Denmark

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Denmark is a country in Scandinavia. The main part of it is Jutland, a peninsula north of Germany, but also with a number of islands, including the two major ones, Zealand and Funen in the Baltic Sea between Jutland and Sweden. Separated from the other Islands, Bornholm lies by itself between Sweden and Poland in the Baltic sea. Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power, Denmark has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating in the general political and economic integration of Europe. However, the country has opted out of European Union's Maastricht Treaty, the European monetary system (EMU), and issues concerning certain internal affairs. Denmark is also the birthplace of one of the world's most popular toys, LEGO. There is no better place in the world where one can buy Lego bricks than at the legoland theme park in Billund. These days, the Danish Vikings have parked their ships in the garage and put the helmets on the shelves, and along with the other Scandinavian nations, have forged a society that is often seen as a benchmark of civilization; with progressive social policies, a commitment to free speech so strong it put the country at odds with much of the world during the 2006 cartoon crisis, a liberal social-welfare system and, according to The Economist, one of the most commercially competitive. Top it off with a rich, well-preserved cultural heritage, and the Danes legendary sense of design and architecture, and you have one intriguing holiday destination. Dubbed in various surveys and polls throughout the years as the "Happiest country in the world", it is often pictured as a romantic and safe place, likely linked to Hans Christian Andersen as a "fairy tale" on its own. Of course much more lies beneath the surface, but as a traveler, Denmark is likely to prove convenient, safe, clean, but also quite expensive to visit. (less...) (more...)

Population: 5,556,452 people
Area: 43,094 km2
Highest point: 171 m
Coastline: 7,314 km
Life expectancy: 78.94 years
GDP per capita: $38,300
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About Denmark

Background

History

Terrain

Denmark is flat! More than 60% of the landmasses are flat, arable land, making it ideal for farming. And additional 15% or so are similarly flat forests. Thus Denmark is home to the 'lowest-highest' point in Europe; at a stunning 170.86 meters above sea level, Møllehøj, near Skanderborg, was in 2005 confirmed as the highest natural point in Denmark. More famously Ejer Baunehøj and Yding Skovhøj with 170.35 and 170.77 meters respectively has been competing for years, until in 2005 with a new technique the winning hill could be found. Either way, the 216 meter tall Søsterhøj Transmission Tower near Aarhus stretches reaches 315 meter above sea level and thus is technically the highest point in Denmark.

The almost 7,500 km coastline makes room for a large number of beaches, which along with the wind erosion, and plenty of rain, have formed the landscape, and today it is a country of small hills and valleys, minor lakes and small forests with beach and pine. The geographic position of Denmark on the tectonic plates have reduced the risk of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the worst quakes in modern times have been measured to 4.7 on the Richter scale

The mountains in Sweden and Norway shield Denmark from most of the stormy weather and freezing winter air. Combined with the mild temperature and high degree of moisture in the winds blowing in from the North Sea it makes the land well suited for agriculture as the seasons are smoothed, and seldom creates droughts or floods. Bornholm is one of the few exceptions to the overall farming friendly terrain, as the depth of the soil is reduced, and bedrock can be seen in multiple sites.

The west coast of Jutland facing the North Sea is slowly eroding, and accumulates the eroded soil due to the currents in the ocean. The result forms wide sandy beaches, whereas the east coast of Jutland in general is covered with pebble beaches.

Culture

Sports are popular in Denmark, with soccer reigning supreme in popularity and counted as the national sport, followed by Gymnastics, Handball and Golf. Badminton and Water sports, however, often wins medals in international events like the Olympic Games.

Another trait of Danish culture as any tourist pamphlet will tell you, is "Hygge", translating into cosy or snug. Danes themselves will be quick to point out this is somehow a unique Danish concept, which is hardly in tune with reality, but it does probably take a more prominent place in the culture than in many other countries. It usually involves low key dinners in people's home, with long conversations over candlelight and red wine in the company of friends and family, but the word is broadly used for social interactions.

Another important aspect of Danish culture is understatement and modesty, which is not only prominent in Danish behavioral patterns but also very much an important trait in the famous Danish design, which dictates strict minimalism and functionalism over flashiness, something that transfers well to the Danish people as well.

