The Kingdom of Denmark has, despite its relatively small size, punched above its weight internationally.
Vikings raiding from Denmark and the other Nordic nations changed the course of 9th- and 10th-century European history; in the Middle Ages, the Union of Kalmar united all of Scandinavia under Danish leadership.
In more recent times, Denmark has developed a highly-competitive service-based economy with high employment levels and a generous social security system.
Denmark’s Euroscepticism had put it at odds with many of its European Union partners. Voters rejected the Maastricht Treaty, which proposed monetary union and a common European defence force and had to be granted opt-outs from these provisions before the treaty was approved in 1993.
It later rejected the euro as the national currency in another referendum in September 2000.
The Oresund Bridge is Europe’s longest road and rail bridge. It connects the Danish capital Copenhagen with Sweden
At a glance
Politics: Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt became the country’s first female prime minister in 2011, ending a decade of center-right rule. She fell in 2015 after the anti-immigration People’s Party made a strong showing at 2015 elections
Economy: Denmark, an EU member, has rejected the euro but pegs the krone to the single currency. The economy is services-based
International: Denmark has backed key international peacekeeping efforts, and deployed troops in Afghanistan
The Social Democrats led coalition governments for most of the post-war period, consolidating the country’s liberal reputation, although concerns at high taxation levels and tension over immigration helped the conservative People’s Party into the office from 1982-1993 and 2001-2011.
Danish television and cinema have won international recognition, not least for their willingness to experiment. Through the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dogme movement directors used hand-held cameras to dynamic effect in a conscious reaction against high-tech, big-budget cinema.
Greenland and the Faroe Islands are self-governing territories of Denmark.
Seafarers from Denmark have spread the country’s influence throughout.