Denmark has 5.8 million people. It has a total area of 42,943 square kms, consisting of a peninsula and an archipelago of 443 islands. Denmark’s geography is characterised by flat, arable land, sandy coasts, low elevation, and a temperate climate. During World War One, it remained neutral and benefitted economically. But it was invaded by Germany in World War Two. After Germany’s surrender in 1945, Denmark joined the United Nations. Participating in the Marshall Plan, with the United States of America’s assistance, Denmark modernised quickly and prospered. In 1973, Denmark became the first Scandinavian country to join the European Union. But later in 2000, Danes voted 53%-47% not to join the European Monetary Union. Denmark is a bicycle-friendly nation and has a wide and extensive network of over 11,000 kilometres of cycle routes throughout the country. There are long distance national routes, regional cycle routes and local cycle routes which are clearly marked. Denmark has a generous system of social welfare and a virtual lack of censorship. It is acknowledged as a tolerant society with a high standard of living, a strong sense of social conscience and has positive policies towards protecting the environment.

  1. In about 2,000 words, I will describe major events that affected Denmark from 1900 to the present.
  2. 1900 – In the past 50 years (second half of 1800s), Denmark was an industrialised exporter of agricultural produce. In the early 20th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms, which formed the basis for the present welfare state model and advanced mixed economy. 
  3. 1902 – Denmark became the 1st country to adopt fingerprinting to identify criminals.
  4. 1911 – Penal code reform abolished corporal punishment in Denmark.
  5. 1913 – The bronze statue of the Little Mermaid, a character from a Hans Christian Anderson story, was installed in the Copenhagen harbour.
  6. 1914 (to 1918) – Denmark is neutral during World War One. As its economy was heavily based on exports, the unrestricted German submarine warfare was a serious problem. Denmark had no choice but to sell many of its exports to Germany instead of overseas nations. Commerce suffered disruption because of the conflict in Europe. Rationing was instituted, and there were food and fuel shortages.
  7. 1918 – Danish parliament passed an act to grant Iceland independence.
  8. 1922 – Danish physicist Niels Bohr won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his services in the investigation of the structure of atoms and of the radiation emanating from them.
  9. 1924 – Denmark took Greenland as Norway ended its claim.
  10. 1930s – Welfare state established by governments dominated by social democrats.
  11. 1939 (to 1945) – World War Two. The German Nazi army invaded and occupied Denmark. After the Nazi invasion most of Denmark’s police were killed. Denmark adopted a policy of ‘peaceful occupation’ (with limited cooperation) to minimise casualties.
  12. 1943 – Following a wave of demonstrations, Germany took over full control of Danish affairs. In the final 18 months (before 1945), an underground resistance became active fighting the Germans.
  13. 1943 – Germany ordered the deportation of Danish Jews but was unsuccessful. About 7,200 Danish Jews (95% of Denmark’s Jewish population) managed to escape to Sweden. But about 500 Jews were arrested in Nazi raids and deported to concentration camps.
  14. 1944 – Iceland declared full independence from Denmark and became a republic.
  15. 1945 – A British bombing raid was made on the Gestapo Headquarters in Denmark. A second wave of bombers hit a school by mistake, killing 86 students and 13 adults.
  16. 1945 – On 5 May 1945, British troops liberated Copenhagen. Three days later, the war ended. Germany surrenders and occupation ends. Denmark joins the United Nations.
  17. 1946 – Scandinavian airlines began as a co-operative venture between the airlines of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. In 1951 they merged.
  18. 1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization pact (NATO) was signed by USA, Britain, Denmark, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Iceland, Norway and Canada. It provided for mutual defence against aggression and for close military cooperation.
  19. 1951 – NATO member Denmark allowed USA to build 33 bases and radar stations in Greenland, but the deal did not specify who would be responsible for any clean-up. In 2016 Greenland’s local leaders urged Denmark to remove the junk that the Americans left behind. In 2018 Denmark and Greenland signed an agreement for a 6-year clean-up program.
  20. 1954 – Lego (the toy) founded by Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen, became a registered trademark in Denmark.
  21. 1962 – In Denmark the Stroget pedestrian shopping mall in old-town Copenhagen was established. This was Europe’s first major pedestrian boulevard.
  22. 1971 – Denmark became the first European country to create a Cabinet-level ministry dealing exclusively with the environment.
  23. 1972 – Denmark began extracting oil and gas in the North Sea.
  24. 1973 – Denmark joins the European Economic Community (European Union).
  25. 1973 – Sydney Opera House in Australia opened. It was designed by Danish architect Joern Utzon and cost 102 million Australian dollars, 14 times the original estimate. Utzon left the project in 1966. In 2000 Utzon was named consulting architect and in 2003 was called back to redo the interiors.
  26. 1975 – Aage Nills Bohr (born 1922), Denmark-born physicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his study of the atomic nucleus. Ben Mottelson (born 1926), Danish-American physicist and James Rainwater (1917-1986), American physicist, also shared the prize.
  27. 1979 – Denmark gave home rule to Greenland, but continued to make key decisions on law and order.
  28. 1985 – A bombing in Copenhagen killed one person and injured 16. Mohammed Abu Talb was arrested in Sweden in 1989 for the bombing.
  29. 1996 – A Danish government admitted in a report that USA had stored nuclear weapons in Greenland during the Cold War, although Denmark had banned nuclear weapons from its soil in 1957.
  30. 1997 – Denmark was named the least corrupt country in the world by businesspeople in a report released by the German-based Transparency International.
