Economy of Denmark

Denmark's industrialized market economy depends on imported raw materials and foreign trade. Within the European Union, Denmark advocates a liberal trade policy. Its standard of living is among the highest in the world. In 2011, Denmark is expected to devote about 0.84% of gross national income (GNI) to foreign aid to less developed countries, including for peace and stability purposes, refugee pre-asylum costs, and environmental purposes in central and eastern Europe and developing countries, making Denmark one of the few countries that are contributing more than the UN goal of 0.7 % of GNI to aid. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy. Its principal exports are machinery, instruments, and food products. The United States is Denmark's largest non-European trading partner, accounting for 5.0% of total Danish goods trade in 2010. Aircraft, computers, machinery, and instruments are among the major U.S. exports to Denmark. Among major Danish exports to the United States are industrial machinery, chemical products, furniture, pharmaceuticals, canned ham and pork, windmills, and plastic toy blocks (Lego). In addition, Denmark has a significant services trade with the U.S., a major share of it stemming from Danish-controlled ships engaged in container traffic to and from the United States (notably by Maersk-Line). There were 436 U.S.-owned companies operating in Denmark in 2008, not including financial service companies. Like the rest of the world, Denmark was affected by the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Most local observers agree that Denmark is on the path to a slow recovery, with economic growth from the third quarter of 2009 onward. Gross unemployment averaged 6.0% in 2010, up from 2.7% in 2008; the average length of the unemployment period has increased. Unemployment is not anticipated to decrease before the end of 2011. Private consumption has contracted significantly and is still below pre-crisis levels. The same goes for industrial production, which has been pushed to the lowest level in over a decade. Exports fell dramatically--about 20%--also due to the devaluation of trading partners’ currencies, especially those of Sweden, Norway, and the U.K. In 2010 exports regained some of the loss with 10% growth. The gross domestic product contracted by 4.9% in 2009, but is estimated to have grown by 2% in 2010 after beginning to rebound in the third quarter of 2009. The government estimates GDP growth of 1.7% in 2011 and 1.5% in 2012. In 2008, the budget surplus was $11.58 billion (3.4% of GDP), which changed to a deficit of $8.5 billion in 2009 (2.7% of GDP). The deficit was estimated at $11.11 billion in 2010 and is forecast to be $14.93 billion in 2011 (3.6% and 4.7% of GDP, respectively), exceeding the 3% limit set by the Economic and Monetary Union of the EU (EMU). The government has proposed plans for fiscal consolidation to bring the deficit below 3% of GDP by 2013; as of January 2011, the EU Commission said that Denmark’s responses to remedy the excessive deficits had been adequate. Public debt reached 41.4% of GDP in 2009 but remains well within the 60% limit set by the EMU. It was estimated to increase to 43.3% in 2010 and is forecast to be 43.8% in 2011. In addition to the global crisis, Denmark has an underlying growth problem, and is projected to have one of the lowest productivity growth rates among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in the decade to come; it dropped from sixth to twelfth place among the richest OECD nations from 1997 to 2007. Denmark is facing demographic challenges that could lead to labor supply shortages as early as 2012 according to some estimates. Denmark has maintained a stable currency policy since the early 1980s, with the krone formerly linked to the Deutschmark and since January 1, 1999, to the euro. The Greek financial crisis has affected Denmark to some extent--as the euro falls in value, the krone also falls, making Danish exports more competitive. Denmark’s contribution to the EU financial support package to Greece was 1.2 billion euro. As of 2010, Denmark no longer meets the economic convergence criteria for participating in the EMU due to its public deficit rising above the allowed 3% of GDP. Prior to the Greek financial crisis, opinion polls showed a majority in favor of the EMU, though polling at the end of 2010 showed strong support for a "no" vote in the event of a referendum on joining the eurozone. No referendum on the EMU/euro is expected before a general election that must be held in 2011, nor until polling shows a