Can facts be funny? We seem to think so. From weird Danish traditions and letters, old flags and amusement parks to bike- and swim-friendly facts, get to know Denmark a bit better with these 17 fun facts!
1. One of the happiest countries in the world
Denmark has been named the world’s happiest country on numerous occasions, and remains to be in the very top of the UN World Happiness Report. If you want a few insider tips on how you can get a bit more happiness in your life, you should check out our guide on 12 ways you can get happy in Denmark.
2. The Danish language has no word for “please”
Don’t think we Danes are impertinent if we forget to say please when asking for a favour, we’re simply not used to use it in a sentence as there is no direct translation for “please” in Danish.
3. The oldest flag in the world
First acknowledged in 1219, the Danish flag “Dannebrog” remains the oldest state flag in the world still in use by an independent nation. Turning 800 years has never looked better – and we’ll celebrate it in true Danish birthday fashion: with a bunch of flags of course.
4. We have a word for that cosy feeling of togetherness: Hygge
Hygge is a term that goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, Hygge is about creating cosy social gatherings and intimate get-togethers with family and friends. It’s the feeling of wellbeing and warm atmospheres. You can also feel the notion of hygge in the streets of Copenhagen – literally. Walk down some the old narrow, cobbled streets, dating back several hundred years. These streets invite you to intimate walks next to colourful houses, small coffee shops and vintage boutiques.
5. Danish pastry actually origins from Vienna
In the 1840s, some Austrian bakers settled themselves in Denmark and introduced the beloved pastry. For this reason Danish pastry is actually called “wienerbrød” or “Viennese bread” in Denmark. But hey, let’s keep this well-hidden secret between us, shall we? (Because we certainly have perfected the craft of pastries.)
6. We don’t have any mountains, so biking is never uphill
Denmark is known around the world for its bike culture, and the fact that our country is quite flat is definitely an advantage in this matter. But we also have more than 12,000km of cycle tracks and lanes throughout the country which makes biking in Denmark a safe and respected way to travel. We even enjoy cycling to such a degree that 75% continue biking all through winter and we have a Cycling Embassy.
7. More than 50% of Copenhageners cycle to and from work every day
Actually Copenhageners cycle an average of 3km every day and this adds up to people cycling 35 times around the world every day in Copenhagen!
8. The Danish alphabet has 3 additional letters: Æ, Ø, and Å
The Danish language is said to be one of the most difficult ones to learn due to a bunch of silent letters and complex pronunciation. But we’ve added a bit more to the challenge. Let us introduce you to three letters you won’t come across in the English alphabet: Æ, Ø and Å.
9. We have some weird Danish traditions
We don’t mind admitting that some of the Danish traditions seem rather weird to the modern eye, as they include batting at a black cat in a barrel at the annual carnival “fastelavn” and burning a witch on a bonfire at Sankt Hans (midsummer’s eve). But don’t worry, we’ve toned down the craziness a bit, so nowadays the barrels are simply decorated with cut out versions of black cats and the bonfires only burn doll versions of witches.
10. You’ll find the two oldest amusement parks in the world in Denmark
If this isn’t a fun fact, we don’t know what is! Because Denmark is home to the world’s oldest amusement park, Bakken, as well as the second oldest one, Tivoli Gardens. You find Bakken located just a short 20 minute train ride from Copenhagen central station and Tivoli Gardens is located just on the opposite side of the street from the station in the centre of our vibrant capital. Both of them are brilliant suggestions if you’re looking for a fun-filled day – and that’s a fact! (okay that was cheesy but it was right for the picking…)
11. LEGO® was invented by a Dane
The world-famous LEGO® brick was invented by Danish Ole Kirk Christiansen in the town of Billund in 1949. Nowadays you can visit the original LEGOLAND® and learn more about this renowned toy at LEGO® House. And did you know that the name itself is actually an abbreviation of “Leg godt” which means to play well?
12. Denmark has 444 islands, but only 76 of them are inhabited
This means that there are plenty of opportunities for you to go on an island getaway! Some of our favourite and most popular island retreats are the islands of Ærø, Rømø, Bornholm, and Læsø.
13. You’ll never be more than 52km from the ocean in Denmark!
If you’re looking for a real challenge while you’re in Denmark, try not to see the ocean at one point. This is one challenge you’ll most likely be unable to complete as you cannot be more than 52km from the ocean in Denmark.
14. The Copenhagen harbour is clean enough to swim in
There are plenty of sandy beaches within 30 minutes of the city centre, but you can also just take a dip in harbour as the water is clean enough to swim in. You’ll find a handful of harbour baths along Copenhagen’s harbour, such as at Islands Brygge, Kalvebod Brygge, and Nordhavn. Oh and by the way, you’ll also find clean harbours in our other big cities: Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg.
15. You can drink water from the tap
Not only is our city harbours clean enough to swim in, but we are also used to drinking water from the tap. And you can enjoy this privilege as well during your stay because you’ll find some of the world’s cleanest tap water in Denmark.
16. Denmark became the first country to legalise same-sex unions in 1989
And same-sex marriage was granted in 2012. If you want to celebrate love in all its forms, you ought to join in the annual pride celebrations happening throughout the country. We’re also looking forward to hosting the World Pride event in Copenhagen in 2021.
17. There is an unofficial Danish law for “no one is better than the other”
It is called “Janteloven”, and it plays a key part of the Danish culture and mentality where everyone is accepted and equal. Janteloven is also a main reason why Danes tend to say that it goes well for us (Denmark as a whole) when for instance Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones or Lukas Graham’s album reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200.