had been ruled by the same king now and then, for
instance under King Godfred in the early 800s, but first with
the Christianization of kings and magnates the kingdom of
Denmark seems to have become a stabile entity. [ See also the
web-site at the Royal Danish Embassy, Washington D.C.
Lars Hemmingsen writes:
Harald boasts at the rune stone in Jellinge that he has won
"all of Denmark" - but what this really means is unclear: There
are some circumstantial evidence that Gorm lost Scania and
Norway, as well as his life, in 958 and that what Harald
accomplished was merely a re-conquest. But the standard
explanation is that Harald held the lands from the beginning
and that what he won of Denmark was merely the area around
Haithabu, A.D. 983, which he had first lost to Emperor Otto II.
Harald Gormsson (a.k.a. "Blåtand" - Black-Tooth) baptized.
Southern Jutland (Sønderjylland) is an integrated part of the
The King Svend Tveskæg ("Double-beard" or "Fork-beard")
conquers England, which remains in Danish control until the
Knud den Store (Canute the Great) ruled over a vast kingdom
that included present-day Denmark, England, Norway and southern
Sweden, and during his reign Christianity became widespread.
After his death, the empire disintegrated.
Bishopric in Roskilde
King Svend Estridsen lets build a stone church for the bishop
Egino in Dalby, close to Lund. (This church is the oldest
remaining stone church on the Scandinavian peninsula.)
This year the Church was re-organized with new bishoprics also
in: Lund, Aarhus, Borglum, Ribe and Odense.
After King Svend Estridsen's death Denmark is from time to time
split between his sons. The Thing in Scania supports Knud ("the
Holy") against whom the Jutes revolt in 1086 and King Knud is
The Bishop in Bremen and the Bishop in Canterbury have fought
over dominance of Denmark, and as a move in this complicated
struggle, rich funds are donated by the king for a cathedral in
Lund. The cathedral school is opened in 1086. The school has
been in function ever since.
With the first arch-bishop of Lund, Scandinavia was made a
separate church province, no longer belonging to Hamburg.
Denmark seems to divide itself in pieces. Scania, Zealand and
Jutland can't agree on choosing the same king and Civil War
follows, in which King Valdemar the Great comes out on top in
The Lund cathedral is opened. (The church in Dalby had lost the
competition for cathedral status.)
Copenhagen (Havn) is founded.
The Vendic castle Arkona on the island Rügen is captured by
King Valdemar the Great.
Saxo writes the history of Scandinavia.
King Valdemar II Sejr conquers Holstein with the town of
Hamburg,which soon enough is re-captured by a united German
army. He also conquers Pomerania, and Mecklenburg, and
reestablishes the nation as a great power in northern Europe.
Soon, however, a civil war between the nobles and the king
vying for control of the country erupted.
The Scanian Law is written down. 50 years later it's also
transcribed to runes.
King Valdemar II Sejr conquers northern Estonia. According to
the legend, the Danish flag "Dannebrogen" fell down from the
sky during this mission. [ The Dannebrog is the oldest flag in
the world still in use. All Nordic flags except the Greenland
flag are variations of the Dannebrog. ]
Denmark's southern border had since long been guarded by troops
under command of an Earl (Jarl), later Duke, in Schleswig
/Slesvig in Sønderjylland. The Duchy had become also a means of
providing for the expenses of younger royal princes. As the
Hansa and the German Empire expanded, the Counts of Holstein,
the Duke of Slesvig and the Hansa found a common enemy in the
king of Denmark. The result was a long row of wars where the
Dukes strived for independence from the Danish Crown.
At the same time also the Arch-bishop in Lund strived for
supremacy over the secular king, or at least for independence,
and the nobility demanded the realm to be governed by a Senate
King Christoffer II was forced to make major concessions to the
nobles and clergy at the expense of royal power, which was also
diminished by the influence of the German Hanseatic League.
1326-30 King Christoffer is replaced by an under-age king with
Count Gerhard of Holstein as regent.
The Scanian nobility (alternatively the Thing in Lund) had in
the beginning of the 1330s chosen the young Magnus Eriksson to
be king also for the Scanian provinces, after his regents had
promised to pay Count Johan of Holstein to whom Scania was
pawned. At that time Magnus Eriksson was the under-age king of
both Norway and Sweden.
Due to the expensive but failed wars almost all rights to taxes
and custom fees are given in pawn to the creditors of the realm
(mainly the Counts of Holstein). The Danish Crown has no
incomes to speak of, and no king is appointed.
King Valdemar IV Atterdag succeeded in restoring royal
After an Estonian uprising, Denmark sells its possessions in
Northern Estonia to the Order of Teutonic Knights.
Valdemar IV Atterdag re-conquers Scania.
Valdemar IV Atterdag conquers Gotland.
The five years old Crown Prince Olof of Norway is elected King
of Denmark, with his mother Queen Margrete of Norway as regent.
In 1380 he becomes King of Norway too. The union between
Denmark and Norway will remain until 1814.
To avoid a war on the southern border, and to regain the rich
Slesvig region, Queen Margrete I (the daughter of Valdemar IV)
unites the Danish Duchy of Slesvig with the German County of
Holstein by giving Slesvig as a fief to the Counts of Holstein.
The unity between Slesvig and Holstein has remained ever since,
although the northern part of Slesvig was split of in 1920.
Until 1440 the dukes of Slesvig fails to agree with their kings
over the Duchy's duties in the realm.
Margrete, Queen-widow and mother of the late King Oluf, who had
died in 1387, is acclaimed as "plenipotentiary lady and
rightful warden" for Norway and Sweden.
Queen Margrete of Norway and Denmark unites all the Nordic
countries as a single kingdom, the Kalmar Union, under the
under-age Eric of Pomerania, who is crowned in Kalmar 1397.
Duty on goods through Öresund is introduced by King Erik of
Pomerania. This becomes an important income for the Danish
Crown, and creates heaps of enemies to the State of Denmark.
The house of Oldenburg (one of the branches of Counts of
Holstein) was established on the throne in the person of
Christian I and has continued to rule Denmark up to the present
King Christian I becomes Duke of the duchies of Slesvig (1460)
and Holstein (1474). Holstein and Slesvig become twin duchies
with peculiar rules for succession. In 1490-1721 both of the
duchies are split in two or more parts, one of which is held by
the king of Denmark.
During the late 15th century male serfdom (vornedskab) was
introduced on the islands.
The Kalmar Union is dissolved as the Swedes revolt after the
"Stockholm bloodbath" performed by King Christian II of
Denmark. Denmark and Norway remain united, however.
After the death of King Frederik I, the Civil "War of the
Counts" (Grevefejden) between the rivals to throne follows. The
parties struggled mainly over two issues: for or against
Hanseatic influence and for or against a national Lutheran
State Church. After 1536 the Hansa's dominance in Denmark's
domestic politics was broken. Frederik's Lutheran son becomes
King Christian III.
Reformation. Denmark becomes Lutheran.