The Danes are a fiercely patriotic bunch, but in a sneakingly low-key kind of way. They will warmly welcome visitors to show off the country, which they are rightly proud of, but any criticism - however constructive - will not be taken lightly, although most Danes will happily spend hours to prove you wrong over a Carlsberg beer, rather than becoming hostile. It won't get you far though, and if you manage to convince anyone of any other flaws than the taxes are too high, the weather is too bad or other trivialities, you should immediately return home and run for political office. For the same reasons, outsiders on long term stays are by many viewed with a certain amount of suspicion. As the homogeneous society is often thought to be the key to Denmark's successes, you will often hear resident foreigners complain about a constant pressure to become ever more Danish, and the anti-immigrant Danish Peoples Party have seen increasing popularity over the years, taking 13% of the votes at the latest election, making it Denmark's 3rd largest political party.

As a traveler it is therefore likely that Danes will be friendly and helpful towards you, but rarely engage in contact and conversations with you on their own initiative. Often the people can be seen as cold, skeptical and even a bit rude, but it is only on the surface. It can take time to truly befriend a Dane. If nothing else, hit any bar in town and you will be greeted warmly when the first few beers are put away.

Drinking alcoholic beverages is, however strange it can seem, a key component in the social life there. Especially when comparing with the other Scandinavian countries, Denmark has a very liberal attitude to alcohol consumption, both in terms of what is socially and legally acceptable. For many social gatherings alcohol is a must (during weekends) and is seen a positive driver for loosening the atmosphere. Engaging in drinking is most likely the best way to get to know a Dane.

Environment

Denmark is often praised as being the one of the greenest countries in the world, but apart from the ubiquitous bikes, the individual Danes are surprisingly nonchalant about the environment despite their reputation, and actually contribute as many greenhouse emissions as most other nationalities. As with so many other things, it is thought as a collective responsibility, and have safely been played into the hands of the government, which in turn, with great success under Social Democratic leadership, enacted a series of reforms, mainly green taxation, between 1993-2001, that made Danish society as a whole (especially in industrial production) one of the most energy efficient in the world. As it turned out it was also good business, and green technology has become of the country's largest exports, including fields like thermostats, wind turbines and home insulation. Because of this, green policies enjoys unusually broad support among the people and the entire political spectrum. 20% of energy productions comes from renewable energy, mainly wind power, a feat mainly made possible by the common Nordic energy market and the massive hydro energy resources in Norway and Sweden, which can easily be regulated up and down to balance the unreliable wind production.

At the moment, the wind production in general produces more power during the night than the Danish companies can consume, while not producing enough in daytime to cover the consumption. In recent years, the installation of solar power in domestic houses has been supported by targeted tax reductions to create a secondary renewable energy source that is active during the days hours. As a backup the old coal and oil based power plants are kept ready for production, and black or brown outs are unthinkable for the Danish population.

All these lofty green visions do actually have a few tangible implications for travelers:

  • Plastic bags cost money; DKK 1-5 - non-refundable, so bring a bag for shopping groceries.
  • Cans and bottles have DKK 1-3 deposit, refundable any place that sells bottled drinks.
  • Many toilets have half and full flush buttons, now - you figure out when to use which.
  • There is a roughly 100% (DKK 4) tax on gasoline, the total price usually hovers between DKK 10-12 per litre. Be aware, though, that due to the current oil-crisis, the total price is now hovering between DKK 11-13 per litre.
  • In many counties you need to sort your waste in two separate 'biological' and 'burnable' containers.

Activities

  • Billetnet. Books larger concerts, theater plays, sporting events etc. You can book online or in any post office. If you book online you can have the tickets mailed to you or you can print out a confirmation and exchange it for a ticket at a BilletNet office or at the scene.
  • NaturNet. Lists nature oriented events such as mushroom collection, geology tours, etc. Many of the tours are free.

Beaches

With a 7400 km coastline, almost the same as Brazil's and longer than India's, you are never far from a beach in Denmark. And each summer, particularly the west coast of Jutland, is subjected a veritable invasion of more than 13 million German tourists, usually in the many vacation homes dotting the coast from north to south. And while the weather can be tricky in Denmark, the beaches are world class, with unbroken white sand for miles to an end, if you are fortunate enough to run into sunny weather.

