Although
best known for the Vikings, the iconic fairytale writer Hans Christian
Andersen, and the invention of Legos, there is far more than these to know
about the rich culture of Denmark.  Even
though it is a small country, it has had a substantial impact on the rest of
the world.  As a leader in human rights
and innovation, there are many aspects of Danish culture that make it unique
and impressive.

Located
just north of Germany on the Jutland Peninsula, Denmark is the smallest,
southernmost Nordic state.  It acts as a
link between continental Europe and Scandinavia, and consists of a mainland
peninsula, in addition to 406 islands. Greenland and the Faroe Islands are
under Danish rule also.  The capital
city, Copenhagen, is located on the largest island, Sjælland. (Britannica).

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When
considering the history of Denmark, most people would immediately think of the
famous Vikings that populated Scandinavian nations like Denmark early in
history.  The Vikings essentially
pillaged all the Nordic states and much of Europe, even as far as parts of
Canada.  This is the reason for the
linguistic ties and mutual understanding between all of the Nordic languages.  (Geography Now! Denmark).  More recently in history, Denmark traded
peacefully with much of Europe and the United States, and influenced
governments to take a diplomatic approach to dealing with legal issues.
(Britannica.)  Overall, Denmark has a
rich and impactful history that played a significant role in shaping the past.

            Since 1972, Queen Margarethe II has ruled over the
constitutional monarchy that is the Kingdom of Denmark. (The World Factbook).
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the constitutional monarchy as a “system of government in which a monarch
… shares power with a constitutionally organized government.” (Constitutional
Monarchy). Like the United States, the government has three branches:
Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. 
(The World Factbook). 

            Denmark is in Stage 4 of the Demographic Transition.  Thus, it is at its most ideal stage, with low
birth (10.5 out of 1,000) and death rates (10.3 out of 1,000), and stable
increase of population (0.22%).  One can
assume that Danish citizens have sufficient health care, access to family
planning, and attitudes that support gender equality and education for
females. 

            Women and men in Denmark are generally held to the same
standards.  Both genders earn the same
pay, receive the same respect.  Only 10%
more men than women are employed, and domestic chores are more equally
distributed between genders in a household than in most countries.  (Denmark). 
There is very little gender discrimination in Denmark, possibly because
of Janteloven, the cultural protocol which implements an attitude of humility and
equality, regardless of gender, status, or any other trait of a person. (Standing
Out in Denmark…)

            In Denmark, people tend to dress practically, while
maintaining a classy look.  The weather
tends to be cold and rainy, so people tend to wear scarves, coats, and neutral
colors.  It is uncommon to see a person
wearing bright colors in Denmark.  Women,
in particular, tend to wear loose, casual coats, put together with a large
purse to contain plenty of supplies for when it rains.  Additionally, messy hair is very popular in
Denmark.  The key for women is to look
effortlessly stylish.  (Dress Like a
Dane…).

            Religious freedom is never doubted in Denmark.  Although the Vikings had a pagan religion of
their own, one Viking king, Harald Bluetooth, introduced Christianity to
Denmark. Afterwards, Denmark became more religiously diverse.  Today, there is a high population of Muslims
in Denmark, but the majority remains Lutheran. 
Regardless of an individual’s religious beliefs, freedom to these
beliefs is not denied in Denmark. (Britannica).

            Denmark’s contributions to literature are perhaps the
most universally well-known trait of Danish culture.  One
of the most the most famous Danish writers is Hans Christian Andersen, the author of fairy tales including The
Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, and The Ugly Duckling.  (Hans Christian Andersen).  Many of Andersen’s tales ended with
tragically dark conclusions, leaving readers wondering about the inspiration
behind his writing.  Another writer made
famous for his dark writing style is Søren Kierkegaard, who coined the term “angst” and possessed a cynical
worldview. “Listen to the cry of a
woman in labor at the hour of giving birth — look at the dying man’s struggle
at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends
thus could be intended for enjoyment.” Kierkegaard once
said. (Søren Kierkegaard Quotes).  This essentially explains Kierkegaard’s
worldview that brought both him and Denmark to fame for literature. 

Denmark
is a unique modern nation with a culture that sets it apart from many other
nations.  A rich history, excellent
literacy contributions, and equality for the people are just a few small
aspects of all that makes Denmark impressive. 
Fortunately for this little country, it seems to be the leader in what
the rest of the developed world will become within the next few decades.  Not only does Denmark have a significant
history; it has a bright future ahead of it, too.