significant majority for a "yes" vote. Danes are generally proud of their welfare safety net, which ensures that all Danes receive basic health care and need not fear real poverty. However, there is a growing political debate about how government policy should be reformed in order to preserve and strengthen the system. The portion of working-age Danes (16 to 66-year-olds) living mostly on government transfer payments amounts to 22.6% (2009). The heavy load of government transfer payments burdens other parts of the system. Health care, other than for acute problems, and care for the elderly and children have suffered, while taxes remain among the highest in the world. About one-third of the labor force is employed in the public sector. Greenland On June 21, 2009, Greenland assumed increased autonomy under a Self Rule Act, transitioning away from “home rule”, which had been in effect since 1979. Under self rule, the Greenlandic government (Naalakkersuisut) and the Danish Government are recognized as equal partners and Kalaallisut, the Inuit dialect, becomes the official language. Greenland will gradually take responsibility for additional government functions, such as prisons, criminal justice, courts of law, family law, passports, and mineral resources. The Danish Government freezes its annual block grant at the 2007 level of 3.2 billion kroner ($570 million, 2010 exchange rate). That grant will be adjusted for Danish inflation, though not the often higher Greenlandic inflation, meaning the value in real terms is expected to shrink in coming years. However, Greenland gains rights to its mineral, oil, and natural gas resources: the first 75 million kroner ($13.3 million) from mineral/oil/gas revenues would go to Greenland, with further revenues split equally between the two governments, and with Denmark’s share being subtracted from the annual block grant. Once the block grant is eliminated, any additional revenue would be subject to renegotiation between the Danish and Greenlandic governments. The public sector in Greenland, including publicly owned enterprises and the municipalities, plays the dominant role in the economy and employs roughly 50% of the workforce. A large part of government revenues still comes from the Danish Government block grant, 46% in 2009. The block grant remains an important supplement to GDP. About one-third of government revenue came from taxes in 2009. According to the World Bank, Greenland’s GDP was $1.8 billion in 2008, and GNI per capita was $32,960. The global economic slowdown affected Greenland as well; a contraction of 2% of GDP was expected for 2009, although statistics for that period have not yet been released. The surpluses in the public budget turned to a deficit of $30 million in 2009, and unemployment is on the rise after an extended period from 2003 onward with lower unemployment. The average unemployment rate for 2008 was 5.5%, 7.1% in 2009, and averaged 8.3% for the first three quarters of 2010. Structural reforms are still needed in order to create a broader business base and economic growth through more efficient use of existing resources in both the public and the private sectors. Due to its continued dependence on exports of fish (mainly shrimp), which make up 85% of goods exports, Greenland’s economy remains very sensitive to foreign developments. Greenland has registered a foreign trade deficit since the closure of the last remaining lead and zinc mine in 1989. The trade deficit reached $325 million, or 18% of GDP, in 2009. International interest in Greenland’s mineral wealth is increasing. International consortia are increasingly active in exploring for hydrocarbon resources off Greenland’s western coast; in November 2010, seven exclusive licenses for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas were awarded. There are international studies indicating the potential of oil and gas fields in northern and northeastern Greenland. