Context of Denmark

Denmark (Danish: Danmark, pronounced [ˈtænmɑk] (listen)) is a Nordic constituent country in Northern Europe. It is the metropolitan part of and most populous constituent of the Kingdom of Denmark, a constitutionally unitary state that includes the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland in the North Atlantic Ocean. Metropolitan Denmark is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, lying south-west and south (Bornholm and Ertholmene) of Sweden, south of Norway, and north of Germany, with which it shares a short and only land border.

As of 2013, the Kingdom of Denmark, including the Faroe Islands and Greenland, has a total of 1,419 islands above 100 square metres (1,100 sq ft); 443 of which have been named and of which 78 are inhabited. Spa...Read more

Denmark (Danish: Danmark, pronounced [ˈtænmɑk] (listen)) is a Nordic constituent country in Northern Europe. It is the metropolitan part of and most populous constituent of the Kingdom of Denmark, a constitutionally unitary state that includes the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland in the North Atlantic Ocean. Metropolitan Denmark is the southernmost of the Scandinavian countries, lying south-west and south (Bornholm and Ertholmene) of Sweden, south of Norway, and north of Germany, with which it shares a short and only land border.

As of 2013, the Kingdom of Denmark, including the Faroe Islands and Greenland, has a total of 1,419 islands above 100 square metres (1,100 sq ft); 443 of which have been named and of which 78 are inhabited. Spanning a total area of 42,943 km2 (16,580 sq mi), metropolitan Denmark consists of the northern part of the Jutland peninsula and an archipelago of 406 islands. Of these, the most populated island is Zealand, on which the capital Copenhagen is situated, followed by Funen, the North Jutlandic Island, and Amager. Denmark's geography is characterised by flat, arable land, sandy coasts, low elevation, and a temperate climate. It had a population of 5.935 million (1 February 2023), of which 800,000 (2 million in the wider area) live in the capital and largest city, Copenhagen. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs. Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948 and in Greenland in 1979; the latter obtained further autonomy in 2009.

The unified Kingdom of Denmark emerged in the eighth century as a proficient maritime power amid the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. In 1397, it joined Norway and Sweden to form the Kalmar Union, which persisted until the latter's secession in 1523. The remaining Kingdom of Denmark–Norway endured a series of wars in the 17th century that resulted in further territorial cessions to the Swedish Empire. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was absorbed into Sweden, leaving Denmark with the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. A surge of nationalist movements in the 19th century were defeated in the First Schleswig War of 1848, though the Second Schleswig War of 1864 resulted in further territorial losses to Prussia. The period saw the adoption of the Constitution of Denmark on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy that was established in 1660 and introducing the current parliamentary system.

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, which formed the basis for the present welfare state model and advanced mixed economy. Denmark remained neutral during World War I but regained the northern half of Schleswig in 1920. Danish neutrality was violated in World War II following a swift German invasion in April 1940. During occupation, a resistance movement emerged in 1943 while Iceland declared independence in 1944; Denmark was liberated in May 1945. Soviet forces left Bornholm 5 April 1946. In 1973, Denmark, together with Greenland but not the Faroes, became a member of what is now the European Union, but negotiated certain opt-outs, such as retaining its own currency, the krone.

Denmark is a developed country with a high standard of living. Denmark is a founding member of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, and the United Nations; it is also part of the Schengen Area. Denmark maintains close political, cultural, and linguistic ties with its Scandinavian neighbours, with the Danish language being partially mutually intelligible with both Norwegian and Swedish.

More about Denmark

Basic information
  • Currency Danish krone
  • Native name Danmark
  • Calling code +45
  • Internet domain .dk
  • Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 9.15
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 5822863
  • Area 42925
  • Driving side right
History
  • Prehistory
     
    The gilded side of the Trundholm sun chariot dating from the Nordic Bronze Age

    The earliest archaeological finds in Denmark date back to the Eem interglacial period from 130,000 to 110,000 BC.[1] Denmark has been inhabited since around 12,500 BC and agriculture has been evident since 3900 BC.[2] The Nordic Bronze Age (1800–600 BC) in Denmark was marked by burial mounds, which left an abundance of findings including lurs and...Read more

    Prehistory
     
    The gilded side of the Trundholm sun chariot dating from the Nordic Bronze Age

    The earliest archaeological finds in Denmark date back to the Eem interglacial period from 130,000 to 110,000 BC.[1] Denmark has been inhabited since around 12,500 BC and agriculture has been evident since 3900 BC.[2] The Nordic Bronze Age (1800–600 BC) in Denmark was marked by burial mounds, which left an abundance of findings including lurs and the Sun Chariot.

