The name of the country means "Borderlands of the Danes" in reference to a political unit created during the sixth through ninth centuries. This period was marked by a slow progression of sovereignty among the Danes, a people who originated in Skaane today the southern part of Sweden but eventually were based in Jutland. By the ninth century the Danes had gained mastery of the area known today as Denmark and maintained control until the late medieval period, including parts of modern Sweden and Norway.
In the late medieval period, Denmark was reduced in size to approximately the area of contemporary Denmark. Denmark is a small nation whose cultural unity is mitigated by regional traditions of rural, urban, and island communities with distinctions based on local language, food, and history.
This situation has sometimes created friction between local history and national history. Denmark historically includes the former colonies Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Greenland gained home rule in Inthe Faroe Islands became a self-governing territory within the Danish state. The country covers approximately 16, square miles 43, square kilometers. Roughly eighty of its more than four hundred islands are inhabited. Jutland, Zealand, and Funen Fyn are the largest and most densely populated regions.
There is a relative homogeneity in topography, with few areas at a high elevation. Since the sixteenth century, the capital has been Copenhagen, which is also the largest city.
The first census in counted a total ofpeople; bythe total population was 5, Infant mortality, epidemics, war and emigration, better hygiene, food, and housing influenced population changes. The population increased from 2. Free abortion and sterilization rights since caused slower population growth, which in certain years was negative through Immigration increased from 35, in to 50, in Immigrants from other Scandinavian and northern European countries account for most of the increases, but immigrants from southern Europe and the Middle East are the most noticed in public debate.
Danish belongs to the Germanic family language within the Indo-European languages. Linguistic relatives are English, German, Swedish, Norwegian, and Icelandic, all of which descend from the ancient Teutonic language. Danish is differentiated in individual, geographic, and social dialects. Language varies in terms of pitch, tonality, intonation, and pronunciation.
Some dialects are mutually unintelligible. There is no secondary language, but several languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, and Russian, are taught in schools. Most Danes can speak some English and German. Many foreigners complain that Danish is difficult to learn because the same wording can have differing and even opposing meanings, depending on the intonation and context. Also, pronunciation does not necessarily follow spelling. Markers of the national culture include the national flag the Dannebrogthe national Denmark anthem, public holidays, and hymns, songs, and ballads.
According to myth, the national flag descended from the sky to the Danish army during a battle in Estonia in and was institutionalized as a national symbol in the seventeenth century. The flag—a horizontal white cross on a red field— symbolizes a membership community and a sense of belonging, marking an extensive number of social events. Danes use the flag at festive occasions, including birthdays, weddings, sports events, political meetings, and public holidays.
Hymns, songs, and ballads provide metaphors associated with Danish nationality, the mother tongue, school, history, and homeland. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation. Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and the oldest kingdom in Europe.
According to historical sources it dates back to the ninth century, but myth dates it as far back as the sixth century. The recent history of the nation features an outward-looking people focused on trade, welfare, equality, and democracy, which in Danish means "people's government" folkestyre.
Fundamental values include a striving for freedom and equality, accomplished after battling for years with neighboring countries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
After centuries of sovereign rule by the king, the first common constitution was completed and signed ininitiating a government with an assembly consisting of a lower house Folketing and upper house Landsting. The making of a common constitution was an important element in the nineteenth century's political emphasis on the formation of nationhood.
Beer, allotment gardens, the flag, the national anthem, democracy, Christmas, folk high schools, personal well-being, and coziness are some of the elements of the national culture, but questions of how the cultural heritage can survive and what it is emphasize the fact that Denmark is a nation of cultural borrowers. Danes constantly negotiate and change their culture in response to contact with people and items from other countries.
However, for many people, the national identity lies in the Danish language. Danes rarely refer to Danishness, a term used for the first time inbut that term has been a hotly debated topic since the increase of immigration in the s and Denmark's affiliation with the European Union EU in Much political and public debate on elements of nationality, sympathies, feeling, and patriotism occurred in the late twentieth century.
Many Danes seem to have a strong national identification, although differences exist and a "Danish community" may be more imagined than real in regard to culture and traditions.
Denmark once was considered an open and welcoming country to foreigners, but tensions between native residents and immigrants arose during the last decades of the twentieth century, culminating in the establishment of political parties whose platforms called for the exclusion of inhabitants of foreign ethnicity from social services and other forms of public support.