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that up to 17 billion barrels of oil and gas are present in the area between Canada and Northwest Greenland. Cairn Energy carried out three exploration drillings in Greenland in 2010, the first exploration drilling in Greenland in 10 years, and discovered gas and oil-bearing sands in one of the drillings. The U.S. aluminum producer Alcoa in May 2007 concluded a memorandum of understanding with the Greenland Home Rule Government to build an aluminum smelter and associated power generation facility in Greenland to take advantage of abundant hydropower potential, although progress on that project has been delayed. It is estimated that, upon completion, the Alcoa investment would be worth approximately $2.5 billion. Tourism also offers another avenue of economic growth for Greenland, with increasing numbers of cruise lines now operating in Greenland’s western and southern waters during the peak summer tourism season. Faroe Islands In early 2008 signs of an impending slowdown in the Faroese economy became apparent. The main difficulty lay with the fishing industry coming under pressure from smaller catches combined with historically high oil prices. Reduced catches, especially of cod and haddock, strained the Faroese economy in 2008-2009. GDP grew 24% (in current prices) between 2004 and 2008 but then contracted by 0.8% in 2008 and by 4.2% in 2009. According to the Governmental Bank of the Faroes (Landsbanki Foroya), indications were that in 2010 the Faroese economy was about to change from a downturn to growth, and nominal GDP was projected to grow by 2.9%. The bank predicts that there are prospects for nominal economic growth in 2011 (about 5%) and some years ahead. The main drivers of growth are considerably higher output levels in the fisheries sector in 2010 and expectations for increased private spending. The public sector is expected to reduce its deficit in 2011, and the Governmental Bank expects that the public budget will be brought into balance over the course of 5 years. The temporary slowdown in the Faroese economy followed a strong performance since the mid-1990s, with annual growth rates averaging close to 6%, mostly as a result of increased fish landings and salmon farming and high and stable export prices. Positive economic development had helped the Faroese Home Rule Government produce increasing budget surpluses that in turn helped to reduce the large public debt, most of it to Denmark. Most of the Faroese who emigrated in the early 1990s (some 10% of the population) due to an economic recession have returned. Unemployment had been low since 2003 and practically non-existent at its lowest level of 1.2% in April 2008 but has since increased sharply, with average unemployment of 5.7% in 2010 and rising. The Faroese economy is very vulnerable, due to its dependence on fishing and salmon farming and fluctuating energy prices. The currency of the Faroe Islands is the Foroyska kronan. However, it is not an independent currency. Faroese bank notes are Danish bank notes that feature Faroese motifs. There are no Faroese coins. Initial discoveries of oil in the Faroese area give hope for eventual oil production, which may lay the basis for a more diversified economy and thus less dependence on Denmark and Danish economic assistance. Aided by an annual subsidy from Denmark corresponding to about 6% of Faroese GDP, the Faroese have a standard of living comparable to that of the Danes and other Scandinavians. Politically, the present Faroese Home Rule Government has initiated a process toward greater independence from Denmark, if not complete secession from the realm. In that respect, agreement on how to phase out the Danish subsidy plays a crucial role.
GDP (2009):
$297.8 billion (current prices and exchange rates; source: Government of Denmark). Annual growth rate (real terms, 2009): -4.9%. Per capita GDP (2009): $53,822 (current prices and exchange rates). Agriculture and fisheries (2.3% of GDP, 2009): Products --meat, milk, grains, seeds, hides, fur skin, fish and shellfish. Industry (19.3% of GDP, 2009): Types --industrial and construction equipment, food processing, electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furniture, textiles, windmills, and ships. Natural resources: North Sea --oil and gas, fish. Greenland --fish and shrimp, potential for hydrocarbons and minerals, including zinc, lead, molybdenum, uranium, gold, platinum. The Faroe Islands --fish, potential for hydrocarbons. Trade (2010, goods): Exports --$96.281 billion: industrial production/manufactured goods 73.3% (of which machinery and instruments were 21.4%, and fuels, chemicals, etc. 26%); agricultural products and others for consumption 18.7% (in 2009 meat and meat products were 5.5% of total export; fish and fish products 2.9%). Imports --$83.967 billion: raw materials and semi-manufactures 37.4%; consumer goods 17.9%; capital equipment 21.7%; transport equipment 9.7%; fuels 8.0%. Major trade partners, exports --Germany 16.8%, Sweden 13.3%, U.K. 7.8%, U.S. 6.6%, Norway 6.3%, Holland 4.4%. Major trade partners, imports --Germany 20.8%, Sweden 13.3%, Holland 7.1%, U.K. 6.0%, China 7.6%, Norway 3.9%, U.S. 3.2%. Official exchange rate (2010 average): 5.62567 kroner=U.S. $1.

