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The government and national parliament are seated in Copenhagen, the nation's capital, largest city and main commercial centre.

Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs.

Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948; in Greenland home rule was established in 1979 and further autonomy in 2009.

It is among the founding members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, and the United Nations; it is also part of the Schengen Area.

Denmark, Sweden and Norway were ruled together under the Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523.

Denmark and Norway remained under the same monarch until outside forces dissolved the union in 1814.

In the 19th century there was a surge of nationalist movements, which were defeated in the 1864 Second Schleswig War. In April 1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945.

An industrialised exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms in the early 20th century that created the basis for the present welfare state model with a highly developed mixed economy.

The union with Norway made it possible for Denmark to inherit the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland.

Beginning in the 17th century, there were several cessions of territory to Sweden.

The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate.

The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea.

The Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy which had begun in 1660.

It establishes a constitutional monarchy organised as a parliamentary democracy.