    During the Pre-Roman Iron Age (500 BC – AD 1), native groups began migrating south, and the first tribal Danes came to the country between the Pre-Roman and the Germanic Iron Age,[3] in the Roman Iron Age (AD 1–400).[2] The Roman provinces maintained trade routes and relations with native tribes in Denmark, and Roman coins have been found in Denmark. Evidence of strong Celtic cultural influence dates from this period in Denmark and much of North-West Europe and is among other things reflected in the finding of the Gundestrup cauldron.

    The tribal Danes came from the east Danish islands (Zealand) and Scania and spoke an early form of North Germanic. Historians believe that before their arrival, most of Jutland and the nearest islands were settled by tribal Jutes. The Jutes migrated to Great Britain eventually, some as mercenaries of Brythonic King Vortigern, and were granted the south-eastern territories of Kent, the Isle of Wight and other areas, where they settled. They were later absorbed or ethnically cleansed by the invading Angles and Saxons, who formed the Anglo-Saxons. The remaining Jutish population in Jutland assimilated in with the settling Danes.

    A short note about the Dani in Getica by the historian Jordanes is believed to be an early mention of the Danes, one of the ethnic groups from whom modern Danes are descended.[4][5] The Danevirke defence structures were built in phases from the 3rd century forward and the sheer size of the construction efforts in AD 737 are attributed to the emergence of a Danish king.[6] A new runic alphabet was first used around the same time and Ribe, the oldest town of Denmark, was founded about AD 700.

    Viking and Middle Ages
     
    The Ladby ship, the largest ship burial found in Denmark.

    From the 8th to the 10th century the wider Scandinavian region was the source of Vikings. They colonised, raided, and traded in all parts of Europe. The Danish Vikings were most active in the eastern and southern British Isles and Western Europe. They settled in parts of England (known as the Danelaw) under King Sweyn Forkbeard in 1013, and in France where Danes and Norwegians were allowed to settle in what would become Normandy in exchange of allegiance to Robert I of France with Rollo as first ruler. Some Anglo-Saxon pence of this period have been found in Denmark.[7]

    Large stone containing a carved depiction of Jesus Christ 
    Larger of the two Jelling stones, raised by Harald Bluetooth

    Denmark was largely consolidated by the late 8th century and its rulers are consistently referred to in Frankish sources as kings (reges). Under the reign of Gudfred in 804 the Danish kingdom may have included all the lands of Jutland, Scania and the Danish islands, excluding Bornholm.[8]

    The extant Danish monarchy traces its roots back to Gorm the Old, who established his reign in the early 10th century.[9] As attested by the Jelling stones, the Danes were Christianised around 965 by Harald Bluetooth, the son of Gorm. It is believed that Denmark became Christian for political reasons so as not to get invaded by the Holy Roman Empire. A rising Christian power in Europe, the Holy Roman Empire was an important trading partner for the Danes. As a deterrent against this threat, Harald built six fortresses around Denmark called Trelleborg and built a further Danevirke. In the early 11th century, Canute the Great won and united Denmark, England, and Norway for almost 30 years with a Scandinavian army.[7]

    Throughout the High and Late Middle Ages, Denmark also included Skåneland (the areas of Scania, Halland, and Blekinge in present-day south Sweden) and Danish kings ruled Danish Estonia, as well as the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. Most of the latter two now form the state of Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany.

    In 1397, Denmark entered into a personal union with Norway and Sweden, united under Queen Margaret I.[10] The three countries were to be treated as equals in the union. However, even from the start, Margaret may not have been so idealistic—treating Denmark as the clear "senior" partner of the union.[11] Thus, much of the next 125 years of Scandinavian history revolves around this union, with Sweden breaking off and being re-conquered repeatedly. The issue was for practical purposes resolved on 17 June 1523, as Swedish King Gustav Vasa conquered the city of Stockholm. The Protestant Reformation spread to Scandinavia in the 1530s, and following the Count's Feud civil war, Denmark converted to Lutheranism in 1536. Later that year, Denmark entered into a union with Norway.