Geography of Denmark

Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula north of Germany Geographic coordinates: 56 00 N, 10 00 E Map references: Europe Area: total: 43,094 sq km land: 42,394 sq km water: 700 sq km note: includes the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea and the rest of metropolitan Denmark, but excludes the Faroe Islands and Greenland Area-comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Massachusetts Land boundaries: total: 68 km border countries: Germany 68 km Coastline: 7,314 km Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 4 nm continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation exclusive economic zone: 200 nm territorial sea: 3 nm Climate: temperate; humid and overcast; mild, windy winters and cool summers Terrain: low and flat to gently rolling plains Elevation extremes: lowest point: Lammefjord -7 m highest point: Ejer Bavnehoj 173 m Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, fish, salt, limestone, stone, gravel and sand Land use: arable land: 60% permanent crops: 0% permanent pastures: 5% forests and woodland: 10% other: 25% (1993 est.) Natural hazards: flooding is a threat in some areas of the country (e.g., parts of Jutland, along the southern coast of the island of Lolland) that are protected from the sea by a system of dikes
Environment-current issues:
air pollution, principally from vehicle and power plant emissions; nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of the North Sea; drinking and surface water becoming polluted from animal wastes and pesticides
Environment-international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea Geography-note: controls Danish Straits (Skagerrak and Kattegat) linking Baltic and North Seas; about one-quarter of the population lives in Copenhagen.

Government of Denmark

Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. Queen Margrethe II has largely ceremonial functions; probably her most significant formal power lies in her right to appoint the prime minister and cabinet ministers, who are responsible for administration of the government. However, she must consult with parliamentary leaders to determine the public's will, since the cabinet may be dismissed by a vote of no confidence in the Folketing (parliament). Cabinet members are occasionally recruited from outside the Folketing. The 1953 constitution established a unicameral Folketing of not more than 179 members, of whom two are elected from the Faroe Islands and two from Greenland. Elections are held at least every 4 years, but the prime minister can dissolve the Folketing at any time and call for new elections. Folketing members are elected by a complicated system of proportional representation; any party receiving at least 2% of the total national vote receives representation. The result is a multiplicity of parties (eight represented in the Folketing after the November 2007 general election), none of which holds a majority. Electorate participation normally is around 80%-85%. The judicial branch consists of 22 local courts, two high courts, several special courts (e.g., arbitration and maritime), and a Supreme Court of 15 judges appointed by the crown on the government's recommendation. Since a structural reform of local government was passed by the Folketing in 2004 and 2005, Denmark has been divided into five regions and 98 municipalities. The regions and municipalities are both led by councils elected every 4 years, but only the municipal councils have the power to levy taxes. Regional councils are responsible for health services and regional development, while the municipal councils are responsible for day care, elementary schools, care for the elderly, culture, environment, and roads. The Faroe Islands enjoy home rule and Greenland has expanded “self-rule,” with the Danish Government represented locally by high commissioners. These local governments are responsible for most domestic affairs, with foreign relations, monetary affairs, and defense falling to the Danish Government. POLITICAL CONDITIONS Political life in Denmark is orderly and democratic. Political changes occur gradually through a process of consensus, and political methods and attitudes are generally moderate. Growing numbers of immigrants and refugees throughout the 1990s, and less than successful integration policies, however, have in recent years led to growing support for populist anti-immigrant sentiments in addition to several revisions of already tight immigration laws, with the latest revision taking effect August 10, 2009. The Social Democratic Party, historically identified with a well-organized labor movement but today