25 Interesting facts about Denmark

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Last updated: October 5, 2018

Are you looking for facts about Denmark? Then you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a list of 25 interesting Denmark facts that you probably didn’t know about!

Further down in the article, you can also see some general facts about Denmark such as total population, highest mountain, biggest lake, government, country code, biggest cities etc. 

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you! How many of these facts did you already know beforehand? Leave a comment at the end and share your result.

1. Denmark is reported to be the happiest country in the world

Survey after survey report that the Danes are the happiest people in the world. No matter how they measure happiness the result is almost always the same, and I can definitely agree on this as well.

Having been to Denmark many times, I always find the Danes to be talkative and smiling. Definitely one of the most interesting facts about Denmark!

happy people denmark

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2. The highest mountain in Denmark is only 170.87 meters tall

I don’t know about any other country more suitable for biking than Denmark. It’s hard to find places where you have to bike uphill and the tallest mountain is actually not very tall at all.

It measures just around 170 meters above the sea.

3. The Danes have a term called Janteloven

We have a similar thing in Sweden with the same name but in Swedish. The meaning of this can be summarized that no one is better than the other, and today, it’s an important part of the culture where everyone is accepted and equal.

However, the origin of Janteloven was to hold people down and make sure that they didn’t think that they’re better than anyone else.

4. Denmark has been inhabited since at least 12 500 BC

The earliest archeological findings are dating back to 130,000–110,000 BC. Experts say that the country has been inhabited since at least 12 500 BC, and agricultural pieces of evidence have been found dating back to 3900 BC.

5. The Danish flag is the oldest state flag still in use

The “Dannebrog” was first acknowledged back in 1219, which makes it the oldest state flag still in use by an independent nation.

facts about denmark - danish flag

6. Health Care and Education is free

Well, kind of. The health care and education is being paid for by taxes, so in a sense, it’s paid for by the people. But, it also means that not only the richest people have the opportunity to get health care and good education.

It’s something that the Danes should be very proud of.

7. Denmark is famed for its liberalism

Few countries in the world (if any) are as free and liberal as Denmark. It’s a very open society and the Danes aren’t afraid of speaking their minds.

8. Greenland is a part of the kingdom of Denmark

The giant territory of Greenland belongs to the Danish kingdom. So, in reality, the country’s area is a lot bigger than just 42,931 km2, considering the fact that Greenland’s total area is 2 166 000 km². However, Greenland is an autonomous constituent country.

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The smaller island group “the Faroe Islands” is also a part of the kingdom of Denmark.

greenland - denmark facts

9. Between 1880 and 1920 about 10% of the entire Danish population emigrated to the US

A lot of people emigrated to the US during this period, but it’s quite remarkable that a total of 10% of the total Danish population emigrated.

10. Copenhagen’s harbor is so clean that you can swim in it

How about that? Swimming in a harbor is rarely considered to be a healthy idea, but in Copenhagen, it’s clean enough to swim in!

11. When crossing the road Danes typically wait for the traffic signals to change to “go”. Even if the road is clear!

This is the opposite of Swedes and how we do it in Sweden. And therefore I find it to be one of the more interesting facts about Denmark and the Danes. Jaywalking could even get you a hefty fine of 1000 DKK, which is about 130 euro!

So, of course, I understand why the Danes don’t jaywalk even though the road is clear.

12. If you’re unmarried at 25, you’ll get cinnamon thrown all over you at your birthday

I would say that this is probably the most unique facts about Denmark on this list, but I don’t know to what extent this really occurs.

But according to the Telegraph and various other sources, it is a real thing where you’ll get cinnamon thrown all over you if you’re unmarried at your 25th birthday!

Source

13. Danes have a special word “hygge”

The word “hygge” is unique to the Danish language, and it’s describing the cozy feeling of being together with other people or yourself. It means relaxing and enjoying yourself in your own company or together with others.

hygge

14. You can never be more than 52 km from the sea

You’re never far away from the sea, and it’s never more than 1 hour (52 km) away from any point in Denmark.

15. It rains on average about 170 days per year

The northern part of Europe is rainy in general, and Denmark is no exception. On an average, the country sees around 170 days per year with rain.

