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Denmark

There are three main areas in Denmark – Jylland, Sjælland and Fyn, as well as also many small but very interesting islands. Up north in Jylland, you will find Skagen having it own art and painting school. The light is said to be spellbound in this area. Through the mainland you will find small and medium sized cities with their own atmosphere and identity.Going back in history, Denmark, as all Scandinavian countries, had it Kings and Vikings. They were in constant conflict with Norway and Sweden, and at the same time Denmark ruled a large part of Sweden and all of the old Norway. The Danish empire at those times stretched up to the Baltics and Estonia was invaded and baptised by Danish King Valdemar II.

After the Napoleon war in 1814 Denmark lost Norway to Sweden and kept Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland islands under own control. Iceland separated from Denmark in 1944 and Greenland is still Danish being the biggest part of the country.

A brief glimpse into Denmark’s history: Danes as a name appeared around year 500 ad. When the Viking era started, they went mainly to Northern England, Normandy and Germany/Netherlands. Denmark has a very good strategic position on the route to the Baltic Sea as well as all the way into Russia, which gave them control over the trade.

Denmark has been united as one kingdom in the 10th century by Gorm the Old. His son, Harald Blåtann, has expanded it. It is interesting to know that he is linked to the origin of Bluetooth – one of the worlds most used wireless technology today: the technology was named after him based on Harald’s ability to seek solutions through diplomacy. This made former enemies to sit and talk instead of fighting. The Bluetooth symbol is a bind rune of the old Nordic letters H and B.

Denmark faced hard times up through the ages – they had conflicts with the Hanseatic trade, were in regular fights with Norwegians, Swedes and Germans that all came to a sort of an end when Valdemar Atterdag died and his only living daughter Margrethe married the Norwegian king Haakon VI. Their son Olav, who was meant to be the new king of Denmark, died young. Queen Margrethe then ruled Norway, Sweden and Denmark in what is called The Kalmar Union, created in 1397. The union broke apart when Sweden egressed it in 1521 and Norway stayed in until 1814.

Denmark grew strong during the Middle Ages and Christian IV is still considered to be one of the best kings the country had. He was known as “the architect” among Danish kings. The most beautiful architecture in Denmark and Norway – specially in Oslo – has been made at Christian´s time. He built much in Denmark and has created cities like Christiania (current Oslo rebuilt after the great fire) and Kristiansand in Norway. If you think of Denmark, one of the first things that probably comes into your mind is design, the affection to which may have started with Christian IV and still evolved into Danish Design of today.

Denmark had colonies in India (Trankebar), Caribbean (Saint Thomas, Saint John and Santa Cruz) and even Christiansborg in Ghana.

The Napoleon war has weakened Denmark and leaded to a country bankruptcy. However, a great cultural evolution took place through the 19th century bringing up such great names, as H.C. Andersen and Kierkegaard.

When the WW2 started Demark kept neutrality. Germany has invaded the country and in 1943 Danish police was arrested, so a resistance grew up. After the end of the War Denmark was considered as an allied.

Margrethe became Queen of Denmark in 1972 and she still is the Queen today.

Denmark is liberal in many aspects – it was the first country to accept pornography as a literature in 1967 and as a picture in 1969.