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Denmark - Overview

Area: 43,098 sq km

Population: 5,450,661 (July 2006 est.)

Capital: Copenhagen

Government: Constitutional monarchy

Ethnic groups: Scandinavian (and Inuit, Faroese, German, and other minorities)

Main languages: Danish

Main Religion: Christian (Evangelical Lutheran)

Time: GMT/UTC+1

Located in north-western Europe to the north of Germany, Denmark consists of the Jutland peninsula, the two main islands of Zealand and Funen, and nearly 400 small islands, the majority of which are uninhabited. The capital of Copenhagen is located on Zealand. The terrain is flat throughout the Denmark, with rolling hills, valleys, woods and moorland. The 7,300 kilometre coastline with many fjords, coves and sandy beaches, has shaped the history, culture and leisure pursuits of the Danish people.

Denmark's main cities include the capital of Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg. Copenhagen is a clean and attractive low-rise city, with cobblestone streets, picturesque medieval buildings and a network of canals. Despite its historic facade, Copenhagen, like Denmark's other main cities, is modern and sophisticated, with an abundance of excellent restaurants, shops, and cultural and entertainment facilities.

The country of Denmark is renowned for its liberal, egalitarian culture, its generous welfare system and its commitment to free speech. Also central to Danish culture is the concept of hygge, roughly translated as "cosy", which is embodied in the informal friendliness of the people and the snug, relaxed settings of the pubs, cafes and other venues where the sociable Danes like to congregate.

Denmark offers expats a very high standard of living, and many report an improvement in their quality of life when living there (The Expat Study, Oxford Research, 1998). The Danes like to maintain a good balance between work and family life, so flexible working patterns are common and paid holiday entitlements generous. Although the cost of living is high - Denmark is the third most expensive place to live in the world according to an Economist survey - salaries are also relatively high and many services, such as education and healthcare, are provided free.

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