For current international students

About Denmark

Denmark is a safe, culturally rich and well-organised country

Geography and climate

Denmark is situated in northern Europe; it is one of the Nordic countries and part of Scandinavia. Greenland and the Faeroe Islands are also part of Denmark, but they are autonomous regions. Denmark consists of the Jutland peninsula and a large number of big and small islands.

The country is relatively flat, and the highest point rising to only 173 m. About 65 per cent is farmland, 11 per cent woodland and the rest is built-up areas, roads, and lakes. The winters are wet, and with only little snow. The temperature falls to -5-10°C in the winter, whereas the summer temperature rises to 15-25°C.

Population and language

The population numbers 5.6 million people, and the population density is 130 people per square kilometre. The capital is Copenhagen with around 1.2 million inhabitants. Copenhagen – often called the Paris of the North – has an old, historical centre and a large network of pedestrian streets, bicycle paths and parks.

The official language is Danish, and most people understand and speak English. The number of immigrants has doubled over the past 20 years and now corresponds to roughly 5 per cent of the population.

Politics

Denmark is a modern welfare state and a constitutional monarchy with a record of kings and queens dating back to year 1000. A democratically elected government and a parliament, the Folketing, govern the country.

Many political parties are represented in parliament (often 10 to 15 parties). Denmark has a high standard of social security and free public services, including a high quality educational sector. The Danes pay one of the highest tax rates in the world in order to make these services possible.

Denmark has a strong international commitment and is a member of the European Union, the Nordic Council, the United Nations and NATO.

Denmark has been a member of the European Union since 1973, but the population is divided into two equally sized blocs of pro and con. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty allowed Denmark four opt-outs of the Union in areas such as common defence policy and union citizenship.

The opt-outs can only be renounced by a referendum, and in 2000, Denmark voted against participation in the European Monetary Union at a referendum. The Danish currency therefore remains kroner, DKK, though linked to the Euro.

Economy

Denmark is ranked among the countries in the world with the highest standard of living.

Since 1963, industry has accounted for the major part of exports. However, North Sea oil and natural gas become increasingly important to the economy, as do biotechnology and information technology.

A very high percentage of women are active on the labour market, and the unemployment rate has been relatively low since the mid 1990es.

Education

The educational level of the population is high with 77 per cent of a year group completing a vocationally qualifying education. Tuition is free, and there are nine years of compulsory education. Public expenditure on education and training corresponds to 7 per cent of the country’s GDP and around 13 per cent of total public expenditure.

Adult learning plays a considerable role in the educational system, and many Danes participate in some kind of formal or informal learning. Denmark is also known for its many local associations and organisations at grassroot level.

More information

Denmark has an official webportal, where much more information is provided. You may also download the newest fact sheet about Denmark, officially approved by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Denmark.

You can also visit the National Student Guide, on Study in Denmark’s website.

About this page

This page is updated by Stephanie Sørensen April 22, 2015.