Denmark-Norway has to cede Gotland, Jämtland, Ösel and Härjedal
to Sweden in the Brömsebro peace after King Christian IV had
intervened in the Thirty Years' War. Halland is ceded for 30
In the peace treaty of Roskilde, Denmark-Norway cedes Skåne,
Halland, Blekinge, Bohuslän, and Trøndelag (i.e. the district
of Trondheim) to Sweden after a failed war against Sweden
declared by King Frederik III the year before.
After the peace treaty Sweden continues the war and besieges
Copenhagen for two years. However, this results in Trøndelag
being returned to Norway and Bornholm (after an uprising) to
A consequence of the disastrous war was that the monarchy was
made hereditary in 1660, and royal Autocracy was introduced in
1661. The Autocracy came to last until 1848. The high
aristocracy had lost its influence over the government.
Catholics (1671), Jews (1684) and Calvinists (1685) were
granted rights to perform their own worship.
In the "war of Scania" and later in the "Great Northern War",
Denmark tries to conquer back the territory lost in 1658 but
without success, due to pressure from the great powers of
Europe. Sweden's collapse after the Great Northern War does,
however, return Denmark some of its earlier position as a
The serfdom (vornedskab) is first abolished in 1702 (it was in
use only on the islands), then re-invented for all of Denmark
in 1733 under the name of stavnsbåndet - male peasants below
the age of 36 were disallowed to move from the manor without
consent of the landowner. (Less than 5% of the land was owned
All of the Duchy of Slesvig is ruled by the King of Denmark. In
1773 Denmark formally obtains the whole of Slesvig in exchange
for Oldenburg. The Danish king also becomes Duke of Holstein
(under the German Emperor), initially only with half of the
Duchy, but from 1773 on, Holstein is united.
Grand reform of farming decided. Villages were split into
separate farms, so farmers came to live closer to their land,
more distant from their neighbors.
Serfdom (stavnsbåndet) is again abolished. As a consequence
land-rent is fixed and paid in money, not in work, and then
most farms are sold to the peasants. In 1815 60% of the farmers
owned their own land, however heavily in debt. The difference
between farm workers and farmers increased. (The farm workers
constituted approximately the half of Denmark's population
The battle of the Roadstead of Copenhagen (Slaget på Reden).
The British force Denmark to retreat from the Armed Neutral
Alliance with Sweden and Russia. Admiral Nelson was in charge
of the part of the British fleet which partook in the battle.
The British under Wellington bombard Copenhagen, to make
Denmark cede its navy. Denmark becomes a French ally.
The alliance with Napoleon becomes a disaster for Denmark: the
country goes bankrupt. In the peace treaty of Kiel, Denmark has
to cede Norway to Sweden. Denmark also gets Swedish Pomerania
which is traded with Prussia for Lauenburg. Iceland, Greenland,
and the Faroe Islands remain with Denmark.
After a Prussian-inspired revolt in Schleswig-Holstein, the
first war of Slesvig ends with status quo. Denmark still
controls the duchies of Slesvig, Holstein, and Lauenburg.
King Fredrik VII authorized a new constitution instituting a
representative form of government. In addition, wide ranging
social and educational reforms took place.
Religious freedom was enacted and the Church was declared
independent of the State, although this independence never has
been realized - mainly due to internal conflicts in the Church
- The King (the Queen) has remained the head of Church who
appoints priests, confirms hymnals, etcetera.
Denmark adopts the "November Constitution" which aims to unite
Slesvig (but not Holstein) with the Danish Kingdom and
therefore is a violation of the peace treaty of 1851 in which
Denmark had promised not to separate the two duchies. Due to
this, Prussia and Austria declare war and conquer Slesvig,
Holstein, and Lauenburg in the second war of Slesvig.
Parliamentarism is introduced in Denmark: No government can
rule against the majority of the parliament.
Denmark remains neutral during World War I.
Denmark sells her three Caribbean islands to the USA for 25
million dollars (the present-day US Virgin Islands).
The northern part of /Sønderjylland (the former duchy of
Slesvig) is rejoined with Denmark after a referendum.
Great social reforms were instituted, in effect founding
Denmark's modern welfare state.
On April 9th, Germany occupies Denmark despite Denmark having
declared itself neutral; the Danish government gives up
military resistance. However, the Danes retain control of their
government and parliament, which initially remain remarkably
intact regardless of the Nazi occupation.
The relations between the Danish Government and the occupying
German forces worsen rapidly. Most of the Danish Jews are
evacuated to Sweden. Local resistance groups perform a number
of sabotage actions during the war, and the Nazis retaliate
Iceland breaks away from union with Denmark and declares
4-5th of May: The German forces in Denmark surrender to
Britain. The end of World War II ends the German occupation of
Denmark. The German forces on Bornholm refuse to surrender to
the Red Army, and Bornholm has to suffer Soviet bombardment
before the Germans finally surrender a few days later.
The Faroe Islands are granted autonomy within the Danish
Denmark joins NATO as one of the founding members.
A new constitution alters the status of Greenland from colony
to a "county" (amt) of Denmark. Parliament changes from a
two-chamber system to a single-chamber system. By the same
constitutional changes, Princess Margrethe becomes heir to the
The Nordic Council founded.
Denmark joins the European Community (EC) after a referendum.
Greenland is granted home rule and starts taking over some of
its internal affairs.
In a referendum Denmark votes "NO" to the Maastricht treaty
(which designs a more federalized European Union). The "NO"
vote shakes the whole European Community.
A new referendum on the Maastricht treaty - allowing Denmark to
opt out on issues such as a common European currency,
citizenship, defense policy, and police - is arranged and
Denmark votes "YES" to that.
Present-day (i.e., Swedish or German) spellings for the former
Danish/Norwegian landscapes and Danish controlled duchies have
3.3.2 The list of Danish monarchs
Denmark is probably the only country in the world that can produce an
uninterrupted list of monarchs for more than thousand years. So here
Chochilaichus (Hugleik?) mentioned 515
(Angantyr? or Yngvin?) mentioned in the beginning of the 8th century
Sigfred mentioned in the end of the 8th century
Gudfred died around 810, mentioned 804
Harald Klak 812-813
Sons of Gudfred mentioned 813-817
Hårik I (Horik) died 854, mentioned from 827
Hårik II (Horik) 854-around 870
Olav mentioned in the 890's
Gnupa (Chnob) and Gurd mentioned 909-919
Gorm den Gamle died around 940
Harald I Blåtand around 940-around 986
Svend I Tveskæg around 986-1014
Harald II 1014-1018
Knud I den Store 1018-1035
Magnus den Gode 1042-1047
Svend II Estridsen 1047-1074
Harald III Hen 1074-1080
Knud II den Hellige 1080-1086
Oluf I Hunger 1086-1095
Erik I Ejegod 1095-1103
Erik II Emune 1134-1137
Erik III Lam 1137-1146
Oluf II Haraldsen 1140-1143
Svend III Grathe 1146-1157
Knud III 1146-1151 and 1154-1157
Valdemar I den Store 1154-1182
Knud IV (VI) 1182-1202
Valdemar II Sejr 1202-1241
Erik IV Plovpenning 1241-1250
Christoffer I 1252-1259
Erik V Klipping 1259-1286
Erik VI Menved 1286-1319
Christoffer II 1320-1326 and 1330-1332
Valdemar III 1326-1330
Valdemar IV Atterdag 1340-1375
Oluf III 1376-1387
Margrethe I 1375-1412
Erik VII af Pommern 1396-1439
Christoffer III af Bayern 1440-1448
Christian (Christiern) I 1448-1481
Christian (Christiern) II 1513-1523
Frederik I 1523-1533
Christian III 1534-1559
Frederik II 1559-1588
Christian IV 1588-1648
Frederik III 1648-1670
Christian V 1670-1699
Frederik IV 1699-1730
Christian VI 1730-1746
Frederik V 1746-1766
Christian VII 1766-1808
Frederik VI 1808-1839
Christian VIII 1839-1848
Frederik VII 1848-1863
Christian IX 1863-1906
Frederik VIII 1906-1912
Christian X 1912-1947
Frederik IX 1947-1972
Margrethe II 1972-
3.3.3 Denmark during world war II
This section will probably get more material. Actually, this is one of
the regular topics of discussion in the group. But few have yet had
energy enough to write and propose a text for the faq.
