Denmark and the danes

Did you know that in 2009 an OECD report named Denmark the happiest country in the world? It showed that 9 out of 10 Danes were very satisfied with their lives.

This satisfaction is usually accredited to soft values such as family life, culture, social stability and recreation, rather than money and material wealth. Denmark is a rich welfare society where the state provides free health care, among other things. Free health care is also offered to international students who come to Denmark to study. Denmark is also a very safe country with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. Children can walk or ride their bike to school on their own, and parents can leave their babies sleeping in prams outside cafes.

A beautiful country
Denmark is a green country surrounded by the sea; you are never more than 50 km from the coast. The climate is mild with four distinct seasons: the winters are sometimes cold and snowy, sometimes less cold and rainy with average temperatures around 1-2 degrees centigrade. Summers can be both hot and sunny and cool and rainy with the average temperatures around 18 – 25 degrees.

Denmark consists of 407 islands and the peninsula of Jutland which gives us the world’s second longest coast line in proportion to the area (7,314 km to 43,000 m2). This formed the basis for the Danish shipping industry and extensive travelling, e.g. were the Vikings the first to discover America, centuries before Columbus.

A monarchy and a democracy
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and our head of state is Queen Margrethe II. The Danish parliament is called Folketinget and has 179 members which are elected in general elections at least every four years. The government is headed by the Prime Minister (or Statsministeren in Danish). Denmark is a modern, knowledge-based society with an extensive welfare system, and international students living in Denmark also benefit from this welfare system.

The Danes
Danish people are generally well-educated and well-informed with a strong focus on their personal freedom, and life in Denmark has a distinctive lack of formality. The welfare society has virtually abolished social classes; the differences between rich and poor are small.

Danes love music – from huge open-air festivals to small venues playing all kinds of music: jazz, blues, folk, salsa, pop and rock. Danes also spend a lot of time in their homes, with their families or with friends, or in their gardens, visiting museums or going to sports clubs or associations, etc. If you want to meet Danes, then join a football club, go to a concert, or join a club that caters for your interests.

The Danish Language
The approximately 5.4 million inhabitants in Denmark speak Danish, a Germanic language related to both English and German. Compared to the English alphabet we have three additional letters: Æ, Ø and Å. Free Danish lessons are offered by the local municipality where you live in the Zealand region and knowing at least some Danish will make it easier for you to find a part-time job. English is our second language, and approx. 90% of the population speaks it well, so when you go shopping, use public transportation or visit public offices etc., you will find that you can manage well with English. And both on TV and in cinemas films are shown in their original language with subtitles in Danish.

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