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Inspiring Denmark

”Once upon a time...” So the majority of old fairytales begin...

The story about Denmark is a fairytale. The country is one of the oldest countries in the world (founded prior to year 958), it is the home of one of the greatest fairytale authors of all time, Hans Christian Andersen, and still has a monarchy headed by a Queen, Queen Margrethe II. But that is not all. Nowadays Denmark is one of the front runners of the world in many aspects of modern life – whether it is green technology, welfare society or design. Denmark has more to offer than its size would seem to suggest. It is “Inspiring Denmark”.

The 5.5 million Danes are known for being the happiest people in the world and they do have a lot to smile about. After having paid their taxes, they do not have to pay when they go to a doctor or to school, they get lots of fresh air by being one of the most bicycle-friendly populations on the planet and in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 they were proud to have the world’s best restaurant, NOMA, and the world’s best chef in 2011, Rasmus Kofoed, who now owns the 3-Michelin star restaurant Geranium in Copenhagen.

One of the most important things for Danes is to live a balanced life and therefore they prioritize taking time off to be with their families and friends. In fact Danes have the shortest working weeks per citizen in the EU, working 37.7 hours per week. Speaking of the labour market; 72 percent (2016) of Danish women work outside their home and in total men and women work almost the same number of hours.

When Danes work, they are particularly known for their informal and results-oriented approach. This approach is a result of the Danish education system which focuses on fostering innovation and a critical and creative perspective to the studies. A keyword in the Danish school system is "play", due to the idea that learning should be fun and exciting. This approach has created the foundation for some of the world famous Danish competencies such as green technology, sustainable arhictecture and design.

Another reason for Denmark's leading role in green technology is the oil crisis in the 1970's. Denmark was hit harder by this crisis than many other European countries and even had to implement car-free Sundays, where people were prohibited from driving their cars. To reduce energy consumption stricter building codes were enforced and district heating became the favoured method. At the same time the government initiated a well-designed incentive scheme to encourage the development and use of renewable energy, especially wind power. The transition that Denmark went through in those years has provided the country with an advantage in today's race towards a global green economy.

In the last 25 years, the Danish economy has grown by 70 percent while energy consumption has remained largely unchanged and CO2 emissions have continuously declined. Today, green technology is one of Denmark’s biggest exports. The country has well-established programs of research and numerous companies with expertise and production capability in the field of sustainable technologies. The importance of green technology in Denmark was highlighted in May 2011 when a Korean-Danish “Green Growth Alliance” was concluded during President Lee's State Visit to Denmark.  

Danish architecture can be seen all over the world, from Northern Europe over the Middle East to Asia and Australia. To name a few, works of companies like BIG, C.F. Møller, 3XN and Henning Larsen Architects have received international awards and admiration. The perhaps best known piece of Danish architecture is the Sydney Opera House by Jørn Utzon.

Danish furniture is known for its simplicity and high quality craftsmanship. Designers like Arne Jacobsen and Børge Mogensen have created beloved and elegant masterpieces such as “The Swan”-chair and “The Spanish Chair”, Poul Henningsen and Verner Panton are known for their lamps and in recent years new design powerhouses such as HAY and Normann Copenhagen have also gained international recognition. It is possible to buy original Danish furniture in Korea, e.g. in DANSK and Wellz.

This is just a short introduction of what a modern Denmark has to offer. We have not even mentioned the world renowned Danish food such as “smørrebrød”, bacon and pastry, the fact that Denmark has some of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms or that Danish movie director Susanne Bier won an Oscar in 2011 for her movie “In a Better World”. Or that LEGO, one of the world’s best female tennis players, Caroline Wozniacki, and fashion label Day Birger et Mikkelsen all come from Denmark.

Do you want to know more about “Inspiring Denmark” – then visit these Links or read the publication"Denmark in figures 2013" from Statistics Denmark.

Danish Achitecture
VM Mountain in Ørestad, Copenhagen. Award-winning building by BIG.

Contact

Embassy of Denmark

+82 2 795 4187
selamb@um.dk