From: Stan Brown <email@example.com>
Subject: Yellow Stars (was Re: Denmark during WW2)
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 12:03:02 -0400
> I also thought that Jews were required to wear stars, but that
> the King himself put on a star, as did many others, and therefore
> that the star identification system of the Nazis failed?
On page 14 of Queen in Denmark by Anne Wolden-Ræthinge (Gyldendal,
1989, ISBN 87-01-08622-7 and 87-01-08623-5), HM Queen Margrethe II
"One of the stories one often hears about the Occupation, and which
I persist in denying each time I hear it, is the story about
Christian X wearing the yellow star of David as a demonstration
during the Occupation. It is a beautiful and symbolic story, but it
is not true. I do not mind it existing or being told, but I will
not support a myth, even a good one, when I know it isn't true, it
would be dishonest. But the moral behind the story is a far better
one for Denmark than if the King had worn the star. The fact of the
matter is that the Germans never did dare insist that Danish Jews
wear the yellow star. This is a credit to Denmark which our country
has cause to be proud of: I think this is an important fact to
remember. The myth about the King wearing the star of David, well,
I can imagine that this could have originated from a typical remark
by a Copenhagen errand boy on his bicycle: 'If they try to enforce
the yellow star here, the King will be the first to wear it!' -- I
don't know whether this was the actual remark, but I imagine it
could have been how the myth started. It is certainly a possible
explanation I offer whenever I am asked. To me, the truth is an
even greater honor for our country than the myth."
From: Henrik Ernoe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Denmark during WW2
Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 11:14:42 +0100
> If the Germans were mere occupiers, why did
> they sanction the destruction of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen?
First of all, the bombing of tivoli was a "Schalburgtage" committed by
Danish Nazies not but the Germans, and it happenened after august 43,
were the Danish government demissioned and the "peaceful" occupation
and collaboration ended.
> But they did they effectively steal all of the Danish gold
> reserves to finance their own war effort and bankrupt the
> Danish treasury?
The Germans did not steal the Danish gold reserves. The base for this
story is the system with "clearing-accounts" in the National bank. The
system worked as follows: When the German wanted to "buy" butter,
bacon, guns, or whatever in Denmark, they paid with vouchers which the
sellers would take to national bank to get their money. The Danish
National bank then paid from the "clearing-account", which was then
supposed to be repaid by the Germans, this however never happened (the
account still amounts to several milliards in 1996).
That the Germans plundered Denmark this way is true, that they stole
the gold reserves is not!
A lot of the stories are inaccurate or untrue and tend to polish the
Danish image, which in view of the Governments acts from April 9th
1940 to 29 August 1943 is deeply tarnished by a policy of
collaboration with Nazi Germany.
There are things to proud of in Danish WWII history but the policy of
the government and political establishment until 43 is not one of
It should never be forgotten that until 29 August 1943 the Danish
government did all it could to hinder sabotage and other acts of
resistance. And the greatest danger to the resistance was the Danish
police not the Gestapo! When agents (Danes) from from the British SOE
were parachuted into Denmark, it was the Danish police that hunted
them down and murdered Rottböll and his comrades!
What saved our honor as a nation was the acts of a few people defying
not only the Germans but also the Danish King, government and all the
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
Subject: 3.3.4 Sønderjylland through the times
The medieval history of Southern Jutland (Danish: Sønder Jylland) is
complicated, and the Nationalistic fuss of the 19th century produced
some extra confusion. Both pro-Germans and pro-Danes used the history
to prove that the Duchy of Slesvig rightfully ought to be a part of
Germany - or Denmark - respectively.
Jutland is a long peninsula. From the old Sagas we get the impression
that Jutland "always" has been divided in a northern and a southern
part at the Kongeå River.
However, if archeology and Roman sources are balanced, one can assume
that the Jutish people inhabited both the Kongeå region and the more
northern part of the peninsula, while the Anglians lived approximately
where the towns Haithabu and Schleswig later would emerge. The pattern
of populated and unpopulated areas was relatively constant through
Bronze Age and Iron Age.
After a lot of Anglians had emigrated to the British Islands in the
5th century, the land of the Anglians came in closer contact with the
Danish islands - plausibly by immigration/occupation by the Danes.
Later also the contacts increased between the Danes and the people on
the northern half of the Jutish peninsula.
As Charlemagne extended his realm in the late 8th century, he met a
united Danish army which successfully defended Danevirke. A border was
established at the River Eider A.D. 811.
Danevirke was erected immediately south for the road where boats or
goods had to be hauled for approximately 5 kilometers between a bay of
the Baltic Sea and a small river (Rheider Au / Reider Å) connected to
the North Sea. There, on the narrowest part of southern Jutland, an
important transit market (Haithabu /Hedeby close to the later town
Slesvig) was established, and protected by the fortification
During the 9th century the border was adjusted to the south, and
during a period Hamburg was occupied by Danes.
This strength was enabled by three factors:
* the fishing,
* the good soil giving good pasture and harvests, and
* in particular the tax and customes revenues from the market in
Haithabu, where all trade between the Baltic Sea and Western
The wealth of southern Jutland and the taxes from the Haithabu market
was, of course, enticing. A separate kingdom of Haithabu /Hedeby was
established around year 900 A.D. by the Viking chieftain Olaf from
Svealand. Olaf's son and successor Gnupa was however killed in battle
agains the Danish king, and his kingdom vanished.
The southern border was then adjusted back and forth a few times. For
instance the German Emperor Otto II did occupy land north of the River
Eider in the years 974-983, stimulating German colonialization.
Later Haithabu /Hedeby was burned by Swedes, and first under the reign
of King Svend Forkbeard (986-1014) the situation was stabilized,
although raids against Haithabu would be repeated. Again in 1066
Haithabu was destroyed by fire.