    Early modern history (1536–1849)
     
    Extent of the Dano-Norwegian Realm. After the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was ceded to Sweden while Denmark kept the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland.

    After Sweden permanently broke away from the personal union, Denmark tried on several occasions to reassert control over its neighbour. King Christian IV attacked Sweden in the 1611–1613 Kalmar War but failed to accomplish his main objective of forcing it to return to the union. The war led to no territorial changes, but Sweden was forced to pay a war indemnity of 1 million silver riksdaler to Denmark, an amount known as the Älvsborg ransom.[12] King Christian used this money to found several towns and fortresses, most notably Glückstadt (founded as a rival to Hamburg) and Christiania. Inspired by the Dutch East India Company, he founded a similar Danish company and planned to claim Ceylon as a colony, but the company only managed to acquire Tranquebar on India's Coromandel Coast. Denmark's large colonial aspirations included a few key trading posts in Africa and India. While Denmark's trading posts in India were of little note, it played an important role in the highly lucrative Atlantic slave trade, through its trading outposts in Fort Christiansborg in Osu, Ghana through which 1.5 million slaves were traded.[13] While the Danish colonial empire was sustained by trade with other major powers, and plantations – ultimately a lack of resources led to its stagnation.[14]

    In the Thirty Years' War, Christian tried to become the leader of the Lutheran states in Germany but suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Lutter.[15] The result was that the Catholic army under Albrecht von Wallenstein was able to invade, occupy, and pillage Jutland, forcing Denmark to withdraw from the war.[16] Denmark managed to avoid territorial concessions, but King Gustavus Adolphus' intervention in Germany was seen as a sign that the military power of Sweden was on the rise while Denmark's influence in the region was declining. Swedish armies invaded Jutland in 1643 and claimed Scania in 1644. In the 1645 Treaty of Brømsebro, Denmark surrendered Halland, Gotland, the last parts of Danish Estonia, and several provinces in Norway.

     
    The Assault on Copenhagen on 11 February 1659 during the Second Northern War. Danish defenders under King Frederick III successfully repelled the forces of the Swedish Empire. Painting by Frederik Christian Lund.

    Seeing an opportunity to tear up the Treaty of Brømsebro, King Frederick III of Denmark, in 1657, declared war on Sweden, the latter being deeply involved in the Second Northern War (1655–1660), and marched on Bremen-Verden. This led to a massive Danish defeat as the armies of King Charles X Gustav of Sweden conquered Jutland and, following the Swedish March across the frozen Danish straits, occupied Funen and much of Zealand before signing the Peace of Roskilde in February 1658, which gave Sweden control of Scania, Blekinge, Bohuslän, Trøndelag, and the island of Bornholm. Charles X Gustav quickly regretted not having ruined Denmark and in August 1658, he launched a second attack on Denmark, conquered most of the Danish islands, and began a two-year-long siege of Copenhagen. King Frederick III actively led the defence of the city, rallying its citizens to take up arms, and repelled the Swedish attacks.[17][18] The siege ended following the death of Charles X Gustav in 1660.[19] In the ensuing peace settlement, Denmark managed to maintain its independence and regain control of Trøndelag and Bornholm.[20] Attaining great popularity following the war, Frederick III used this to disband the elective monarchy in favour of absolute monarchy, which lasted until 1848 in Denmark.[21]

    Denmark tried but failed to regain control of Scania in the Scanian War (1675–1679). After the Great Northern War (1700–21), Denmark managed to regain control of the parts of Schleswig and Holstein ruled by the house of Holstein-Gottorp in the 1720 Treaty of Frederiksborg and the 1773 Treaty of Tsarskoye Selo, respectively. Denmark prospered greatly in the last decades of the 18th century due to its neutral status allowing it to trade with both sides in the many contemporary wars. In the Napoleonic Wars, Denmark traded with both France and the United Kingdom and joined the League of Armed Neutrality with Russia, Sweden, and Prussia.[22] The British considered this a hostile act and attacked Copenhagen in 1801 and 1807, in one case carrying off the Danish fleet, in the other, burning large parts of the Danish capital. This led to the so-called Danish-British Gunboat War. British control of the waterways between Denmark and Norway proved disastrous to the union's economy and in 1813 Denmark–Norway went bankrupt.