appealing more broadly to the middle class, held power either alone or in coalition for most of the postwar period except from 1982 to 1993. From February 1993 to November 2001, Social Democratic Party chairman Poul Nyrup Rasmussen led a series of different minority coalition governments, which all included the centrist Social Liberal Party. However, with immigration high on the November 2001 election campaign agenda, the Danish People's Party doubled its number of parliamentary seats; this was a key factor in bringing into power a new minority right-of-center coalition government led by Liberal Party chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen (no relation to Nyrup Rasmussen). Parliamentary elections held November 13, 2007 returned the coalition to government for another term of up to 4 years. In April 2009, after Anders Fogh Rasmussen was elected Secretary General of NATO, he was succeeded as Prime Minister by Lars Loekke Rasmussen (no relation). The coalition consists of the Liberal Party ("Venstre") and the Conservative Party, now holding 63 of the 179 seats in the Folketing, and has the parliamentary support of the Danish People's Party, holding another 23 seats. On a case-by-case basis, the government negotiates with smaller parties and independents to reach a majority. The opposition Social Democrats hold 45 seats, and the Socialist People’s Party holds 23 seats. Addressing the costs and benefits of the Denmark's comprehensive social welfare system, restraining taxes, and immigration are among the key issues on the current domestic political agenda. Denmark's role in the European Union (EU) remains an important political issue. Denmark emerged from two referenda (June 2, 1992 and May 18, 1993) on the Maastricht Treaty on the European Union with four exemptions (or "opt-outs"): common defense, common currency, EU citizenship, and certain aspects of legal cooperation, including law enforcement. The Amsterdam Treaty was approved in a referendum May 28, 1998, by a 55% majority. Still, the electorate's fear of losing national identity in an integrated Europe and lack of confidence in long-term stability of European economies run deep. These concerns were at the forefront of the September 28, 2000 referendum on Denmark's participation in the third phase of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), particularly the common currency, the euro; more than 53% voted "no," and Denmark retained its "krone" currency unit. More recently, the government and the opposition have come to favor a referendum on abolishing the opt-outs, but they disagree on whether all the opt-outs should be voted on at once and when the referendum should take place. Denmark's relatively quiet and neutral role in international affairs abruptly changed when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten printed 12 caricatures of Mohammed on September 30, 2005. Islamic law prohibits any visual portrayal of Mohammed, and Muslims viewed the caricatures as offensive. In early 2006 Muslims worldwide became infuriated with the Danes, began a boycott of Danish products, and burned Danish flags and the Danish embassies in Damascus and Beirut. The Danish Government sought during the crisis to defend freedom of expression even as it chastised the newspaper for insensitivity toward a religious minority. Jyllands-Posten refused to apologize but expressed regret if anybody felt offended by the cartoons. Several Danish newspapers reprinted the cartoons in a show of support of freedom of expression. The newspaper Politiken later apologized to anyone offended by its decision to reprint one of them. The Danish Government repeatedly reiterated its support for freedom of religion, but some animosity toward Denmark within the international Islamic community lingers. Principal Government Officials Monarch--Queen Margrethe II Prime Minister--Lars Loekke Rasmussen Ambassador to the United States--Peter Taksoe-Jensen Ambassador to the United Nations--Carsten Staur Denmark maintains an embassy at 3200 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008-3683 (tel. 202-234-4300). Consulates general are in Chicago and New York. Type: Constitutional monarchy. Constitution: June 5, 1953. Branches: Executive--queen (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative--unicameral parliament (Folketing). Judicial--appointed Supreme Court. Political parties (represented in parliament): Venstre (Liberal), Social Democratic, Konservative, Socialist People's, Social Liberal, Unity List, Danish People's, New Alliance. Suffrage: Universal adult (18 years of age). Administrative subdivisions: 5 regions and 98 municipalities.