Knud Lavard (killed 1131) was called Duke of Jutland, and during the
rule of his dynasty Southern Jutland functioned as the Duchy which
provided for the expences of Royal Princes, which led to longlasting
feuds between the Dukes and the Kings 1253-1325.
Knud Lavard had inherited also parts of Holstein, and thereby come in
conflict with Count Adolf in the German part of Holstein, as they both
were very keen on expanding their influence and pacifying the Wagrian
tribe. Count Adolf succeeded and established the County of Holstein
(1143) with about the borders it has had since then. Holstein was
Christianized, lots of the Wagrians were killed and the land was
inhabited by settlers from Westphalia, Friesland and Holland. Soon the
towns of Holstein, as Lübeck and Hamburg, became serious trade
competitors on the Baltic Sea. Denmark tried her best to expand her
influence to Holstein too, and during 1203-1227 the Count of Holstein
acknoledged the King of Denmark as feudal lord.
The wars between the kings of Denmark and the dukes of Slesvig were
expensive, and Denmark had to finance them through extensive loans.
The Dukes were usually allied with the Counts of Holstein, who
happened to be the main creditors of the Danish Crown, too. In 1326,
after a war between Denmark and Holstein, the underage Duke of Jutland
was made king of Denmark, and his guardian Count Gerhard of Holstein
was entfeofed with the Duchy as an inheritable fief.
This was the time when almost all of Denmark came under the supremacy
of the Counts of Holstein, who possessed different parts of Denmark as
pawns for their credits. King Valdemar VI (Atterdag) started to regain
the kingdom part by part. King Valdemar's son Henrik was in 1364
nominally entfeofed with the Duchy, although he never reached to
regain more than the northernmost parts as he couldn't raise the
neccessary founds to repay the loans.
As both Duke Henrik and King Valdemar died (1374 & 1375) the Duchy was
the only important part of Denmark which still was controlled by the
Counts of Holstein, who now declared the Duchy to be independent of
the Danish Crown.
Queen Margrete managed however in 1386 to reach an agreement with the
creditors, who acknowledged the Danish Queen as feudal lord. The Duchy
of Slesvig was thereby again a part of the Danish realm - nominally -
but it took another 54 years of feuds until the Duchy in practice
contributed with troops or taxes.
In 1448 the Duke of Slesvig was influential enough to get his nephew
Count Christiern elected King of Denmark, and when the Duke had died
King Christiern was appointed Duke of Slesvig and Count of Holstein in
1460. It followed a period of a hundred years when the Duchy many
times was devided between inheritors.
From the end of the 16th century the Duchy was split in only two
parts: one held by the King of Denmark, and the other held by the Duke
During the 30-years War the relations between the Duke and the King
worsened. Finally in 1658, after the Danes had invaded Swedish
territories south of Hamburg, the Duke cooperated with the Swedes in
their counter-attack which almost eradicated the Danish Kingdom. The
peace treaty stipulated that the Duke no longer was a vassal of the
As Sweden in 1721 had lost its strength, Denmark could again
incorporate the Duchy in the Danish realm, and the prior royal and
ducal regions of the Duchy were united. The prior Duke remained Duke
of Holstein under the German Emperor until 1773 when (almost) all of
Holstein was gained by the King of Denmark (in his role as German Duke
German had been the governmental language during the times of more or
less independent Dukes, and remained so. Since the Reformation, German
had also been dominating in Church and schools, while Danish was the
dominating language among the peasantry.
After the Napoleonic wars most of Europe experienced a national
awakening. Not the least in the German speaking parts of Europe, as
for instance in Slesvig and Holstein. 1806-1815 the government of
Denmark had claimed Slesvig and Holstein to be parts of Denmark, which
wasn't popular among the Germans. The revolutions 1848 all over Europe
led in Slesvig and Holstein to a failed separatist rebellion, and
Nationalists in Denmark advocated danification of Slesvig (but not
Holstein). In 1864 the Danish government saw a historical opportunity
to achieve this, but instead Prussia and Austria attacked. After a
short war Slesvig and Holstein was ceded - and from 1866 incorporated
After Germany had lost the first World War it was possible for Denmark
to support the Danish speaking peasantry in Slesvig in their national
strive. A referendum was held, and Slesvig was split between Germany
and Denmark along a line immediately north for the town Flensburg.
500-800 Southern Jutland probably inhabited by Danes
800-900 [INLINE] Southern Jutland held by Danes
900-936 Southern Jutland a kingdom of its own.
The king was from Sweden.
936-974 [INLINE] Southern Jutland held by Danes
974-983 The German Emperor established a small colony on southernmost
986-~1140 [INLINE] Danish Earls ("Jarl") defend the border.
~1140-1325 Royal Princes are supported by revenues from a Duchy
comprising rather limited parts of Southern Jutland. The dukes strive
for independence from the Danish Crown.
1326-1375 Southern Jutland ruled by the creditors, the Conts of
1376-1386 The Duchy of Slesvig is claimed independent.
1386-1440 The Duchy is in theory a part of the Danish realm, however
mostly in war with the King of Denmark.
1440-1460 [INLINE] The Dynasty to which the Duke of Slesvig belongs
increases their influence in the Danish realm. The Duchy is in
practice a part of the Danish realm.
1460-~1658 Holstein and Slesvig twin-duchies with peculiar rules for
succession. All, or parts, of the Duchies held by the King of Denmark.
Other parts by brothers and cousins. The dukes strive for independence
from the Danish Crown.
1658-1721 Half of the Duchies Slesvig and Holstein ruled by a
sovereign Duke, the other half ruled by the King of Denmark.
1721-1773 [INLINE] All of the Duchy of Slesvig and the half of
Holstein ruled by the King of Denmark.
1773-1864 [INLINE] All of the Duchy of Slesvig and all of Holstein
ruled by the King of Denmark.
1864-1920 All of the Duchy of Slesvig and all of Holstein incorporated
in the German Imperium.
1920-- The northernmost part of the Duchy of Slesvig (Sønderjylland)
is re-united with Denmark
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
Subject: 3.4 Main tourist attractions
<by Jens Chr. Madsen, except for the part on Copenhagen>
3.4.1 Getting there and getting around
Copenhagen Airport has a large number of connections to destinations
within the Nordic Countries and the rest of the world. Numerous
ferries connect Denmark to Britain, Norway, Sweden, Poland, and
Germany; and of course there is also a "land connection" from Germany.
There are several daily direct trains to Denmark from Germany and
Sweden. Due to the country's modest size and general topography it is
easy to get around in Denmark, be it by bicycle, car, or public
Denmark is an almost ideal country for cyclists: Relatively short
distances, practically no steep roads, and a dense network of bike
paths and small country roads. Even large cities are bicycle-friendly
(compared to many other countries at least) with bike paths on most
major streets. The reason for this, of course, is that a significant
number of Danes from all groups of society commute by bicycle.