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10 x Fun facts about Denmark and Danes

  1. Danes eat an average of 42 sausages a year
  2. They like to eat salty licorice together with a glass of cold milk
  3. LEGO is from Denmark
  4. There are more pigs than people.
  5. Denmark is an archipelago made up of over 100 islands, some of which are not even inhabited
  6. Danes are said to drink an average of 4 cups of coffee per day
  7. There are 18 different shark species living in the Danish waters
  8. Denmark is home to the oldest and second oldest amusement parks in the world
  9. The Danish language has no word for “please”
  10. Denmark is considered the “least corrupt” country in the world

lego - a danish invention

General facts about Denmark

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about Denmark that might be interesting to know.

  • Total Population:  5,748,769.
  • Highest Mountain: Möllehǿj (approx 170 meters high).
  • Land area: 42,931 km2
  • Biggest Lake: Arresø – 39.5 km
  • National Day: 5 June (constitution day, not a real national day though).
  • Government: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  • Primary minister: Lars Løkke Rasmussen
  • Currency: Danish kroner (DKK)
  • Official language: Danish. But Faroese, Greenlandic, and German are also recognized as regional languages.
  • Official Website: Denmark.dk
  • Member of EU: Since 1973.
  • Member of Nato: Yes.
  • National song: “Der er et yndigt land” and “Kong Christian stod ved højen mast”
  • Time zone: CET (UTC +1), summertime, CEST (UTC +2)
  • Country Number/Prefix: +45
  • Country Code: DK
  • Capital: Copenhagen

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How many facts about Denmark did you already know? Leave a comment below and share your result! And if you know some more interesting Denmark facts, feel free to share them in the comment section as well. 

June 9th, 2018|

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Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

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30 Comments

  1. KL 06/10/2018 at 8:42 am - Reply

    About “janteloven”, it is not really about being equal, but a nasty old script about not being worth anything. Dont remember the number of paragraphs, but they include the following:
    – Dont believe you are worth anything
    – Dont believe you can do anything
    – Dont believe you are better than us
    … and so on for about 10 paragraphs. It was written by a propably very nasty-minded guy called axel sandemose in the previous century, who must have believed that children (and/or servants or the poor) should know their proper place. It is awfull, but may well reflect how children were raised i 1800-something?

    • Henrik Hald 06/26/2018 at 11:53 pm - Reply

      Well, that´s not exactly correct. Besides number 2 being wrong, it was more about how he percieved the people around him in the town Jante, which was a fictional town, but supposedly in reality the place where he lived. But a lot of people see this as the attidiude we have towards each other here in Denmark.

  2. KL 06/10/2018 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Apparently I was unfair to Axel Sandemose, who wrote Janteloven: it seems it was his critical commentary to a society that wanted to keep people in their place and avoid social mobility. He wrote it in 1933 in his book “En flygtning krydser sit spor” but seems not to have approved of the sentiments himself and it was not meant for children, but it has definitely been used in raising/disciplining children.

    • Lars 06/10/2018 at 11:39 pm - Reply

      Janteloven was rewritten to fit the book.
      The original actually came from a sign in an abstinent establishment hotel in town where a few examples were
      Don’t think you’re better than is when you drink.
      Don’t think you’re smarter than is when you drink.

  3. Mette 06/10/2018 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Regarding the number of islands in Denmark, there is a many as 443 named islands, but “only” 72 of them are inhabited…
    I’d say the cinnamon tradition happens more often than not, although my nice family and friends just gave me a cinnamon cake and a lot of bags with the spice… Another one to your list; when you turn 30 and are unmarried, it’s pepper!!!

    • Thejs 10/11/2018 at 11:21 am - Reply

      What!? I didn’t know about the 30-thing! Oh no. Gotta find a wife in the next 16 years :-D

  4. lars løkke hansen 06/11/2018 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    “IF YOU’RE UNMARRIED AT 25, YOU’LL GET CINNAMON THROWN ALL OVER YOU AT YOUR BIRTHDAY”

    It’s more usual getting pebber, if unmarried at 30. :0)

    • Anne St 07/25/2018 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Totally agree. Being Danish through and thriugh, I have never heard about or seen examples of cinnamon at 25 years. You used to get a pepper mill if still unmarried at 30, though!

