Denmark is a Scandinavian country in northern Europe and the senior member (with Greenland and the Faroe Islands) of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries. The mainland is bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark is southwest of Sweden and south of Norway. Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland (Jylland) and many islands, most notably Zealand (Sjælland), Funen (Fyn), Vendsyssel-Thy, Lolland, Falster, and Bornholm as well as hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark has long controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea, and these waters are also known as the Danish straits.
Denmark is the second-most visited destination in Scandinavia, after Sweden, with 4.7 million visitors in 2007.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Denmark has a state-level government and local governments in 98 municipalities. Denmark has been a member of the European Union (formerly European Economic Community) since 1973, although it has not joined the Eurozone, a currency union among the European Union member states that have adopted the euro as their sole official currency. Denmark is a founding member of NATO and the OECD.
Denmark, with a free market capitalist economy and a large welfare state, ranks according to one measure, as having the world’s highest level of income equality. From 2006 to 2008, surveys ranked Denmark as “the happiest place in the world,” based on standards of health, welfare, and education. The 2008 Global Peace Index survey ranks Denmark as the second most peaceful country in the world, after Iceland. Denmark was also ranked as the least corrupt country in the world in the 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, sharing a top position with Sweden and New Zealand. In 2008, the capital and largest city, Copenhagen, was ranked the most livable city in the world by Monocle magazine. The national language, Danish, is close to Swedish and Norwegian, with which they share strong cultural and historical ties. 82.0% of the inhabitants of Denmark and 90.3% of the ethnic Danes are members of the Lutheran state church. About 9% of the population has foreign citizenship—a large portion of those are from other Scandinavian countries.