Sunday, February 23, 2014

Denmark - Introduction

Denmark , officially the Kingdom of Denmark , is a sovereign state in Northern Europe, located south-west of Sweden, south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom has two autonomous constituent countries in the north Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. At 43,094square kilometres (16,638.69 sq mi), and a population of around 5.6 million inhabitants, Denmark consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and the Danish archipelago of 407 islands, of which around 70 are inhabited, are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts with little elevation and a temperate climate. The national language, Danish, is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Swedish and Norwegian.
The Kingdom of Denmark is a unitary constitutional monarchy with Margrethe II as queen regnant, organised in a parliamentary democracy. Ending absolute monarchyintroduced in 1660, the Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, only to be rewritten four times; thelatest revision in 1953. The government resides in the capital of Copenhagen. Denmark exercises hegemonicinfluence in the Danish Realmdevolving political powers to handle internal affairs to the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark became a member of the European Union in 1973, maintaining four opt-outs from European Union policies, as outlined in the 1992 Edinburgh Agreement. Both the Faroe Islands and Greenland remain outside the Union.
Home of the Vikings, the unified kingdom of Denmarkemerged in the 8th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. The establishment of the personal Kalmar Union under Danish rule in 1397 ended with Swedish secession in 1523; one year later, Denmark entered union with Norway until its dissolution in 1814. Several cessions of Danish territory that had begun in the 17th century caused a surge ofnationalist movements that gained momentum in the 1830s and concluded with a defeat in the 1864 Second Schleswig War. Denmark remained neutral during World War I and the German invasion in April 1940 saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movementwas active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945. Denmark abandoned its traditional neutrality by joining NATO in 1949. An industrialized exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms in the early decades of the 20th century, making the basis for the present welfare state with a highly developed mixed market economy. The Danish krone has been pegged to the euro since 1 January 1999.
Denmark is frequently ranked as the happiest country in the world in cross-national studies ofhappiness. Denmark ranks as having the world's highest social mobility, a high level of income equality, has one of the world's highest per capita income, and has one of the worlds highest personal income tax rates. For 2013, Denmark is listed 15th on the Human Development Index and 9th on theinequality-adjusted HDI. Denmark ranks highly positive on the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Legatum Prosperity Index, and as a full democracy on theDemocracy Index. Denmark is among the founding members of the NATONordic CouncilOECD,OSCE, and the United Nations. There are three Danish heritage sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in Northern Europe. Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark but self-governed since 1979, has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.