August 17, 2015

Incredibly interesting facts you should know about Denmark!

When choosing your next holiday destination it’s sometimes hard to let your compass show north. Why? Because being famously expensive, the Nordic Countries have the potential of making your pockets point south (aka falling stock exchange indexes or downright bankruptcy).

However, with the right amount of research and planning (as many months in advance as possible) you can turn the Nordics from financially exotic dreams to surprising reality!

Surprising in the most literal sense of the word, as Denmark, Norway or Sweden are brimming with sweet particularities just waiting to get under your skin.

Let’s start in Copenhagen, why don’t we?

! This is the first thing that foreigners are amazed and amused by: no one ever crosses the red traffic lights, even when no cars or bicycles are coming! The Danish are very disciplined rule-followers and always wait for the green light.

! In a Danish dictionary, there is no equivalent for the word “please”. Even expressions like “Excuse me!” or “Thank you!” are difficult to translate. The Danes are very polite and respectful, but these polite formulas just don’t exist in their language.

! The Danes have a strong sense of irony and humor.

! The UN World Happiness Report has rated the Danes as the happiest people on Earth for two consecutive years.

! In Copenhagen, there are more bikes than inhabitants. And more than 50% of the population go to work by bike every day.

! Copenhagen even has a shopping center that features bicycles, for the lady-shoppers to be able to also try their clothing on next to and on the bike.

! Bikes are, of course, also allowed, if not straight welcome, on public transport, even trains.

! Car taxes are as high as 180%, as Denmark’s plan is to go completely green by 2025. Reason why all cars are small and with as modest a consumption as possible. There sure must be a link between this and the Danes’ love affair with bikes…

! The Danes have been hearty beer consumers since immemorial times, also because it was believed that beer could cure most of medical problems, kidneys stones and depression among them. Depression? I can, again, see a link between this and their being the happiest people on Earth…

! Carlsberg and Tuborg are two of the most famous Danish beer brands. I guess the best beer in the world doesn’t come from Germany after all…

! Having been documented from as early as 1219, Denmark’s national flag, the Dannebrog (the flag of the Danes), is the oldest flag in the world still in use by an independent nation.

! There virtually is no birthday cake without the flag of Denmark on the top of it – their flag is an important symbol and a great reason of pride to most Danes.

 

36_Janina Nectara Nyhavn Copenhagen Denmark

 

 

 

 

 

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! Several of the houses lining the quays of Nyhavn – the port canal in Copenhagen – have been the homes of prominent artists. Hans Christian Andersen lived at no. 67, where a memorial plaque now stands.

! Hans Christian Andersen is, probably, the most famous Dane. He was born in 1805 and wrote 24 fairytale “booklets”. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for these fairytales, among which: “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “The Little Mermaid”, “The Nightingale”, “The Snow Queen”, “The Ugly Duckling” and, my favorite, “The Little Match Girl”.

! Whether it’s raining or snowing, in Denmark babies can and often will nap outside, in their pram.

! Also, parents are used to leaving their babies outside shops or cafes, while they step in, with no worries of someone stealing their baby or anything bad happening.

! The Danes love quality food. Noma has been among the world’s best restaurants – often no 1 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) – for several years now.

! The Danish Royal family is probably the oldest uninterrupted monarchy in the world. The Danish monarchy has existed for over 1 000 years and it is supported by some 85% of the Danish population.

! The famous brick-building set LEGO is actually Danish!

 

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! Disneyland was inspired by Tivoli, the famous amusement park and pleasure garden in Copenhagen. Walt Disney visited Tivoli Gardens and was so impressed that he decided to create something similar in America: Disneyland!

! King Christian VIII ordered to build an amusement park – Tivoli -, reasoning that “when people amuse themselves, they forget politics.”

! Dyrehavsbakken is the world’s oldest amusement park. You can find it in Denmark as well, while Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world.

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! The Vikings – a modern genuine myth and, arguably, a poor historical accuracy one – are not to be confused with the Norsemen. The latter were the ethnical entity formed by the Norse-speaking peoples from the Scandinavian area, while the Vikings were Norsemen sea-faring conquerors, pirates and traders – thus, an occupation.

! Denmark is the homeland of the Germanic ethnicity and culture. Most people in Germany, the Benelux, Northern and Eastern France, and Britain can claim to have Danish ancestry. The Franks, Burgundians, Jutes all trace their origins back to Denmark.

! Denmark has a total of 14 Nobel laureates. With its relatively small population, this is one of the highest numbers of Nobel laureates per capita in the world.

! Life expectancy for Danish women is 79, while for men 74.

! The Danish have the lowest income inequality in the world, with a Gini index of 24.7 in 1997.

! Denmark has the highest employment rate in Europe (75%).

! Denmark is considered the “least corrupt” country in the world. It is also second in terms of freedom of the press.

! Denmark is an archipelago made up of over 440 named islands, 70 of which are inhabited.

! No place in Denmark is more than 30 miles (50 km) from the sea.

 

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Photos: Visit Denmark