Denmark is a European country located on a land mass that projects into the North Sea, and as such is mostly surrounded by water. Norway and Sweden lie to the north, and Denmark shares its southern land border with Germany. Denmark’s mostly temperate climate includes mild winters and cool summers. Average temperatures range from a low of 1 degree Celsius in winter, to a high of 17 degrees Celsius in the summer. The country’s position, situated between an ocean and a large continent, means that its weather is highly variable, and temperatures and precipitation levels can change very quickly.
Another result of Denmark’s location—in particular its position to the extreme north—mean that there’s a great deal of seasonal variation in terms of the amount of sunlight the country sees. At the peak of summer, the Danes enjoy more than 17 hours of sunlight, but in mid-winter daylight hours dwindle to just 6-7.
Curiously enough, despite this lack of winter sunshine, the Danes have been ranked in multiple studies as being the happiest people in the world. However, that may be partly because Danish people also enjoy the lowest income equality in the world, have the best work-life balance, and take third place in terms of child well-being.
Denmark was first permanently inhabited around 12,500 BCE. Over the next several thousand years, the people who had arrived here developed agricultural settlements, and migrated across the land.
Between the 8th and 11th centuries, the greater Scandinavian area was dominated by Vikings, who spread across Europe trading, raiding, razing, and colonising various territories. The Danish Vikings were active in the British Isles as well as parts of Western Europe.
Over the next several centuries, during the Middle Ages and Medieval eras, Denmark became one of the most powerful countries in Europe, with a level of influence that remained high until the 17th century. At this point the country was involved in a series of wars and skirmishes that resulted in surrendering many of its territories both in Europe and abroad, eventually resulting in the Denmark that we know today.
Despite its relative loss of political influence in Europe, Denmark remains a world leader in many industries, including architecture, pharmacology, and environmental technology.
Denmark was once a heavily forested land, but most of the country’s primeval forests have been destroyed to make way for agricultural and industrial purposes. Even so, large stretches of woodlands are now being replanted. These forests are now home to red deer and roe deer, polecats, and other woodland creatures. Denmark’s national flower is red clover, a species that is found abundantly in meadows and woodlands. Wild orchids, dandelion, blackberry, and eyebright are included among the native species.
Denmark is home to a few native animal species which are found nowhere else in the world, including species of wolf spider, sea slug, and grasshopper. Another of these is a species of marine jaw worm—a tiny crustacean that looks innocuous at its true size, but resembles a terrifying monster when viewed under a powerful microscope.
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