Ten things you did not know about Denmark

What about a few virtual trips around the world to see which country is the best summer destination? Today we’re setting our sights on the wonders of Denmark. Situated in Northern Europe and made up of the Jutland peninsula and more than 400 islands in the Northern Sea, Denmark is one of the world’s most prosperous countries with some of the happiest citizens in the world. Denmark was once covered with trees but sadly almost all of the original forest has been chopped down. The country is mostly flat with gently rolling hills shaped by glaciers that move slowly around the landmass during the ice age. Denmark is a constitutional monarchy and has the longest unbroken line of rulers in Europe. Whether you fall in love with Denmark’s natural beauty, landscapes or with its beautiful cities, this Nordic country will put a spell on you no matter what.  

1 – Danish ancestors are Vikings. 

The Viking Age is the period between 990 and 1066. It said that the Danish Vikings were the most active of them all. They conquered Britain, France and Western Europe. Vikings were pagans who lived by their own mythology and beliefs with powerful gods like Odin and Thor. Their mythology became so popular that it inspired a lot of books, modern mythology, fantasy movies and TV shows. The Viking’s ultimate purpose was to resist Christianity from spreading by all means and up to this day, very few Scandinavian people are Christians.

2 – They have the world’s happiest citizens. 

A lot of studies show that Danes are amongst the happiest people in the world. The Danish government actually takes care of their people. Danish get free access to healthcare, education and 10 months of maternity or paternity leave. There is a high standard of living in Denmark, and this standard lets the country rank high in some metrics of national performance in categories like education, health care, the protection of civil liberties, democratic governance, prosperity and human development.

3 – The movie ‘Frozen’ was based on a fairytale written by a Danish author. 

The 2013 movie ‘Frozen’ popular not only amongst children but amongst parents and teenagers too, is based on the original children’s tale The Snow Queen written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The author is widely known for fairy tales like the Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, The Nightingale, The Ugly Duckling and Thumbelina. To honour his work and his legacy, the city of Copenhagen named a boulevard after him and dedicated a statue to one of his famous characters, the Little Mermaid. The statue will be 107 years old this year and one of the most beautiful art pieces in Denmark.

Beach Copenhagen Denmark visit travel

4 – Lego toys are originally from Denmark. 

Lego is originally from Denmark and has been manufacturing the beloved toys since 1949. Lego has mega shops all round the world. They produce 19 billion pieces of Lego every year and their toys are even used at NASA Kennedy Space Center for building prototypes ships and learning. Last year, they released a new collection cherishing the women who helped and worked throughout the years for a better understanding of space. The collection is called “Women of NASA”.

5 – A lot of famous actors, musicians and bands come from Denmark. 

A lot of well-known actors are from Denmark. Mads Mikkelsen played Hannibal on the TV series of the same name. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau played Jaime Lannister on the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ and his colleague, Carice Van Houten played Melisandre on the same TV series. The characters played by Danish people are strangely usually weird, dark, mean and evil. The drummer from the band called Metallica, one of the most successful rock bands, is also from Denmark.

6 – Denmark has a strong cycling culture. 

Danish people are known for their love of biking, Denmark being one of the most developed countries when it comes to cycling culture. The capital of Denmark, Copenhagen was named in 2017 the world’s most liveable city and the best city for cyclists. That comes as no surprise since Copenhagen is a haven for cyclists and environmentalists with over 390 km of bike lanes. The cycling culture is so strong that kids are learning how to ride a bike from a young age. Denmark is leading by example and countries like the US, China, Mexico and Australia started to become more bike-friendly as well.

7 – Denmark banished plastic bags. 

8 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the oceans each year. There will be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans by 2050 if current trends continue. Therefore, taking the initiative to ban plastic bags is very important and every country should do so. Denmark and other countries like Hongkong, South Africa or Botswana successfully banned plastic bags due to environmental issues and pollution. It’s a massive step towards stopping plastic waste and they managed to inspire other countries to act the same on this matter. The average Dane for example now uses just four single-use plastic bags a year after the introduction of a plastic use fee in 1994.

Denmark flag visit Copenhagen

8 – Jewellery brand Pandora comes from Denmark.

Pandora started as a family-run jewellery shop in Copenhagen. Per Enevoldsen founded it in 1982 and the jewellery company soon became a huge brand. The Pandora products are now sold in more than 100 countries on six continents to approximately 7,700 points of sale. The company is publicly listed and traded on NASDAQ and it is said to be worth $11.8 billion.

9 – Education is free in Denmark. 

The Danish government takes care of the people who live in Denmark through things like free healthcare, paid maternity or paternity leave and free education. The Danish government provides a combination for all students, fully furnished dorms or apartments and a monthly allowance of $900. This money comes from taxes that Danish are paying. The taxes are as high as 60% which makes Denmark an expensive country to live and work in. These taxes are based on a progressive tax system, a system that seems to work perfectly for Nordic countries. 

10 – They have a special word for a certain feeling. 

The word “Hygge” describes the cosy feeling of togetherness which gets you through the winter. You can find this word in the Norwegian vocabulary. The best English translation is cosiness, but the word has a deeper meaning and it can’t be translated through words alone. There’s also a book that is about this feeling and how to achieve it. After the success of the book, a lot of blogs started to come out talking about this word and this feeling. “Hygge” is one of the top 10 words of 2016. In fact, it ranks right behind Brexit in Collins dictionary “Words of the year”.

Ready to travel and visit Denmark?

Let us know in the comments what facts surprised you, and what else we should know about the country. We hope this article made you curious about it and sparked an interest in visiting.

Before traveling, make sure your travel documents are in order. If you would like to renew your passport, click here >
Also, before going abroad, we recommend you pack your European Health Insurance Card with you. To know more about the EHIC card or to renew it, please click here > And finally, don’t forget travel insurance. You can compare the prices for different policies here > 

Richard Howard