There is not much to be said about traveling by car in Denmark, except
that you should be aware of the large number of bicycles, as mentioned
above. *Please* be careful and look for bicycles, especially when you
make a right turn. Apart from that, the most special thing about
driving a car in Denmark is that you will have to get on a ferry if
you intend to travel between the western (Jutland, Funen) and eastern
(Sealand, Lolland, Falster) parts of the country. The shortest and
busiest crossing is between Halsskov on Sealand and Knudshoved on
Funen. That crossing will be replaced by a bridge-tunnel system in a
few years (train connection to open in 1996). There are also a number
of ferries between Sealand and Jutland - Ebeltoft-Odden is the
shortest and most frequent.
Traveling by air in Denmark is also possible of course; all domestic
flights go to/from Copenhagen and none of them is longer than 45
minutes. You do save some time, but often at a rather high price.
However, there are often some good offers during the summer holiday
period, so especially if you are going to Bornholm, Billund or Ålborg
from Copenhagen, flying there might be worth considering.
Otherwise, public long-distance traveling is done by train (there are,
however, a few coach lines from Copenhagen to Århus, Ålborg, and
Fjerritslev; 2-3 departures per day and prices approximately as for
the train). There is an hourly intercity train service connecting
cities on "the main line" from Copenhagen via Odense and Århus to
Ålborg. Intercity services to other larger cities in Jutland normally
run every two hours. (The intercity trains are transferred on the
ferry between Sealand and Funen. The concept of putting a passenger
train on a ferry is possibly unique to Denmark; international trains
from Copenhagen to Sweden or Germany also travel on board ferries.) In
addition to the intercity, there are regional trains every hour on
most lines. Short distance travelling is mostly done by bus.
Copenhagen's metropolitan area is the home of more than 25% of
Denmark's population. The city lies on the eastern shore of the island
of Sjælland (Zealand), at the southern end of Øresund (The Sound), the
waterway that separates Denmark from Sweden and links the Baltic with
the North Sea. Copenhagen is protected from the Baltic by the small
island of Amager. Between Amager and Sjælland there was formerly a
group of sand flats. Drained and reclaimed, they now constitute the
islet of Christianshavn, which has been developed as the chief dock
area of the city. The harbor of Copenhagen occupies the narrow
waterway between Christianshavn and Sjælland.
The nucleus of the city is Slotsholmen, or Castle Isle, where a
fortification was built in 1167. Its site is now occupied by
Christiansborg Palace, constructed between 1907 and 1915 as a home for
the legislature and government ministries. Nearby are the Thorvaldsen
Museum and the Exchange (Børsen), built from 1619 to 1640, with a
twisting spire made up of the interwoven tails of four sculptured
dragons. North of the old city is Frederikstad, a planned suburb built
in the 18th century. In it is the Amalienborg Palace, originally
luxurious town houses but since 1794 the residence of the Danish
monarch; a ceremonial changing of guards takes place every day at 12
noon. Nearby is the massive Marble Church started in 1749 but finished
only almost 150 later, and to the west of the church is Rosenborg
Palace, built in the early 17th century as the summer residence of the
king but now acts as a museum. The city's university was founded in
1479 by King Christian I and was re-founded in the 19th century. To
the southeast, beyond the dock quarter of Christianshavn, is the
largely residential suburb of Amager. The island of Amager, much of
which is low-lying and marshy, is the site of Copenhagen's Kastrup
airport, one of the largest in Europe. A gigantic bridge has been
planned for Amager across Øresund to Malmö in Sweden.
Copenhagen has many canals, wide boulevards and public parks and
gardens. Among these is the famous Tivoli, in the heart of the city to
the southwest of the old town, a highly sophisticated amusement park
laid out in 1843, with e.g 28 restaurants, music, dance, and theater,
fountains, carousels, etc., as well as more modern amusement park
devices. Other parks worth a visit and maybe a picnic are the
Botanical Gardens (Botanisk Have) and Rosenborg Gardens with the
palace. The famous pedestrian shopping street Strøget starts from The
City Hall (Rådhuset), which is an impressive piece of neo-gothic
architecture, and runs to Kongens Nytorv where Charlottenborg palace
and the Royal Theater are located. The pedestrian center itself, which
includes many winding, medieval streets, is a marvellous place to
stroll around, but keep in mind that businesses close by early
afternoon on Saturday and aren't open on Sunday. There are a couple of
old churches in the pedestrian center as well, e.g. Nikolaj Church and
the neo-classic Cathedral. In Christianshavn, be sure to climb to the
spiral tower of the baroque Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviour's Church)
for a great view.
While you're in Christianshavn you may want to visit the "alternative
city" of Christiania. The story of Christiania began in 1971 when a
large number of hippies took over the abandoned military barracks in
Bådmanstrædes Kaserne; after futile attempts by police to empty the
area, the matter ended up in the parliament and Christiania got
political exemption and acceptance as a "social experiment" in return
for agreeing to pay for the use of water and electricity. After many
colourful struggles against threats of closing and "normalization" as
well as hard drugs and violent motorcycle gangs, Christiania's tale
still continues. The Freetown's self-government is arranged in an
anarchist fashion, with common decisions being made in various
councils such as the Common Meeting, The Economy Meeting, The House
Meeting, etc. Christiania has no laws, but there's a series of bans
put up by the inhabitants of the Freetown: no hard drugs, no weapons,
no violence, no trading with buildings or residential areas.
Christiania is probably best known to the outside world for the free
availability of cannabis products; they are indeed being openly sold
on the main street, but this does not mean hash is legal in Denmark,
or that you can't be punished for carrying or using it. The Danish
police have a policy of not fining for small amounts of cannabis and
for the most part tolerate the trade in Christiania, but they do
sometimes patrol the area. Tourists should think twice before abusing
the liberal attitudes and good will of the Danish officials. Also,
don't take photos of Christiania or Christianians, they won't like it
and you may have your film taken from you if do.
Legal intoxicants can be tried out by taking a guided excursion to the
two major Danish breweries, Carlsberg and Tuborg. Tuborg is located in
the suburb of Hellerup in northern Copenhagen, Strandvejen 54,
excursions are Monday-Friday 10 a.m, 12.30 and 2.30 p.m. Carlsberg
breweries are at Ny Carlsbergvej (at the Elephant Gate; take bus 16
from Rådhuspladsen toward Sydhavn), excursions Monday-Friday at 11 a.m
and 2 p.m. Carlsberg has always been a major patron of the arts in
Denmark, and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (near the Tivoli gardens),
which houses a collection of antique artifacts as well as French and
Danish art, is well worth a visit. Nyhavn canal close to Kongens
Nytorv square is a popular place to walk around; there's also a H. C.
Andersen exhibition at Nyhavn 69. Statens Museum før Kunst (Sølvgade
48-50) is the Danish National Gallery; European masters and Danish
art. Nationalmuseet (National Museum) has, among other things, a
splendid collection of unique prehistoric finds (rich, well-preserved
bronze age bog-finds, the Gundestrup Cauldron, the Solvagn, Viking age
gold treasures, etc) and an exhibition of Eskimo culture. North of
Copenhagen lies Frilandsmuseet: open air museum of the history of folk
architecture in Denmark and the formerly Danish part of Sweden (Skåne)
- it can be accessed by train or bus.