Music Festivals

Denmark has a long running and proud tradition in music festivals, dating back to the first Woodstock inspired Roskilde festival in 1972, they have become an all important fixture of the Danish summer, and there is one to fit almost every age and music preference going on between June and August, and with very impressive attendances considering the country's size. There are actually so many that listing each and everyone of them would be ridiculous, but some of the most important ones are:

  • Roskilde Festival (June/July). One of the big four rock festivals in Europe, run by non-profit organisation. 80,000 tickets sold and more than 110,000 participants in Roskilde.
  • Skanderborg Festival (August). The 2nd largest rock festival with 45,000 participants, in a unique location inside a historic forest by the lake shore near Skanderborg.
  • Skive Festival (previously Skive Beach Party) attracts nearly 20,000 spectators to Skive every year, mainly features Danish bands and attracts a mostly local crowd.
  • Langelands Festival (July/August). A family oriented festival on the island of Langeland, 20,000 participants.
  • Copenhagen Jazz Festival. (July) - One of the worlds top Jazz Festivals, with small and big concert all over the Copenhagen, attracts over 20,000 spectators.
  • Tønder Festival (August). A large folk and country music festival held in Tønder in South Jutland.
  • Aarhus Festuge (August/September). 10 days of music and cultural events in the city of Aarhus, with a different theme each year.
  • Grøn Koncert. (July) - A one-day festival hosting some of the biggest Danish acts. The show travels around the country, usually taking place at 8 different cities over a 2-week-period, drawing a total crowd of nearly 200,000.
  • Aalborg Carnival. (May) - Although the music not being the main attraction, this carnival is the biggest in Northern Europe and creates an atmosphere that would make any music festival proud. The Main Parade has a different theme each year, with more than 25,000 people dressing up and partying in the streets.

Amusement Parks

Denmark is teeming with amusement parks, and indeed features some of the most famous in world; Copenhagen's Tivoli is one of the oldest of such parks in the world, and by Walt Disney's own admission a major source of inspiration for his own Disneyland. Also in Copenhagen, nestled among majestic beech trees Dyrehavsbakken is the worlds oldest operating amusement park, and both of these parks features some of the oldest still operating rollercoasters in the world dating back to 1914 and 1932 respectively, and both receiving the ACE Coaster Classic Award. Just as famous is Legoland in Billund, the largest and the oldest of the now global franchise, with its spectacular miniature LEGO sceneries the star attraction, and a good selection of thrill rides to entertain kids. While outshined by its world famous rivals, there are four other major amusement parks in the country: Sommerland Sjælland [26], Bonbonland [27], Fårup Sommerland [28], Djurs Sommerland [29], and a host of smaller ones.

Fishing

With its large coastline, Denmark offers ample opportunity for coastal fishing - this, however requires a permit [30] that is available from the official web site or all post offices at a rate of DKK 40 for a day, DKK 130 for a week and DKK 185 for a year. On the accompanying slip, however, you are immediately informed of the allowed seasons and allowed sizes of the most common species encountered on the Danish coastline. Sea Trout is common, as is Cod and Plait, and save for a few inland fjords, water quality and thus fish populations are reasonable.

As for freshwater fishing, Denmark offers a diverse number of streams and brooks (no actual rivers, though), that host Salmon, Brown, Rainbow and Sea Trout (in the season), and Grayling, as well as Pike, Perch and Roach, as do a number of inland lakes which also host Zander, Bream and Tench. Freshwater fishing is a bit more complicated than coastal fishing in Denmark, however, as there is a host of local communities presiding over the rights to fish in the specific waters, usually in agreement with the land owners where the waters are situated if they aren't owned by the state, but that also means that some stretches of a specific stream or brook may be off-limits, due to the land owner's ownership. Regulations for seasons and sizes are mandated by the state, but prices and terms for permits are regulated by the communities. Local tourist offices are usually well informed and mostly allowed to sell permits, which may be daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.

Lastly, there is a significant number of "Put-and-Take" facilities that doesn't require a permit as such, but where you purchase the right to fish for a number of hours, but where the owner of the facility guarantees that there are fish present - usually Rainbow Trout - but whereas many facilities are "self-serve" in the sense that you fill out a form and dump it, and the corresponding payment, in a post box, don't be surprised if the proprietor comes by at some time to ask if you are in luck, at the same time keeping track of the number and times of the forms, hours and payments that he has collected from the box.

