Denmark is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Scandinavia for its stunning architecture, world-class art galleries and peaceful countryside. Despite being a relatively small nation, it is loaded with history and a vibrant culture whether you’re a foodie, art buff or just fancy some of Copenhagen’s charm. Whether you’re a local or planning to visit, some of these tidbits may surprise you. Here are seven fascinating facts about Denmark.
7 of the Most Interesting Facts About Denmark
1. Denmark Has the Oldest Flag in the World
Dating back to the 13th century, Denmark is home to the oldest flag in the world. Well, continuously held national flag, that is. Legend has it that the white Scandinavian cross atop a red background first came about in 1219 during the battle of Lyndanisse which ultimately led to their defeat of Latvia. In the several centuries since its inception, it has become one of the most recognizable banners globally.
2. The Danish Monarchy is one of the Oldest in the World
Speaking of old things, the Danish Monarchy is one of the oldest kingdoms in the world. Even more interestingly, it was originally an elective monarchy (for the people, hoo-ray) and didn’t become a hereditary monarchy until the 17th century; and then a constitutional marchy in the 19th century. Established in 935, it’s beaten only by seven other nations globally. Among them are the British Empire, the Sultanate of Oman, and the oldest in the world – the Imperial House of Japan.
3. It’s Small and Big at the Same Time
Denmark is a relatively small nation falling somewhere between West Virginia and Maryland in area. However, when you take into account the entire Kingdom of Denmark, its geographical footprint grows exponentially. The Kingdom of Denmark has more than 440 islands, among them are the Faroe Islands and the largest non-continental island on earth – Greenland.
4. Danes are Pretty Happy
It’s no secret that Scanivaian countries tend to bode pretty well on the happiness scale and quality of life. Denmark is no exception. In fact, according to the 2020 World Happiness Report, Denmark ranks globally as number two following closely behind Finland and beating out other nations such as Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.
5. It’s a Cyclists Paradise
The Netherlands aren’t the only place famous for bicycle lines streets and droves of cyclists heading down the road at once. In Denmark, cycling is such a huge hobby and part of a Danish lifestyle that there are more bicycles than people and more than 50% of Copenhageners cycle to and from work. It’s pretty easy, too. After all, Denmark is incredibly flat with the highest point in the nation coming in at just 170m on the hill of Mollehoj.
6. Danish Pastries Actually Aren’t Danish at all
One of the most interesting facts about Denmark has to do with one of the nation’s most famous cafe delights. Everyone loves a jam-filled danish pastry, or danish for short with a stout cup of coffee. But did you know that they didn’t originate in Denmark? That’s right. Danish pastries actually hail from Vienna. In fact, in Danish, the name for these pastries is actually “wienerbrød” or “Viennese bread.” Regardless of where it originated, Danes have certainly made it their own over the centuries, and for that, we’re grateful.
7. It’s Home to the Oldest Amusement Parks in the World
Step aside Walt Disney, when it comes to amusement parks, Denmark knows a thing or two. In fact, Denmark is home to the world’s oldest and second oldest amusement parks; Bakken and Tivoli Gardens, respectively. Bakken, short for Dyrehavsbakken first opened in 1583, and Tivoli Gardens dates back to the summer of 1843.