Map of Denmark
Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The country of Denmark, together with Greenland and the Faroe Islands, comprises the Kingdom of Denmark. It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland (Jylland) and many islands, most notably Zealand, Funen (Fyn), Vendsyssel-Thy (commonly considered a part of Jutland), Lolland, Falster and Bornholm, as well as hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark has long controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea; before the digging of the Kiel Canal, water passage to the Baltic Sea was possible only through the three channels known as the "Danish straits".
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Denmark has a state-level government and local governments in 98 municipalities. Denmark has been a member of the European Union since 1973, although it has not joined the Eurozone. Denmark is a founding member of NATO and the OECD. Denmark is also a member of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Denmark, with a mixed market capitalist economy and a large welfare state, ranks as having the world's highest level of income equality. Denmark has frequently ranked as the happiest and least corrupt country in the world. The national language, Danish, is closely related to Swedish and Norwegian, with which it shares strong cultural and historical ties.
The etymology of the word Denmark, and especially the relationship between Danes and Denmark and the unifying of Denmark as a single kingdom, is a subject which attracts some debate. The debate is centred primarily around the prefix "Dan" and whether it refers to the Dani or a historical person Dan and the exact meaning of the-"mark" ending. The issue is further complicated by a number of references to various Dani people in Scandinavia or other places in Europe in Greek and Roman accounts (like Ptolemy, Jordanes, and Gregory of Tours), as well as some mediaeval literature (like Adam of Bremen, Beowulf, Widsith and Poetic Edda).