    The union was dissolved by the Treaty of Kiel in 1814; the Danish monarchy "irrevocably and forever" renounced claims to the Kingdom of Norway in favour of the Swedish king.[23] Denmark kept the possessions of Iceland (which retained the Danish monarchy until 1944), the Faroe Islands and Greenland, all of which had been governed by Norway for centuries.[24] Apart from the Nordic colonies, Denmark continued to rule over Danish India from 1620 to 1869, the Danish Gold Coast (Ghana) from 1658 to 1850, and the Danish West Indies from 1671 to 1917.

    Constitutional monarchy (1849–present)
     
    The National Constitutional Assembly was convened by King Frederick VII in 1848 to adopt the Constitution of Denmark.
    Liberal movement and cession of Schleswig and Holstein

    A nascent Danish liberal and national movement gained momentum in the 1830s; after the European Revolutions of 1848, Denmark peacefully became a constitutional monarchy on 5 June 1849. A new constitution established a two-chamber parliament. Denmark faced war against both Prussia and Austrian Empire in what became known as the Second Schleswig War, lasting from February to October 1864. Denmark was defeated and obliged to cede Schleswig and Holstein to Prussia. This loss came as the latest in the long series of defeats and territorial losses that had begun in the 17th century. After these events, Denmark pursued a policy of neutrality in Europe.

    Industrialization

    Industrialisation came to Denmark in the second half of the 19th century.[25] The nation's first railways were constructed in the 1850s, and improved communications and overseas trade allowed industry to develop in spite of Denmark's lack of natural resources. Trade unions developed, starting in the 1870s. There was a considerable migration of people from the countryside to the cities, and Danish agriculture became centred on the export of dairy and meat products.

    Denmark in World War I

    Denmark maintained its neutral stance during World War I. After the defeat of Germany, the Versailles powers offered to return the region of Schleswig-Holstein to Denmark. Fearing German irredentism, Denmark refused to consider the return of the area without a plebiscite; the two Schleswig Plebiscites took place on 10 February and 14 March 1920, respectively. On 10 July 1920, Northern Schleswig was recovered by Denmark, thereby adding some 163,600 inhabitants and 3,984 square kilometres (1,538 sq mi). The country's first social democratic government took office in 1924.[26]

    German non-aggression pact and invasion

    In 1939 Denmark signed a 10-year non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany but Germany invaded Denmark on 9 April 1940 and the Danish government quickly surrendered. World War II in Denmark was characterised by economic co-operation with Germany until 1943, when the Danish government refused further co-operation and its navy scuttled most of its ships and sent many of its officers to Sweden, which was neutral. The Danish resistance performed a rescue operation that managed to evacuate several thousand Jews and their families to safety in Sweden before the Germans could send them to death camps. Some Danes supported Nazism by joining the Danish Nazi Party or volunteering to fight with Germany as part of the Frikorps Danmark.[27] Iceland severed ties with Denmark and became an independent republic in 1944; Germany surrendered in May 1945. In 1948, the Faroe Islands gained home rule. In 1949, Denmark became a founding member of NATO.

     
    Denmark became a member of the European Union in 1973 and signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.

    Denmark was a founding member of European Free Trade Association (EFTA). During the 1960s, the EFTA countries were often referred to as the Outer Seven, as opposed to the Inner Six of what was then the European Economic Community (EEC).[28] In 1973, along with Britain and Ireland, Denmark joined the European Economic Community (now the European Union) after a public referendum. The Maastricht Treaty, which involved further European integration, was rejected by the Danish people in 1992; it was only accepted after a second referendum in 1993, which provided for four opt-outs from policies. The Danes rejected the euro as the national currency in a referendum in 2000. Greenland gained home rule in 1979 and was awarded self-determination in 2009. Neither the Faroe Islands nor Greenland are members of the European Union, the Faroese having declined membership of the EEC in 1973 and Greenland in 1986, in both cases because of fisheries policies.