Immigrants of the second and third generations tend to be doubly socialized, displaying competence in Danish values in public and in the native language at home. Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space Within a span of one-hundred fifty years, Denmark changed from an agricultural to an industrialized society. In the late nineteenth century, two-thirds of the population lived in rural areas and engaged in agriculture; today, only 15 percent live in rural areas, and many of those people have city jobs.
After the "green wave" of the s, many city dwellers moved to the countryside, hoping to return to nature. However, many returned to urban areas after years of unfulfilled dreams. The long winters; long commutes to work, shopping, and entertainment; and the prevalence of gossip in local rural cultures were unpleasant for people who were accustomed to city life.
In cities, people hope to escape the restraints of social control in rural communities and seek conveniences such as better shopping, entertainment, and job opportunities.
Migration to urban areas is common in the pursuit of education, and many young people from the provinces remain in the cities after graduation. Architecture is marked by a division between the ideals of Denmark as a "fairy-tale country" and as a modern, industrialized one. The first image is characterized by traditional small houses with small windows, low ceilings, straw roofs, and gardens with flowers and vegetables. Even the castles are small and more "cute" than "grandiose. Common to both architectural traditions is the fact that there are very few tall buildings.
Apart from a few buildings from the s in the largest cities, it is unusual to see buildings with more than five floors. Family houses often have one floor, usually with a garden. Towns and cities are characterized by a center area with older houses some several centuries old and a periphery with newer houses, divided into business and residential areas.
Village size is from five to one thousand houses, and many villages have been enlarged by new residential areas. The government is situated in a royal castle built by Christian IV in the seventeenth century in central Copenhagen, symbolizing a harmonious relationship between the government and the royal family.
The royal castle and the many statues of kings and politicians in the city support this symbolic harmony.
Even large cities such as Odense, shown here, retain traditional architecture and streetscapes. Anthropologists have noted a sharp distinction between public and private space and a pronounced preference for the private and domestic sphere in Danish culture. In urban public space, people stand close to one another in buses, subways, parks, and streets, but pretend that they do not see each other.
The symbolic demarcation of closed groups such as friends and spectators is clear, with a tendency to form closed circles. An intrusion by strangers often causes offense and creates an even stricter demarcation.
In rural areas, people are more likely to connect across public space, greeting and talking about the weather. Private houses commonly are divided into areas for cooking, dining, and television-viewing and preferably have a private room for each family member.
Private homes are considered spaces to "relax" and "be yourself"; many foreigners find it difficult to be invited to the home of a Dane. Usually only family members and close friends have this privilege, experiencing the coziness of a social event celebrated by sitting down, lighting candles, and eating and drinking.
Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Danes eat most of their meals at home and in private settings, although public dining places ranging from small hot dog stands to fancy restaurants are available and are used. A breakfast of coffee, bread, or cereal is eaten at home. Sunday breakfast commonly includes fresh bakery bread, boiled eggs, juice, tea or coffee, and the Sunday newspaper. Lunch at a work place, school, or institution is either homemade or available in kitchens or canteens, offering open sandwiches, hot meals, or a buffet table.
It also may be bought at butcher shops, cafes, and sandwich bars. Dinner at home traditionally consisted of an appetizer, a main course, and dessert. Soup, porridge and fish dishes were served but today are rarely eaten on a daily basis.
A main course is traditionally composed of boiled potatoes, boiled vegetables such as green beans and cauliflower, and fried meat such as meat balls, cutlets, or roast pork served with brown gravy. Pizza, pasta, rice, chicken, and turkey have become common food items among young people. Imported fruit, vegetables, and spices are also common. Inns often dating back several centuries throughout the country offer traditional Danish food. Pizzerias are found in small towns and cities.
Food taboos include pet animals such as cats, dogs, and horses. The ecological movement and informed consumers have been mutually dependent since the s. The demand for and production of organically grown foods have grown, and most supermarkets offer a range of organically grown vegetables, meat, and dairy products. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Danes eat or drink at every social occasion, preferably traditional dishes, cakes, and drinks.
However, the act of drinking and eating together is considered more important than what is actually consumed. Formal social occasions include birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, baptisms, confirmations, graduations, and funerals.