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History of Denmark

During the Viking period (9th-11th centuries), Denmark was a great power based on the Jutland Peninsula, the Island of Zealand, and the southern part of what is now Sweden. In the early 11th century, King Canute united Denmark and England for almost 30 years. Viking raids brought Denmark into contact with Christianity, and in the 12th century, crown and church influence increased. By the late 13th century, royal power had waned, and the nobility forced the king to grant a charter, considered Denmark's first constitution. Although the struggle between crown and nobility continued into the 14th century, Queen Margrethe I succeeded in uniting Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland under the Danish crown. Sweden and Finland left the union in 1520; however, Norway remained until 1814. Iceland, in a "personal union" under the king of Denmark after 1918, became independent in 1944. The Reformation was introduced in Denmark in 1536. Denmark's provinces in today's southwestern Sweden were lost in 1658, and Norway was transferred from the Danish to the Swedish crown in 1814, following the defeat of Napoleon, with whom Denmark was allied. The Danish liberal movement gained momentum in the 1830s, and in 1849 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy. After the war with Prussia and Austria in 1864, Denmark was forced to cede Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia and adopt a policy of neutrality. Toward the end of the 19th century, Denmark inaugurated important social and labor market reforms, laying the basis for the present welfare state. Denmark remained neutral during World War I. Despite its declaration of neutrality at the beginning of World War II, it was invaded by the Germans in 1940 and occupied until liberated by the Allied forces in May 1945. Resistance against the Germans was sporadic until late 1943. By then better organized, the resistance movement and other volunteers undertook a successful rescue mission in which nearly the entire Jewish population of Denmark was shipped to Sweden (whose neutrality was honored by Germany). However, extensive studies are still undertaken for the purpose of establishing a clearer picture of the degree of Danish cooperation--official and corporate--with the occupying power. Denmark became a charter member of the United Nations and was one of the original signers of the North Atlantic Treaty.
Cultural Achievements
Denmark's rich intellectual heritage has made multifaceted contributions to modern culture the world over. The discoveries of astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), geologist and anatomist Niels Steensen (1639-86), and the brilliant contributions of Nobel laureates Niels Bohr (1885-1962) to atomic physics and Niels Finsen (1860-1904) to medical research indicate the range of Danish scientific achievement. The fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75), the philosophical essays of Soeren Kierkegaard (1813-55), and the short stories of Karen Blixen (pseudonym Isak Dinesen; 1885-1962) have earned international recognition, as have the symphonies of Carl Nielsen (1865-1931). Danish applied art and industrial design have won so many awards for excellence that the term "Danish Design" has become synonymous with high quality, craftsmanship, and functionalism. Among the leading lights of architecture and design was Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971), the "father of modern Danish design." The name of Georg Jensen (1866-1935) is known worldwide for outstanding modern design in silver, and "Royal Copenhagen" is among the finest porcelains. No 'short list' of famous Danes would be complete without the entertainer and pianist Victor Borge (1909-2000), who emigrated to the United States under Nazi threat in 1940, and had a worldwide following when he died a naturalized U.S. citizen in Greenwich, Connecticut, at the age of 91. Visitors to Denmark will discover a wealth of cultural activity. The Royal Danish Ballet specializes in the work of the great Danish choreographer August Bournonville (1805-79). Danish dancers also feature regularly on the U.S. ballet scene, notably Peter Martins as head of New York City Ballet. The Danish Film Institute, one of the oldest in Scandinavia, offers daily public screenings of Danish and international movies in their original language and plays an active role in the maintenance and restoration of important archival prints. Over the decades, movie directors like Gabriel Axel (Babette's Feast, 1987 Oscar for Best Foreign Film), Bille August (Buster's World, 1984; Pelle the Conqueror, 1988 Oscar for Best Foreign Film; The House of the Spirits, 1993) and Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves, 1996; Dancer in the Dark, 2000 Cannes Golden Palm) have all won international acclaim. In addition, Denmark has been involved virtually from the start in development of the "Dogma film" genre, where small, hand-held digital cameras have permitted greater rapport between director and actor and given a documentary film feel to their increasingly realistic works. Besides von Trier's Dogville (2003) starring Nicole Kidman, and The Idiots (1998), The Celebration (1998 Cannes Special Jury prize) by Thomas Vinterberg, Mifune's Last Song (1999 