Hunting

Hunting in Denmark is done on the basis of land owners retaining the right to hunt on their premises and then, possibly renting it out to interested parties, keeping a close check on who hunts where and when.

Thus, whereas it is relevant to note that a general hunting permit (DKK 500,-) is required, hunting is almost exclusively done with people that you know, who have the hunting rights to the land in question, so if you want to go hunting in Denmark, you would most probably need to befriend a land owner or a friend of one beforehand.

Note that Danish weapons legislation is extremely restrictive. Generally any type of weapon is illegal to own or carry anywhere! There are exceptions for hunting and weapons clubs, but this requires a special permit, and outside the shooting area (hunting grounds or club) the weapon must be concealed and not loaded. Many types of knives are also illegal. Weapon types which cannot be used for hunting or shooting contents - such as knuckles - are just outright illegal anytime and anywhere. The fine for carrying an illegal weapon, especially if it is ready to use, may be severe: A heavy fine and possibly some weeks in prison.

Biking

Denmark is a haven for cyclists, and where ever you go you will be met by people riding their bikes; young and old, thick and thin, for transport, fun or the sports of it. Denmark is one of the countries in the world where bikes are the most widely used. This also means that facilities for biking are good, making it more convenient and safe than many other places. But most importantly, the country is super flat and is perfect for biking around, being it in the city or the country side. many Danes and tourist go on "biking holidays" to many of the popular, quiet spots around the country. So indulging in the culture is one of the best ways to connect with the Danish spirit as well as a great and easy way to explore pretty much every corner of the place. A good place to start is here: [31].

Water Sports

The large coastline makes Denmark an excellent place for surfing, especially wind- and kite-surfing. The North and West coasts hosts some of the best places to do so in the world, and the town on Klitmøller (named "Cold Hawaii") even hosts a leg of the windsurfing world cup each year [32]. In many places it is easy to take classes for all levels of experience which makes for a lot of fun, and it is not even as cold as it may sound.

In addition to the sea coasts, there are many inland rivers, creeks and lakes that make excellent opportunities for enjoying the waterways. Canoeing and Kayaking are popular activities and renting the equipment is usually a piece of cake. Along the popular rivers there are located camping spots, ranging from simple, free shelters to fully equipped, commercial sites, giving all kinds of opportunities from just a couple of hours of fun to a week of "water ways safari".\\ Some of the popular spots for canoeing are the lakes and rivers around Silkeborg, Skjern Å National Park, Ribe creek, Uggerby creek in Northern Jutland, Mølle Å (Mill Creek) near Copenhagen, Suså in Southern Zealand.\\ For sea kayaking, the Limfjorden sound is great (especially around the islands Fur and Mors), the islands south of Svendborg world class (Sydfynske Øhav, and also the channels of Copenhagen offer interesting opportunities.

Food

Apart from the ubiquitous kebab shops and pizza stands, dining in Denmark can be fairly expensive, but a worthwhile cost. Traditional Danish fare includes items as pickled herring, fried plaice, and other assorted seafood items. Hearty meat dishes are also prevalent, as seen in items such as frikadeller (pork only or pork and veal meat balls topped by a brown sauce) and "stegt flæsk og persillesovs" (thick fried pork bacon slices topped by a parsley cream sauce). Many meals are also accompanied by a beer, and shots of aquavit or schnapps, though these are mainly enjoyed when guests are over. Drinking along with meals is encouraged as the foods are enhanced by the drinks, and vice versa. If looking for a quick snack to grab on the go, try the traditional Danish hot dog, served in a bun with a variety of fixings, including pickles, fried or raw onions as well as ketchup, mustard and remoulade (a Danish invention in spite of the French name, consisting of mayonnaise with the addition of chopped cabbage and turmeric for color). For dessert, try either "ris á la mande" (rice pudding with almonds and cherries, again a French name with no relation to French cuisine) or æbleskiver (ball-shaped cakes similar in texture to American pancakes, served with strawberry jam), both normally only available in November and December. For candy try a bag of "Super Piratos" (hot licorice candy with salmiakki).

In the past few years, Copenhagen has emerged as a very happening place for food enthusiasts and gastronomic travelers, the highlight being the world-renowned restaurant Noma.

