Denmark

[Denmark with geographical context] Denmark. Kingdom in northern Europe, consisting of the peninsula Jutland and about 400 large and small islands of which 79 are inhabited. The entire country is lowland with the highest point only 173 m above sea level. Area 43,000 km²; population 5.2 million. Denmark is a stable modern democracy with a highly developed economy and a high, relatively equally distributed, standard of living. Member of the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union. In 2002 the capital Copenhagen hosts the 2002 Federated Logic Conference.

For more random praise and trivia, see the tourist board's website.

Money

Denmark is one of the three EU countries which still have separate currencies. The Danish currency is the krone (abbreviated "DKK" internationally and "kr" domestically) which is subdivided into 100 øre. Cash exists only in multiples of 25 øre.

The krone-euro exchange rate is kept fixed around DKK 7.46 per euro by the Danish and European central banks.

Due to widespread use of the national debet card system "Dankort", many retail outlets do not accept international credit cards. Hotels and restaurants commonly do accept a range of credit cards. Most bank branches have external cash dispensers that accept at least Visa, Euro/MasterCard, Cirrus, and Eurocheque, and pay out in multiples of 100 kr. These machines are often closed between midnight and 06:00.

Tipping

Not expected. All displayed prices in stores, restaurants, and hotels include applicable taxes and service charges. So does the meter display in taxis.

Language

Danish. The written language is quite similar to Norwegian and Swedish, but foreign speakers of these languages should not expect to understand spoken Danish.

English is the first foreign language taught in school. Most people understand and speak it. Many Danes are, with varying degrees of justification, quite proud of their English skills. Travelers and immigrants who struggle honestly to pronunce Danish risk being answered in English.

Many Danes have been taught German as a second foreign language (though a growing minority take French), but are in general less practised in German than in English.

In recent years, Danish has imported a number of foreign (especially American) expletives and redefined them as rather benign expressions of mild distress. In particular, expressions such as "fuck" rarely mean anything more severe than "oh, dear". This usage is common even among well-educated Danes.

Phone calls

To make international phone calls dial 00 followed by the country code for the target country. Do not wait for a new dial tone.

For operator-placed international calls, including collect calls, dial 115. There is a fairly large service charge.

Emergencies: In case of fire, or to call police or ambulance, dial 112.

Visas

Denmark is a member of the Schengen Convention. Citizens of a number of countries outside Western Europe and North America may need to have a Schengen Visa before traveling to Denmark.

The list of countries for which this is the case is not available online from the Danish government (the Immigration Service's web site is a disgrace to a modern country), but it is supposed to be the same for all of the Schengen countries, so you can check, e.g., Germany's list or Sweden's list instead.

For details on how to apply for a visa, contact the nearest Danish embassy. Note that processing a visa application may take several months.

More information

For additional facts, try looking at the tourist board's travel agent manual which provides raw practical facts with most of the run-of-the-mill marketing prose purged away.