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DENMARK (Danmark)



Essential Information

Language: Danish (nearly all Danes speak good English).

Currency: Danish Krona

Visa: Not required for most Western Nations, Schengen Member

Plug: European 2 round pins


GDP Ranking (IMF): #14 £25,567

Communications: Country code is +45

Health: Denmark has an excellent health care system, although waits can be quite long depending on level of ill-health.

When to Visit: May through to September are the warmer months with longer days and more cultural activities.

Personal Safety: Denmark is a safe country. Some care should be taken around the Christiana district in Copenhagen, where open soft drug dealing is tolerated. The district of Nørrebro is also one to be wary of.

Getting Around: Denmark is a small country with an efficient internal transport system. Train, bus and car hire are all options. Ferries connect to smaller islands.

What to see/do: Denmark is well ahead down the path of making itself a foodie giant, and has many culinary establishments to back this up. Not least is the restaurant Noma, which has topped the best restaurant in the world rankings for the last few years. Geranium and Restaurant Relae are some of the other fine food establishments with global recognition. In the warmer months, make the most of the huge coastline, as long as Brazils. Combine this with island hopping to find a remote idyll, especially near Funen. Kronberg castle is a very famous landmark in the country, the basis for Shakespeare's Hamlet. The proud Viking heritage can be experienced at the Viking Ship Museum and the Lejere Experimental Centre, both near the town of Roskilde.

As expected, Copenhagen has plenty to occupy the visitor for a long weekend, with the huge Nationalmuseet (National Museum), Statens Museum for Kunst (Danish Art Museum) and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek for more classical art. I've also tried to avoid it, but there's no getting away from it, LEGO. One of the most well known of Danish trademarks, it has it's home at Legoland. Copenhagen also has the oldest and second oldest amusement parks in the world. Dyrehavsbakken is the oldest in Northern Copenhagen (Klampenborg), and the more well known Tivoli Gardens in central Copenhagen. For those seeking a more hippie vibe, head to Christiania, a commune of sorts in an old military base. Soft drugs are openly sold here, and inhabitants don't like cameras for obvious reasons. Across the street is The Church of Our Saviour, featuring a set of exposed stairs high up the spire, and considered a test of manhood to climb.

Food & Drink: Rye bread (Rugbrød) is common in Denmark as part of a more traditional breakfast with a hot drink, and usually a bowl of cereal.  Smørrebrød is a type of open sandwich usually made from Rye bread again, filled with cold or warm slices of meat and commonly had as lunch. koldt bord, literally cold board buffet, is another lunch option, similar to the Swedish Smörgåsbord. It's traditional to begin with a variation of something involving Herring. This is followed by other seafood and then meats with meat pastes.

For main dinner courses, meat features prominently, with Pork being the main choice. Frikadeller are meat balls, and Boller i karry are meatballs with curry and rice. Flæskesteg is roast pork and crackling, and Æbleflæsk is apple pork (fried) with a compote of apple, onion and bacon. Medisterpølse is a spicy pork sausage dish. You may want to have mashed potatoes with one of your meat dishes, the Danish word for mashed potato is Brændende kærlighed, literally 'burning love!' A nation with a proud fishing history has a fish on the menu more often than not, Kogt torsk is poached Cod. Plaice, Eel, lobster, Haddock, Ling and the ever present Herring are other options.

After dinner, desserts are mostly fruit based, with Strawberry and Apple (baked) being the most popular. Æblekage, (apple charlotte) comes with almond meringue and whipped cream served in a glass. Koldskål makes use of the abundance of milk in the country, and is butter milk dish with vanilla and lemon served cold. Other milk products are cheese, the most famous of which being Danablu (Danish Blue).

For drinks, the two most popular lager beers are Tuborg and Carlsberg, although that doesn't necessarily make them the best. Stouts are popular in Denmark, and Evil Twin make some highly praised ones. Try Evil Twin Even More Jesus, or for the brave Amager Hr. Frederiksen (10.5% abv). Local breweries are popping up all over the country, so be sure to investigate. Akvavit is a Snaps like drink, and Hyldeblomstsaft (Elderflower based drink) will suit alcohol free drinkers.

Other notes: The Danes have a certain element of informality, so pleasantries are dispensed with. There is no Danish word for please for instance. Punctuality is a virtue, and keep any religious beliefs/views to yourself.