  5. Gitte 06/12/2018 at 9:20 am - Reply

    The highest place in Denmark isn’t Møllehøj with its 170,86 meters. In fact there are two places higher than this. Ejer Bavnehøj 171,04 meters and Yding Skovhøj 172,54 meters.

    The tradition with cinnamon when you turn 25, is a spin of from the pepper tradition, when you turn 30. This is actually an old tradition and the term “pebersvend” is dated back to cirka 1530. At that time The northern european cities, mostly german, joined in The Hanseatic League, which was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns. A “Pebersvend” (30 year old, unmarried man) traded pepper and other expensive spices. During the 1500, The expression grew to include all unmarried men and older bachelors. You also have a term for it in Sweden – “pepparsäck”.
    Hans Christian Andersen who remained a “pebersvend” hus entire life, has written a fairytale, called “Pebersvendens Nathue”. In this he explains the expression.
    But it is linked to the traders of the middleages the tradition exists today. The cinnamon tradition is a fairly new tradition.

    😊 And as a dane – I knew most of the facts beforehand. But I was surprised by the archipelago fact. I knew er had an archipelago, but NOT that many! Denmark has 1.419 (!!!) islands, 443 is named and only 72 of them is inhabited. 😳😲

    Finally – no, we don’t have one word, that can translate into all ofte same meanings that “please” can. We have several words that all translates to the word please, depending on which meaning you want it to have… 😉

    • Alexander Waltner 06/12/2018 at 9:43 am - Reply

      Well, that depends on how you count :) Ejer Bavnehöj is 170,35 meters. But, yes Yding Skovhöj is a higher point if you count the human-made structures, but I think it’s only fair to count natural points. Without the human-made structures, Möllehöj is 9 cm taller than Yding Skovhöj.

      Interesting to know about the pepper tradition, didn’t know about that!

      Yes, I think all Scandinavian countries have more islands than we might think, but of course, some of those are just tiny islands.

  6. Tina Andersen 06/12/2018 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Please Will be “ be om”

  7. Erling 06/13/2018 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Well… I’d say the tradition of giving pepper at 30 if unmarried is way more common than cinnamon at 25.

    Another Danish tradition you might find strange/funny is cutting the tips of the socks of the groom at weddings. Normally some guys “attacks” the groom – lifting him up, taking off his shoes and cutting them off.

    It’s said it’s to stop the groom from “gøre sine hoser grønne” (making his socks green) – which is an old phrase coming from the old days where the guys at the end of harvest festival might let their wooden shoes off and visiting their girlfriends as quiet as possible only wearing socks. So generally a way of stopping the groom from seeing other girls – a kind of funny theoretically mental castration

    Yet another crazy thing: In Denmark every year in the summer the Santa Claus’s have a congress. It’s always at Bakken, Copenhagen.

    Last year it was actually the 60 years anniversary!! One of the proposals that always comes up is to move the Xmas…. and it’s turned down every year :)

    It can easily be more than 100 Santas from all over the world – bathing, singing, drinking Christmas ale !!

  8. Dorthe Christensen 06/13/2018 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    I am a dane, and I love licorice. Salty or sweet, I just love it. But I have never met a person, who drank milk with their licorice … So it’s not a “fun fact” but more of a “weird myth”.

    Another fun fact about Denmark and danes would be, that we were the first country in the world to allow porn in pictures and movies …we also have one of the world’s lowest percentages of teen pregnancy even though sexual education is mandatory from kindergarten and through out the school years.

  9. Hansen 06/15/2018 at 11:55 am - Reply

    And UN unmarried Girl/woman at 30 is a “pebermø” ( peber virgin). Both sexes uset to be gifted with pebber Mills for their 30th birthday.

  10. Betina 06/17/2018 at 1:58 am - Reply

    I’ve NEVER heard about anyone eating salty licorice with a glass of milk – in any parts of the country, were have you heard about this?
    We eat lots of salty licorice and drink more milk than other countries usually does nyt not together.
    Also i think the cinnamon thing when turning 25 is more common in Jylland than on Sjælland.

    • Alexander Waltner 06/18/2018 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      It’s the Official Tourism board of Denmark who’ve listed it as a fact about Denmark.

  11. Tatiana 06/17/2018 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Regarding Danes being the happiest country in the world, keep on mind, we prescribe loads of antidepressants, so we’re probably not that happy in the end.

