A lot of my family's heritage comes from Denmark. My mother's grandfather decided to take the risk of leaving his home land for America in the hope of making a better living for him and his family.
My great great grandfather left Denmark around the 1840's; he was about 20 years old. He was a very poor man and was looking for work, as were many people leaving in Denmark at the time. People were looking for work because there was a great increase in the population. This growing population made it very tough for people to get jobs and the people that had jobs weren't making very good money and weren't very happy about the conditions they were working in. With all these things happening my grandfather decided to take his chances in America. He ended up in Wisconsin where many other Demark natives came from.
Denmark's climate is very similar to ours. They have pretty mild winters but they still get snow, and the summers are fairly cool. Denmark is located in the Northern Part of Europe. It is basically surrounded by four things and a lot of small islands, in the north is Sweden, south is Germany, east is the Baltic Sea, and to the west is the North Sea.
With Denmark having all these miles of coastlines, hunting and gathering play a large role in Denmark's subsistence strategies. Denmark is a large fishing country. They use massive fishing boats and large nets to catch their fish. Some of the most common fish they catch are Cod, Herring, and Mackerel. The division of labor on these fishing ships can be divided up basically in three groups. The deckhands do most of the manual labor and maintenance of the boat such as casting and bringing in the nets. Deckhands are usually hired for their work ethic or previous performance. The second class is the first mate. His basic role is to keep track of the deckhands and make sure their doing their job. First mates are normally appointed by the captain our owner of the ship. The third class is the captain. The captain is basically the commander and chief of the ship. He makes all the major decisions like where they're going to cast their nets, when they're going to come into port, and which port they will go to. A lot of the time the captain running the ship is also the owner of the ship. All these roles are based upon experience and basic education.
Pastoralism is also a large part of Denmark's economy. They raise large amounts of both pigs and beef and you can find these farms sprinkled all around the country. Most farms are run by families, but many of them are also commercially owned. They keep the pigs in large barns and mostly let the cows graze in fenced in pastures. With all these animals one of the biggest jobs of the farmers is to feed them all. Many times you will see farmers acutely grow their own feed for their livestock just to cut back on costs. A family farm a lot of the time is passed down from many generations. The work of the farm is divided up evenly throughout the family. with the kids cleaning around the farm and the older people making sure the livestock keeps fed.
Horticulture is very rare to find in Denmark but here and there you can find it. Some potato farms are sill maintained the good old fashioned way, with a hoe and a shovel. Metal strainers are used to help clean the potatoes and if they peal them it is done with a knife. Potato farms like these are almost always run by families. The work is divided up with the men plowing and planting the potatoes and the women picking and cleaning them.
A large part of Denmark's land is devoted to agriculture, “over half of it”. A large part of the agriculture in Demark takes place in the main peninsula. Farms in Denmark produce a verity of goods such as sugar beets, grain, barley, and sweet potatoes. They are normally owned by small families but with the expense of equipment many farmers end up sharing or going in on equipment together. This equipment includes tractors, harvesters, and planters. These tools are used to break up the soil to get it ready to plant, plant the seeds, and help harvest the crop. The farmers usually drive these machines unless it's a big enough farm to have hired labor. The biggest setback in farming in Denmark is its unfertile soil. To grow anything it takes a lot of fertilizers and chemicals which have to be shipped in.
Denmark has slowly started to become an industrial country. It is full of clothing, textile, and food processing factories. These factories are usually found in large cities or on coast lines because it is easier to find labor and easier to export goods. Probably the biggest plants in Denmark are its slaughtering houses. These slaughtered thousands of pounds of pork and beef a day. Some of the tools they use for this are large band saws to chop up the meat, assembly lines for packing the meat, and large trucks and ships to ship the goods.
Denmark's manufacturing is larger than its agriculture, pastrolism, and fishing combined. It employs over half of the country! Because of this large amount of employees the only way to separate workers is based on their education. This is why education plays such a large role in Denmark. The division of labor in these large factories is laborers, factory managers, and owners. Laborers are hired based on past experience, work ethic, and education. Their jobs are normally to work on the assembly line and run equipment. Factory managers are also hired based on experience but more focus goes on their education. The manager's job is to keep track of production of the assembly lines and to basically make sure the job is getting done. Owners are normally well educated and come from a richer family. Their main job is to watch the basic production of the plant and make sure it is staying profitable.
Electronic information and computer technology doesn't play a huge rule in Denmark's subsistence strategies but in the last couple of years it has made some pretty large steps forward. They even have their own technology schools, one of them being The IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Denmark has two main branches of government. It has a parliamentary democracy as well as a constitutional monarchy. With the parliamentary democracy power is recognized by the voters, electing the leaders into power. This power is controlled by the elected officials. These elected officials are than put into parliament, also known as the house. The leader of the house is the prime minister. The prime minster is basically the commander and chief and is put in power by the monarch and parliament.
The parliament and the prime minster are in charge of the everyday issues of the country. Parliament and the prime minster also have the power to create or destroy laws with the approval of the monarch. Elections are held every four years for seats in Parliament. Campaigns are different than they are in the U.S. because there are so many different political parties. There can be over ten parties in power at one time. So campaigns are more based on meeting every party's needs and not just their own. Parliament members can be overturned through a vote of no confidence by other parliament members.
