Denmark consists of the peninsula of Jutland (Jylland) and some 400 named islands. Of these, 82 are inhabited, the largest being Funen (Fyn) and Zealand (Sjælland).
Denmark has a large fishing industry, and possesses a merchant fleet of considerable size. The manufacturing sector’s main areas of activity include food products, chemicals, machinery, metal products, electronic and transport equipment, beer and paper and wood products. Tourism is also an important economic activity.
Between the 8th and 11th centuries, the Danes were known as the Vikings. Together with the Norwegians and Swedes, they colonized, raided and traded in all parts of Europe. Modern-day Danes pride themselves on their country’s welfare state with its widespread social protection for everyone.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, ruled today under the 1953 constitution. The single-chamber parliament or Folketing has 179 elected members.
Among the best-known Danes are the writer Hans Christian Andersen, famous for his fairy tales, the author Karen Blixen and the designer Arne Jacobsen. Danish cinema has gained international recognition thanks largely to the experimental film director Lars von Trier.
Specialities of Danish cooking include smørrebrød (open sandwiches), boiled or sugar browned potatoes, boiled red cabbage, roast pork and roast duck.