Do avoid touristy places where no Danes are to be found, popularity among locals is almost always an indicator of quality.

Restaurants offering examples of international cuisine are common, mostly in major cities, especially Italian, Greek and Chinese restaurants, though Japanese, Indian and even Ethiopian restaurants can be found too. Quality is generally high, as the competition is too sharp for low-quality businesses to survive.

Smørrebrød

The traditional Danish lunch is smørrebrød, open sandwiches usually on rye bread - fish except herring, plaice and mackerel are served on white bread, and many restaurants give you a choice of breads. Smørrebrød served on special occasions, in lunch restaurants, or bought in lunch takeaway stores, are piled higher than the daily fare. The Danish rye bread (rugbrød) is dark, slightly sourish and often wholegrain. It is a must for all visitors to try.

Drinks

Danes are rightly famous for their good looks, but unlike most other places, their lucky draw at the gene pool hasn't translated into the self-assertion and confidence you normally see. And the Danes have become infamous for being closed and tight lipped, bordering the outright rude. So while it is by no means impossible, you will still be hard pressed to find a Dane readily engaging in casual conversations with strangers. That is, until you hit the country's bars and nightclubs.

As any foreigner who has spent time observing the Danes will tell you, alcohol is the fabric that holds Danish society together. And when they are off their face in the dead of night, they suddenly let their guard down, loosen up, and while a bit pitiful, they somehow transmorph into one of the most likable bunch of people on Earth. Rather than the violence associated with binge drinking elsewhere, because it seems to serve a very important social purpose, the natives get very open, friendly and loving instead. It takes some time getting used to, but if you want to form bonds with the Danes, this is how you do it - God help you if you are abstinent. This also means Danes have a very high tolerance for drunk behavior, provided it takes place in the weekends. Drink a glass or two of wine for dinner during the week, and you can be mistaken for an alcoholic, but down 20 pints on a Saturday night, and puke all over the place, and everything will be in order.

There is no legal drinking age in Denmark, although a legal purchase age of 16 is in effect in shops and supermarkets when under 16,5% alcohol, and 18 in bars, discos, restaurants and shops and supermarkets when over 16,5% alcohol. The enforcement of this limitation is somewhat lax in shops and supermarkets, but quite strict in bars and discos, as fines of up to DKK 10,000 and annulment of the license can incur on the vendor. The purchaser is never punished, although some discos enforce a voluntary zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking, where you can get kicked out if caught with no ID and an alcoholic beverage in your hand. Some would claim that the famous Danish tolerance towards underage drinking is waning in light of recent health campaigns targeting the consumption of alcoholic beverages among Danes. As adult Danes do not approve of the government interfering with their own drinking habits, the blame is shifted towards adolescents instead, and proposals of increasing the legal purchase age to 18 overall have been drafted, but have yet to pass Parliament, neither is it likely too in the foreseeable future.

Drinking alcoholic beverages in public, including trains and buses, is considered socially acceptable in Denmark. Having a beer in a public square is a common warm weather activity, though local by-laws are increasingly curbing this liberty, as loitering alcoholics are regarded as bad for business. Drinking bans are usually signposted, but not universally obeyed and enforced. In any case, be sure to moderate your public drinking, especially during the daytime. Extreme loudness may in the worst case land you a few hours in jail for public rowdiness (no record will be kept, though). Most police officers will instead ask you to leave and go home, though.

Danish beer is a treat for a beer enthusiast. The largest brewery, Carlsberg (which also owns the Tuborg brand), offers a few choices, as well as a delicious "Christmas beer" in the 6 weeks leading up to the holidays. Other tasty beverages include the Aquavit (Snaps) and Gløgg - a hot wine drink popular in December. Danish beer is mostly limited to lager beer (pilsner), which are good, but not very diverse. However in the last few years Danes have become interested in a wider range of beers, and Danish microbreweries' excellent products are increasingly available. The Danish Beer Enthusiasts [46] maintain a list of bars and restaurants with a good selection of beers as well as a list of stores with a good selection.

