Portal:Denmark

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Denmark is the smallest and southernmost of the Nordic countries. It is also the oldest. Located north of its only land neighbour, Germany, southwest of Sweden, and south of Norway, it is located in northern Europe. From a cultural point of view, Denmark belongs to the family of Scandinavian countries although not located on the Scandinavian Peninsula. The national capital is Copenhagen.

Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland, which borders Schleswig-Holstein, plus a large number of islands, most notably Zealand, Funen, Vendsyssel-Thy, Lolland, and Bornholm as well as hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark has historically controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea, and these waters are also known as the Danish straits.

Denmark has been a constitutional monarchy since 1849 and a parliamentary democracy since 1901. Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1973. The Kingdom of Denmark also encompasses two off-shore territories, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, both of which enjoy wideranging home rule. The Danish monarchy is the oldest existing monarchy in Europe, and the national flag is the oldest state flag in continuous use.

Selected biography

Rasmus Rask.

Rasmus Rask (Danish pronunciation: [ʁɑsmus ʁɑsɡ̊]) (November 22, 1787 - November 14, 1832), Danish was a scholar and philologist, was born at Brændekilde on the island of Funen.

Rask studied at the University of Copenhagen, and at once showed remarkable talent for the acquisition of languages. In 1808 he was appointed assistant keeper of the university library, and some years afterwards professor of literary history. In 1811 he published, in Danish, his Introduction to the Grammar of the Icelandic and other Ancient Northern Languages, from printed and manuscript materials accumulated by his predecessors in the same field of research.

The reputation which Rask thus acquired recommended him to the Arna-Magnaean Institution, by which he was employed as editor of the Icelandic Lexicon (1814) of Björn Halldórsson, which had long remained in manuscript. Rask visited Iceland, where he remained from 1813 to 1815, mastering the language and familiarizing himself with the literature, manners and customs of the natives. To the interest with which they inspired him may probably be attributed the establishment at Copenhagen, early in 1816, of the Icelandic Literary Society of which he was the first president.

In October 1816 Rask left Denmark on a literary expedition at the cost of the king, to prosecute inquiries into the languages of the East, and collect manuscripts for the university library at Copenhagen. He proceeded first to Sweden, where he remained two years, in the course of which he made an excursion into Finland to study the language. Here he published, in Swedish, his Anglo-Saxon Grammar in 1817. In 1818 there appeared at Copenhagen, in Danish, an Essay on the Origin of the Ancient Scandinavian or Icelandic Tongue, in which he raced the affinity of that idiom to the other European languages, particularly Latin and Greek.


Recently selected: Piet Hein - Thorvald Stauning - Nicolas Steno

Selected picture

A Hippopotamus yawning
A Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) yawning. Pictured in the Afrika exhibition at Copenhagen Zoo.

Selected article

Isted Lion in Flensburg
The Isted Lion (Danish: Istedløven, German: Flensburger Löwe or Idstedt Löwe) is a Danish war monument originally intended as a monument of the Danish victory over Schleswig-Holstein in the Battle of Isted (July 25, 1850) — at its time the largest battle in Scandinavian history. Others perceived it more as a memorial for the Danish dead in the battle.

Originally erected in Flensburg, Schleswig, it was moved to Berlin by Prussian authorities and remained there until 1945. It was returned to Denmark as a gift from the United States Army and is currently located at Søren Kierkegaards Plads in Copenhagen. A number of politicians have suggested that it be returned to Germany but the issue remains controversial.

Following the Danish victory over Schleswig-Holstein in the First War of Schleswig (1848–51), Danish sculptor Herman Wilhelm Bissen was commissioned to create a monument to the ordinary Danish soldier, likely the first example of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This monument Landsoldaten (the Foot Soldier) was unveiled in Fredericia in 1858.

Selected place

Entrance to Christiania
Freetown Christiania, is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood and Anarchist community of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (85 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Civic authorities in Copenhagen regard Christiania as a large commune, but the area has a unique status in that it is regulated by a special law, the Christiania Law of 1989 which transfers parts of the supervision of the area from the municipality of Copenhagen to the state. The rules forbid stealing, violence, guns, knives, bulletproof vests, hard drugs and bikers' colors.

Famous for its main drag, known as Pusher Street, where hash and skunk weed were sold openly from permanent stands until 2004, it nevertheless does have rules forbidding 'hard drugs', such as cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy and heroin. The region negotiated an arrangement with the Danish defence ministry (which still owns the land) in 1995. Since 1994, residents have paid taxes and fees for water, electricity, trash disposal, etc. The future of the area remains in doubt, though, as Danish authorities push for its removal.

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