    Constitutional change in 1953 led to a single-chamber parliament elected by proportional representation, female accession to the Danish throne, and Greenland becoming an integral part of Denmark. The centre-left Social Democrats led a string of coalition governments for most of the second half of the 20th century, introducing the Nordic welfare model. The Liberal Party and the Conservative People's Party have also led centre-right governments.

    ^ Michaelsen (2002), p. 19. ^ a b Nielsen, Poul Otto (May 2003). "Denmark: History, Prehistory". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Archived from the original on 22 November 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2006. ^ Busck (2002), p. 20. ^ Busck (2002), p. 19. ^ Jordanes (22 April 1997). "The Origin and Deeds of the Goths, chapter III". Translated by Charles C. Mierow. Archived from the original on 24 April 2006. Retrieved 1 May 2006. ^ Michaelsen (2002), pp. 122–123. ^ a b *Lund, Niels (May 2003). "Denmark – History – The Viking Age". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Archived from the original on 10 May 2006. Retrieved 24 June 2012. ^ Berend, Nora (22 November 2007). Christianization and the Rise of Christian Monarchy: Scandinavia, Central Europe and Rus' c.900–1200. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-46836-7 – via Google Books. ^ Stone et al. (2008), p. 31. ^ Stone et al. (2008), p. 33. ^ Lauring, Palle (1960) A History of the Kingdom of Denmark, Host & Son Co.: Copenhagen, p. 108. ^ "Kalmarkriget 1611–1613". Svenskt Militärhistoriskt Bibliotek. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 4 May 2007. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (5 November 2018). "Prince Charles says Britain's role in slave trade was an atrocity". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 5 November 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018. ^ Olson, James Stuart; Shadle, Robert, eds. (1991). Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-26257-9. Retrieved 15 May 2014. ^ Parker (1984), p. 78. ^ Parker (1984), p. 79. ^ Isacson (2002), p. 229. ^ Englund (2000), p. 610. ^ Stone et al. (2008), p. 35. ^ Frost (2000), pp. 180–183. ^ Ekman, Ernst (1957). "The Danish Royal Law of 1665". The Journal of Modern History. 29 (2): 102–107. doi:10.1086/237987. ISSN 0022-2801. S2CID 145652129. ^ "League of Armed Neutrality". Oxford Reference. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015. ^ Jenssen-Tusch, Georg Friedrich (1852). Zur Regierungsgeschichte Friedrich VI. Königs von Dänemark, Herzogs von Schleswig, Holstein und Lauenburg (in German). Verlag Schröder. p. 166. ^ Dörr, Oliver (2004). Kompendium völkerrechtlicher Rechtsprechung : eine Auswahl für Studium und Praxis. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. p. 101. ISBN 978-3-16-148311-0. ^ Tellier, Luc-Normand (2009). Urban world history an economic and geographical perspective. Québec: Presses de l'Université du Québec. p. 457. ISBN 978-2-7605-2209-1. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2015. ^ "Lost in translation: Epic goes to Denmark". Politico. Retrieved 10 June 2019. ^ Rugg, Andy. "Traitor Danes: most soldiers return heroes, but this lot came home total zeroes". Copenhagen Post. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013. ^ "Finland: Now, the Seven and a Half". Time. 7 April 1961. Archived from the original on 4 November 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2009.
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Stay safe
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    Stay safe

    Dial 1-1-2 (Alarm 112) in an emergency for emergency services in case of accidents, serious crime and fire — situations that are dangerous for life, health, property or the environment. This is toll free, and will work even from cell phones without a SIM card. For the police in non-emergencies call 1-1-4 (Service 114).

    Generally: Denmark is a very safe country, with almost no risk of natural disasters or animal attacks. There is one poisonous, but rare and non-aggressive, snake (the European viper or Hugormin Danish) in some heathlands, and a stinging, bottom dwelling fish called "Fjæsing", known as Greater Weever (Trachinus draco) in English. Its sting is painful, but not generally lethal. It is strong enough however to be lethal to children and the elderly, so medical treatment is always encouraged. Red stinging jellyfish sometimes infest bathing waters in great numbers. Their sting can be painful, but has no adverse effects on humans. They are dish-sized, easy to spot and avoid. As in the rest of Europe and the world at large, borrelia carrying ticks have also been on the rise in Denmark. Always check your body for attaching ticks, when you have been in the wild, especially when legs and arms are bare and the vegetation high. If they are removed quickly, no disease will be transmitted. If infection does occur, a red ring will occur around the bite, and you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

