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Denmark: Jigsaw of Islands, Industrial Exports, Magnificent Castles, Alborg, Arhus, Copenhagen, Elsinore, Esbjerg, Funen




Internationally, Denmark enjoys a reputation as a comfortable and contented welfare state, where people live long and happy lives. It has an egalitarian society, but retains the romantic trappings of a monarchy. It is peace loving, yet expects all men to undertake two years' national service.

This fortunate country, lying between the North Sea and the entrance to the Baltic Sea, is one of Europe's smallest states, slightly bigger than Switzerland. In medieval times (9th-12th century) it was a major European realm, exacting a tribute - called Danegeld - from England in return for restraining its seagoing warriors, the Vikings. It once embraced provinces that today form Sweden, Norway (ceded to Sweden in 1814), SchleswigHolstein (lost to Prussia in 1864) and Iceland, which became independent in 1944. The Faeroe Islands arid the vast, largely ice-covered island of Greenland remain Danish, but are largely self-governing.


Denmark itself consists of a western peninsula and an eastern archipelago of 406 islands of which 89 are populated. It is a low-lying land - the highest point is 171 m (561 ft) above sea level. It is the most dissected country in Europe and has an immensely long coast 7300 km (about 4500 miles).

Denmark has been peopled since the end of the Ice Age, some 10 000 years ago- Many artefacts from the Stone Age are displayed in museums, and in 1950 the body of an Iron Age man was found perfectly preserved after 2000 years in a peat bog at Tollund in JUTLAND. The land itself is neither scenically exciting nor rich in resources. It is a homely country, with good soils lying on chalk rocks and a cool temperate climate, which favors a wide variety of plants and crops. Rain and snow fall mostly in the southwest, where the average fall is about 750 mm (30 in) annually. The country faces the North Sea in broad beaches, which are the longest in Europe. Artificial harbors, such as ESBJERG in the south and Hanstholm in the north, had to be built because the coast offers little natural shelter for ships. Behind a coastal rampart of dunes lie flat, sandy heathlands, largely reclaimed from the sea, and peat bog, much of which has, been drained. Plantations and belts of spruces and pines act as windbreaks against the strong westerly winds.

East Jutland offers a landscape of steep, low hills, with beech-clad slopes, its coast broken by broad inlets- At the heads of these inlets are old ports and market towns as well as Jutland's biggest cities, ARHUS and ALBORG.

Next: Jigsaw of Islands

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