Shopping

The national currency is the Danish krone (DKK, plural "kroner" and abbreviated "kr"). In the more "touristy" shops in Copenhagen, and at the traditional beach resorts along the Jutland West Coast and Bornholm Island it will often be possible to pay in Euro. The Danish krone is pegged to the Euro to an accuracy of 2.25%. The Kroner comes in 50 øre (½ kroner) copper coins, 1, 2 and 5 kroner silver nickel coins with a hole in the center, and finally solid 10 and 20 kroner bronze coins. Notes comes in nominations of 50 (Purple), 100 (Orange), 200 (Green) 500 (Blue) and 1000 (Red) kroner. Note that the 1997 series of banknotes are being replaced with a new series, starting with the 50 kroner note in 2009 and ending with the 1000 kroner note in 2011, hence you can expect to see two types of bank notes circulating in the coming years, both are legal tender.

Faroese króna and the coming series of Greenlandic bank notes, while of exactly the same face value, are not legal tender in Denmark (and vice-versa), but can by law be exchanged in any bank free of charge at a 1:1 ratio.

Automatic teller machines are widely available even in small towns, but some ATM's are closed during night time out of security reasons. The Danish word is Dankortautomat, hæveautomat or kontantautomat, and might be useful to remember as the term ATM is not universally known.

Nearly all machines regardless of operator will accept the Danish Dankort, MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron, American Express, JCB og China UnionPay (CUP). While the majority of retailers accept International credit- and debit cards, many still only accept the local Dankort. Virtually everywhere you are required to use a PIN-code with your card, so if this is not common practice in your country, remember to request one from your bank before leaving home. Also beware that most retailers will add a 3%-4% transaction charge (often without warning) if you pay with a foreign credit card.

Note that a few machines will not accept PIN-codes longer than 4 characters, which can create problems for north-American or other European users. Ask the clerk operating the machine if it accepts 5-digit PIN-codes before attempting to operate the machine. Your card may be rejected even without entering the PIN if it is incompatible.

Prices

You should note that almost everything in Denmark is expensive. All consumer sales include a 25% sales tax (Moms) but displayed prices are legally required to include this, so they are always exact. If you are from outside the EU/Scandinavia you can have some of your sales tax refunded [33] when leaving the country.

The average price of Hotel accommodation was around 900 DKK (€120) according to the annual 2009 Hotels.com price index, a hostel bed hovers around 200 DKK (€26), but can be found cheaper in Copenhagen. While a three course meal at a standard restaurant will usually set you back around 200 DKK (€26), this can be done cheaper if you eat cafés or pizza joints, 40-70 DKK (€5,50-8,50). Sundries like a 1½l bottle of Coca Cola costs 25 DKK (€3), while a beer will cost you 8 DKK (€1) in a supermarket, and 40 DKK (€5,50) in bar. If you are a bit careful about your expenses a daily budget of around 700 DKK (€100) per day is not unrealistic.

Tipping

In Denmark service charges are automatically included in the bill at restaurants and hotels, and tips for taxi drivers and the like are included in the fare. So tipping is not expected, nor required, but is a matter of choice. Needless to say, tipping for outstanding service is obviously greatly appreciated.

What to buy

Naturally what to buy remains highly subjective, and in an expensive country like Denmark, also largely depends on the size of your pocket, but here are some suggestions:

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Denmark on Wikivoyage.

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  • Vejle Stadium
  • Vejle Town Hall
  • Jelling Burial Mounds
  • Vejle Music Theatre
  • Jelling Stones
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Billund is a city in Jutland, western Denmark. It has some 8700 inhabitants and is known as the home of LEGO.

Interesting places:

  • Legoland Park
  • Lalandia Water Park
  • Gyttegard Golf Club
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States in Denmark

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Popular cities:

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Points of Interest in Denmark

The Danish Islands

Though not well known to casual visitors Denmark is an island nation, with 72 inhabited islands and a further 371 uninhabited ones. Apart from the well known blockbuster Bornholm, with its rich history, mystic round churches and links to the Knights Templar, many of the small islands are rarely visited by tourists, even though they make up for some of the country's most intriguing destinations. If you have the time consider visiting one of the two remote islands in the Kattegat sea - Læsø and Anholt, which locals jokingly refers to as the "Danish desert belt" since it sees much less rainfall than the rest of the country, and have large swaths of sand dunes covering much of the two islands, peculiar architecture and a laid back vibe. Also worth considering is the Island sea south of Funen, one of the country's most beautiful areas, which also includes the larger islands of Langeland and Ærø with some impossibly picturesque villages, lush green and hilly farmland and wild horses, and Samsø, geographically in the center of the country, which boasts numerous beautiful villages and a yearly festival (Samsø Festival). Finally in South Jutland, the islands of Fanø, Mandø and Rømø are located in the Wadden sea, an inter tidal zone forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. It is rich in biological diversity, with seals and an amazing range of birds, but also have some spectacular beaches and cute villages.