  31. 2000 – Danes reject adoption of the euro as their national currency.
  32. 2002 – Denmark generated 13% of its electricity from wind and planned to raise the figure to 50% by 2030.
  33. 2002 – The Danish government announced that USA will return to Denmark a section of USA air base at Thule in northern Greenland that was created in 1953.
  34. 2004 – The Danish government raised the fine for smoking hash in public to $90 and ordered clubs where it was smoked to be shut down.
  35. 2006 – Cartoon depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, published by a Danish newspaper in 2005, spark belated mass protests among Muslims in a number of countries as well as unofficial boycotts of Danish goods.
  36. 2007 – Transparency International’s 2007 index ranked Myanmar and Somalia as the most corrupt nations. Both received the lowest score of 1.4 out of 10. Denmark, Finland and New Zealand were ranked the least corrupt, each scoring 9.4.
  37. 2007 – Global wind power amounted to about 1,200 megawatts with Denmark accounting for about a third (400 megawatts), with Britain in 2nd place.
  38. 2008 – Police uncover a plot to kill one of the cartoonists whose depictions of Muhammad sparked outrage across the Muslim world in 2005. Major papers reprint one of the cartoons, prompting some protests.
  39. 2008 – The Danish central bank said it has taken over Roskilde Bank, the nation’s 10th largest bank. The 124-year-old institution had been struggling amid global financial turmoil and mounting losses on mortgage loans as housing prices fell in Denmark.
  40. 2009 – Denmark seized control of Fionia Bank A/S by injecting about $172 million in a deal that would take away shareholder control and split the bank into two parts until a sale could be realised. The bank was hit by mounting losses on bad loans to property developers.
  41. 2010 – In Denmark, Muhudiin Mohamed Geele (29), a Somali man armed with an axe and suspected of links with al Qaeda, broke into the home of Kurt Westergaard (74), a Danish cartoonist, whose drawings of the Prophet Mohammad caused global Muslim outrage. The attacker, who was shot and wounded by police, was charged the next day with two counts of attempted murder. On 3 February 2011, Geele was convicted of terrorism. The next day he was sentenced to nine years in prison to be followed by permanent expulsion.
  42. 2010 – In Denmark, scores of Carlsberg brewery workers walked off the job after the company tightened rules on workplace drinking. A new policy only allowed them to drink beer during lunch in the canteen.
  43. 2010 – An annual report by Transparency International marked Somalia as the most corrupt county in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Myanmar and Iraq. Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tied as the world’s least corrupt nations. USA declined to 22nd from 19th the year before.
  44. 2014 – The Danish Defence Intelligence Service, or FE, reportedly finished an internal probe that found USA National Security Agency used connections in Denmark to eavesdrop on political leaders in France, Germany, Sweden and Norway. This was only made public in 2021.
  45. 2015 – Islamist Omar El-Hussein shoots dead a film-maker at a free-speech debate and then a synagogue guard, before being killed by police.
  46. 2015 – Denmark said it has earmarked 60.9 million kroner ($9.2 million) over the next three years for programs to de-radicalize Islamic extremists, including those who have fought with jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq.
  47. 2015 – Danish lawmakers in a 91-75 vote approved banning sex with animals.
  48. 2016 – The Danish parliament passed a package of measures to deter refugees from seeking asylum, including confiscating valuables to pay for their stay, despite protests from international human rights organisations.
  49. 2017 – The Danish branch of the ride-sharing service Uber said it is shutting down its services in Denmark due to a proposed law that toughens standards for cabs.
  50. 2017 – Denmark’s government said it will ban cash in the country’s largest prisons and require inmates to pay electronically, to make it “easier to follow the money flow in and out”.
  51. 2017 – Denmark passed a law that could allow it to ban Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from going through its waters on grounds of security or foreign policy.
  52. 2018 – Denmark bans the wearing of face veils in public.
  53. 2018 – Denmark’s parliament agreed on the construction of three new offshore wind farms with a total production capacity of at least 2,400 megawatts by 2030. The deal also includes a target for 55 percent of the country’s energy to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030, up from a previous goal of 50 percent set by the current government.
  54. 2018 – Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the government plans to build a new island near Copenhagen’s harbour to create more space for the city’s growing population.
  55. 2019 – Denmark said it will allow the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to pass through its territory. The decision removed a major hurdle for the $11 billion project slated for commissioning by the end of the year to bring even more gas from Siberia into Germany. (The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused Germany to halt this pipeline in 2022.)
  56. 2019 – It was reported that evidence from Denmark suggested that when frozen embryos are used during in vitro fertilization (IVF), the resulting children have a slightly higher risk than other kids for certain types of cancer.
  57. 2020 – Denmark said it sourced 47% of its electricity consumption from wind power in 2019, a new record boosted by steep cost reductions and improved offshore technology.
  58. 2021 – Denmark said it has agreed to build an island in the North Sea that would gather and distribute electricity from wind energy farms.
  59. 2020 (to 2022) – COVID-19 pandemic caused more than 4,600 deaths in Denmark.
  60. 2022 – Denmark has 5.8 million people.

© Comasters March 2022.

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Comasters Law Firm and Notary Public is a commercial legal practice in Sydney. We conduct matters in a range of legal areas. Whilst based in Sydney, Comasters maintains close links with business people across the Asia Pacific region.

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