Private parties held in community centers or restaurants are common. Hosts spend from one to six months' salary on a formal party for rent, food, drinks, and musicians. New Year's Eve traditionally is celebrated with boiled cod, Easter with elaborate lunches and roast lamb for dinner, and Martin Mass with roast goose.
The traditional Christmas Eve dinner includes roast pork, roast duck, or goose stuffed with prunes, served with pickled red cabbage, white boiled potatoes, fried brown sugared potatoes, and thick brown gravy. Desserts include rice porridge and ris a la mande rice porridge mixed with whipped cream, almonds, and vanilla and served with hot cherry sauce. At Christmas and Easter, special seasoned beers are sold.
Christmas is celebrated by eating a traditional extravagant lunch and dinner that bring the family together. Natural resources are limited to agricultural land, clay, stone, chalk, lime, peat, and lignite.
The economy is therefore heavily dependent on international trade. Farming accounts for two-thirds of the total land area, and agriculture produces enough edible products for three times the population. Industrial exports account for about 75 percent of total exports, while the share of agricultural exports is about 15 percent. Land Tenure and Property. Most farmers are freeholders, 91 percent of them on individually owned family-run farms, 7 percent on company-run farms, and the rest on farms owned by the state, local authorities, or foundations.
Private family houses typically are fenced off to delineate private property, or an invisible line between the garden and the pavement may indicate the border between private and public property. Neighbors discuss which parts outside their homes should be cleared for snow and which parts should be taken care of by municipal services. The major goods produced include foods and beverages, textiles, paper, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, glass, ceramics, bricks, cement, concrete, marine engines, compressors, agriculture and forestry machinery, computers, electric motors, radio and communication equipment, ships, boats, furniture, and toys.
Agricultural products include beef, pork, poultry, milk, and eggs. The main industries are food processing, furniture, diesel engines, and electrical products.
Major agricultural products include dairy products, pork, beef, and barley. Commercial fishing includes salmon, herring, cod, plaice, crustaceans and mollusks, mackerel, sprat, eel, lobster, shrimp, and prawns. Major commodity groups sold on the international market include animal products cattle, beef and veal, pigs and pork, poultry, butter, cheese, and eggsvegetable products grains, seeds, fruit, flowers, plants, and vegetablesships, fish, fur, fuel, lubricating goods, and electricity.
The major industrial exports are machines and instruments, medicinal and pharmaceutical products, chemical items, industrially prepared agricultural products, fish, crayfish and mollusks, furniture, textiles, and clothing.
Imports, which lag slightly behind exports, include automobiles, fuel, consumer goods food, clothing, electronics, and othersand goods to be further processed at local industries.
The division of labor is determined by gender, industry and socioeconomic status. Although agricultural products constitute a major proportion of exports, only 4 percent of the population is employed in agriculture, which has become highly industrialized and machine-driven.
Close to 25 percent of the population is employed in Two-thirds of Denmark's land and nearly 25 percent of its population are devoted to agriculture. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Most national surveys dealing with social strata do not divide the population into different income groups.
Instead, the population is categorized into five social layers, according to level of education and occupation.
Those social categories are academics, owners of large farms, and persons with more than fifty employees 4 percent ; farmers with at least four employees, owners of companies with more than six employees, and college-educated business owners 7 percent ; farmers with a maximum of three employees, owners of small companies, and persons with jobs requiring expertise 21 percent ; skilled workers, small landowners, and workers with a professional education 37 percent ; and workers without skills training 32 percent.
In the adult population, there has been an increase in unemployed people who receive public support from 6 percent in to 25 percent today. Increasing demands for skills in reading, writing, mathematics, computers, and stress management are among the factors that have caused this development. Unemployment rates are somewhat higher among ethnic minorities, with persons of Turkish descent having the highest rate.
Figures from show inequality in income distribution: Twenty percent of the lowest-income families accounted for 6 percent of total income, while 20 percent of the highest-income families accounted for 40 percent of the income. Symbols of Social Stratification.
Culture of Denmark history, people, clothing, traditions, women, beliefs, food, customs, family
According to a code of morality the "Jante Law" which was formulated by the author Aksel Sandemose in his novel A Refugee Crosses His Tracks, a person should not display superiority materially or otherwise.