The Monarch of Denmark is a king or queen who is legitimized by their family background and eventually God. The monarch's biggest power is to appoint the prime minister. They also oversee decisions but are used primarily as a symbol. The monarchy also has a cabinet which can make important legislative decisions but they must be approved and passed through parliament before they have any meaning.
Denmark's economic system is based on a mixture between capitalism and a government controlled system. Denmark's citizens have control of the market through supply and demand but that's about it because over half of Danish incomes go directly to taxes. Denmark primarily lies within the secondary economic sector. Production and processing of food, and clothing are what Denmark relies its economy on. Its primary sector is its rapidly growing agriculture. With its produce it exports to many different countries making a large portion of its capital. Denmark's GDP is an estimated 369.6 billion, and the unemployment rate is only 2% (CIA.Gov).
An overwhelming majority of Denmark's people believe in the monotheistic religion of Christianity. Even with so many people believing in God only a small percent actually attend church. Churches are normally used for holidays or celebrations not so much church services. This is also shown by holidays symbolizing more historical dates rather than religious dates. A couple other religions that are practiced are Muslim, Catholicism, and Judaism. An interesting correlation between these is that they are all monotheistic. Also even with such a high number of people that believe in God it is not seen in schools, government, or the work place. Also atheism is also on the rise in Denmark.
Families are very nuclear based in Denmark. You don't find very often families with extended members living with them. Children are raised to become independent and after they become adults or get married most children move out. The type of descent in Denmark is patrilineal because almost always the father's name is passed down.
Marriage in Denmark is usually on an endogamy level. With Denmark's high standard of living, almost everyone sits in the same economic class so this aluminates people getting married for financial security. Most of the time in Denmark, marriage is monogamy, one spouse. In Denmark it isn't uncommon for a couple to move in and start a family before they get married. Marriage isn't as much of a priority in Denmark as it is in America.
Denmark also has a very high and even standard of living. They can do this because the government has control over half of the family's income. With this money they take it and disperse it evenly amongst the people. Also the money is used for funding a health care system. So the government basically makes sure that nobody gets left behind and has what they need.
A random thing about Denmark that you will probably never need to know is that Demarks flag is claimed to be the oldest flag in the world. The flag was orginaley called the danneborg. The legend says that the flag fell out of the sky on June 15, 1219. On this day Waldemar II defeated the Estonians in a battle. The flag is basically completely red and has a white cross in the middle.
I was also lucky enough to watch a National Geographic documentary on Denmark. It's nice to have a mom that works in a library. What really caught my eye was the landscape of the country. It changed every where you went; in one place you could have long flat plans great for farming and then have rugged hills covered with forests. I never saw Denmark as a beautiful country but its coast lines are really beautiful. Also some of the Architecture is incredible. There was a housing development that looked like waves. That's the only way I could describe it; it was really amazing.
Another interesting thing I learned while reading an article from Denmark.Dk was that Denmark is extremely conscious on its impact on the environment. In the article I was reading they were talking about putting in a bike route that was lighted. The bike route stretches from Ullerslev to Flødstrup. Many people estimate that if these bike routes are introduced throughout Denmark it could save up to 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. I think it's pretty impressive on the ways Denmark is trying to find new ways on protecting the environment.
One question I had to answer for myself while studying Denmark, was the legal drinking age. To my surprise there is no legal drinking age, like many other European countries. Most kids are allowed to drink in their homes after they have been confirmed. The only restricons on alcohol are that you have to be 16 to purchase it, and many bars won't let anybody under 18 in. Even with few legal restricons on alcohol there are very few alcohol related deaths or accidents.
Beer is very popular in Denmark. There are hundreds of different kinds of beer in Denmark put its most popular one's are Carlsberg and Tuborg. Also the pale lager dominates the market selling over of 95%. There are also many private breweries that spring up and become popular. A interesting taxing beer in Denmark is the stronger the beer the more taxes you pay. There are three basic categories, 1, 2, 3. One is the kinds of beer with the least and threes with the most. An example of a category three beer would be the strong lager
Denmark sounds like a pretty nice country to live with its low unemployment rate and high standard of living, but I couldn't say I would like to live there. I like independence and the prosperity that America provides over the security Denmark provides. It really was interesting to learn where my family came from and I hope one day I can take a visit.
"Denmark. Dk ". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. 11/14/09 <http://www.denmark.dk/en/servicemenu/News/Culture-News/EnvironmentallyFriendlyLightingForBikeLane.htm>.
Heimer, Željko . "History of flag ". FOTW. 11/14/09 <http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/country_information.php?Pays=DNK>.
Hofer, Hans. Denmark. Singapore: hofer press pte ltd, 1994.
Oakley, Stewart. A short history of Denmark . New York : Praeger Publishers, inc , 1972
Petrov , Dmytro. "Denmark facts ". DenmarkFacts. 11/14/09 <http://www.denmarkfacts.com/>.
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Yvonne, Colette, Jacques, Jean, Gilbert, "Denmark ". studentssoftheworld . 11/14/09 <http://www.studentsoftheworld.info/country_information.php?Pays=DNK>.