21 Fun Facts About Denmark That’ll Surprise You

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Denmark is a fun place to visit. While it can be difficult breaking into the tightly-knit social scene, there’s always something to do whether you’re caught up in the bustle of Copenhagen, wandering through Thy National Park, or hunting for Trolls in Rold Forest.

These Denmark facts are bound to surprise you whether you’ve never been, or if you’re lucky enough to have witnessed some Danish customs firsthand!

1. Danish Citizens are Really Happy

Denmark – teach us your ways! Denmark consistently ranks amongst the happiest countries in the world according to the UN World Happiness Report.

It may be such a happy place because Denmark is the least corrupt country in the European Union or because all citizens have free healthcare. It could also be the 33-hour work week, the high minimum wage, or the spirit of community that is abundant throughout Danish culture.

Whatever the reason, if you’re looking to surround yourself with positivity and happy people, Denmark is one of the best places to go.

2. Denmark Has No Mountains

If you hate walking uphill, Denmark may be the country for you! Denmark has no mountains and is a relatively flat country otherwise.

The highest point in Denmark is Møllehøj which is only 171 meters or 561 feet above sea level. This may be why cycling is such a popular sport and why so many people choose the bike as their official mode of transportation!

3. Dannebrog is the Oldest State Flag in the World

The Danish flag is called Dannebrog and it is the oldest national flag in the world of any independent nation currently in existence.

It’s been flying high since 1219 and just celebrated its 803rd birthday.

4. Denmark Has Two of the World’s Oldest Amusement Parks

Tivoli Gardens which is centrally located in Copenhagen, and Bakken which is only a twenty-minute train ride outside of the capital city are two of the world’s oldest theme parks!

A Denmark amusement park

For theme park enthusiasts, both parks should be considered. Not only will you get to experience a ton of different rides, but the foods at each location differ!

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5. Please Has No Meaning in Denmark

Most countries have a phrase that is similar to the English word “please”, but not Denmark. This isn’t to say that Danish people aren’t polite – but there is no direct translation for please in the Danish language and most people will have no idea what you mean if you say it!

6. Danish Pastry is not from Denmark

I seriously hate to break it to you, but those sneaky Austrians invented Danish pastry.

Austrian settlers in the 1840s began serving wienerbrød in Denmark, and tourists having the pastry for the first time in Denmark referred to it as a Danish.

It truly isn’t the fault of the Danish people, who still refer to the popular pastry as Viennese bread.

7. The Great Dane Dog Breed Is Not from Denmark

Shocking but true – the Great Dane is a dog breed from Germany and not a dog from Denmark.

8. Danes Live the Hygge Life

The term Hygge has been circulating on the internet and has its roots firmly planted in Denmark. Hygge represents warm social gatherings with close family and friends, a cozy and happy way of life that is about closeness and a feeling of comfort.

An image demonstrating Hygge

Where can I sign up for a Hygge life?

9. The Little Mermaid is a Fairytale from Denmark

While you may see Ariel at Disneyland, she was inspired by a Danish fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen, a citizen of Denmark.

In Copenhagen, you can find a mermaid statue in the location where the story was first written near the ocean at the Langelinie promenade. This statue has a long and colorful history since it was first created in 1913, and several authorized replicas can be found in different countries throughout the world.

10. Baby Names are Government Approved

If you want to give your newborn a name, it has to be a government-approved name.

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The Danish government has a list of over 7,000 names to choose from!

11. We Can Thank The Danes for Legos

Legos were invented by a Danish man named Ole Kirk Christiansen in Billund in 1949. Now we know who is responsible for the painful torture that is stepping on Lego bricks with bare feet!

Denmark Legoland

Lego fans can visit the original Legoland in Denmark, and take a tour of Lego House which has 75 million Lego bricks that you can actually create with!

12. The Danish Monarchy is one of the Oldest in the World

Denmark has a queen – Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II. Denmark may be one of the most innovative and progressive nations in the world, but Denmark still operates under a constitutional Monarchy.

The current Queen Regent inherited the throne from the Danish King Frederick the IX (her father) in 1972.

13. The First Country to Recognize Same-Sex Unions

Denmark was the first country in the world to recognize same-sex unions in 1989. Same-sex marriage became legal in 2012.

Pride celebrations are a big deal in Denmark and are held multiple times per year. One of the biggest pride celebrations is held in Copenhagen semi-annually so whether you visit in summer or winter, you can join in and celebrate equal rights!

14. Denmark Has Hundreds of Uninhabited Islands

If you want to get away from everyone, there are more than 360 Danish islands that have no one living on them. This isn’t to say that there aren’t plenty of tourists poking about!

Some of the most popular islands without permanent residents are Læsø, Ærø, Rømø, and Bornholm.

15. Denmark is Surrounded by the Sea

There is nowhere in Denmark that is further than 52 kilometers (32 miles) from the ocean.

A vector of Denmark

If you suffer from Thalassophobia (fear of deep bodies of water), Denmark may not be the best country for you to visit or live in!

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16. Denmark Doesn’t Use the Euro

Even though it is a member of the European Union, the Euro is not the official currency of Denmark. Denmark instead uses the Krone, after opting out of changing their national currency.

17. Cinnamon is Thrown on Unmarried Adults

Throwing cinnamon on unmarried adults over 25 years old on their birthday is a huge tradition in Denmark! This tradition has been going on since the 16th century when spice salesmen were apparently too busy to find brides.

I’m not talking about a spoonful or two playfully being thrown on people either but an absolute avalanche of cinnamon covering people head to toe. If only I had unmarried friends in Denmark and unlimited quantities of cinnamon…

18. Denmark Has Unique Traditions

As if having a cinnamon bath when you turn 25 isn’t bad enough, Danish people have a bonfire and burn a witch doll on midsummer’s eve (Sankt Hans).

Witch burning bonfire in Denmark

They also place decorative paper cats in a barrel (rather than using live black cats) at a Fastelavn carnival held every year.

19. You Can Burn the Danish Flag but Not Any Other Flags in Denmark

Not sure why you’d want to burn the flags of other nations in Denmark, but if you did it would be illegal.

20. The Faroe Islands Belong to the Kingdom of Denmark

Surprisingly, these 18 volcanic islands belong to the country of Denmark and have been living under Danish rule since 1709, though they are self-governed. People born on the island are Danish citizens.

Though Faroe means “sheep”, the people of these islands often are involved with fishing operations. Up to 95 percent of exports are fish, and they play a major role in providing the world with fish.

21. Many Vikings Came from Denmark

Vikings hail from three modern-day nations in Scandinavia including Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

The Vikings were warrior-pirates who raided, traded and settled in different parts of Europe between the 8th and 11th centuries.


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

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