Geography of Denmark Location: Northern Europe, bordering theBaltic Sea and the North Sea, on apeninsula north of Germany (Jutland); alsocomprises several big islands (Sjaelland,Fyn, and Bornholm) Area Total: 43,094 sq km Country comparison to the world: 134 Land: 42,434 sq km Water: 660 sq km (note: includes theisland of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea andthe rest of metropolitan Denmark- theJutland Peninsula, and the big islands ofSjaelland and Fyn), but not the FaroeIslands and Greenland Area – comparative: Slightly less thantwice the size of Massachusetts Land boundaries Total: 68 km Border countries: Germany 68 km Coastline: 7,314 km
Religion in Denmark Christianity (specifically theEvangelical Lutheran Church ofDenmark, the state religion) is, ofall the religions practiced inDenmark, the most notable. Nonetheless, bits of practically allfaiths can be spotted among thepopulation. Islam, owing to immigration toDenmark in the 1980s and 1990s,is the second biggest religion. On the whole, in contrast, Danesare secular; church turnout isusually low.
Religion statistics Evangelical Lutheran (official): 95% Other Christian (includes Protestant and Roman Catholic): 3% Muslim: 2%
Background of Denmark’s politicalsystem The political system of Denmark functions in the structure of aparliamentary, representative democracy. The Kingdom of Denmark is a constitutional monarchy, where theMonarch (currently Queen Margrethe II) serves as head of state. The Cabinet government (regeringen), supervised by the PM(statsminister), who is first among equals (Primus inter pares),exercises executive power. Legislative power is vested in both the executive and the nationalparliament (Folketinget). The Judiciary, officially nominated by the monarch and employeduntil retirement, is independent.
Background of Denmark’s politicalsystem – cont. Denmark has a multi-party structure, with two or three strong parties,and four or five other important parties. No one party has had an absolute majority in the Folketing since theearly 20th century; no one party has created a government by itselfsince 1982. Because only four post-war coalition governments have enjoyed amajority, government bills seldom become law without negotiations andcooperation with both government and opposition parties; thus theFolketing is often more powerful than legislatures in other EU states. The constitution does not allow the judiciary power of judicial review oflegislation, but the courts have claimed this power with the permissionof the other branches of government. As there are no constitutional or administrative courts in Denmark, theSupreme Court handles a constitutional aspect.
Background of Denmark’s politicalsystem – cont. On a lot of issues, the political parties frequently opt in for a co-operation; the Danish state welfare model is granted a largeparliamentary endorsement. This guarantees a close look on public-sector effectiveness as well asdevolved obligations of local government on regional and municipallevels. The extent of precision and liability is reflected in the public’s high levelof approval with the political institutions. On a regular basis, international organizations rank Denmark one ofthe three least corrupt countries in the world, tied with New Zealandand Finland.
Government of Denmark Capital (and largest city):Copenhagen Official language(s): Danish Recognized regional language(s):Faroese, Greenlandic, German Demonym: Danish, Dane Government: Unitary parliamentaryconstitutional monarchy Monarch: Margrethe II Prime Minister: Helle Thorning-Schmidt Speaker of the Folketing: MogensLykketoft Legislature: Folketing
Parties represented in the Folketing or theEuropean Parliament Venstre (Venstre, Danmarks liberaleparti; Left, Denmark’s Liberal Party) Social Democrats(Socialdemokraterne) Danish People’s Party (DanskFolkeparti) Socialist People’s Party (SocialistiskFolkeparti) Conservative People’s Party (DetKonservative Folkeparti) Danish Social Liberal Party (DetRadikale Venstre; Radical Left) Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) Liberal Alliance (Liberal Alliance) People’s Movement against the EU(Folkebevægelsen mod EU)
Margrethe II Born 16 April 1940 at the Amalienborg Palacein Copenhagen. Queen regnant of the Kingdom of Denmark. As the oldest child of King Frederick IX andIngrid of Sweden, she succeeded her fatherwhen he died on 14 January 1972; upon heraccession, she became Denmark’s firstfemale monarch since Margrethe I, ruler ofthe Scandinavian countries from 1375-1412during the Kalmar Union. Was born in 1940, even though she did notbecome heiress presumptive until 1953, whena constitutional modification permitted womento take over the throne (after it becameapparent that King Fredrick was implausibleto have any male issue). Married Henri de Laborde de Monpezat in1967; they have three sons: Crown PrinceFredrick (born 1968) and Prince Joachim(born 1969).