Similar experiences of enjoying the Danish nature can be found throughout the five recently established national parks [20].

Viking heritage

Much has happened since the Danes were wreaking havoc to much of Northern Europe, but the more peaceful modern version of the Danes still take immense pride in their Viking heritage. The most visual heritage is the burial mounds dotting the landscape everywhere in the country (actually, most of these are from the earlier Bronze Age period), but there are a few attractions for the inclined to visit. Easiest and perhaps most interesting are the two museums near Roskilde, easily reached on a day trip from Copenhagen - the Viking ship museum is extraordinary with some well preserved ships and the Lejre Experimental Centre, a living history museum with a recreated Viking village. Still on Zealand but a further west in Slagelse, is the remains of the once mighty Trelleborg Viking ring castle and some reconstructed long houses. In Jutland there is another ring castle ruin near Hobro, Fyrkat, and 9 reconstructed farmhouses. Further south is Jelling, home of a pair of massive carved runestones from the 10th century, one of them celebrating Denmark's conversion to Christianity - the end of the Viking age. Still in the South, but along the West coast, Ribe (the oldest city of Denmark) is home to both a Viking Museum and a Viking experimental center. The National Museum in Copenhagen, also has a good collection of Viking artifacts. The city of Frederikssund holds an annual outdoors Viking play from the summer solstice and a few weeks forward.

World Heritage Sites

Mainland Denmark has 3 world heritage sites; The Jelling rune stones date back to 900's have been called "Denmark's Birth Certificate", testamenting to Denmark's conversion the Christianity around that time, it was erected by what is considered the first official king of Denmark, Gorm The Old, whose son is buried in another of the sights, Roskilde Cathedral, the first Gothic church in Northern Europe build of brick, and the final resting place for most Danish kings and queens ever since. The third, and possibly most famous, is Kronborg castle in Elsinore, home of Shakespeare's Hamlet, prince of Denmark, but also an impressive castle in its own right, guarding the main route to the Baltic sea.

Danish Design and Architecture

Denmark is renowned for its design heritage made famous by well-known designers, architects and companies as such. It is often described as minimalistic and functionalistic in its approach and includes names such as Jørn Utzon, Arne Jakobsen, Hans Wegner, Poul Henningsen, Georg Jensen, Bang&Olufsen, Royal Copenhagen, and many more. Architecture, furniture, industrial design in general, and the people behind it can be seen and explored many places throughout the country. A good place to start is Danish Design Center [21], Danish Design Museum [22] and Danish Architecture Center [23], all in Copenhagen. Throughout Copenhagen and its surroundings, many examples of great Nordic architecture can be experienced. Other sources to be mentioned are the Trapholt Museum [24] in Kolding, the Struer Museum (mostly Bagn&Olufsen), the Jørn Utzon dedicated museum in Aalborg, the city hall of Aarhus. For excellent guiding and suggestions for architecture tours, see Danish Architecture Guide [25].

Thorvaldsens Museum - Copenhagen

Kronborg Slot (Elsinore Castle) - Helsingor

Aarhus City Hall - Aarhus

Gammeltorv - Aalborg

Rubjerg Lighthouse - Hirtshals

Saint Canute\'s Cathedral - Odense

Ribe Cathedral (Ribe Domkirke) - Ribe

Frederiksborg Palace - Hillerod

Roskilde Cathedral (Roskilde Domkirke) - Roskilde

Christiansborg Palace - Copenhagen

City Hall Square - Copenhagen

Copenhagen City Hall - Copenhagen

Royal Stables - Copenhagen

Borsen - Copenhagen

Royal Danish Theater - Copenhagen

Charlottenborg Palace - Copenhagen

Gammel Strand - Copenhagen

Christiansborg Palace Chapel - Copenhagen

Church of Holmen - Copenhagen

Danish Jewish Museum - Copenhagen

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