The Kingdom of Denmark is the southernmost Scandinavian country. It occupies the Jutland peninsula and an archipelago of over 400 islands. It also includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which are self-governing.
Let’s have a look at the top 10 most interesting facts about Denmark.
1. The Danes are pioneers in clean energy production.
Thirty percent of all energy used in this country already comes from renewable sources, a fun fact about Denmark. The most significant contributor is bioenergy, then wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Denmark first started its wind turbine industry after the oil crisis of 1973. From 2022, a giant offshore wind farm off the island of Møn will be able to power 600,000 households.
2. The statue of the Little Mermaid watches over Copenhagen’s harbor.
The Little Mermaid is a statue by Edvard Eriksen of the character in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, and more recently, the Disney movie. The original bronze sits on a rock in Copenhagen’s harbor, but there are copies all over the world. The Little Mermaid has become synonymous with Denmark and Copenhagen, and over a million tourists visit it annually. In January 2020, it was vandalized with the words “Free Hong Kong.” This is not the first time the statue has been defaced, and it has also been decapitated twice.
3. Disneyland is modelled on Tivoli Gardens.
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark, opened in 1843, which makes it the second oldest amusement park in the world, an interesting Denmark fact. Walt Disney visited Tivoli in 1951 and opened Disneyland four years later. Disney admired the clean and orderly Danish attraction, which had none of the “seediness” characteristic of amusement parks at the time. He openly acknowledged taking inspiration from Tivoli, and the two parks have a long history of collaboration. In 1918, on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of Tivoli, Disneyland contributed a float themed on “it’s a small world,” a Disney attraction found at each of their destinations worldwide.
4. Danish pastries are called Viennese pastries in Denmark.
In 1850, Danish bakers went on strike to get paid in cash instead of bed and board. Bakery owners employed foreign bakers in their stead, for the most part, Austrians from Vienna. The Austrians didn’t know the traditional Danish recipes, so they went ahead and made the buttery pastry with which they were familiar. It became so popular that when the Danish bakers returned to work, they continued to make it with their own twist – even more fat and eggs. They called the result “Wienerbrod,” meaning Vienna Bread. In the 1900s, when Danish bakers moved elsewhere in Europe, their pastries were called “Danish” or “Copenhagener.”
5. Nine out of ten Danes own a bicycle.
The Danish terrain is mostly flat, and cycling is a popular form of transport. 90% of Danes own a bicycle, and the average Dane cycles a mile a day, a fun fact about Denmark. There are twice as many bicycles as cars in Denmark, and there are extensive networks of bicycle lanes all over the country. In 2009 The Cycling Embassy of Denmark (CED) was created. It is a network of people from government, private enterprise, and non-governmental organizations that come together to promote cycling all over the world. The CED monitors the benefits of cycling, such as reduced healthcare costs and improved concentration in school children. They also present at conferences and coordinate the visits of over 100 delegations a year, giving them guided tours of Danish cities, and sharing learnings and best practices.
6. President Trump wants to buy Greenland.
After World War II, America offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100 million. The offer was refused. In August 2019, President Trump once again expressed America’s interest in acquiring the island, prompting the Danish premier to state that “Greenland is not for sale.” Greenland has vast untapped mineral resources, but of even more interest, are new North Atlantic shipping lanes that are appearing due to the melting of ice caps. The new lanes significantly reduce maritime travel times by avoiding the need to use the Panama and Suez canals to circumnavigate the globe.
7. Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world.
Denmark scored second in the 2019 World Happiness Survey and has consistently ranked near the top. This might have something to do with the Danish concept of Hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga,” which roughly translated means “snug contentment.” Hygge is the pursuit of happiness through simple pleasures.
8. Lego comes from Denmark.
The popular construction toy Lego originated in Denmark. During the Great Depression, Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen of Billund, Denmark, started making miniatures of his products as design aids, an interesting Denmark fact. This led to him making toys and, ultimately, the building blocks we know today. The name comes from two Danish words, “leg” and “godt,” meaning to “play well.” It was subsequently discovered also to mean “I assemble” in Latin. The design of Lego blocks has not changed much over the years, and bricks bought in the 1950s will still fit with bricks purchased today.
9. Kierkegaard was born in Copenhagen.
Søren Kierkegaard, the philosopher, known as the “Father of Existentialism,” was born in Copenhagen in 1813. He concerned himself with the emotions of personal choice and was highly critical of organized religion. He wrote in Danish, and initially, his works were confined to Scandinavia. However, by the mid-1900s, his thinking had permeated Western culture.
10. The nuclear physicist, Niles Bohr, was Danish.
Niles Bohr, the famous physicist who developed the theory of the atom known as Bohr’s model, was Danish. He was born in Copenhagen in 1885 and won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1922. He worked on the Manhattan Project in America, which developed the first nuclear weapons during World War II. After the war, he returned to Europe and dedicated his life to humanitarian efforts to use atomic energy responsibly.
Denmark is a small country that has made enormous contributions to the world in many areas.
I hope that this article on Denmark facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!