3.4.3 Zealand and surrounding islands
<From: Durant Imboden>
* Hillerød: Frederiksborg Castle
* Roskilde: the cathedral and, as long as you're there, the Viking
* Louisiana art museum has excellent collections of contemporary
art, while Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek concentrates on older sculpture
* The view from the top of the City Hall (Radhuset) is not to be
<From: Durant Imboden>
* Bornholm: an island in the Baltic, easily reached by overnight
ferry from the Copenhagen waterfront. Well worth a few days--or
even a week, if you're in a mood for leisurely exploration.
(There's also a ferry from Bornholm to Sweden, making Bornholm a
convenient stopover on a tour through Scandinavia.)
3.4.5 Fyn and surrounding islands
* Odense, the largest town of Fyn, has Hans Christian Andersen's
birthplace [someone could add something here]
Compared to Sealand and Copenhagen, Jutland has not many castles etc.
to offer. Jutland's main asset is nature, which spans a wide spectrum
from lakes, hills, and forests (very like the landscape of Sealand and
Funen) to heaths, moors, marsh and dunes, unique to the Jutland
landscape. Some of Europe's finest beaches are found on Jutland's
North Sea coast.
Here is a brief description of some of the attractions in Jutland -
going from south to north.
This part of the country was the northern part of the duchy of
Schleswig - a Danish "dominion". It was ceded from 1864 to 1920
(see history section) and became re-unified with Denmark after a
referendum. Close to Sønderborg, the windmill and embankments of
Dybbøl is part of the national heritage. It was here that Denmark
was defeated in the 1864 war against Austria and Prussia. Further
west, the marshlands and dikes form a unique landscape with an
abundant bird life. The islands of Rømø and Fanø are popular
* Vejle and the Jelling Stones:
In south-east Jutland the city of Vejle is a good starting point
for an excursion. On both sides of the Vejle Fjord there are
beautiful beech forests with some (for Danish conditions)
unusually steep hills. The train from Vejle to Jelling will take
you through the Grejs Valley; again with some unusually hilly
terrain and beautiful forests. In the village of Jelling the
"Birth Certificate" of Denmark can be studied: Two large stones
with runic inscriptions set by King Harald Blåtand for his father
Gorm den Gamle (Gorm the Old) and his mother Thyra. The
inscriptions on the stones are some of the oldest known writings
in "Danish" translating approximately as: "Harald had this stone
made, for his father Gorm and his mother Thyra; the Harald who
united all of Denmark and Norway and christianized the Danes". Two
large burial mounds adjacent to the stones are popularly believed
to be the graves of Gorm and Thyra.
About 28 km west of Vejle is the small (but world famous) town of
Billund - home to the Lego factories and Legoland. It's not just
for kids. The centerpiece is "Miniland", a great many models of
cities, palaces, and harbors, all made of Legos and constructed in
scale of 20-to-1. The Amalienborg Palace is there, and Bavaria's
Neuschwandstein Castle, and a Dutch town, and a Norwegian fishing
village, and an oil refinery, and trains, and Mount Rushmore, and
the U.S. Capitol, and zebras, and rabbits, and much more. Many of
the exhibits have moving parts: boats are drawn up into dry dock,
trucks pick up loads, bridges rise and fall, and so on. The DSB
(state railway) sells a very attractively priced ticket at the
central train station in Copenhagen: DKK 344 round trip (as of May
1994), including transfer to the Vejle-Billund bus and admission
to the park.
The town also has Denmark's second largest airport with many
European connections. "Museum Center Billund" houses a collection
of vintage cars and aircraft.
* "Lake District":
Further north-east you enter the "Jutland Highlands" and the "Lake
District" - the area between Horsens, Silkeborg, and Skanderborg.
The world's oldest still-operating paddle steamer will take you on
a sightseeing tour of the lakes. On the southern shore of one of
the lakes is "Sky Mountain" (Himmel-bjerget), so named for its
astonishing height -- 147 meters! There is a nice look-out from
the tower on top of Himmelbjerget.
North-east of the Lake District is Århus, Denmark's second city,
which offers a wide range of things worth seeing.
The Moesgaard Museum is located in a forest some 15 km south of
the city center (bus #6) and it gives a splendid display of
prehistoric Denmark. The museum's main attraction is the Grauballe
Man, a ~2000 year old body found in a bog in eastern Jutland in
1952. Also in the city center you will find museums, e.g. the
Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art, both located in
the southern part of the university campus (which BTW is well
worth visiting in its own right). You will also find lots of
restaurants, cafes, places with live music etc. The concert hall
(Musikhuset) opposite the City Hall was completed in 1982 and is
home to the Jutland Opera and the Århus Symphony Orchestra.
The university campus is both a beautiful park and a good example
of Danish architecture (by Danish architect C.F.Møller). The
university is an architectural unity where there is no random
mixing of different styles as at many other campuses; the same
simple (some might say barren) design with yellow bricks has been
maintained right from the first buildings of the 1930's to
present-day new constructions.
Århus' main attraction, however, has to be the museum "The Old
Town" (Den Gamle By). This is a collection of old houses from all
over Denmark, carefully dismantled at their original sites and
re-erected at this open-air museum adjacent to the Botanical
Gardens, within walking distance from the city center.
* The "Mid West":
In the central and western parts of Jutland you find the infertile
moor which is probably the closest Denmark has to a "wilderness".
In late summer the purple heather provides a nice setting for a
long hike. Last century large parts of the moor were converted
into plantations and farmland. This was a consequence of the
defeat in the war in 1864; the pioneer of moor plantation E. M.
Dalgas put it like this (approximately): "What was lost abroad
must be won at home".
West of Viborg there are two old chalk mines (Daugbjerg and
Mønsted) with guided tours. Further west there is an open-air
museum at Hjerl Hede with a display of iron age life. At the west
coast the large lagoon Ringkøbing Fjord is home to a bird
sanctuary - Tipperne. Also the tongue of land separating the Fjord
from the North Sea is a popular resort.
* The Limfjord and Himmerland:
The western part of the Limfjord is great for yachting. The island
of Mors in the Limfjord has many splendid landscapes, e.g., the
cliff of Hanklit at the northern part of the island. The porous
clay (called mo-ler) of this cliff consists of zillions of
fossilized diatomers, and this type of clay is not found anywhere
else in the World. Another large bird sanctuary can be found at
Bygholm Vejle 20 km east of the city of Thisted. This marshland is
a result of a failed draining project, and the would- have- been
farmland is now left in a "neither land nor fjord" state. Close to
the city Hobro between Århus and Ålborg you find the remains of a
circular Viking fort called "Fyrkat". A Viking house has been
rebuilt there as accurately as possible.
In the middle of Himmerland (the landscape between Hobro and
Ålborg) the Rold Forest and the Rebild Hills (Rebild Bakker) are
found. Every year, the beautiful hills at Rebild are home to what
is said to be the largest 4th of July celebration outside the USA.