Helle Thorning-Schmidt Born 14 December 1966 in Rødovre. PM of Denmark since 3 October 2011 andleader of the Social Democrats since 12April 2005; is the first woman to hold eitherposition. Was previously an MEP for Denmarkbetween 1999-2004 prior to her election tothe Danish Parliament in 2005; waselected to replace Mogens Lykketoft asleader of the Social Democrats followingthe 2005 parliamentary election. Led her party through the subsequent2007 parliamentary election, which thecentre-right alliance claimed victory in, andthe 2011 parliamentary election, afterwhich she was named PM by QueenMargrethe II. Holds degrees in political science from theUniversity of Copenhagen and the Collegeof Europe.
Mogens Lykketoft Born 9 January 1946 in Copenhagen. Ex-government minister and current Speaker of the Folketing;assumed office on 16 September 2011 after the 2011 Danishparliamentary election the preceding day. Succeeded ex-Danish PM Poul Nyrup Rasmussen as leader of theSocial Democratic party in December 2002. Held posts as Finance Minister (25 January 1993-21 December 2000)and Foreign Minister (21 December 2000-27 November 2001) in thecabinets of Poul Nyrup Rasmussen I, II, III and IV (which governedfrom 1993-2001). Resigned as leader of the Social Democratic party following thatparty’s defeat in the 2005 Danish parliamentary election. Is the son of paint dealer Axel Lykketoft and Martha Lykketoft. Holds a degree in economics from the University of Copenhagen(1971). Was Minister for Taxation from 20 January 1981-10 September 1982. Has served the posts, within his party, of Foreign Policy Spokesmanfrom 2005, chairman of his party (2002-2005), economic and politicalaffairs spokesman and finance policy spokesman (1988-1991), andpolitical spokesman twice (1991-1993 and 2001-2002); has been amember of various bodies such as the Income Tax Committee (1975-1977), the Board of Assessors twice (1976-1981 and 1984-1993),chairman of the Folketing’s Fiscal Affairs Committee (1984-1986), theFolketing’s Trade and Industry Committee (1987-1988), and of theFolketing’s Economic and Political Affairs Committee (1988-1990). Was also head of department at the Economic Council of the LabourMovement (1975-1981).
Venstre Conservative-liberal political party in Denmark. Founded as part of a peasants movement in opposition to thelanded aristocracy; advocates an economic liberal pro-free marketideology in the modern day, is Denmark’s major centre-right party,and its biggest party. Previously ruled in coalition with the Conservative People’s Party,with backing from the Danish People’s Party. Won 26.7% of the vote, and 47/179 seats, in the 2011parliamentary elections; is currently led by Lars LøkkeRasmussen, who took over as both party leader and PM fromAnders Fogh Rasmussen (with whom he has no relation;Rasmussen is a common name in Denmark) in 2009. Is a liberal party within the Nordic agrarian ritual, although today itis prominently more pro-free market than its sister parties. Some classify Venstre as classical liberal, because Anders FoghRasmussen, its leader from 1998-2009, is acknowledged for hisauthorship of the book From Social State to Minimal State (Frasocialstat til minimalstat); that book spoke in favor of an extensivechange of the Danish welfare state on classical liberal lines, suchas lower taxes and less government intervention in corporate andindividual issues. In subsequent years, Anders Fogh Ramussen has abanodonedhis earlier views, calling liberalism an out-of-date idealogy. Member of Liberal International (International affiliation) and theAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (Europeanaffiliation). Three MEPs from Denmark are members of Venstre; they sitalongside the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe groupin the EP.
Social Democrats Danish political party devoted to the political ideology ofsocial democracy. Has been the senior coalition partner in government sincethe 2011 parliamentary election, with party leader HelleThorning-Schmidt as PM. Is the second-biggest party in the Folketing; has 44/179seats. Founded by Louis Pio in 1871; first entered the Folketing in1884. By the early 20th century, it became the party with thebiggest representation in the Folketing, a distinction it wenton to hold for 77 years. First created a government in 1924, under ThorvaldStauning, the longest-serving Danish PM of the 20th century. Put forth a profound effect on Danish society underStauning’s government, bringing about the establishment ofthe Danish welfare state. Member of Socialist International (International affiliation),Party of European Socialists (European affiliation), andProgressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (EPgroup); the Social Democrats have four MEPs in the EP, anincrease of three after the 2004 election. Gained an additional MEP in March 2013: Emilie Turunenleft the Socialist People’s Party in favor of SocialDemocrats.