Country Facts

Finding a common language with Danes

The first foreign language taught in schools is English. The second language taught in schools is often German or French. After that, some Spanish may be taught in school. Swedish and Norwegian are often understood due to the similarities with Danish.

Danish landmarks and culturally-significant places

  • Jelling Mounds runic stones and church
  • Roskilde Cathedral
  • Krongborg Castle
  • The par force royal hunting landscape in North Zealand, parks and forests on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
  • Christiansfeld, a Moravian Church Settlement.

Most important Danes in history

  • Grundtvig: his philosophy led to a new form of nationalism in the 19th century, embedded in national church and literature.
  • H. C. Andersen: his fairy tales present layers for children as well as adults and have been translated into 125 languages.
  • Søren Kierkegaard: he is considered the first existentialist philosopher.
  • King Christian IV: the longest reigning king of Denmark, has played an important part in the urban development of Copenhagen, including well preserved renaissance buildings

Danish food favourites

Until the 1980s the Danish cuisine was dominated by variations of pork and potatoes. Since the globalization of trade and information of the 1980s, the Danes have started to consume a variety of food from other countries, especially Italian, American and Asian food. In the 21st century, the “new Nordic cuisine” has emerged to find new ways to exploit Nordic natural ingredients. One of the pioneers of this cuisine has been the Danish restaurant NOMA, which has been named the world’s best restaurant several times.

The Danes tend to eat cold lunch, including open sandwiches with rye bread and toppings. Marinated herring and snaps are another traditional favourite.

Danish celebrities you should know

  • Michael Laudrup soccer coach and ex-player
  • Lars von Trier movie director
  • Lars Ulrich musician
  • Mads Mikkelsen actor

Biggest holidays and celebrations in Denmark

  • New Years Eve
  • Easter
  • Constitution Day (June 5)

Important symbols of Danish identity

  • The Danish flag. It is everywhere.
  • The Queen
  • The Jelling stone. A large rune stone.