Berlin Silver Bear award) by Soeren Kragh-Jacobsen, and Italian for Beginners (2000 Berlin Silver Bear award) by Lone Scherfig all are prime examples of the Dogma concept. International collections of modern art enjoy unusually attractive settings at the Louisiana Museum north of Copenhagen, "Arken" south of Copenhagen, and the North Jutland Art Museum in Aalborg. The State Museum of Art and the Glyptotek, both in Copenhagen, contain masterpieces of Danish and international art. Denmark's National Museum building in central Copenhagen harbors most of the state's anthropological and archeological treasures with especially fine prehistoric and Viking Age collections; two of its finest satellite collections are the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde west of the metropolis and the Open Air Museum in a near northern suburb where original buildings have been transported from their original locations around the country and reassembled on plots specially landscaped to evoke the original site. The Museum of Applied Art and Industrial Design in Copenhagen exhibits the best in Danish design. The world-renowned Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory exports worldwide. The ceramic tradition is carried on by designers such as Bjoern Wiinblad, whose whimsical creations remain as popular today as when they burst on the scene in the 1950s, and is carried on by younger talents such as Gertrude Vasegaard and Michael Geertsen. Denmark has more than its share of impressive castles, many of which have been converted to museums. Frederiksborg Castle, on a manmade island in a lake north of Copenhagen, was restored after a catastrophic fire in the 1800s and now houses important collections in awe-inspiring splendor amidst impeccably manicured gardens. In Elsinore, Kronborg (or Hamlet's) Castle that once exacted tribute from passing ships now houses important furniture and art collections of the period, while hosting in its courtyard many touring summer productions of Shakespearean works. In Copenhagen, Rosenborg Castle houses the kingdom's crown jewels and boasts spectacular public gardens in the heart of the city. Among today's Danish writers, probably the best-known to American readers is Peter Hoeg (Smilla's Sense of Snow; Borderliners), while the most prolific is Klaus Rifbjerg--poet, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. Benny Andersen writes poems, short stories, and music. Poems by both writers have been translated into English by the Curbstone Press. Suzanne Broegger focuses on the changing roles of women in society. Kirsten Thorup's "Baby" won the 1980 Pegasus Prize and is printed in English by the University of Louisiana Press. The psychological thrillers of Anders Bodelsen and political thrillers by Leif Davidsen also appear in English. In music, Hans Abrahamsen and Per Noergaard are the two most famous living composers. Abrahamsen's works have been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC. Other international names are Poul Ruders, Bo Holten, and Karl Aage Rasmussen. Danes such as bass player Niels Henning Oersted Petersen have won broad international recognition, and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival held each year in July has acquired a firm place on the calendar of international jazz enthusiasts.
Cultural Policy
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs was created in 1961. Cultural life and meaningful leisure time were then and remain now subjects of debate by politicians and parliament as well as the general public. The democratization of cultural life promoted by the government's 1960s cultural policy recently has come to terms with the older "genteel culture;" broader concepts of culture now generally accepted include amateur and professional cultural, media, sports, and leisure-time activities. Denmark's cultural policy is characterized by decentralized funding, program responsibility, and institutions. Danish cultural direction differs from that of other countries with a Ministry of Culture and a stated policy in that special laws govern each cultural field--e.g., the Theater Act of 1990 (as amended) and the Music Law of 1976 (as amended). The Ministry of Cultural Affairs includes among its responsibilities international cultural relations; training of librarians and architects; copyright legislation; and subsidies to archives, libraries, museums, literature, music, arts and crafts, theater, and film production. During 1970-82, the Ministry also recognized protest movements and street manifestations as cultural events, because social change was viewed as an important goal of Danish cultural policy. Different governments exercise caution in moderating this policy and practice. Radio and TV broadcasting also fall under the Ministry of Culture. Although government expenditures for culture totaled about 1.0% of the budget in 1996, in 2006 government expenditures for culture totaled 0.66% of gross domestic product (GDP). Viewed against the new government's firm objective to limit public expenditures, contributions are unlikely to increase in the future. Municipal and county governments assume a relatively large share of the costs for cultural activities in their respective districts. Most support goes to libraries and archives, theater, museums, arts and crafts training, and films.

