Denmark

Understand

“My life is a lovely story, happy and full of incident.” — Hans Christian Andersen

Terrain

Denmark is home to the lowest 'highest point' in Europe; but what that exactly entails is somewhat uncertain. Ejer Baunehøj, in the Lake District region south-west of Aarhus, seems to be the highest natural point 171m with a large tower built on top to commemorate the fact, although Yding Skovhøj, some 3km away stands 2m higher owing to an ancient burial mound. Either way, the 213m tall Søsterhøj Transmission Tower 1956, with its top 315m above sea level is technically the highest point in Denmark!

Overall, the terrain is dominated by mildly undulating agricultural landscapes, forests, minor lakes, extensive costal dunes, and marshes. Also, there are some scattered moors, especially in Jutland. The coastal scenery can be quite varied, and it includes the white cliffs of Møn, forested and deserted dune areas such as those near Skagen including Råbjerg Mile and Rubjerg Knude, the cliffs of the Stevns peninsula and those of Bulbjerg and the Fur island. In Denmark, decidedly rocky scenery can only be found on Bornholm and nearby Ertholmene.

Culture

Culture
 

Sports are popular in Denmark, with football reigning supreme in popularity and counted as the national sport, followed by Gymnastics, Handball and Golf.

Another trait of Danish culture as any tourist pamphlet will tell you, is "Hygge", translating into cosy or snug. Danes will be quick to point out that this is a unique Danish concept. However true, it does take a more prominent place in the culture compared to other countries. Hygge usually involves low key dinners at home with long conversations over candlelight and red wine in the company of friends and family, but the word is broadly used for social interactions.

Another important aspect of Danish culture, is understatement and modesty, which is not only prominent in the Danish behavioural patterns. It is also very much an important trait in the famous Danish design, which dictates strict minimalism and functionalism over flashiness.

The Danes are a fiercely patriotic bunch, but in a sly, low-key kind of way. They will warmly welcome visitors and show off the country, which they are rightly proud of, but any criticism - however constructive - will not be taken lightly. However, most Danes will happily spend hours to prove you wrong over a beer without becoming hostile. For the same reasons, outsiders on long term stays can be viewed with a certain amount of suspicion, as the homogeneous society is often thought to be the key to Denmark's successes. You will often hear resident foreigners complain about a constant pressure to become ever more Danish and the anti-immigrant Danish Peoples Party have seen increasing popularity over the years, taking 20% of the votes at the latest election which makes it Denmark's 2nd largest political party.

Culture
 

Denmark is often praised as being one of the greenest countries in the world but apart from the ubiquitous bikes, the individual Danes are surprisingly nonchalant about the environment despite their reputation. As with so many other things, environmentalism is viewed as a collective responsibility. The Social Democratic leadership enacted a series of reforms, mainly green taxation, between 1993-2001, that made Danish society as a whole especially in industrial production one of the most energy efficient in the world. As a result, these technological advances has become of the country's largest export. Examples include thermostats, wind turbines and home insulation. Because of this, green policies enjoy unusually broad support among the people and the entire political spectrum. 20% of energy productions come from renewable energy, mainly wind power. This is made possible by the common Nordic energy market and the massive hydro energy resources in Norway and Sweden, which can easily be regulated up and down to balance the unreliable wind production.

All these green visions do have a few tangible implications for travellers:

Plastic bags cost money; DKK1-5 - non refundable, so bring a bag for shopping groceries.

Cans and bottles have DKK1-3 deposit, refundable everywhere that sells the given product. This is why you´ll see some people having made a supplementary income or a "profession" of collecting empty bottles.

Many toilets have half and full flush buttons, now - you figure out when to use which.

There is a roughly 100% DKK4 tax on gasoline, the total price usually hovers between DKK 9-11 per litre. USD7-8 per gallon.

In many counties you need to sort your waste in two separate 'biological' and 'burnable' containers.