The People

There are about 5.7 million people in Denmark. Only very few are rich and no one is really poor.

Archaeologists have found positive proof that people lived in Denmark around 5000 B.C. The proof includes refuse deposits from their kitchens. These people lived by hunting and fishing, but in fact the first recorded history of Denmark began around 1000 A.D. when the Danish Vikings went on expeditions in their small vessels to most of Europe. At this time Christianity came to Denmark, and it is also the time of our first recorded King. He was called King Gorm. You can still see his burial mound in Jelling, alongside which his son erected a runic stone in his memory with an inscription about Denmark's first moves towards Christianity.

Since then Denmark has had an unbroken monarchy, making this oldest kingdom in the world. The kingdom was inherited through the family and in recent times a law was passed enabling women to inherit the throne. H. M. Queen Margrethe II has been Queen since 1972. The Queen, or the King, signs the laws of the country.

In recent times the functions of the sovereign have become more ceremonial. Denmark is a democracy with a parliament elected by popular vote. The parliament is called " Folketinget " and has only one chamber. The Cabinet is made up of about 20 ministers. We have many political parties but only a few are significantly large. The Labour party (Socialdemokraterne) has approximately one third of the vote, and the non-socialist parties (Conservatives and Liberals) share another third. A number of smaller parties support either the Social Democrats or the non-socialist parties. These parties share the last third of the vote. The extreme socialists share only a few percent of votes.

Denmark is a member of the European Union and NATO. The principal industries are farming, fishing, processing agricultural products and industry (ships, machines, textiles and electronics). Like many other countries, Denmark has no high unemployment problem or national debt but the tax burden tends to be heavy. However, compared to some other countries, Denmark is well-off and we enjoy a high standard of living.