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Denmark - Geography

Denmark is a rather small Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Denmark is located between the North Sea and the Baltic. Denmark also includes the Faroe Islands and Greenland in the North Atlantic. The country covers a total of 43,096 square kilometers, comprising the peninsular of Jutland and more than 400 named islands and 7314 kilometers of coastline. Denmark covers an area consisting of the peninsula Jutland and the Danish archipelago of 407 islands excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands (in comparison Kyushu covers about 35,640 km2). Denmark has 7,314 km of coastline but only 68 km of landline border with Germany. Denmark is half the size of Scotland and about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined.

The peninsula of Jutland was anciently called Chersonesus Cimbrica. The islands of Zealand and Funen were inhabited by the Teutones; while the Angli and Saxones, the English ancestors, possessed Holstein.-The name of Denmark, implying the marches, boundaries, or territories, of the Danes, is derived from the inhabitants who are first mentioned by this appellation, in the sixth century, by Jornandes, a Goth, who, in the reign of Justinian I. emperor of Rome, wrote a work, entitled, De Mundo, et de Rerum et Temporum successtore.

In the North Atlantic, Denmark has ruled over Iceland, which withdrew from the union with Denmark in 1944. The Faroe Islands and Greenland, the world’s largest island, are still part of the Danish Realm. There has been home rule on the Faroe Islands since 1948 and in Greenland since 1979. Neither territory is a member of the EU.

Proximity to the sea is key in Denmark. Since before the Vikings, Denmark has been a seafaring nation. The sea is maximum 50 km (31 miles) away from any given point in Denmark. Denmark is quite flat. The semblance of hills can scarcely be discovered, except towards the East where a few elevations relieve the eye from the general flatness of the other regions. The country is low and for the most part flat. As compared with England, it is somewhat warmer in summer but colder in winter. There are heavy rain storms during a considerable portion of the year. The soil is far from fertile and up to a short time ago a large part of the peninsula of Jutland was barren heath of little value for agricultural purposes. Much of the waste lands have since been reclaimed and brought under culture by chemical treatment of the soil. There are no considerable rivers and few forests. The highest points in Denmark are Møllehøj and Yding Skovhøj both measuring a mere 170 meters above sea level.

The northernmost point, not including Greenland and the Faroe Islands, is Skagen, the tip of Jutland, while the easternmost part is the island of Bornholm, located squarely in the West Baltic. Because of Denmark's northern location, there are large seasonal variations in daylight. Days are short during the winter where the sun rises as late as 8:45 am and sets as early as 3:45 pm. Summer on the other hand offers long days with sunrise as early as 4:30 am and sunset as late as 10 pm.

Denmark is a small country, compared to its closest neighbors. Sweden and Germany are, respectively, ten times and eight times larger than Denmark, which has an area of more than 43,000 km2 . On the other hand, Denmark’s coastline is extraordinarily long for a country of this size. Denmark stretches along a coast of more than 7,300 km, which is longer than the Great Wall of China. It corresponds to almost one and a half metre of coast per inhabitant.

One characteristic of Denmark’s geography is the many islands, a total of 391. The largest islands are, by order of mention, Sjælland, Vendsyssel-Thy, Fyn, Lolland and Bornholm. Jutland (including Vendsyssel-Thy) account for 69 percent of Denmark’s total area. In addition to Denmark, the Kingdom of Denmark includes the self-governing areas of Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The ice-free part of Greenland is almost ten times larger than Denmark and Denmark is 30 times larger than the Faroe Islands.

Denmark’s nature is characterized by agriculture and forests. For thousands of years, Denmark has been an agricultural country, and this has largely characterized the Danish landscape. Consequently, two thirds of the landscape consists of man-made agricultural areas. However, forests are also evident in the landscape in the form of, among other types, deciduous forest and coniferous forest. Rold Skov and Gribskov are the largest forests.

Cities, roads, railroads, bridges and other types of man-made surfaces cover a total of 10 per cent of Denmark’s area, corresponding to three times the area of the Faroe Islands – or 56 per cent of Sjælland. Urban centers, such as residential neighbourhoods and industrial districts, dominate and account for three-fourths of the man-made surfaces.

Maps of the world can be drawn in several ways. Generally, area measurement is used and, represented in this way, the kingdom of Denmark - excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland - with its 43,098 square kilometres is smaller than many of the individual states of the United States. However, if measured by the share of the annual product spent on development assistance, Denmark is placed very high internationally. The same applies if the yardstick is the number of Danish police and military forces sent out on a peacemaking and peacekeeping missions or the results in a sport such as men’s and women’s handball. Considered from these – albeit unusual – angles, the miniature state momentarily assumes superpower status.

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Page last modified: 25-09-2019 19:01:44 ZULU