  12. Louise 06/18/2018 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Just wanted to comment that it Hygge doesn’t have to include other people. You can “hygge” by yourself with a good book by the fireplace, going for a walk, baking etc
    I think the translation that come closest is “enjoying yourself” (alone or not)
    ;)

  13. Rune 06/21/2018 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    The word ‘hygge’ is not unique to the danish language. It also exist with the exact same meaning in norwegian.

    • Alexander Waltner 06/21/2018 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Didn’t know that, thought Norwegians said “Kose seg”, but that’s interesting, I have never heard a Norwegian say “hygge”, but I’ve heard “Kose seg” many times. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Michael 06/22/2018 at 2:25 am - Reply

    Hi my name is Michael and I am an American living in Australia and I am engaged to be married to a Danish woman named Tina who also lives in Australia and 2 of her 3 grown sons who were born in Australia live in Denmark now….In all I already knew about 10 of the things you posted here…On a side note we are planning a trip to Denmark in about 2 months so I will finally get to see all these things for myself….Thanks for the informative post…

  15. Freja 06/24/2018 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Who told you that we eat salty licorice together with a glass of cold milk?? 😂😂 I have never heard of that!

    • Alexander Waltner 06/24/2018 at 10:20 am - Reply

      That fact comes from the Official Tourism Organization of Denmark ;)

      • Anita 07/25/2018 at 11:21 pm - Reply

        I’m one of the Danes that would drink milk with the salty liquorice. But I would be most likely to do it with the “stronger” kinds containing a lot of ammoniumcloride like ‘Tyrkisk Peber’ or ‘ piratos’.
        The cinnamon is very common where I live ☺️

    • Sophia 06/26/2018 at 7:29 am - Reply

      I would also say the mix og salty licurice and milk is a myth.
      But eating salty licurice and drinking milk in separate is very much a Danish thing.

      I would say that cozy is very close to our word “hygge”. We just use the word more often about all kind of things.

      I Think we are the happiest people in the world because we appreciate the little things in life.
      Like a cup of coffee on yet another rainy day, or a friendly hallo from a stranger.
      Be good to one another and remember how you want to be treated.
      And yes ofcourse Danish people also use antidepressive, but I am pretty sure we are by far not the worst.
      I think many of our worries is smaller because we always have a safety net, if we get unemployed, both if we are fired or quit our selves.
      And/or we get sick. Everything is covered.
      I gladly pay 50% of my salary for that insurrance that also cover the least fortunate in our society.
      You never know if you someday would be the least fortunate.

      About the cinnamon, this is very common in Jutland.
      If not more common than pebber, then very close to.

    • Henrik 06/26/2018 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      Nope! Me neither! But I have only lived here my whole life of course.

  16. Dorthe 06/26/2018 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    I love salty licorish, and will have it with a glass of milk if possible – the best way!! 😊😉

  17. Cecilie 06/27/2018 at 10:00 am - Reply

    I have never heard salty licorice with milk. I wonder where that comes from. The cinnamon tradition is very common where I grew up and live (in Jutland)! Often people will get tied up to a light post or the like, and their friends will throw water at them to make the cinnamon stick. If you’re unmarried at thirty, people will build you a pepper mill and place it in front of your house. They are often quite big (sometimes built out of oil cans), not very pleasing to the eye and difficult to move, so you can “enjoy” them for quite some time. There are quite a lot of traditions revolving around weddings in Denmark. For example the one with the socks listed above. Another fun one: When the groom leaves the room at his wedding, all other men sprint to the bride to kiss her – the same goes for the women and the groom if the bride leaves the room. And sometimes people will write “newlyweds – honk!” on the road in front of your house. You can imagine what festivities that will lead to for the next couple of months until the paint wears off.

  18. Merle's ridiculous grand mother 06/27/2018 at 10:48 am - Reply

    But above All Denmark is known for it’s interest in the wellbeing of others.
    I have learned in school ( yes, many years ago,) that we don’t like it to have citizens forced to begging in the streets, for money, food and what have you…
    And that this caring is one of the reading for the wellfare system.
    It’s cold here, specially at winter. Nobody deserve to live or even lie sting in the street. Seems people have forgotten or don’t care anymore. But that is also part og bring Danish. To me.

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