There is also a small museum showing aspects of life of Danish
immigrants in the USA in the 19th century.
* Ålborg and Nørresundby:
Like Århus, the city of Ålborg at the eastern part of the Limfjord
provides lots of city entertainment like bars, restaurants,
museums, a zoo and an amusement park. On the northern side of the
Limfjord in Nørresundby is one of Scandinavia's largest Viking
burial sites, the "Lindholm Hills" (Lindholm Høje). The remains of
a big town from 600-1100 AD have been found.
For more information on Ålborg have a look at:
* North of the Limfjord - Vendsyssel:
As mentioned, the west coast of Jutland is more or less one long
beach. Especially the beaches of northern Jutland - facing the
Skagerrak - are excellent. But treat the ocean with respect; each
year people unfamiliar with the North Sea do silly things like
drifting to sea on air mattresses etc. Also, the surf and current
can be strong some days. The resorts of Blokhus and Løkken are
among the most popular (and thus the most crowded) in Scandinavia.
Løkken offers a range of hotels and camp grounds as well as
restaurants and some night life.
Further north, the small hamlet of Lønstrup is a scaled-down
version of Løkken; however, the coast line is somewhat different
with rather steep slopes and cliffs. Just south of Lønstrup there
is an old light-house at Rubjerg Knude. The lighthouse was
abandoned in 1968 when the sand dunes grew taller than the
lighthouse itself. Some years ago it was converted into a museum
with displays on the problems of sand migration, but it will now
have to close because of ... yes, sand migration.
The city of Hirtshals is one of Denmark's most important fishing
ports and a gateway to Norway with ferries to Kristiansand and
Oslo. In 1981 a large North Sea research center was built, housing
a lot of Denmark's fishing research. The center also houses the
North Sea Museum - a nice exhibition and aquarium (including
seals), situated close to the highway leading to the ferry
terminal. The Hjørring-Hirtshals railway also stops at the North
The coast line between Hirtshals and Skagen also has some
excellent beaches, which are generally much less crowded than the
ones in Blokhus or Løkken. Approaching Skagen, one passes the
migrating dune of "Råbjerg Mile". It is the largest of its kind in
northern Europe and gives you a small-scale Sahara feeling. The
dune migrates a distance of 8-10 m per year. Also, between Råbjerg
Mile and Skagen you will find "the buried church"; a church
abandoned due to problems with sand migration.
Skagen at the very top of Denmark was probably the first Danish
holiday resort. In the last century it became popular with a
school of Scandinavian painters, who were attracted to Skagen
because of the special light and reflections the two seas
(Skagerrak and Kattegat) give. (If the weather conditions are
right you can see waves from the two seas engage in a head-on
collision off the tip of Grenen.) The Museum of Skagen houses a
fine collection of the work of the Skagen painters. Another -
partly outdoor - museum "Skagens Fortidsminder" gives a good
impression of the local culture and history, which is almost 100%
based on fishing.
Approximately 40 km south of Skagen is the city of Frederikshavn,
naval base and home to Denmark's ice breakers. Frederikshavn has
ferry connections to Larvik, Oslo, and Moss (Norway) and to
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
Subject: 3.5 Danish literature
Skaldic poetry in the Danish language no doubt existed already in
before the Viking age, but none of it was written down except for some
Latinized versions later rendered by Saxo Grammaticus. Saxo's Gesta
Danorum (History of the Danes), which recounts the history of Denmark
up to 1186 and includes Danish versions (in a somewhat Christianized
form) the Scandinavian myths and sagas, including the earliest version
of the Hamlet story, is the first major Danish contribution to world
literature. In the middle ages also a large number of religious poetry
in Latin was written, as well as a great variety of folk ballads in
Danish, which are among the more significant achievements of medieval
Danish literature. German influence remained strong, however, up until
the Reformation, and only in the 1600's did Danish poets really start
writing in their own language.
In the early 18th century the French Enlightenment and English
rationalism started to influence Danish literary circles, and satires
became fashionable. As a result, the Danish drama was created by
Ludvig Holberg (born in Norway), whose joyous and witty comedies had
an enormous impact on all Scandinavian playwrights of the following
generations. Holberg may perhaps be called the father of modern Danish
In the latter half of 18th century, Johannes Ewald, a writer of lyric
poetry and heroic tragedies written in verse, was the foremost of
Danish authors. In the early 19th century Adam Oehlenschlager
introduced Romanticism in Denmark, while Steen Steensen Blicher
[portrait on the left] represented bleak, Danish realism. Among their
contemporaries were the two perhaps most famous figures of Danish
literature throughout the ages: the fairy tale writer Hans Christian
Andersen (1805-75) [portrait on the right] and the philosopher Søren
Kierkegaard (1813-55) whose influence was fully felt only with
20th-century existentialism. In the 1870's, romanticism was replaced
by naturalism, the most ardent advocate of which was the famous
literary critic Georg Brandes. He had much influence on e.g the
novelist Jens Peter Jacobsen, the poet Holger Drachmann, and the Nobel
Prize winners of 1917, Henrik Pontoppidan and Karl Gjellerup.
Major early 20th-century figures Danish literature were the
proletarian novelist Martin Andersen Nexø (1869 - 1954) and the poet
and novelist Johannes V. Jensen (who won a Nobel Prize in 1944). The
most famous of all modern Danish writers was Karen Blixen (pseudonym
Isak Dinesen), who wrote her gothic tales and African memoirs in
English. In the 1940s and 1950s, H.C. Branner wrote brilliant short
stories; the poet Thorkild Bjørnvig and the novelist Klaus Rifbjerg
won fame in the following decades. Among the young generation e.g.
Peter Høeg has recently won international fame with his best-seller
Smilla's Sense of Snow.
For electronic versions of some of the works of Nordic literature, see
the collection of Project Runeberg:
* Icelandic Literature
* Literature from the Viking Age
* Medieval Nordic Literature
* Danish Literature
* Norwegian Literature
* Literature of Finland
* Literature from the Age of Liberty [ in Sweden and Finland
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
Subject: 3.6 Faroe Islands
<From: Jens C. Madsen & Jacob Sparre Andersen>
3.6.1 Fact Sheet
Name: Føroyar (Danish: Færøerne)
Autonomous region of Denmark
Head of state: Queen Margrethe II represented by a High Commissioner
Flag: a red Nordic cross outlined in blue on a white background,
dimensions (6-1-2-1-12 * 6-1-2-1-6)
Languages: Faroese, Danish (both official)
Administrative units: 7 counties (sýslur) each with several municipalities
Area: 1,399 km²
Terrain: 18 islands of volcanic origin, steep cliffs,
Land boundaries: None
Population: 48,065 (1993) - Much lower today, because of economic crisis
Life expectancy: male: 74.5 years, female: 81.5 years
Capital: Tórshavn (pop: 13,636)
Other major towns: Klaksvík (pop: 4,923 in 1987)
Religion: Evangelic-Lutheran (approximately 75%)
Currency: króna (Danish crown, DKK).