People of Denmark

The Danes, a homogeneous Gothic-Germanic people, have inhabited Denmark since prehistoric times. Danish is the principal language. English is a required school subject, and fluency is high. A small German-speaking minority lives in southern Jutland; a mostly Inuit population inhabits Greenland; and the Faroe Islands have a Nordic population with its own language. Education is compulsory from ages seven to 16 and is free through the university level. Although religious freedom is guaranteed, the state-supported Evangelical Lutheran Church has a membership of 80.7% of the population. Several other Christian denominations, as well as other major religions, find adherents in Denmark. Islam is now the second-largest religion in Denmark, with the number of Muslims in Denmark estimated at 3.6% of the population. During the Viking period (9th-11th centuries), Denmark was a great power based on the Jutland Peninsula, the Island of Zealand, and the southern part of what is now Sweden. In the early 11th century, King Canute united Denmark and England for almost 30 years. Viking raids brought Denmark into contact with Christianity, and in the 12th century, crown and church influence increased. By the late 13th century, royal power had waned, and the nobility forced the king to grant a charter, considered Denmark's first constitution. Although the struggle between crown and nobility continued into the 14th century, Queen Margrethe I succeeded in uniting Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland under the Danish crown. Sweden and Finland left the union in 1520; however, Norway remained until 1814. Iceland, in a "personal union" under the king of Denmark after 1918, became independent in 1944. The Reformation was introduced in Denmark in 1536. Denmark's provinces in today's southwestern Sweden were lost in 1658, and Norway was transferred from the Danish to the Swedish crown in 1814, following the defeat of Napoleon, with whom Denmark was allied. The Danish liberal movement gained momentum in the 1830s, and in 1849 Denmark became a constitutional monarchy. After the war with Prussia and Austria in 1864, Denmark was forced to cede Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia and adopt a policy of neutrality. Toward the end of the 19th century, Denmark inaugurated important social and labor market reforms, laying the basis for the present welfare state. Denmark remained neutral during World War I. Despite its declaration of neutrality at the beginning of World War II, it was invaded by the Germans in 1940 and occupied until liberated by the Allied forces in May 1945. Resistance against the Germans was sporadic until late 1943. By then better organized, the resistance movement and other volunteers undertook a successful rescue mission in which nearly the entire Jewish population of Denmark was shipped to Sweden (whose neutrality was honored by Germany). However, extensive studies are still being undertaken for the purpose of establishing a clearer picture of the degree of Danish cooperation--official and corporate--with the occupying power. Denmark became a charter member of the United Nations and was one of the original signers of the North Atlantic Treaty. Nationality: Noun --Dane(s). Adjective --Danish. Population (October 2010): 5,557,709. Annual population growth rate (2010): 1%. Ethnic groups: Scandinavian, Inuit, Faroese, Turkish, German, Polish, Iraqi, Lebanese, Bosnian, Pakistani, Yugoslav (former), Somali, Iranian, Vietnamese, British, Afghan-. Religious membership: Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church 80.7%; Muslim about 4%. Other --majority consisting of Protestant denominations and Roman Catholics; also 19 Muslim, 3 Jewish, 6 Buddhist, and 8 Hindu religious communities recognized by the state. Languages: Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (Inuit dialect), some German. English is the predominant second language. Education: Years compulsory --9. Attendance --100%. Literacy --99%. Health*: Infant mortality rate (2009)--3.6/1,000. Life expectancy --men 76.5 years, women 80.8 years. Work force* (2010, third quarter): 2.69 million. Employment: Industry, construction, and utilities --20%; government --33%; private services --44%; agriculture and fisheries --3%. *Excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands

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Travel Document Systems, Inc. (TDS) is a leading visa and passport processing agency. For over 30 years we have served travel professionals, tour operators, and cruise lines, as well as corporate and individual international travelers. TDS specializes in travel that involves visas for more than one country.