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Friday 19th July
Denmark Information - Page 2
Denmark was inhabited in the Stone Age. The population increased with the influx of Germanic tribes and other peoples. During the Bronze and Iron Ages inhabitants were farmers and seafaring traders.

The ninth century saw Danish and Viking expansion. Vikings from Scandinavia sailed as far as Greenland, Southern Europe and North Africa.

Vikings began to settle in other countries particularly England. At first they were confined to the North and East of England (the region called the Danelaw). The English resisted but by the beginning of the eleventh century all the country was under the rule of the Danes. In 1016 King Canute (later King of Denmark and Norway) became King of England.

At home there was conflict on the border between Denmark and Germany and problems with Estonia. In 1380 Denmark entered a union with Norway (and Iceland) that lasted four hundred years. Towards the end of the fourteenth century Denmark, Norway and Sweden united to form the Kalmar Union (1397-1523).

A period of conflict between Denmark and Sweden led to Swedish supremacy in the area. Denmark retained control over Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Norway.

During the Napoleonic Wars Denmark fought with the French against Britain. The country was defeated and Norway ceded to Sweden (1814); the Kingdom comprised of Denmark, Greenland, the Faroes, Iceland and Schleswig and Holstein. Eventually Denmark had to give up Schleswig and Holstein after war with Austria and Prussia.

In 1874 Denmark granted Iceland its own Constitution and Home Rule was allowed in 1904. At the end of the First World War (1918) Denmark recognised Iceland as a sovereign state but the King of Denmark remained Iceland's king. (Iceland became a republic in 1944).

Throughout the First World War (1914-18) Denmark was able to remain neutral but during the Second World War, between 1940 and 1945, the country was occupied by the German army.

After the War Denmark became a member of NATO.

Denmark has a strong economy. Since joining the EU, in 1973, the country has gained the benefits of trading within the economic union.

Denmark has a well established railway network. The Oresund Fixed Link connecting Copenhagen and Malmo in Sweden was completed in the year 2000. Seaports are hi-tech with deep-water and container port terminals. Airport improvements have been carried out to take advantage of increased traffic.

Agriculture and fishing are the traditional industries. However, today, agriculture only contributes a small percentage to the Gross National Product (GDP) although technical innovations have been used to produce a modern and competitive farming industry.

Principal industries are iron and steel, nonferrous metals, shipbuilding and refurbishment, machinery and transportation equipment, construction, electronics, furniture and other wood products, windmills, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, medical equipment, textiles, clothing and food processing and beverages.

The service sector is the country's largest employer and the largest contributor to the GDP. (2008)

Denmark's oldest written information is runic inscription on the Jelling Stones from the Viking Age. The Jelling burial mounds and runic stones in Central Jutland are on the World Heritage List.

Denmark's most well known author is undoubtedly Han Christian Andersen who wrote children's stories in the nineteenth century. Other famous Danish writers include Henrik Pontoppidan and Karl Gjellerup who were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1917. Karen Blixen's works, Out of Africa and Babette's Feast, were made into films.

Danish artists of note are the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen and Asgar Jorn, perhaps the most famous Danish twentieth century painter.

In the world of music Carl Nielsen is a well known composer.

Denmark's long coastline provides plenty of opportunities for water sports such as sailing. The Round Zealand Regatta is a yacht race lasting two to three days. The waters are also excellent for flyfishing, especially sea trout.

The flat rolling landscape makes cycling a viable way of travelling as well as a popular sport.

Football is a favourite sport; the national soccer team won the European Cup in 1992.

Christmas, Easter and Ascension Day are observed. Other national holidays are New Year's Day and Constitution Day (5th June).

News from Denmark can be found in Newslink.

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