The Faroes issue their own bank notes but use Danish coins.
Climate: temperate sea-climate.
Average temp.: 3 C in the coldest month, 11 C in the warmest
Annual precipitation: 1430 mm
Natural resources: fish, sheep, potatoes, whaling
Exports: fish and fish products (88% of total export), ships
3.6.2 General information
The Faroe Islands consist of 18 islands of which only Koltur and Lítla
Dímun are unpopulated. The largest islands are Streymoy, Eysturoy,
Vágar, and Suðuroy.
The inhabitants of the Faroe Islands descend from the Viking settlers
who arrived in the 9th century and the pre-existing Celtic population.
Apart from fishing and sheep husbandry the Faroese have traditionally
also been netting birds, gathering eggs, and hunting the small pilot
whale. These activities remain an important supplement to the economy
in the Faroese society today. The Faroese have a rich cultural
heritage; language and customs (such as the old traditional Faroese
chain dance) are kept very much alive.
The parliament (Fa: Løgtingið, Da: Lagtinget) consists of 27-32
members. The government (Fa: Landsstýrið, Da: Landsstyret) has
executive power in all local affairs. The political parties in the
Faroe Islands cover the traditional left-right spectrum. But in
addition to that (and independent from that) there is another
political spectrum regarding the relations to Denmark; from unionists
over more-home-rule advocates to republicans. The Faroes elect two
members to the Danish parliament.
These days the Faroese must cope with the decline of the all-important
fishing industry and one of the world's heaviest per capita external
debts of nearly 30,000 USD. The fishing industry has been plagued with
bankruptcies. Denmark has threatened to withhold its annual subsidy of
130 million USD - roughly one-third of the islands' budget revenues -
unless the Faroese make significant efforts to balance their budget.
In addition to its annual subsidy, the Danish government has (through
the Faroese government) bailed out the second largest bank, the Føroya
Banki, to the tune of 140 million USD since October 1992.
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
Celtic settlers (Irish monks) make it to the Faroes.
The Faroe Islands are colonized by Norwegian settlers.
The Faroe Islands become a Norwegian dependency.
Along with Norway, the Faroes become united with Denmark.
The Faroes become (technically) a part of Zealand, Denmark.
When Denmark cedes Norway in the peace treaty of Kiel, the
Faroes remain with Denmark.
The independence movement starts.
The Faroes are occupied by British forces during WWII. Trade
with the UK leads to economic growth. The Faroese flag is
commonly used since the UK does not tolerate the flag of
The Faroe Islands are granted autonomy within the Danish
When Denmark joins the European Community (EC) the Faroe
Islands choose to stay outside the EC.
Good prospects in the fishing industry lead the Faroes to
invest large sums in infrastructure to prevent depopulation of
A recession in the fishing industry leaves the Faroes with a
large debt and in an economic crisis. Emigration to Denmark
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
3.6.4 Main tourist attractions
You can get to the Faroes by air from Copenhagen daily (Maersk Air and
Atlantic Airways). There are several weekly connections from Iceland
with Icelandair. The airport is located on the island of Vágar with a
bus-ferry-bus shuttle to Tórshavn. Also Smyril Line operates the ferry
Norröna during the summer months in cooperation with Scandinavian
Seaways. The ferry sails to Tórshavn from Esbjerg (Denmark) on
Saturdays; from Bergen (Norway) on Tuesdays; and from Seyðisfjörður
(Iceland) on Thursdays (1994 schedule). Strandfaraskip Landsins is
operating Smyril on the route to Scotland once a week.
There is an official camping site in Tórshavn and Selatrað. There are
a few youth hostels on the islands and a few hotels also. Camping can
be a somewhat wet experience since the weather is highly variable -
even for Nordic standards, but on a clear day the views are absolutely
Popular places are the westernmost island of Mykines with its large
colonies of gannets (Súla; sea birds); - on Streymoy the ruins of the
never-finished Magnus Cathedral at Kirkjubøur, the tiny community of
Saksun with its magnificent fjord and the bird-cliffs between Saksun
and Vestmanna. Also, the capital Tórshavn is a very charming city with
small narrow streets and beautiful old houses in the center. On
Eysturoy some attractions are the rock formations "Risin og kellingin"
north of Eiði; the village of Gjógv with its very characteristic
natural harbour - and nice youth hostel. Also Slættaratindur, the
islands' highest point of 882 m is a popular destination for a hike.
< From: Durant Imboden >
- The Faroe Islands, a Danish dependency in the North Atlantic reached
via car ferry from Esbjerg on the Smyril Line. (It's a two-night
trip.) You can continue on to a fishing town in Eastern Iceland, if
you like, in which case you'll see some lovely and dramatic scenery as
you pass between the islands on the m/v Norröna.
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
3.6.5 Faroese literature and language
The Faroese language resembles both Icelandic and Western Norwegian
dialects. It is almost mutually intelligible with other North Germanic
languages - at least in its written form. The written form of Faroese
was established in the 19th century by Venzel Hammershaimb and modeled
after Icelandic with almost the same alphabet. Written Faroese
apperared rather late and at a time when the language was under strong
pressure from Danish, which had become the established language for
the church and civil servants of the Faroes. But when written Faroese
was established, it meant a great boost for Faroese culture and
language. Today the Faroes have one of the highest number of books
published per capita. The best known authors are William Heinesen
(1900-1991) and Heðin Brú (alias Hans Jacob Jacobsen, 1901-1987).
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
Subject: 3.7 Books for learning Danish
Gyldendals røde ordbøger (Gyldendal's red dictionaries)
Dansk-engelsk, ISBN 87-00-73972-3 (niende udgave, 10. oplag)
Engelsk-dansk, ISBN 87-01-09312-2 (11. udgave, 6. oplag)
These dictionaries are very much the standard dictionaries in use. In
the same series Gyldendal publishes Danish-German and Danish-French
dictionaries plus a couple of others.
They are, however, rather expensive in the States (over 100 dollars
the pair). Persons who are just starting out might buy the yellow
pocket-size Berlitz dictionary (ISBN 2-8315-0946-7), available in many
bookstores. Unlike the Gyldendals books, it does indicate
pronunciation, which can be a help to students. Readers might want to
stay away from the Hippocrene Practical Dictionary, which does not
indicate the genders of nouns.
Books for learning Danish:
Teach Yourself Danish, by H. A. Koefoed. Reissued as a paperback in 1995.
Colloquial Danish, by W Glyn Jones and Kirsten Gade
(available in pack of book + 2 cassettes, from the
publisher, Routledge: +1 212 244-3336 in New York;
there's also a London office)
Danish: A Grammar (same authors) (published by Gyldendal)
(available with cassettes and workbook)
A source in the U.S. for dictionaries and grammars of Nordic and other
24 Hudson Street
Kinderhook NY 12106
phone in USA: 1-800-343-3531
[ the sections above are available at the www-page
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- END OF PART 3 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
© Copyright 1994-98 by Antti Lahelma and Johan Olofsson.
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