Denmark (Danmark in Danish) is the southernmost and the smallest of the Nordic countries. It consists of the Jutland peninsula, prolonging the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, five large islands, (Zealand, Funen, Lolland, Falster and Bornholm), and hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Along with the nearby Netherlands, Denmark is one of the world's flattest and lowest lying countries. The highest point, Møllehøj, only rises to 171 metres (561 ft). One in four Danes live in the Greater Copenhagen area.
Denmark is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. It also has the world's lowest income inequality and is ranked as the world's most democratic and least corrupted country. The Danes pride themselves on being egalitarian, liberal and environmentally conscious. Bicycles are the favourite way of transportation of the majority of the population.
Some of better known Danish contributions to the world are the Lego construction toys, the Velux windows and skylights, and the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen (including The Little Mermaid).
The Faroe Islands and Greenland are self-governing countries under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark. Iceland was also ruled by Denmark until 1918.
Famous people from Denmark include (chronologically): the writer Andersen Hans Christian, the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, the physicist Niels Bohr, the designer Arne Jacobsen, the Sydney Opera House architect Jørn Utzon, and the movie director Lars von Trier.
From the Neolithic period to the Middle Ages, Denmark was Scandinavia's connection with the rest of Europe. It was through Denmark that agriculture was introduced 6,000 years ago, and that the Bronze and Iron Ages penetrated Scandinavia. The ancient Celts expanded as far north as Jutland (known to Classical writers as Cimbria), and Roman artefacts were found in southern Denmark. The cradle of Germanic culture was centered around Denmark and Scania (the southern tip of Sweden), a region that was historically part of Denmark until 1658.
In the Middle Ages, Danish Vikings are those who had the most profound impact on Western Europe. The Danes raided most of coastal Western Europe, from northern Germany to Portugal, and as far south as the Maghreb. They established population colonies in Northeast England (with York as their capital) and in Normandy. The Normans, of French-Danish blood, went on to conquer England, Wales, parts of Ireland, and much of southern Italy and what is now Tunisia and Libya.
East Denmark (Zealand)
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