Wealth and high social position are downplayed in public in regard to dress, jewelry, and housing. The point is to be discreet about individual distinction and avoid public boasting while allowing one's wealth to be recognized by persons in a similar economic position. Denmark is a constitutional monarchy in which succession to the throne is hereditary and the ruling monarch must be a member of the national church. The parliament has members, including two from Greenland and two from the Faroe Islands.
Members of parliament are elected for four-year terms, but the state minister has the right to dissolve the parliament and force an election. The voting age has been eighteen since Sinceimmigrants without Danish nationality have been allowed to vote and be elected in local elections. The minimum percentage of votes required for representation in the parliament is 2 percent. Leadership and Political Officials. The first political groupings appeared inshortly before the first constitution was promulgated, and consisted of liberals farmersthe center intellectualsand the right landowners and higher officials.
Party policy is based on political principles and working programs; the former include fundamental political ideas, while the programs are action-oriented. Currently, ten political parties are represented in the parliament, ranging from socialist to conservative to liberal.
Representatives to parliament are elected in local areas and thus represent their home localities as well as a political party. Liberal parties traditionally strive for individual freedom, including freedom of thought, belief, speech, expression, individual choice, and ownership, and attempt to strengthen the rights of the individual citizen in relation to the state.
Conservatives stress individual freedom, choice, and responsibility and attempt to protect the national culture and tradition.
Modern conservatism includes confidence in the individual, an open and critical outlook, tolerance, and a free market economy, combined with a commitment to social security. Social Democrats favor a welfare society based on freedom, equal opportunity, equality, dignity, solidarity, cultural freedom and diversity, ecology, and democracy. Socialist parties seek a society based on political, social, and cultural diversity; ecological sustainability; social security; equal opportunity; responsibility for the weak; individual freedom; self-realization; active work for peace and disarmament; and a commitment to end global inequality.
The Christian People's Party favors a democracy based on Christian ethical values, focused on individual freedom, social responsibility and security, the family, and medical ethics.
For this party, a Christian view of human nature forms the basis for equal human value regardless of race, sex, age, abilities, culture, and religion. Social Problems and Control.
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Executive power lies with the monarch, while legislative power is based in the parliament. In executive matters, the monarch exercises authority through government ministers. Judicial power lies with the courts of justice. The most common crimes are offenses against property, offenses against special laws in some municipalities, crimes of violence, and sexual offenses.
The police force consists of approximately 10, officers, who work at police stations located in local communities. Traditionally, Danish police have been known for their easy-going manner and "gentle" approach to difficult situations, relying more on dialogue and communication than on brute force.
After years of becoming more centralized and distanced from the Danish people, there is now a trend in policing that involves forming new, smaller police stations in more towns and cities.
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In this new environment, officers are moving out of their cars and walking the streets, gaining closer contact with the people. In criminal cases, those over the age of 15 may be punished by the courts.
Those between 15 and 18 are held in special youth prisons that provide social training. Those above the age of 18 are imprisoned in one of the country's 14 state prisons.
Due to a lack of prison space, convicted criminals sometimes wait for up to two years before they are actually imprisoned.
Denmark also contributes to the United Nations peace forces in the Middle East and other areas. Inthe population voted not to join in the development of a common EU military force. The military is staffed through a system of compulsory enrollment. The term of service, depending on one's duties, ranges from four to twelve months.
Full mobilization in the defense forces involves fifty-eight thousand soldiers, while in the absence of war the number is only fifteen thousand. The defense forces include the navy, air force, home guard, and national rescue corps. The defense budget in was under 2 percent of the gross national product. Social Welfare and Change Programs All residents receive social support when they are unemployed, either through union insurance or locally run programs.
Idled workers receive compensation that is equal to slightly less than the lowest Egeskov Castle is a well-preserved example of Renaissance architecture in Denmark. After six months of unemployment, an individual meets with an officer from the local unemployment office to formulate a specific strategy for getting a new job. That strategy can include training, further education, or a government job that is supported by the local community in which the person lives.
Public and private programs to aid disabled individuals are found in every major town and city. Food and shelter are always provided, and sometimes disabled persons are placed with a type of foster family. Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations Danes pursue common interests in leisure, sports, and politics. Hobbies Business Welcome to Midsummer's Eve - UK and Ireland's award-winning original free dating site - celebrating twelve years of love, romance and friendship!
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