Animals and Plants
There is little forest in Denmark. It covers only 12 percent of the country. Above all, deciduous trees such as beech and oak grow here, but there are also elms, chestnuts, birches, pines and linden trees.
Other landscapes are dunes and heather. There are also raised bogs in western Jutland. The long coast (a total of 7300 kilometers!) Has partly sandy beaches and partly stony cliffs.
You may already know the forest animals of Denmark from our German forests: roe deer and red deer, badger, fox and marten live here. Rabbits and hedgehogs are among the smaller mammals. The red deer has long been the largest animal in the country. Since the release of five small moose in 2016, they have been contesting the deer for this award. Bison are also to be reintroduced, on the island of Bornholm. Wolves immigrated from Germany.
In January 2019, the Danes built a wild boar fence on the border with Germany. It is 70 kilometers long and runs across the entire German-Danish border. It is supposed to prevent wild boars from Germany running to Denmark and bringing the African swine fever with them. If they then infect pigs in Denmark, the country’s meat production is in danger – and that is an important industry. Smaller animals can pass the fence through holes. However, the effectiveness of the fence is doubted, and swine fever has so far been particularly widespread in Eastern Europe.
Denmark’s long coast is not only home to seals in the North and Baltic Seas, but also to many species of birds that live by the water, for example seagulls, loons and terns. Magpies, pigeons, coots, geese and ducks can be found on land and in lakes. And of course there are many fish in the sea. These include cod, salmon and herring.
Industry and tourism play an important role in Denmark’s economy. For example, machines, metal goods and medicines are manufactured. They are also sold abroad. About 23 percent of the total economic output comes from industry. Holidaymakers come to Denmark mainly from Norway, Sweden and Germany. They usually spend the night in holiday apartments or on campsites. Energy
is also important for the economy. Denmark produces oil and gas in the North Sea. In addition, the wind, which mostly blows on the coast, is used for wind energy. There are many wind farms in the sea off the coast that generate electricity.
Agriculture only contributes to a very small part of the country’s economic output, namely 1.3 percent – although more than half of the country’s area is used for agriculture. The main crops are barley, wheat, potatoes and sugar beets. Services have the largest share in the economy with almost 76 percent.
Fishing is important. Meat and dairy products are also made. The keeping of pigs is particularly large. 12 million of them live in Denmark – twice as many people in the country. And that doesn’t even include the piglets.
There are few unemployed in Denmark. In 2017 it was 5.8 percent. The standard of living is high, but the Danes pay high taxes for it. Denmark is a member of the EU, but not the Eurozone: Here you don’t pay with the Euro, but with the Danish Krone. One Danish krone is 100 ore (Øre). The largest trading partners are Germany, Sweden and Great Britain, followed by the USA and Norway. More is exported than imported, so the trade balance is positive.
From Sweden to Denmark
The Danes were a people who originally lived in what is now Sweden. From there they fled in the 6th century and settled in what is now Denmark. They displaced the Germanic tribes living there or mixed with them. The tribes formed individual kingdoms. Gorm the old finally united them into a kingdom under his crown. Gorm is therefore considered to be the first king of Denmark.
Harald Blauzahn and the Vikings
In 958 Gorm’s son Harald Blauzahn (910-987) succeeded the Danish throne. In 960 Harald was baptized. The north of Europe was now Christianized, that is, the heathen became Christians. With the German-Roman kings there were disputes over Schleswig, i.e. the area that borders on Denmark in the south (and today belongs to Germany). Harald conquered the region up to the rivers Eider and Schlei, but lost it again in 974.
The peoples who lived in what is now Denmark and southern Norway have been called Vikings since around 800. They traded and were known for their raids across Europe. As a seafaring people, they came to the Mediterranean and around the year 1000 to North America. Their time ends in 1066.
By 1035, the Danes conquered large parts of Northern Europe. This also included parts of Norway and the British Isles. After the death of King Canute the Great (circa 995-1035), however, the empire fell into disrepair. In the decades that followed, new properties were added and lost again and again.
Margaret I and the Kalmar Union
The policy of conquest was continued under King Waldemar IV (1321-1375). After his death, his grandson Olav took over the rule, but his mother actually ruled as Maragrethe I for her underage son, who also died in 1387.
Under Margaret’s rule, the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were united in the Kalmar Union of 1397. The union lasted until 1523, when Sweden chose its own king and left the union.
In 1537 Denmark became Protestant with the Reformation. During the Thirty Years’ War, the country tried to protect Protestantism in the Danish War (1623-1629) and to prevent further advance of the Imperial Catholic armies. That did not succeed and Denmark withdrew from the war with the Peace of Lübeck.
Denmark fought with Sweden for supremacy in the Baltic Sea region until the 17th century. The Swedes finally managed to win this fight. In 1658, after the Second Northern War, Denmark had to cede a third of its national territory to Sweden, including the (since then) Swedish provinces of Scania, Blekinge and Halland.
In the Great Northern War (1700-1720) Denmark was unable to recapture its territories, but Sweden lost its supremacy in the Baltic Sea area, while Russia gained power. A longer peaceful epoch followed.
In the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark eventually supported France. In 1814 Denmark was subject to Sweden and England and subsequently had to cede Norway to Sweden. This ended the Danish-Norwegian personal union. Heligoland fell to Great Britain. Iceland, however, remained under Danish sovereignty until 1918.
In 1848 Denmark changed from an absolutist to a constitutional monarchy under Frederik VII. The king no longer only ruled himself responsible and with all power in his hands, but he was obliged to a constitution.
Christian IX (1818-1906) came to the throne in 1863. In the German-Danish War waged under him, Denmark lost Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg in 1864. After the First World War, in which Denmark remained neutral, North Schleswig came back to Denmark after a referendum in 1920.
The country remained neutral during World War II, but was occupied by the Germans in 1940. In October 1943, at the instigation of the German diplomat Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz, 7000 Danish Jews were smuggled into Sweden and thus saved from deportation (rescuing the Danish Jews).
According to programingplease, Denmark has had a queen since 1972, her name is Margaret II. Her husband is Prince Henrik, the Crown Prince is called Frederik. Denmark joined the European Community in 1973. Denmark does not participate in the European Monetary Union, the majority of Danes decided against it. That is why there is no euro in Denmark, but you pay with kroner.