Small country, big ideas: Denmark

It is always an enlightening experience to take a step back and look at your own neighborhood and country as seen from a distance, as a visitor.

Often you look to the world for sightseeing and adventures, but there can be much to see ‘at home’.


In Denmark – my country – there is a saying, “out [away from home] is good, but [at] home is best” …


Denmark? A sovereign state, but a very small (Scandinavian country). Out of 196 countries and dependencies, Denmark is at number 130 covering just 43.094 km2 (16.639 mi2) and a population of only 5.7 mio. (112th).


Small, but ambitious, though. Denmark is known for Hans Christian Andersen (fairytale teller) and LEGO (toys), but has (had) quite a few world-famous architects, designers, scientists, actors, programmers and gamers (Counterstrike world champions).


We have our own language, Danish, but almost all Danes speak English, some German and maybe French. And Danes love to travel and do it quite often.


Denmark has a very special layout: One peninsula, Jutland, sharing border with northern Germany. And to the north separated by Skagarrak strait, Norway, and to the east, separated by Kattegat strait, Sweden.

And apart from the peninsula Jutland; a staggering 1419 islands!
(Photo above: Mols, Jutland. Below: Islands Moen and Samsoe).


The 443 largest (around 80 inhabited) Danish islands are named and of these the larger ones are connected by ferries or bridges (photo below: Great Belt Bridge, one of the World’s largest suspension bridges).


The Kingdom of Denmark actually also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland, the World’s largest island.


As is evident; Denmark is surrounded by sea, The North Sea to the west and to the east the Eastern Sea, also known as the Baltic Sea – and has a very long coastline, 8.750 km, with many beautiful beaches …

… but fairly cool (and rainy) weather; in Denmark there are no extremes; a luke warm summer and a mild to cool winter (some snow) with only occasional outliers.

A country popular with swimmers and sailing and kayaking athletes, water skiers and wind and kite surfers (photo above: Thy, “Cold Hawaii” in Northern Denmark).


A nice and beautiful country with small castles and manors (photo: Moellerup), nice houses and neat residential areas with very little drama nature-wise; rolling hills, farmland (photos below: summer and winter at my ‘back yard’) and many small forests, but regrettably no mountains at all.

This means riding a bike here is easy, but unfortunately alpine skiing is out …


Denmark is fairly flat, the highest hill, Moellehoej, is 170.86 m asl, and the only place, where you see some real rocks are at Bornholm island (and Christansoe and Frederiksoe), the easternmost part of Denmark (photos below).


The most famous Danish city is the capital, Copenhagen, at Zealand island. A metropolitan area with 1.2 mio. inhabitants. The Little Mermaid (sculpture) and The Danish Queen, Margrethe II, lives here, and the Government and main national museums and institutions are situated in Copenhagen.


An interesting city with massive harbor areas (photo above), green parks, pedestrian streets and an eclectic mix of old and new architecture.

The second city of Denmark (my hood), is Aarhus, European Capital of Culture 2017. Also a university city with a busy port, situated by Aarhus Bay and surrounded by beaches and small forests (photo below: a fountain at Aarhus port area).


Known for its music scene, The Old City (Den Gamle By, 17th century a.o.) and art (photo above: glass art in Ebeltoft, north of Aarhus) e.g. at the amazing Aros Museum with My Rainbow Panorama Rooftop by Olafur Eliasson (photos below shows sculpture Boy and part of the multi-color circular glass walk).


Of course there are many more interesting Danish cities; modern and old ones with unique museums, architecture and activities.

Denmark apparently is popular amongst parkour fans as there are more than 125 parkour dedicated parkour facilities – plus a lot of outdoor fitness parks.


The Danish people are some of the most physically active people in Europe.

Approximately half the population participate in sport or fitness on a regular basis;  fitness, jogging and walking, swimming and bicycling are favorites (photo above: Luders exercise rooftop in Copenhagen. Below: Tivoli).


Danes are friendly, but somewhat reserved. We are ‘the happiest people’ in the World according to recent surveys as Denmark is a peaceful and well-off country. Also Danes are quite healthy (apart from stress and lifestyle diseases) and easy-going and famous for ‘hygge’ – a concept meaning that we like being in our homes, relaxing on our own or with a few good friends, food, wine/beer and a cozy atmosphere …

If you are curious and want to know more about Denmark, there is an official website Visit Denmark, “the official travelsite, Scandinavia’s greatest little kingdom””.

Marina Aagaard

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