    Since 1 August 2018 it has been prohibited by law to wear garments that hides the human face in public, unless there is a creditable purpose – officially called tildækningsforbud (coverban), also known as maskeringsforbud (maskingban) and burkaforbud (burqaban). A fine of 1,000 kr is given at the first violation, 2,000 kr for the second violation, 5,000 kr for the third violation and 10,000 kr for the fourth violation. The police has issued a set of guidelines that gives an assessment of what can be considered a creditable purpose. Wearing a burqa, niqab or balaclava in public is not considered a creditable purpose according to the guidelines.

    Compared to most other countries, crime and traffic are only minor risks, and the most serious crime visitors are likely to encounter is non-violent pickpocketing.

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe

    Dial 1-1-2 (Alarm 112) in an emergency for emergency services in case of accidents, serious crime and fire — situations that are dangerous for life, health, property or the environment. This is toll free, and will work even from cell phones without a SIM card. For the police in non-emergencies call 1-1-4 (Service 114).

    Generally: Denmark is a very safe country, with almost no risk of natural disasters or animal attacks. There is one poisonous, but rare and non-aggressive, snake (the European viper or Hugormin Danish) in some heathlands, and a stinging, bottom dwelling fish called "Fjæsing", known as Greater Weever (Trachinus draco) in English. Its sting is painful, but not generally lethal. It is strong enough however to be lethal to children and the elderly, so medical treatment is always encouraged. Red stinging jellyfish sometimes infest bathing waters in great numbers. Their sting can be painful, but has no adverse effects on humans. They are dish-sized, easy to spot and avoid. As in the rest of Europe and the world at large, borrelia carrying ticks have also been on the rise in Denmark. Always check your body for attaching ticks, when you have been in the wild, especially when legs and arms are bare and the vegetation high. If they are removed quickly, no disease will be transmitted. If infection does occur, a red ring will occur around the bite, and you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

    Since 1 August 2018 it has been prohibited by law to wear garments that hides the human face in public, unless there is a creditable purpose – officially called tildækningsforbud (coverban), also known as maskeringsforbud (maskingban) and burkaforbud (burqaban). A fine of 1,000 kr is given at the first violation, 2,000 kr for the second violation, 5,000 kr for the third violation and 10,000 kr for the fourth violation. The police has issued a set of guidelines that gives an assessment of what can be considered a creditable purpose. Wearing a burqa, niqab or balaclava in public is not considered a creditable purpose according to the guidelines.

    Compared to most other countries, crime and traffic are only minor risks, and the most serious crime visitors are likely to encounter is non-violent pickpocketing.

    On foot: In cities Danes drive by the rules, and they have every expectation that pedestrians do the same. Therefore, it is important to obey Walk/Do not Walk signals and avoid jaywalking in cities, simply because cars will not slow down since you are not supposed to be there. Traffic signals are obeyed around the clock, so do not get surprised to see law-abiding Danes, in the dead of night with not a single vehicle or bicycle in sight, patiently waiting for green light. You are supposed to do the same. Also, take good notice of the dedicated bike lanes when crossing any street to avoid dangerous situations as bikers tend to ride fast and have right of way on these lanes. On the beach: Do not bathe alone. Do not get too far away from land. Swim along the coast rather than away from it. In some areas undertow is a danger, and kills a number of tourists every year, but will mostly be signed at the beach. On many beaches, flags indicate water quality. A blue flag means excellent water quality, green flag means good water quality, red flag means that bathing is not advised. A sign with the text "Badning forbudt" means that bathing is forbidden. Obey these signs, as it often means that the water is polluted with poisonous algae, bacteria, or chemicals, or that there is a dangerous undertow. Beaches on small islands are often prone to tidal waters, especially in the Wadden Sea. In the city: A few districts in major cities are probably best avoided at night by the unwary, or by lone women - but unlike in North America, it is often the suburban projects that are unsafe, not the downtown areas. Tourists will rarely pass through these outskirt areas by chance, but exchange students occasionally end up in apartments here without being aware of these districts reputation beforehand.
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